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University of Texas

— Science

Hybrid nanomaterial converts light and heat into electricity

We’ve seen nanomaterials that can be used to convert light into electricity and others that can convert heat into electricity. Now researchers from the University of Texas at Arlington and Louisana Tech University have created a hybrid nanomaterial that can do both. By pairing the material with microchips, the researchers say it could be used in self-powered sensors, low-power electronic devices, and biomedical implants. Read More

Dissolvable oral strips developed to treat burnt tongues

If you get a minor burn somewhere on the outside of your body, you can usually help dull the pain and promote healing by applying a piece of gauze and an ointment such as Polysporin. When you scald your tongue on a hot food or drink, however, you can’t exactly put a Band-Aid on it. That said, you may soon be able to apply a soothing medicated strip, instead. Read More
— Games

More human than human: AI game bots pass Turing Test

For five years, the annual BotPrize competition has been using a variant of the Turing Test known as a "Computer game bot Turing Test" to challenge programmers, researchers and hobbyists to create a bot for Unreal Tournament 2004 (UT2004) that is indistinguishable from a human player. Fittingly, in the centenary year of Turing’s birth, not one but two teams have finally claimed the prize by achieving “humanness ratings” of over 50 percent. In comparison, human players received an average humanness rating of just over 40 percent. Read More

The magnetic sands of Normandy

Sandy beaches are a delight for swimmers, surfers, sailors, and people strolling down the boardwalk. A horde of beautiful shells and buried coins (not to mention the occasional dropped ring) awaits the skilled beachcomber. Beach sand also carries within it a variety of traces of the history of that beach. A prime example is the magnetic sands of Normandy. Read More
— Environment

Scientists develop catalyst that cleans diesel emissions without platinum

Diesel engines are a classic example of good news and bad news. The good news is that diesel engines are much more fuel efficient than petrol engines. The bad news is that they belch out some pretty nasty emissions like nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide. The good news is that catalytic converters can scrub those out. The bad news is that last Friday the platinum needed by the converters is selling for US$1,473.10 an ounce. Now the good news is that a team at Nanostellar in Redwood, California, has developed a mineral catalyst that outperforms platinum at a fraction of the cost. Read More
— Health & Wellbeing

Easter Island drug improves learning and memory in mice of all ages

Rapamycin, a bacterial product first discovered in a soil sample from Easter Island – also known as Rapa Nui, hence the name – is an immunosuppressant drug used to prevent rejection in organ transplants that has now been found to enhance learning and memory in young and old mice alike. Researchers at the School of Medicine at The University of Texas (UT) Health Science Center San Antonio made the discovery while looking for a way to prevent the decline in cognitive skills that comes with age. Read More
— Science

Neuroscientists could help people see with their "mind's eye"

A team of researchers at the University of Texas is exploring the possibility of electrically stimulating the visual cortex of the brain to create simple images and shapes. This development could lead to a visual prosthetic device that would effectively "trick" the brain of visually impaired or blind people into seeing ... and such a device, the authors say, is only about five years away. Read More
— Health & Wellbeing

Femtosecond laser used in ultra-fast, ultra-accurate laser scalpel

The practice of surgically removing diseased or damaged tissue within the body is something of a trade-off – quite often, some of the surrounding healthy tissue will also end up being removed in the process. In highly-sensitive areas such as the brain or spinal cord, where a fraction of a millimeter either way can have huge consequences, sometimes surgery is deemed to be just too risky. A newly-developed endoscopic laser “scalpel,” however, looks like it could lower those risks considerably. Read More
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