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Science


KFC saves phones from greasy fingers with tray liner keyboard

Texting is so much a part of modern life that some people can't even pause for a meal of fried chicken without sending a message. As part of an advertising campaign and in an effort to avoid an epidemic of greasy smartphone screens, KFC restaurants in Germany have been giving away paper tray liners with built-in Bluetooth keyboards, so patrons can text away while munching on their extra crispy.

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— Electronics

Things heat up for self-destructing electronic devices

Expanding on previous research into electronic devices that dissolve in water once they have reached the end of their useful life, researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a new type of "transient" electronic device that self-destructs in response to heat exposure. The work is aimed at making it easy for materials from devices that usually end up in landfill to be recycled or dissolved completely.

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— Electronics

New class of "non-Joulian magnets" have potential to revolutionize electronics

Magnets are at the heart of much of our technology, and their properties are exploited in a myriad ways across a vast range of devices, from simple relays to enormously complex particle accelerators. A new class of magnets discovered by scientists at the University of Maryland (UMD) and Temple University may lead to other types of magnets that expand in different ways, with multiple, cellular magnetic fields, and possibly give rise to a host of new devices. The team also believes that these new magnets could replace expensive, rare-earth magnets with ones made of abundant metal alloys.

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— Science

Horseshoe bat-inspired sonar system could outperform current tech

While just about everyone knows that bats locate prey in the dark using echolocation, one thing that many people may not realize is the fact that horseshoe bats are particularly good at it. With this in mind, engineers at Virginia Tech are now developing a sonar system that emulates the system used by those bats. Once perfected, it could be a much more compact and efficient alternative to traditional manmade sonar arrays.

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— Space

Astronomers observe origin of Type la supernova

An international team of astronomers from Europe, Israel and the United States has succeeded in shedding light on the origin of Type la supernovae – powerful nuclear explosions in deep space that allow us to chart the vast distances between galaxies. It is known that a white dwarf star is responsible for creating the distinctive, intensely bright explosion, but the cause of the supernovae are still a topic of hot debate.

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