National Physical Laboratory

A team led by researchers at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom has developed a new, non-invasive test that's able to detect cocaine use in a patient by analyzing a single fingerprint. Unlike existing tests, the new technique is able to determine whether the subject has ingested the drug, rather than just touched it.

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Textiles with integrated electrical circuits, commonly referred to as smart fabrics, show a great deal of promise for applications such as clothing with embedded electronics. While previous approaches to producing the fabrics have involved weaving conductive materials into ordinary fibers, a new technique simply coats them with silver. Read More

As our smartphones and computers continue to become obsolete and get discarded, the environmental problem of electronic waste gets worse. Needless to say, the greater the number of electronic components that can be reclaimed and reused, the better. That’s why scientists from the UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have developed a printed circuit board that falls apart when immersed in hot water. Read More

We've been following the quest for the world's best speakers for some time but remarkably, there's still room for improvement. A key issue that plagues proper sound reproduction (and thus its perceived quality) is a phenomenon known as deconstructive interference. This occurs when audio signals overlap and cancel one another out, creating dead spots which, until recently, have been very difficult to track. Now, a team from Britain's National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has figured out a clever way to make speaker sound "visible" - and they do it with laser light. Read More
Now that we’re moving towards automated orange-sorting and autonomous tractors, what might be the next step in replacing human agricultural workers with machines? Well, how about robotic strawberry pickers? That’s what scientists from the UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL) say could be on the way, thanks to a system that is able to identify ripe strawberries in the field. Read More