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Electromagnetic

Example of levitating and heating coil assemblies (Image: ESA)

Astronauts, get your welding goggles on – the space station is going into the foundry business. The International Space Station is set to do a spot of industrial research this June, when ESA’s Materials Science Laboratory-Electromagnetic Levitator heads for the station aboard Europe's’ ATV-5 Georges Lemaître unmanned space freighter as part of a program to study the casting of alloys in a weightless environment.  Read More

The AllSee prototype developed at the University of Washington allows gestures to be detec...

Current gesture recognition technology seen in devices such as Samsung's Galaxy S4 generally rely on the device's camera. This not only creates a drain on the device's battery, but means users need to retrieve the phone from their pocket or handbag to make use of the technology. The new AllSee system developed at the University of Washington (UW) overcomes both these problems by using wireless signals not only as a power source, but also to detect user gestures when the phone is tucked away out of sight.  Read More

Tracking both hands independently, MakeVR's motion control allows users to design their 3D...

Though 3D printers themselves are becoming more affordable, the complexities of 3D modeling software have also proven a hurdle to entry to the consumer market. While some companies have sought to enhance their mainstream appeal with catalogs of pre-designed printable objects, others are taking a more hands-on approach. Virtual reality firm Sixense, which this week announced its motion controlled solution for 3D modeling called MakeVR, hopes to make the design process more intuitive and appealing for the average user.  Read More

This schematic illustration of a graphene plasmonic nano-antenna shows how short wavelengt...

Smart dust. Utility fog. Programmable matter. Grey and blue goo. Cooperating swarms of micron-sized devices (motes) offer completely new solutions and capabilities that can hardly be imagined. However, cooperation requires communication, and conventional radio or optical networking simply isn't practical at this size. Now researchers at Georgia Tech have invented a plasmonic graphene nano-antenna that can be efficiently used at millimeter radio wavelengths, taking one more step toward smart dust.  Read More

The SaveOneLife system

Boot insoles can turn a pair of really uncomfortable brogues into podiatric clouds that can take a long hike and remove the foot ache. Now, Lemur Studio Design based in Bogota, Colombia, has come up with a concept for insoles that won’t just save your instep, but could save your life. A submission to the World Design Impact Prize 2013-2014 competition, SaveOneLife is a wearable mine detector that fits in a shoe and warns the wearer if and where a potentially deadly landmine might lurk nearby.  Read More

Figure of a plasmonic metasurface hologram of the word 'PURDUE' that is about the width of...

Holography is one of the more dramatic forms of photography, in which a three-dimensional image is stored on a photographic plate in the form of interference fringes. Researchers at Purdue University in Indiana have developed a different approach, in which a 3D image is stored in a structure of thousands of V-shaped nanoantennas etched into an ultrathin gold foil. The new approach dramatically shrinks the size of a hologram, potentially enabling photonic and plasmonic devices and optical switches small enough to be integrated into computer chips.  Read More

The small-scale prototype of the system

Among the concepts put forth for decreasing the range anxiety associated with electric cars, one is to embed electrical coils within the asphalt. This would allow vehicles to wirelessly draw power from the road as they traveled, although it would also involve having to tear up existing roads to install those coils. An alternative could be on its way, however. Scientists at North Carolina State University are developing a system in which power could be transmitted from stationary roadside stations to mobile receiver coils in cars passing by.  Read More

While one would hope to make an invisibility cloak that performs like the central image, i...

It's often a case of swings and roundabouts. If you save money by buying a house out of town, you spend more time and money commuting. If you really measure the momentum of an electron, you have no idea where the little guy is located. And now, according to a new analysis by a pair of University of Texas electrical engineers, the better an object is hidden by an invisibility cloak at a given wavelength of light, the easier it is to see at other wavelengths. Swings and roundabouts.  Read More

The five-cell metamaterial array developed by Duke engineers that converts stray microwave...

Joining the ranks of devices designed to harvest energy from ambient electromagnetic radiation comes an electrical circuit from researchers at Duke University that can be tuned to capture microwave energy from various sources, including satellite, sound or Wi-Fi signals. The researchers say the device converts otherwise lost energy into direct current voltage with efficiencies similar to that of current solar cells.  Read More

HAARP operational site on the edge of Denali State Park northeast of Anchorage, Alaska (Ph...

Reports that the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) had been shut down permanently were apparently a bit premature. According to HAARP program manager James Keeney, the facility is only temporarily off the air while operating contractors are changed. So why does anyone care? Despite being associated with various natural disasters over the past two decades by the conspiracy fringe, HAARP is in reality a facility for studying the ionosphere. Let's take a look at the goings on at HAARP – past, present, and future.  Read More

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