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Magnetic

Have you ever wondered how game officials know if the football has passed the goal line, in situations where it's hidden under a pile-up of players? Well, sometimes they don't know, and they just have to hope that it isn't moved as the players get up. A team of researchers from North Carolina State University, Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research, however, may have a solution. They're developing a method of tracking a football via low-frequency magnetic fields. Read More
One of the joys of old science fiction movies is watching the giant reel-to-reel tape drives spin around as they serve computers less powerful than a modern wristwatch. But magnetic tape isn't just something found in old UFO episodes; it’s a key component in modern digital systems required to keep modern online systems reliable. At the INTERMAG Europe 2014 international magnetics conference in Dresden, Sony announced a new breakthrough in magnetic tape technology that keeps the medium relevant by allowing a tape cartridge to carry 74 times the data of a conventional data tape, or the equivalent of 3,700 Blu-ray discs. Read More
Smartphones are going modular, so why not smartphone cases? That's just what Logitech is doing with its new case+ system. Designed for iPhone 5 and 5s, the heart of the system is the case+, a protective case that features a metal plate on the back to which the various accessories can be magnetically attached. Read More

Phosphorus is a mineral that's widely used in fertilizer, which itself has an unfortunate tendency to leach out of farmers' fields and into our waterways. Now, researchers from Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research have devised a method of retrieving some of that phosphorus from the water – thus both reducing pollution, and providing a source of reclaimed phosphorus. Read More

Volvo is continuing its work on autonomous vehicle technology with a research project that involves the use of magnets to keep self-driving cars on the road. As well as preventing cars from running off the road, the Swedish automaker says the technology could help improve road maintenance and allow for lanes to be narrowed. Read More
Some take their air guitar playing more seriously than others, but even for those exerting the most energy, those perfectly struck imaginary chords are heard by nobody's ears except their own. Aura, an electronic instrument that translates hand gestures into music, could be just what these highly animated faux musicians need to get a little more reward for their efforts. Read More
The fridge is the most common of common household appliances. Despite improvements in efficiency over the years, they remain one of the biggest users of electricity in the home, relying on chemical refrigerant and a compressor to transfer heat from the inside to the outside of the fridge. GE researchers have now developed a new type of refrigeration technology using magnets that is more environmentally friendly and is predicted to be 20 to 30 percent more efficient that current technology ... and it could be in household fridges by the end of the decade. Read More
Hijacking sperm cells to create little robots might seem far out, but that's exactly what researchers from the Dresden Institute for Integrative Nanosciences have done. Their "spermbots" consist of live sperm cells in little tubes, that can be magnetically controlled to move in a desired direction until they reach their destination and do their job – they're currently robust enough to even guide a specific sperm cell to an egg cell. The scientists hope that further development will allow the technology to offer a viable alternative to parents trying to have a child through in-vitro fertilization. When perfected, the spermbots could also be used as a safe means for drug delivery and gene manipulation. Read More

An international team of scientists has made a breakthrough in the magnetic manipulation of nanoparticles that could lead to a big boost for small scale digital storage in portable devices. Read More

If you remember the 1966 science fiction film Fantastic Voyage, you'll recall how miniaturized government agents traveled through blood vessels in a tiny submarine, in their attempt remove a blood clot from a scientist's brain. Synthetic nanomotors that can do the same job have been the subject of numerous research efforts and now University of California, San Diego (UCSD) researchers report that they've created powerful biodegradable "microswimmers" that can deliver drugs more precisely, derived from common plants like passion fruit and wild banana. Read More
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