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Environment

Nanoparticle-based material turns up the heat on concentrated solar power

The key factor when it comes to solar power plant efficiency – be they of the photovoltaic or concentrated solar power variety – is the amount of light that can be captured by the light-absorbing material and converted into electricity or heat. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a new nanoparticle-based material that promises to improve the efficiency of CSP plants with its ability to absorb and convert over 90 percent of the sunlight it captures into heat. Read More

Electronics

Temporary tattoo lactate sensor converted into sweat-powered biobattery

Last year, researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) unveiled a sensor imprinted on a temporary tattoo that, when applied to the skin, is able to continuously monitor lactate levels in a person's sweat as they exercise. Now the research team has leveraged the technology to create a biobattery powered by perspiration that could lead to small electronic devices being powered by sweat.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Gold nanoparticles may be used to melt away fat

Liposuction may be a popular method of instant body fat reduction, but it certainly isn't perfect. Patients can experience bruising, there can be lumps that have to be addressed with a second procedure, plus things other than fat cells – such as connective tissue and nerves – can inadvertently also get removed. Two researchers, however, are developing what could be a better form of liposuction, that involves first using injected gold microparticles to melt the fat. Read More

Health & Wellbeing

ParentGuardian helps parents of ADHD kids keep their stress in check

It can be hard enough for parents to maintain a cool head when dealing with an angry child at the best of times, but things can get much more difficult when that child has ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). That's why scientists at Microsoft Research and the University of California, San Diego have created ParentGuardian. It combines a wrist-worn sensor and an app, to monitor parents' stress levels and deliver real-time coping strategies.Read More

Robotics

Self-balancing MiP robot is ready to roll

You may never be able to afford your own Segway, but soon you'll be able to buy something similar for just a hundred bucks. You won't be able to ride it, but it might ultimately end up being more fun. It's Wowwee's MiP toy robot, which performs a variety of activities while balancing on its two wheels. Read More

Science

Plant-based magnetic microswimmers to deliver drugs more precisely

If you remember the 1966 science fiction film Fantastic Voyage, you'll recall how miniaturized government agents traveled through blood vessels in a tiny submarine, in their attempt remove a blood clot from a scientist's brain. Synthetic nanomotors that can do the same job have been the subject of numerous research efforts and now University of California, San Diego (UCSD) researchers report that they've created powerful biodegradable "microswimmers" that can deliver drugs more precisely, derived from common plants like passion fruit and wild banana.Read More

Computers

Can a computer identify your urban tribe?

Whether it's fashion, a favorite football team, or a certain kind of music, humans seem to enjoy being considered part of a larger group, and often self-identify as such. With this in mind, students from the UCSD (University of California, San Diego) Jacobs school of Engineering are currently developing a computer algorithm that can deduce from an image whether you're a goth, surfer, hipster, or biker. Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Telescopic contact lens with switchable magnification to help AMD patients

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness among older adults in the western world. Unfortunately, conventional optical aids provide little help for a retina which has lost the acuity of its central area. Now a team of multinational researchers led by University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Professor Joseph Ford has created a telescopic contact lens that can switch between normal and magnified vision to offer AMD patients a relatively unobtrusive way to enhance their vision. Read More

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