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Sensor

— Science

Flexible pressure sensor could boost breast cancer screening

Pressure sensors in use today are fairly capable, being sufficiently flexible to adhere to uneven surfaces like human skin. However, once they're twisted more significantly, they're unable to accurately keep track of pressure changes. Now, researchers from the University of Tokyo have come up with a much more versatile option, creating a new sensor that's thinner than its rivals, and that can continue to sense pressure even when curved over a tiny radius.

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— Electronics

Sensor detects sound direction and cuts background noise

Although the ability tends to wane as we get older, the human auditory system is pretty good at filtering out background noise and making a single voice able to be understood above the general hubbub of a crowded room. But electronic devices, such as smartphones, aren't quite as gifted, which is why getting Siri or Google Now to understand you in crowded environments can be an exercise in futility. But now researchers have developed a prototype sensor that’s not only able to figure out the direction of a particular sound, but can also extract it from background noise.

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— Good Thinking

Density sensor lets you avoid the rush at your favorite haunts

If you've ever been on your sofa and wondered how long you might have to queue for a bike at the gym or how long the wait is for a table at your favorite restaurant, then the Density sensor could provide the answer. Designed to be attached to the entrance of a premises, the sensor captures people's comings and goings to provide real-time and historical data about the volume of traffic passing through.

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— Electronics

Almost universal SERS sensor could change how we sniff out small things

Identifying fraudulent paintings based on electrochemical data, highlighting cancerous cells in a sea of healthy ones, and identifying different strains of bacteria in samples of food are all examples of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), a sensor system that has only become more in-demand as our desire for precise, instantaneous information has increased. However, the technology has largely failed commercialization because the chips used are difficult and expensive to create, have limited uses for a particular known substance, and are consumed upon use. Researchers led by a team from the University of Buffalo (UB) aim to change nanoscale sensors with an almost-universal substrate that's also low-cost, opening up more opportunities for powerful analysis of our environment.

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— Medical

Prosthetic arm takes alternate route to mind control

Researchers from the Medical University of Vienna have developed a technique that allows amputees to control a robotic prosthesis with their mind when there's no neural connection left to exploit between the brain and the part of the hand that remains. Called "bionic reconstruction," the procedure was applied to three patients who were able to successfully use the prosthesis to undertake routine activities, thereby improving their quality of life. Read More
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