Photokina 2014 highlights

Infrared

The IPMS spectrometer could one day be integrated into smartphones (Photo: Fraunhofer IPMS...

Foodies who've ever dreamed of having superhero-style vision that could analyze what they are about to eat should keep an eye on the upcoming Sensor+Trade fair in Nuremberg. Scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute of Photonic Microsystems (IPMS) will be exhibiting a tiny prototype spectrometer that can measure factors such as water and protein level in foods, meaning you won't make the mistake of buying fruit that looks good on the outside but is rotten at its core.  Read More

An artist's impression of the Spitzer Space Telescope (Image: NASA)

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has detected infrared light emanating from 55 Cancri e, a dark, blazing-hot planet only twice the size of Earth and eight times as heavy. This marks the first time that light has been detected from a planet of such a small size, and the find is telling astrophysicists where to look in their search for signs of life on planets beyond our own.  Read More

One of the robosquirrels used in the rattlesnake study (Photo: Andy Fell, UC Davis)

Rattlesnakes, beware! The next time you spot a succulent-looking squirrel, it might actually be a cold-hearted robot. More specifically, it might be a “robosquirrel,” created by UC Davis professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering Sanjay Joshi. He built the robot squirrels as part of a study on rattlesnake behavior – a study which yielded some interesting results.  Read More

A new device known as NIRS uses light to non-invasively monitor blood oxygenation in the b...

Approximately one third of stroke patients experience another stroke while they’re still in the hospital. Nurses therefore keep a close eye on them, and arrange for them to be taken for tests if a subsequent stroke is suspected. Unfortunately these tests can be invasive, and in some cases are even potentially harmful to the patient. A new device being developed at the Mayo Clinic in Florida, however, could watch for strokes simply by shining light onto a patient’s forehead.  Read More

The 'smart' material breaks down into non-toxic particles in response to NIR light (Image:...

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have conducted initial testing of a new “smart” plastic material which may bring about new uses in medicine for near-infrared light (NIR). According to early experiments, the plastic material will break down into non-toxic particles in response to lower-power NIR. This may lead to improved treatment of, for example, tumors, or improvements in the release of tracing compounds and imaging agents for improved medical diagnostics applications.  Read More

The Infrascanner hand-held hematoma detector and its PDA interface

It's sadly ironic that the very properties which make our skulls such excellent brain protectors, strength and rigidity, often work against us after head injuries. Not only does the hard bone conceal damage from concussions and bleeding, say, but it also confines the swelling, causing intra-cranial pressure to surge, a situation that can lead to further brain damage. While CT scans and magnetic resonance imaging systems are crucial to an accurate assessment, they are rarely available to emergency medical personnel at remote accident sites or on the battlefield. To help address the need for rapid and timely diagnosis of head traumas, separate research teams at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Office of Naval Research (ONR) have each developed hand-held devices that use Near Infra-Red (NIR) imaging to quickly detect hematomas (internal bleeding) and other life-threatening traumatic brain injury (TBI).  Read More

Brainlink is a module that can be added to existing household robots, allowing for the add...

While “toy” robots such as WowWee’s Robosapien already have some pretty impressive capabilities, they can now do even more ... if they have a Brainlink module installed. Brainlink is made by BirdBrain Technologies, which is a Carnegie Mellon University spin-off company. When attached to an existing infrared remote-controlled household robot, it will add a built-in light sensor and accelerometer to that device’s quiver, along with the possibility of various other user-supplied sensors that can be plugged into its input ports. The Bluetooth-equipped Brainlink also allows robots to be controlled via the user’s laptop or Android smartphone, which opens up all sorts of possibilities.  Read More

The AVOID System designed to allow aircraft to detect volcanic ash plumes and avoid them (...

A new invention out of Norway promises to keep the skies of the world open. When a volcano in Iceland erupted in 2010, it spewed out invisible clouds of ash that spread across Europe–effectively shutting down all civilian and military air traffic, stranding millions of people and costing the world economy billions of dollars. Now, a new camera has been developed that will allow pilots to see and avoid volcanic dust clouds, making similar eruptions in the future much less disruptive.  Read More

A composite image of the Whirlpool Galaxy (also known as M51) - the green image from the H...

Although it might sound like an oxymoron, the newly unveiled SCUBA-2 camera housed at the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, is the world’s largest submillimeter camera. Submillimeter refers not to the physical size of the new camera itself, but to the submillimeter waveband between the far-infrared and microwave wavebands that the telescope observes. Being far more sensitive and powerful than its predecessor, SCUBA-2 will be able to map areas of the sky faster than ever before and provide information about the early life of stars, planets and galaxies.  Read More

The BabyPing monitoring system will allow parents to hear and view their baby utilizing an...

BabyPing recently announced the arrival of its new high security Wi-Fi baby monitoring system. The product will allow parents to hear and view their baby utilizing an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. The system also features double-layer security that alerts parents if their baby cries, if the Wi-Fi connection drops out or if their iOS device is out of range.  Read More

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