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Detector

Adam Hutter, Director of NUSTL, presents Cecilia Murtagh (center) and Gladys Klemic with p...

Personal radiation dosimeter badges are the things that you may have seen people wearing in nuclear power plants, that measure how much radiation is in the immediate environment. Unfortunately, the devices don’t provide real-time feedback – instead, they must be sent off to a processing lab, which determines the wearer’s radiation exposure after the fact. Now, however, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is working on a wallet-sized card that would serve the same purpose, but that could also be read on the spot using a handheld reading device. Called the Citizen's Dosimeter, it could be used to detect the presence of ionizing radiation caused by nuclear accidents or dirty bombs.  Read More

Using commonly-available materials, scientists have created a biosensor that detects acute...

In this age of laser-etched microfluidic lab-on-a-chip devices that analyze samples of bodily fluids on the spot, it's kind of ... fun, perhaps, to hear about a similar device that could conceivably be assembled by a grade school student, using their allowance money. The matchbox-sized sensor, developed by scientists from The University of Texas at Austin, is designed to detect acute pancreatitis using blood samples. Important as its purpose may be, though, the materials used to build the device include things like household aluminum foil, milk, a 12-cent LED bulb, and JELL-O.  Read More

Cerevellum's Hindsight 30 will allow cyclists to see behind themselves, while a future mod...

Industrial designer Evan Solida started racing road bicycles in 1993, and went on to experience some success in the sport ... until he was hit by a car on a training ride in 2007. He flew over the hood of the car and landed on his face, which resulted in his requiring several cosmetic surgeries. Although physically still able to ride, he was left with a fear of being in another such accident, to the point that he stopped racing. The experience also, however, prompted him to invent a couple of unique devices – a rearview video setup for bikes, along with a “black box” system that automatically records any accidents the cyclist is involved in.  Read More

Researchers say their new spectrometer will help speed the cleanup of nuclear waste sites ...

The cleanup of sites contaminated by radioactivity, primarily from the historic production of nuclear weapons during and after World War II, continues to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Researchers have now invented a new type of radiation detection and measurement device that they say will be particularly useful for such cleanup efforts by making the process faster, more accurate and less expensive.  Read More

The handheld TATP detector prototype (Photo: Kenneth Suslick)

Much as we might hate having to take our shoes off when going through airport security, it’s become necessary ever since a terrorist managed to get a shoe bomb aboard an American Airlines flight in December of 2001. Unfortunately, the X-raying of shoes is not enough to detect triacetone triperoxide (TATP). This easily-made explosive has been used in several bombing attempts, and is very difficult to detect in an airport environment. It doesn't fluoresce, absorb ultraviolet light or readily ionize, and can only be detected with large, expensive equipment and extensive sample preparation. Now, chemists from the University of Illinois have announced a simple new way of detecting even minute concentrations of TATP, using a piece of plastic and a digital camera.  Read More

Radio-wave technology used to detect bombs and explosives could be utilized to identify co...

Technology used to detect bombs and explosives could have a beneficial side-effect – identifying counterfeit and substandard drugs, which pose a major threat to public health, particularly in developing countries. Around one percent of drugs in developed countries, and 10 to 30 percent of drugs in developing countries are counterfeit, and the percentage of substandard drugs is thought to be even higher. Swedish and British researchers are developing a cheap, reliable system that uses radio waves to analyze the chemical structure of drugs to identify fakes.  Read More

The Integrascope's LED (left) shines light through a drop of blood (center), and the refra...

When bodily fluids such as blood are tested for infectious diseases and unhealthy protein levels, they’re typically mixed with antibodies or other biological reactants to produce a positive or negative reaction. Researchers from Arizona State University (ASU) have now come up with an alternative testing system that they claim is just as accurate, but much simpler, quicker and cheaper. It utilizes LED lights and simple microelectronic amplifiers, and actually uses the sample itself as a diagnostic tool. Because it integrates the sample into the process, inventors Antonia Garcia and John Schneider call their device the Integrascope.  Read More

P300 brain wave reading technology could possibly prevent terrorist attacks, such as the s...

Recently, 29 students from Northwestern University in Illinois planned a terrorist attack. Researchers from the university were subsequently able to learn details of the attack, even though the students never admitted to anything. How was this possible? Well, essentially, the researchers read the students’ minds. More specifically, they monitored their P300 brain waves – brief electrical patterns in the cortex, which occur when meaningful information is presented to someone with “guilty knowledge.” In this case, it was a mock planned attack, but the research team believe their process could be used to prevent the real thing.  Read More

The Chinavision CMVM-J19 spy camera and Wi-Fi detector

If you don’t trust that shifty-looking night supervisor at the motel or the suspicious-looking smoke detector in your room, or if you just value your privacy, help could be at hand. A quick scan of your room or surrounds with the Chinavision CVMV-J19 Spy Wi-Fi Signal and Camera Lens Detector should let you sleep easy or play hard – in privacy (I guarantee there are a few celebrities who wish they had one).  Read More

The Rotgutonix digital liquor analyzer could help you ensure that you are served the genui...

One of the dangers of drinking in unfamiliar territory can be the quality of liquor on offer. Rotgut, the slang term for an inferior alcoholic concoction, can be dangerous to your health, not just your wallet. How big an issue being served rotgut actually is seems to depend as much on where in the world you find yourself as which nightclub or party you're at. Rotgutonix is a new take-anywhere prototype device that analyzes your chosen beverage and lets you know if it's genuine or a nasty pretender.  Read More

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