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University of Bristol

Science

Shrimp communications shed light on new optical material

The study of an unusual communication method used by mantis shrimp has provided an unexpected insight that could lead to a new take on optical devices used in many consumer products, from sunglasses to cameras. The study, which was led by researchers at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, successfully revealed the mechanism by which the little crustaceans are able to manipulate the polarization of light.Read More

Robotics

Row-bot cleans dirty water and powers itself by eating microbes

Inspired by the water boatman bug, a team at the University of Bristol has created the Row-bot, a robot prototype that is designed to punt itself across the top of the water in dirty ponds or lakes, and "eat" the microbes it scoops up. It then breaks these down in its artificial stomach to create energy to power itself. In this way, it generates enough power to continuously impel itself about to seek out more bacteria to feed upon.Read More

Physics

Sonic tractor beam forms acoustic holograms to lift objects

Last year, researchers at the University of Dundee revealed an acoustic tractor beam that used ultrasonic energy to pull macroscopic objects in. Now researchers in the UK have developed a sonic tractor beam that generates acoustic holograms through the manipulation of high-amplitude sound waves. These acoustic holograms, which can take various shapes, such as fingers, cages and vortexes, are able to pick up and move small objects like polystyrene beads.Read More

Electronics

Breakthrough photonic processor promises quantum computing leap

Optical quantum computers promise to deliver processing performance exponentially faster and more powerful than today's digital electronic microprocessors. To make this technology a reality, however, photonic circuitry must first become at least as efficient at multi-tasking as the microprocessors they are designed to replace. Towards this end, researchers from the University of Bristol and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) claim to have developed a fully-reprogrammable quantum optical chip able to encode and manipulate photons in an infinite number of ways.Read More

Medical

Ultrasound cuts healing time of chronic wounds by 30 percent

Further to the mental anguish, a lot of time in a hospital bed can bring about some agonizing physical discomfort. This is most commonly brought about by skin ulcers and bedsores, which threaten to evolve into dangerous and potentially deadly infections if left untreated. But a British research team has happened upon a technique that promises to cut the healing time of these and other chronic wounds by around a third, using simple low-intensity ultrasounds.Read More

Science

New ultrasound research creates holographic objects that can be seen and felt

Haptic feedback has become a common feature of recent technology, but such systems usually rely on stimulation of parts of the user’s body via direct mechanical or acoustic vibration. A new technique being developed by researchers at the University of Bristol promises to change all of this by using projected ultrasound to directly create floating, 3D shapes that can be seen and felt in mid-air.Read More
Electronics

"Combining glass" brings together real and virtual in augmented reality reflections

Perhaps you've been in a situation where you noticed that your reflection in a window looked like it was actually standing amongst the items that were visible through that window. Now, scientists at the University of Bristol have taken that phenomenon and incorporated it into an experimental new interactive display. Among other things, it lets users select objects seen through a pane of glass, using the reflection of their finger on that glass.Read More

Electronics

Sensabubble notifies you with bubble-borne lights, text, and smells

Rating as probably one of the stranger human-computer interfaces we’ve seen, the Sensabubble allows users to receive alerts and feedback from their connected devices in the form of images, text, and smell – all encased in and projected on smoke-filled bubbles. Popping away annoying alerts is viscerally more satisfying than swiping them off, but this isn’t a toy. It's part of research being presented at the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems by researchers from the University of Bristol.Read More

Computers

MisTable lets teams collaborate through the fog

When we think of computer displays, we probably think of something solid and substantial that won't stand up too well when you put a hand through it. Fog screens, that use a curtain of mist on which to display images, have no such weakness, which is one of the reasons a team at the University of Bristol has used the technology to create MisTable, a tabletop display aimed at collaborative efforts.Read More

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