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— Digital Cameras

Satechi's WTR-A brings budget wireless remote control to Canon DSLRs

With the introduction of smartphone apps like Triggertrap and ioShutter, which allow you to control your DSLR from your phone, you might wonder why anyone would still buy a dedicated remote unit ... until that is, you miss a once-in-a-lifetime shot because you needed the phone for something else at the crucial moment. Sometimes simple is better. The Satechi WTR-A is a budget wireless timer remote for Canon DSLRs. Read More
— Science

ESO approves European Extremely Large Telescope

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) council met on Monday in Garching, Germany and approved the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) program, pending the confirmation of ad referendum votes from the authorities of four member states before the next council meeting. Assuming all goes according to plan, the E-ELT is expected to begin operation early in the next decade. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

What's for dinner? Just check the spectrometer

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
— Space

Spitzer space telescope detects light from alien “super-Earth”

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

Robosquirrels help with study of rattlesnakes

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
— Health and Wellbeing

Head patch measures blood flow in stroke patients' brains

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
— Medical

New "smart" polymer opens door for medical use of low-power near-infrared light

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
— Medical

New handheld devices designed to detect brain injuries on-the-spot

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
— Robotics

Brainlink adds new capabilities to store-bought robots

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
— Aircraft

Plane-mounted camera detects hazardous volcanic ash in the air

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