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Science

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have devised a method of using ligh...

The trouble with existing 3D imaging technology is that – at the consumer level, at least – it tends to struggle with distances beyond a few feet. Put even a third of the width of a basketball court between yourself and a Microsoft Kinect sensor, for instance, and it won't pick up your movements at all. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, claim to have developed a Lidar (light radar)-based system that can remotely sense objects across distances as long as 30 feet (10 m), which could have widespread benefits in fields as diverse as entertainment, transportation, robotics, and mobile phones.  Read More

Researchers at the University of Dundee have created an acoustic tractor beam that uses ul...

The tractor beam is a staple of science fiction. Aliens use them to haul up unwilling earthlings onto flying saucers, and spacecraft use them to seize enemy ships or tow captured objects around in space. Now a group of researchers working at the University of Dundee actually claim to have built one. But instead of lasers, it uses ultrasonic waves to pull macroscopic objects in.  Read More

Prof. Diane Beauchemin analyzes hair in her lab (Photo: Anne Craig)

If you watch any cop shows, then you know that a person's race and gender can be determined by doing a DNA analysis of one of their hairs. Now, however, Canadian scientists at Queen's University have developed a method of obtaining that same information from hair samples, that's quicker than DNA testing and is 100 percent accurate.  Read More

A diagram illustrating the principle behind the new hybrid energy transfer system (Image: ...

Artificially replicating the biological process of photosynthesis is a goal being sought on many fronts, and it promises to one day improve light-to-energy efficiencies of solar collection well beyond what's possible with photovoltaic cells. One of the first steps is to imitate the mechanisms at work in the transfer of energy from reception through to output. To this end, Scientists have recently experimented with a combination of biological and photonic quantum mechanical states to form new half-light half-matter particle, called the “polariton.” It could help realize fully synthetic systems by mimicking the energy transport systems of biological photosynthesis.  Read More

The MIT researchers developed an algorithm that gives standard portrait shots a profession...

Instagram devotees and champions of the selfie rejoice, for your filtering options may be about to get a little more diverse. Researchers from MIT have developed an algorithm that takes standard "style-transfer" techniques up a notch, enabling the distinctive style of studio photography to be layered over the top of your portraits.  Read More

Lasers could dramatically shrink the size and cost of particle accelerators such as the LH...

Particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are wonders of modern engineering and vending machines for Nobel prizes, but they’re also large – as indicated by the LHC's name – and costly. A new theoretical study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator (BELLA) Center suggests how lasers could dramatically shrink the size and cost of particle accelerator. If the models hold true, it could remove a significant bottleneck from physics research and open up such machines to industrial and medical applications.  Read More

Researchers have devised a method of spraying graphene onto a wide variety of surfaces  (I...

Despite its many desirable qualities and potential applications, graphene still isn't as widely used as it could be for one main reason – it's difficult to apply to surfaces, particularly large ones. Attempting to do so often causes damage to the graphene, or otherwise results in a non-uniform, flawed coating. Now, however, scientists have devised a method of simply spraying the stuff on, that actually improves the graphene in the process.  Read More

Solar cells created from ultra-thin layers of quantum dots (Photo: Chia-Hao Chuang, Depart...

Flexible, inexpensive, large-area, lightweight solar cells are difficult to produce as they require an inert atmosphere and high temperatures, and they often degrade in a short time after exposure to air. Researchers at MIT, however, have used a new method to craft solar cells from ultra-thin layers of quantum dots in a process that promises to avoid these problems, and at room temperature. At the same time, they have also set a new record of nine percent for the most efficient quantum-dot solar cells produced to date.  Read More

The Power Pallet is a combination gasification unit and electrical generator

It could be the most important portable power plant you've never heard of. It's called the "Power Pallet" and it is essentially a combined biomass refinery and generator that fits on a single pallet and can kick out up to 20 kilowatts of electricity.  Read More

A diagram of the new graphene production technique

Graphene is very thin, incredibly strong, electrically conductive and chemically inert, allowing it to be used in a wide range of technologies. It's also rather difficult to work with, however, limiting its practicality. That may be about to change, as researchers at MIT and the University of Michigan have devised a new method of large-scale graphene production.  Read More

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