University of Massachusetts


Newly-discovered galaxies are "outrageously luminous"

When looking at light from distant galaxies, the very brightest examples are often given labels like "ultra" or "hyper-luminous." Now, astronomers from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (UMass Amherst) have observed a new set of galaxies for the very first time that are as much as ten times as luminous as previous findings. The galaxies aren't quite all they seem, however, with their notable appearance a result, at least in part, of a phenomenon known as gravitational lensing.Read More


Beastcam gets quick 3D scans of live critters

When studying wild animals such as sharks, it can be difficult to get ahold of one every time you want to check something out. Having a 3D model of the creature would certainly help, although getting a shark to sit still for several minutes while being scanned could be quite the challenge. That's why a University of Massachusetts Amherst team led by biologist Duncan J. Irschick created the portable, quick-scanning Beastcam. Read More


Origami "collapse" designs inspire reversibly self-folded 3D structures

Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have appropriated a less-common technique of origami known as "collapse"-type, in which all folds are carried out more or less simultaneously, to create complex reversibly self-folded 3D structures around a millimeter in size. The new technique is expected to have applications in soft robotics, mechanical metamaterials, and biomimetic systems (synthetic systems that mimic systems from nature).Read More


"Nanograss" boosts the efficiency of organic solar cells

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Stanford University and the Dresden University of Technology have developed a long sought-after nanostructure that can significantly increase the efficiency of organic solar cells. Their "nanograss," a dense array of vertical nanopillars, can capture photons at a very high efficiency and could also lead to cheaper and more advanced 3D transistors, photodetectors and charge storage devices.Read More


New-and-improved gecko-inspired adhesive sticks to more surfaces

A couple of years ago, we first heard about a gecko-inspired reusable adhesive known as Geckskin. According to its creators at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, it could be used to hang objects weighing up to 700 pounds (318 kg) on smooth surfaces such as glass. Now, however, they've announced a new version that also works on rough surfaces, like drywall and wood. Read More


Undetectable hardware Trojans could compromise cryptography

Researchers have shown that it is possible to compromise the functioning of a cryptographic chip without changing its physical layout. Based on altering the distribution of dopants in a few components on the chip during fabrication, this method represents a big challenge for cyber-security as it is nearly impossible to detect with any currently practical detection scheme.Read More


Future military uniforms could automatically transform into hazmat suits

While there are already protective cover-all suits that offer protection against chemical and biological agents, it’s unrealistic to suggest that soldiers should carry such suits with them at all times, and hurriedly pull them on in the event of an attack. Instead, research teams from several institutions are developing something a little more practical – uniform fabric that automatically becomes impermeable to toxic substances, when it detects them in the area.Read More


Gecko-inspired mess-free super-adhesive can stick a TV to the wall

Everyone knows geckos have extraordinary powers of adhesion, able to clamber up vertical windows with remarkable ease. With the "Geckskin", a team of scientists have replicated the effect to produce a flat, index-card sized piece of material capable of carrying a 700-pound (318-kg) load - easily enough for a flatscreen television. It can be removed with ease and leaves no unpleasant oomska. And interestingly, it doesn't work as you might think.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Smartphone tech battles drug abuse and depression

Some day, perhaps soon, it's possible that your smartphone could stop you from shutting yourself off from the world, or turning to illicit substances to deal with the stresses of life. Two separate studies are currently under way, looking at how smartphone-enabled technologies could be used to monitor peoples' levels of stress or depression, and then take action to keep them from making the wrong choices.Read More


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