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MIT

Music

"Zoolophone" features custom-shaped keys that still produce the right notes

Scientists from Columbia, Harvard and MIT have collaborated to create a xylophone-like instrument that has keys shaped like animals. It's not just a cute toy, however. Their "zoolophone" was designed using new technology that allows objects of a specified shape to produce a specified sound. It could ultimately be used to build things like low-noise computer fans, or bridges that don't amplify road noise.Read More

Physics

Terahertz radiation to enable portable particle accelerators

Researchers at MIT in the US and DESY (Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron) in Germany have developed a technology that could shrink particle accelerators by a factor of 100 or more. The basic building block of the accelerator uses high-frequency electromagnetic waves and is just 1.5 cm (0.6 in) long and 1 mm (0.04 in) thick, with this drastic size reduction potentially benefitting the fields of medicine, materials science and particle physics, among others.Read More

Medical

Leukometer promises needle-free monitoring of the immune system

Keeping track of white blood cell levels in chemotherapy patients is an involved but crucially important task. The treatment can lead to suppression of the immune system, a decline in white blood cell count, which in turn can give rise to infections and other serious complications. As things stand, patients are subjected to regular blood tests as a means of keeping an eye on things, but an international team of scientists has a less invasive alternative in the works. With the ability to tally up white blood cells through the skin in real time, the new testing device can simply be stuck onto a fingertip to help clinicians tailor personalized and more timely treatments.Read More

Space

Spiky Hedgehog robots to hop around asteroids and comets

As demonstrated by the bumpy landing of ESA's Philae lander on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, exploring comets, asteroids, and small moons can be difficult due to their low gravity. Not only can landing on one be like trying to alight on a trampoline, but roving around their surfaces is next to impossible because the negligible gravity offers practically no traction. To overcome this, a team of engineers is developing Hedgehog, a completely symmetrical robot rover for low-gravity exploration that moves by hopping.Read More

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