Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Imaging

Is reading a book like living the story? (Image: Shutterstock)

Stories, whether fact or fiction, are at the heart of human culture. A strong narrative can resonate with your personality and experiences, and help set a framework for your future. "That book changed my life" is a cherished maxim. So can a book change your brain too? A recent study led by Emory University's Gregory Berns has demonstrated that reading a novel produces physical changes in the brain similar to those that would result from living as one or more of the characters.  Read More

Flock 1 will be the largest fleet of Earth imaging satellites in orbit

Space and analytics firm Planet Labs has secured US$52 million in new funding, bringing it to within touching distance of launching a fleet of Earth imaging satellites in early 2014. The new investment brings the company’s total raised to over $65 million, and will help in its aim to generate imagery of and data about Earth, which will be openly accessible for both commercial and humanitarian purposes.  Read More

An X-ray of a human wrist demonstrates the system's ability to reveal soft-tissue structur...

X-ray machines are all large devices that can only image hard structures such as bone, unless a contrast-enhancing solution such as barium is present in the patient ... right? Well, no, not all of them. A new system developed by researchers at MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital is small enough to be considered portable, doesn't expose patients to as much radiation, and can image soft tissues in minute detail.  Read More

MIT students (left to right) Ayush Bhandari, Refael Whyte and Achuta Kadambi pose next to ...

MIT researchers have developed a new time-of-flight (TOF) 3D "nano-camera" with the ability to work with translucent objects, motion, fog, rain, and other factors in the environment that totally confuse previous TOF cameras, such as Microsoft's second-gen Kinect. The MIT Media Lab team has added these new capabilities by introducing additional information into the illuminating light beam. The resulting camera costs less than US$500 in parts.  Read More

Eyes-On Glasses should be available as of next year

Despite what TV and the movies might have us believe, getting a needle into a vein isn't always a straightforward procedure. It can sometimes take multiple attempts, much to the discomfort of the patient. Now, however, Evena Medical's new Eyes-On Glasses reportedly let nurses see patients' veins in real time, right through their skin.  Read More

Eucalyptus leaves showing traces of different minerals including gold

Scientists from Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation have discovered that eucalyptus trees in the Australian outback are drawing up gold particles from deep underground through their root system and depositing the precious metal in their leaves and branches. Rather than being a new source of "gold leaf," the discovery could provide a cheaper, more environmentally friendly way to uncover valuable gold ore deposits.  Read More

View of MIT's new neutron microscope looking back along the beam path (Photo: MIT)

Neutrons have a set of unique properties that make them better suited than light, electrons, or x-rays for looking at the physics and chemistry going on inside an object. Scientists working out of MIT's Nuclear Reactor Laboratory have now invented and built a high-resolution neutron microscope, a feat that required developing new approaches to neutron optics.  Read More

UCLA scientists have developed a smartphone attachment that acts as a subwavelength micros...

A team of engineers at UCLA has created a 3D-printed attachment that enables smartphone cameras to image particles as small as 90 nanometers. This marks the first time that single nanoparticles and viruses have been detected using a cellphone-based imaging system.  Read More

The UC San Diego system (left) as compared to the lens and electronics of a Canon EOS 5D M...

When it comes to capturing visual information in photographs, you typically have two choices – use a wide-angle lens to capture as many parts of a scene as possible, or use a close-up lens to better capture the details of one of those parts. However, with a new camera system developed by engineers at the University of California, San Diego, you can do both at once. What's more, the lens used in this system is just one-tenth the volume of a conventional wide-angle lens.  Read More

Images taken by the 6.5 meter Clay telescope with and without the new adaptive optics syst...

Astronomers have developed a new visible-light adaptive optics (AO) system for the 6.5 meter diameter Magellan-Clay telescope in Chile's Atacama desert. The new AO system replaces the secondary mirror of the telescope with a thin adaptive mirror that can be deformed by its 585 mechanical actuators at a rate of more than 1000 times a second to correct for the image smearing effects of atmospheric turbulence. The result is the sharpest astronomical images ever produced – more than twice as sharp as can be achieved by the Hubble space telescope viewing objects through the vacuum of space.  Read More

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