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Sensors

By infusing the leaves of an Arabidopsis thaliana plant with nanoparticles, MIT researcher...

In 2010, Stanford University researchers reported harnessing energy directly from chloroplasts, the cellular "power plants" within plants where photosynthesis takes place. Now, by embedding different types of carbon nanotubes into these chloroplasts, a team at MIT has boosted plants' ability to capture light energy. As well as opening up the possibility of creating "bionic plants" with enhanced energy production, the same approach could be used to create plants with environmental monitoring capabilities.  Read More

Artist's conception of a quantum atomic gas undergoing laser cooling in an ultracold refri...

Quantum physics likes the cold. In particular, macroscopic quantum phenomena such as superconductivity, superfluidity, and Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) are only found at quite low temperatures. While current refrigeration methods can attain temperatures of a few nanoKelvins, attaining still lower temperatures is largely prevented by the need to support the cooling matter against the pull of Earth's gravity. Now NASA's Cold Atom Lab, scheduled for installation on the ISS in 2016, will aim for temperatures roughly four orders of magnitude smaller.  Read More

The QuadStick aims to afford quadriplegics the ability to play video games

A new device called QuadStick is designed to give quadriplegics the ability to play video games without the need for a traditional gaming controller. Instead, it uses a series of sip and puff sensors, a lip position sensor, a push switch, and voice commands to represent the inputs of a standard video game controller.  Read More

The Galileo-SmartLVS hardware (prototype pictured) coupled with the LawinenFon app transfo...

In October of last year, the Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC) issued a warning about the dangers of relying on smartphone apps that were being marketed as economical alternatives to avalanche transceivers. But a new smartphone app and add-on hardware component could provide an alternative that is not only cheaper than dedicated avalanche transceivers, but also provides additional functionality.  Read More

The True Love Tester bra automatically unhooks itself when it senses the woman feeling tru...

In one of the more absurd examples of wearable technology we've seen lately, a Japanese firm has created a high-tech bra called the True Love Tester that literally snaps open only when it senses that the woman is in love.  Read More

The optical sensor system developed to detect the amount of salt on a road (Photo: UC3M)

Just as a good meal can be ruined by too much table salt, too much sodium chloride applied to road surfaces to prevent icing can have a detrimental effect on vehicles, infrastructure and the environment. Engineers at Spain's Carlos III University (UC3M) have developed an optical sensor intended to prevent excessive salt treatment by detecting the amount of salt already on the road in real time.  Read More

Scientists at Berkeley Lab and the University of California have created 'e-whiskers' that...

Scientists at Berkeley Lab and the University of California (UC) Berkeley have created sensitive, tactile sensors that are similar to a cat's whiskers. The so-called "e-whiskers" could be used to help robots feel their way around a space.  Read More

Crystal structure of sodium bismuthide (Na3Bi), one of the newly discovered 3D topological...

Exciting times are ahead in the high-tech industries with the discovery by three independent groups that a new class of materials mimic the special electronic properties of graphene in 3D. Research into these superfast massless charge carriers opens up a wide range of potential applications in electronics, including smaller hard drives with more storage capacity, faster transistors and more efficient optical sensors.  Read More

Photographs often contain more information than we think (Photo: University of York)

The worst has happened. You receive an emailed kidnap demand with a picture of your loved one in dire straits. You contact the authorities, and in a flash (relatively speaking), they have identified the kidnapper and possibly some accomplices, and are well on their way toward recovering the victim. How did this happen? By identifying the faces of the kidnappers caught in the reflection of your loved one's eyes.  Read More

A silver nanowire-based sensor mounted onto a thumb joint to monitor the skin strain assoc...

In 2012, Dr. Yong Zhu and a team at North Carolina State University created highly conductive and elastic conductors made from silver nanowires. At the time, Dr. Zhu said the conductors could be used to create stretchable electronics with applications in wearable, multifunctional sensors. Two years later, the NC State researchers have developed just such a sensor.  Read More

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