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Detection

The prototype BioExplorers system uses live sniffer mice to detect explosives (Photo: Rama...

Mice ... they may nibble our food, poop in our cupboards, and make us go "eek," but they may also someday keep us from getting blown up. Before they can do that, however, Israeli tech company BioExplorers has to get its mouse-based explosives detection system out of the prototype stage and into production. If it ever does see the light of day, then people at airports, arenas, and other high terrorism-risk areas may routinely be getting a sniff-down by containers of live rodents.  Read More

Forensic researchers have had early success refining a method normally used to recover fin...

Promising early results from research undertaken by the University of Abertay Dundee and the Scottish Police Services Authority could lead to fingerprint evidence being obtained from clothing, for use in criminal prosecution. Refining an existing technique that's been used to successfully recover print detail from smooth objects such as glass and plastic, forensic scientists have managed to create a kind of photo negative of fingerprint impressions on fabric. It's a bit hit and miss at the moment, but even when clear ridge detail isn't retrieved, the technique could still prove useful to investigators looking for other evidence.  Read More

One of the microfluidic paper test strips, fluorescing blue to indicate the presence of he...

Lab-on-a-chip devices work by directing small samples of liquid through tiny “microchannels” embedded in a small platform, and are used for analyzing liquids in medical and scientific settings. Earlier this week, we reported on a high school teacher who has invented a way of creating such devices using transparency film and a photocopier. Now, scientists from Indiana’s Purdue University have announced a new method of making them using paper. While previous approaches have involved laying down lines of wax or other hydrophobic (water-repelling) material on hydrophilic (water-absorbing) paper, this method uses store-bought hydrophobic paper, and creates the microchannels by burning away the waterproof coating with a laser.  Read More

A regular fingerprint (left) and one containing condom lubricant (right)  (Image: BMRC)

Sexual offenders are increasingly using condoms when committing their assaults, both to reduce the risk of sexually-transmitted diseases, and to avoid leaving their DNA at the crime scene. While an offender might still leave their fingerprints behind, that often only proves that they were at a given location, and not that they were involved in any wrongdoing. Researchers from the Biomedical Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, however, have recently developed technology that detects condom lubricant in fingerprints. If a suspect could be tied to a crime scene by their fingerprints, and be shown to have handled a condom at that location – well, they’d have a lot more explaining to do.  Read More

The Perfumery Radar system uses gas chromatography to objectively analyze the different sc...

Making perfume is an art, and you can’t objectively break art down into its individual components... right? In the case of perfume, it appears that perhaps you can. Dr. Alirío Rodrigues, a chemical engineer at Portugal’s University of Porto, has devised a system called Perfumery Radar (PR). It is able to analyze the odor of perfumes, and map out what scents are present, and in what proportions.  Read More

Tel Aviv University's explosive-detecting sensor (Image: AFTAU)

The recent Yemeni bomb threat has only highlighted the need for quick, accurate ways of detecting explosives. With their excellent sense of smell and the ability to discern individual scents, even when they’re combined or masked by other odors, this task is usually given to man’s best friend. But training these animals can be expensive and good sniffer dogs can be hard to find. Scientists have now developed an electronic sensor they say is more sensitive and more reliable at detecting explosives than any sniffer dog.  Read More

Researchers in the UK are developing a self-diagnosis system for sexually transmitted infe...

A consortium of scientists has been formed to try and stem the rise of sexually transmitted diseases (or infections as they are now called) that's said to be reaching epidemic proportions in the UK. As early diagnosis and treatment is essential in such matters, the team is creating a self-diagnosis system where results can quickly be displayed on a mobile phone or computer screen. The system could even automatically make an appointment at a clinic or direct the unfortunate sufferer to the nearest pharmacy, where treatment would be waiting.  Read More

Using similar technology to that found in mobile phones, but at a tiny fraction of the pow...

As Breast Cancer Awareness month draws to a close, some promising news has emerged from the University of Manchester's School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Professor Zhipeng Wu has developed a portable breast scanner that offers concerned patients real-time video images that clearly show the presence of a tumor. The lunchbox-sized scanner uses similar radio frequency technology as mobile phones, but at a fraction of the power and lends itself to being used in doctor's surgeries for instant screening or even continued monitoring at home.  Read More

The SpectroPen could help surgeons see the edges of tumors in human patients in real time ...

Statistics indicate that complete removal, or resection, of a tumor is the single most important predictor of patient survival for those with solid tumors. So, unsurprisingly, the first thing most patients want to know after surgery is whether the surgeon got everything. A new hand-held device called the SpectroPen could help surgeons provide a more definite and desirable answer by allowing them to see the edges of tumors in human patients in real time during surgery.  Read More

The system detects the parts of a person's upper body

Currently, computer search and classification of images is based on the name of the file or folder or on features such as size and date. That’s fine if the name of the file reflects its content but isn’t much good when the file is given an abstract name that only holds meaning to the person providing it. This drawback means companies in the search business, such as Google and Microsoft, are extremely interested in giving computers the ability to automatically interpret the visual contents and video. A technique developed by the University of Granada does just that, allowing pictures to be classified automatically based on whether individuals or specific objects are present in the images.  Read More

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