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Carbon nanotube composite material could replace carbon fiber

By - October 16, 2012 1 Picture
When people need a material that’s strong yet lightweight, they usually look to carbon fiber. In the near future, however, they may instead choose to go with composite materials made from stretched carbon nanotubes. These materials could theoretically offer the same strength as carbon fiber at one-tenth the weight, or the same weight at ten times the strength. Researchers from North Carolina State University have recently succeeded in creating such a composite. Read More
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GeS “nanoflowers” could blossom in next-gen solar cells

By - October 11, 2012 1 Picture
Researchers have already turned to the humble sunflower for inspiration to design more efficient Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plant layouts, and now a team from North Carolina State University has developed a “nanoflower” structure out of germanium sulfide (GeS) that shows great promise for use in energy-storage devices and more efficient solar cells. The secret is the material's ultrathin petals that provide a large surface area in only a small amount of space. Read More
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AquatiCo project would let anyone control a real submarine over the internet

By - October 11, 2012 3 Pictures
“People will protect what they love, and they love what they know,” says robotics engineer Eduardo Labarca, paraphrasing Jacques Cousteau. That’s why he and his team at Mountain View, California-based 9th Sense Robotics want to start up an online marine exploration project known as AcquatiCo. If it reaches fruition, it will allow computer users anywhere in the world to control an actual ocean-based submarine, while watching a real-time feed from its onboard video camera. Read More
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Regular green laser pointer used to detect hazardous chemicals

By - October 11, 2012 2 Pictures
Hand-held laser pointers can now be used for something else besides doing presentations, projecting images of microorganisms, and disabling satellites. Next week, a group of scientists from Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev will be presenting a compact device that they created, which uses a garden-variety green laser pointer to detect dangerous substances such as explosives. Read More
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Art and science combine to turn gold chloride into nuggets

By - October 10, 2012 11 Pictures
For centuries, the world's great thinkers were consumed by the search for the mythical Philosopher's Stone. Franciscan friar Roger Bacon is said to have penned a formula for its creation in the 13th century, legend would have us believe that German friar Albertus Magnus actually found a substance capable of transmuting base metals into gold or silver, and English scientist and mathematician Isaac Newton was a known devotee of the magnum opus. Researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) have put a microbial spin on the ancient quest by creating a bioreactor that forces bacteria to transform a toxic liquid that, as team member Kazem Kashefi says, "has no value into a solid, precious metal that’s valuable." Read More
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New system detects touch and hand gestures on any surface

By - October 10, 2012 2 Pictures
The world may not be your oyster, but thanks to technology being developed at Indiana’s Purdue University, it may soon be your multi-touch screen. Researchers at that institution have created an “extended multitouch” system, that consists of a computer, video projector, and Kinect camera – the technology allows any surface to be transformed into a touchscreen interface, that can track multiple hands simultaneously. Read More
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Carbon nanotube pencil leads used for drawing sensors onto paper

By - October 10, 2012 1 Picture
We’ve already seen a pen with silver-based ink, that lets its user draw electrical circuits on ordinary paper. Now, scientists from MIT have brought similar “hands on” technology to the humble pencil – they’ve compressed carbon nanotubes together to form a pencil lead substitute, that has been used to draw gas sensors onto regular paper imprinted with gold electrodes. Read More

Update: SpaceX Dragon's hatch opened a day early

The hatch of SpaceX’s unmanned Dragon cargo spacecraft has been opened by the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) a day early. Launched last Sunday and docked with the ISS this morning, the opening was originally scheduled for tomorrow, but SpaceX’s twitter feed announced, “At 1:40PM ET, astronauts opened Dragon's hatch, one day ahead of schedule. Success!” Read More

Update: Curiosity object probably plastic

The object that NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover found on Sunday is probably a piece of plastic that fell off the unmanned exploration vehicle. According to mission control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at Pasadena, California, the object is “benign” and poses no likely threat to continuing the mission. However, the JPL rover team has not yet definitely identified the object and will continue investigating for another day. Read More
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Homeland Security envisions devices for first responders of the future

By - October 9, 2012 1 Picture
The United States Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has pulled out its crystal ball to look 20 years into the future. In this case, the ball is made of focus groups and the future is that of technologies available to first responders a generation from now. The idea is to anticipate the needs of first responders to make sure that the appropriate technology is available to meet future disasters and terrorist attacks. Read More
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