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Graphene coating makes copper almost 100 times more corrosion-resistant

By - October 4, 2012 2 Pictures
Following on from news out of the University at Buffalo earlier this year that a graphene varnish could significantly slow the corrosion of steel, researchers from Monash and Rice Universities have used a graphene coating to improve copper’s resistance to corrosion by nearly 100 times. The researchers say such a dramatic extension of the metal’s useful life could result in significant cost savings for a wide range of industries. Read More
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Algorithm turns computers into art experts

By - October 3, 2012 2 Pictures
Making broad differentiations between modern and classic paintings can be fairly easy for the untrained eye, but telling the difference between an Impressionist and a Post-Impressionist painting may require a certain knowledge of art history. Well, it ain’t necessarily so when it comes to computers. An algorithm created and tested by computer scientists Lior Shamir and Jane Tarakhovsky, of Lawrence Technological University in Michigan, produced surprisingly accurate and expert results in art analysis. Read More
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Scientists invent transparent soil to reveal the secret life of plants

By - October 3, 2012
Most people’s image of plants is actually upside down. For most of our photosynthetic friends, the majority of the plant is underground in the form of an intricate system of roots. The bit that sticks up is almost an afterthought. That’s a problem for scientists trying to study plants because growing them in media that allow you to see the roots, such as hydroponics, doesn't mimic real soil very well. Now, a team of researchers at the James Hutton Institute and the University of Abertay Dundee in Scotland has developed an artificial transparent soil that allows scientists to make detailed studies of root structures and subterranean soil ecology on a microscopic level. Read More
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Black silicon could boost efficiency of traditional solar cells

By - October 3, 2012 2 Pictures
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications have developed a system that allows solar cells to effectively harvest energy from the infrared spectrum, tapping into a source of energy that in the past has mostly been out of reach. The new technology, which promises to work well with commercially available solar cells, has the potential of becoming a standard in the solar panels of tomorrow. Read More
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NASA's Radiation Belt Storm Probes record electromagnetic "Earthsong"

By - October 2, 2012 14 Pictures
NASA’s twin Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP) took a musical interlude and listened to the Earth singing to itself. This “Earthsong,” as NASA calls it, was recorded by the two spacecraft as they orbited inside the highly radioactive Van Allen Belts that surround the Earth. The “song” is in the form of radio waves generated by the belts and the study of it may provide a clue toward answering the question of how to protect satellites and astronauts from deadly radiation storms. Read More
— Science

Infrared technology offers faster wireless data transfer than Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

By - October 2, 2012
Back around the turn of the century, infrared ports for wireless data transfer over short distances were commonplace on many mobile devices. But it wasn't long before infrared communication technology was kicked to the curb in favor of the more versatile radio-based Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies. Fraunhofer researchers are looking to resurrect infrared wireless data transfer technology with the development of a “multi-gigabit communication module” that can wirelessly transfer data 46 times faster than Wi-Fi and 1,430 times faster than Bluetooth. Read More

The battery of the future might run on sugar

Researchers at the Tokyo University of Science have turned to sugar as part of a continuous effort to control Japan's growing import costs associated with building lithium-ion batteries. It seems that sugar may be the missing ingredient for building rechargeable batteries that are more robust, cheaper, and capable of storing more energy. Read More
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Bi-Fi: New cell-to-cell communication process could revolutionize bioengineering

By - September 30, 2012 2 Pictures
The internet has revolutionized global communications and now researchers at Standford University are looking to provide a similar boost to bioengineering with a new process dubbed “Bi-Fi.” The technology uses an innocuous virus called M13 to increase the complexity and amount of information that can be sent from cell to cell. The researchers say the Bi-Fi could help bioengineers create complex, multicellular communities that work together to carry out important biological functions. Read More
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SMART tool compensates for surgeons' hand tremors

By - September 28, 2012
No matter how steady you try to hold your hand, it will still tremble several times a second, moving a distance roughly the same as the thickness of a sheet of paper each time. While that might not matter much for the average person, it can be a very big deal to surgeons performing fine-scale surgery on things like eyes or nerve fibers. While there are experimental robotic devices to help smooth out the shakes, researchers from Johns Hopkins University have come up with something else – a surgical tool with a jiggling tip. Read More
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