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Sensors

Sports

iBeacons installed at MLB stadiums for a better-connected fan experience

MLBAM (Major League Baseball Advanced Media), the interactive media branch of North America's major baseball organization, is in the process of installing iBeacons in a host of stadiums across the continent. The San Francisco Giants is the latest club to implement the technology and is aiming to enhance the experience for fans at its AT&T Park by using the proximity sensors to push exclusive offers, seat upgrades and other information to Bluetooth-enabled Apple iOS7 devices. Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Fluorescent sensor indicates presence of date-rape drug within 30 seconds

Central to the dangers of so-called "date-rape" drugs is the fact that they are difficult to detect. Indeed, GHB, one of the most commonly-used of such drugs, is both colorless and odorless. A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has developed a fluorescent sensor which, when mixed with a drink containing GHB, changes color within 30 seconds, potentially alerting people soon after their drink has been tampered with. Read More

Environment

Nano technique boosts plant energy production and creates plant biosensors

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

Space

NASA's Cold Atom Lab to make the ISS the coldest spot in the Universe

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

Games

QuadStick: The video game controller for quadriplegics

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

Outdoors

Galileo-LawinenFon turns a smartphone into an avalanche transceiver

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

Environment

Hold the salt: New sensor detects excess salt on roads

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

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