— Biology

Secrets of Bombardier beetle's superheated defensive spray revealed

The bombardier beetle has a unique defensive mechanism. It induces a chemical explosion inside its shell to create a boiling, toxic liquid which it sprays at its aggressor. Now researchers in the US have discovered how it does this, and they hope that further study of the conditions inside the beetle that allow it to produce the jet without harming itself may inform real world technologies.

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— Science

MIT develops technique to see tiny vibrations in large structures using high-speed video

While it might appear that large structures, such as bridges and buildings, remain entirely unmoved by everyday forces like rain and wind, the truth is that they do experience very slight vibrations, too small to be seen by the human eye. Those vibrations can be indicative of structural damage or instability, but current methods of detecting them are impractical and costly. A new technique developed by MIT researchers is designed to spot those telltale signs of weakness using high speed video and a computer vision technique. Read More
— Electronics

Graphene device makes ultrafast light to energy conversion possible

Converting light to electricity is one of the pillars of modern electronics, with the process essential for the operation of everything from solar cells and TV remote control receivers through to laser communications and astronomical telescopes. These devices rely on the swift and effective operation of this technology, especially in scientific equipment, to ensure the most efficient conversion rates possible. In this vein, researchers from the Institute of Photonic Sciences (Institut de Ciències Fotòniques/ICFO) in Barcelona have demonstrated a graphene-based photodetector they claim converts light into electricity in less than 50 quadrillionths of a second. Read More
— Medical

MIT's acoustic tumor cell sorting method is now up to 20 times faster

A team of researchers from MIT, Pennsylvania State University and Carnegie Mellon University has announced key improvements to its acoustic wave-harnessing cell sorting method unveiled last year. The device, which is intended for use in the detection of cancer cells in the bloodstream, is now able to obtain accurate results from a patient sample in as little as five hours. Read More