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University of Warwick

3D Printing

“Carbomorph” material to enable 3D printing of custom personal electronics

Researchers at the University of Warwick have created a cheap plastic composite that can be used even with low-end 3D printers, to produce custom-made electronic devices. The material, nicknamed "carbomorph," is both conductive and piezoresistive, meaning that both electronic tracks and touch-sensitive areas can now be easily embedded in 3D-printed objects without the need for complex procedures or expensive materials.Read More

New research explains why Facebook posts are so memorable

The success of social networks such as Facebook may provide clues to the type of information the human mind tends to favor. New research suggests human memory prefers spontaneous writing favored by users communicating online to grammatically polished text found in edited material. This the gist of the findings presented in a paper called Major Memory for Microblogs, which details the results of a research comparing memory retention of Facebook updates to book excerpts and faces.Read More

Around The Home

Nanodiamond laundry detergent can make your clothes sparkle

We all do laundry, or are perhaps lucky enough to have someone who does laundry for us. Most of that wash is done in warm or hot water, because, regardless of the claims made for laundry detergents, most detergents don't work very well in cold water. Unfortunately, the wash water has to be heated, and given an average wash temperature of about 40°C (104°F), this uses around 5-10 kWh per load. If both the temperature of the water and the amount of water used in clothes washing could be cut in half, nearly a trillion kilowatt-hours of energy could be saved each year - 0.5% of the world's total energy use. All that is stopping us is finding better laundry detergents. That's where the diamonds come in.Read More

Environment

New technique recycles 100 percent of household plastic

This Christmas, chances are you’ll save the plastic film and blister packs that your presents come encased in and send it all off for recycling. According to scientists from the University of Warwick, however, only about 12 percent of plastic sent to depots actually gets recycled. Because of problems such as glued-on paper labels, or different types of plastic being combined in one product, the rest of it goes to the landfill or is burnt as fuel. Those same scientists have now devised a system that could recycle 100 percent of household plastic.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

STD self diagnosis via mobile phones on the way?

A consortium of scientists has been formed to try and stem the rise of sexually transmitted diseases (or infections as they are now called) that's said to be reaching epidemic proportions in the UK. As early diagnosis and treatment is essential in such matters, the team is creating a self-diagnosis system where results can quickly be displayed on a mobile phone or computer screen. The system could even automatically make an appointment at a clinic or direct the unfortunate sufferer to the nearest pharmacy, where treatment would be waiting.Read More

Automotive

Scientists testing driving noises for EVs

Electric vehicles are set to become a common sight on our roads, but one potential problem needs to be addressed – their lack of engine sound. In a perfect world, of course, pedestrians would always look both ways before crossing the street, and cyclists would always shoulder-check before turning, but this isn’t a perfect world. There are also blind people to consider, who must rely on the sound of oncoming vehicles (or lack of it) to know when it’s safe to cross the road. Toyota has already announced an onboard audio alert system for the Prius, but now researchers at the University of Warwick are experimenting with sounds that could be applied to all EVs – and you could help them.Read More

Automotive

Formula 3 racing car powered by chocolate and steered by carrots - seriously

Environmentally friendly vehicles conjure up thoughts of a Toyota Prius hybrid or maybe a vehicle powered by hydrogen fuel cells, but a Formula 3 racing car generally wouldn’t be the first thing to come to mind. This "WorldFirst Formula 3 car" unveiled by researchers at the University of Warwick might just change that impression - and it's eco-friendliness goes way beyond the bio diesel engine that drives it. The racer is powered by chocolate, steered by carrots, has bodywork made from potatoes and can still do 125mph around corners.Read More

VR

Virtual reality for all five senses

To date most virtual reality devices have been focused on providing input for just two senses – sight and hearing - and while haptic technologies are on the march, we've yet to see a complete VR system that convincingly mimics all aspects of our perception. In a taste of what could be, last week at the Pioneer 09 science show in London researchers unveiled a mock-up of a virtual reality headset designed to stimulate all five senses.Read More

Science

The largest explosion ever seen

March 22, 2008 Gamma-Ray Bursts are the most powerful explosive events in the Universe. They thankfully occur in far-off galaxies and hence are usually faint, but on the morning of March 19, 2008 the Swift satellite found a burst which was so bright it could be seen without binoculars or a telescope even though it was seven thousand times further away than the Andromeda galaxy. Put simply, it could be seen with the naked eye from a distance of over twenty billion light years from Earth. It turned out to be a great day for GRB hunters. The Swift satellite typically finds only two GRBs a week, but for the first time found five bursts within 24 hours. The second burst of the day was the new record holder. The enormous energy released in the explosion – brighter than the light from all of the stars in five million Milky Way Galaxies – was caused by the death of a massive star which collapsed to form a black hole. Read More

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