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:: Science Innovation :: Research News ::
Emerging Future Tech Trends and Innovation Outlook. The Raw Feed from Science Sources.
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ABOUT :: Science Innovation :: Research News ::

This topic is a collection of recent press releases from science sources.

 

The goal is about discovering and reading the actual raw news behind the innovation or scientific breakthrough WITHOUT any dramatizing hype as later done by the mainstream media.

 

If you are interested in more mainstream innovation news, I tweet about this regularly at:

 

https://twitter.com/_trendspotter

 

 

I have also started a new topic on Scoop.it about futuristic news, but this time from the mainstream press.

 

http://www.scoop.it/t/futuristic

 

Thanks for your interest in the future :)

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Reflected smartphone transmissions enable you to control your phone with gestures instead of touch

Reflected smartphone transmissions enable you to control your phone with gestures instead of touch | :: Science Innovation :: Research News :: | Scoop.it

Despite recent advances in gestural interfaces, we're nowhere near the Minority Report-style future we were promised. Sure, technologies like Kinect and Leap Motion make for some impressive, sci-fi-seeming projects, but when was the last time you saw somebody waving their hands in front of a computer orsmartphone in the wild?

That day may come sooner than you think.

 

SideSwipe is a clever new approach to 3-D gesture control from researchers at the University of Washington. It uses the device's own wireless signal transmissions to detect nearby hand gestures, effectively turning the 3-D space around your phone into an interface. It even works when your phone is in your pocket.

 

"Today’s smartphones already include multiple antennas for spatial diversity and to support multiple wireless standards," says Matt Reynolds, a UW computer science and engineering professor who helped lead the research. "We expect that the simple broadbandreceivers that we have developed could be integrated with existing antennas, and the detection of reflected power could be built-in to the phone’s chipset by the chipset manufacturer."

Since SideSwipe doesn't rely on processor-hogging resources like the phone's camera or internal sensors, it lets the device effectively "listen" for its owner's gestural commands at all times without sapping the battery. In doing so, SideSwipe removes the biggest obstacle phone manufacturers face when it comes to including persistent gestural control in mobile devices: preserving battery life. For most people, gee-whiz functionality like this just isn't important enough to justify the power it would normally consume.

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Stanford scientists create a smart lithium-ion battery that warns of potential fire hazards

Stanford University scientists have developed a 'smart' lithium-ion battery that gives ample warning before it overheats and bursts into flames. The new technology is designed for conventional lithium-ion batteries now used in billions of cellphones, laptops and other electronic devices, as well as a growing number of cars and airplanes.

 

The early-warning technology can also be used in zinc, aluminum and other metal batteries. “It will work in any battery that would require you to detect a short before it explodes,” Cui said.

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New protein structure could help treat Alzheimer’s, related diseases

New protein structure could help treat Alzheimer’s, related diseases | :: Science Innovation :: Research News :: | Scoop.it

University of Washington bioengineers have designed a peptide structure that can stop the harmful changes of the body’s normal proteins into a state that’s linked to widespread diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and Lou Gehrig’s disease. The synthetic molecule blocks these proteins as they shift from their normal state into an abnormally folded form by targeting a toxic intermediate phase.

 

The discovery of a protein blocker could lead to ways to diagnose and even treat a large swath of diseases that are hard to pin down and rarely have a cure. The researchers hope their designed compounds could be used as diagnostics for amyloid diseases and as drugs to treat the diseases or at least slow progression.


“For example, patients could have a broad first-pass test done to see if they have an amyloid disease and then drill down further to determine which proteins are present to identify the specific disease,” Daggett said.


The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health (General Medicine Sciences), the National Science Foundation, the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation and Coins for Alzheimer’s Research Trust.

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Extracting audio from visual information in video

Extracting audio from visual information in video | :: Science Innovation :: Research News :: | Scoop.it

Algorithm recovers speech from the vibrations of a potato-chip bag filmed through soundproof glass.

 

Researchers at MIT, Microsoft, and Adobe have developed an algorithm that can reconstruct an audio signal by analyzing minute vibrations of objects depicted in video. In one set of experiments, they were able to recover intelligible speech from the vibrations of a potato-chip bag photographed from 15 feet away through soundproof glass.

In other experiments, they extracted useful audio signals from videos of aluminum foil, the surface of a glass of water, and even the leaves of a potted plant. 

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App Lets iPad Users Explore Data with Their Fingers

App Lets iPad Users Explore Data with Their Fingers | :: Science Innovation :: Research News :: | Scoop.it

If you’ve ever wanted to chop data up into separate little piles, here’s your chance. Using a proof-of-concept called Kinetica, Ph.D. students at CMU’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute have created a system that lets you slide certain subsets of data out of a chart, order data along arbitrary lines, and even create charts and graphs with a quick swipe.

 

The app, which runs on the iPad, allows you to import a data set and then slide across it to separate out, say, outliers or specific values. You can automatically sort things along hand-drawn curves and even create multiple chart styles out of the same data.

 

Data points appear as magnetic dots that change color depending on another value. For example, you can separate the dots out by a certain statistic (allowing you to sort a list of cars by color or a list of foods by sugar content) and order them within those categories.

trendspotter's insight:

http://techcrunch.com/2014/04/22/kinetica-is-a-new-system-that-lets-you-play-with-data-with-your-fingers/

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Turning old tires into material for new roads

Turning old tires into material for new roads | :: Science Innovation :: Research News :: | Scoop.it

Americans generate nearly 300 million scrap tires every year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Historically, these worn tires often end up in landfills or, when illegally dumped, become breeding grounds for disease-carrying mosquitoes and rodents. They also pose a potential fire hazard.

 

In recent years, however, interest has been growing in finding new, beneficial and environmentally friendly uses for discarded tires.

Magdy Abdelrahman, for example, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at North Dakota State University, is working on ways to turn old tires into new and improved roads.

 

The National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded scientist is experimenting with "crumb" rubber--ground up tires of different sized particles--and other components to improve the rubberized road materials that a number of states already are using to enhance aging asphalt.

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Biodegradable battery could melt inside the body and may one day power implantable devices

Biodegradable battery could melt inside the body and may one day power implantable devices | :: Science Innovation :: Research News :: | Scoop.it

Medical implants would monitor vital signs or dispense therapies before vanishing.

 

In recent years, scientists have been trying to develop implantable devices that make it easier for the patient and doctors — most devices currently require maintenance, usually to replace an expired battery, every seven to 10 years. Scientists, however, have now developeda biodegradable battery that, once out of power, can be absorbed by the body.

 

“This is really a major advance,” Jeffrey Borenstein, a biomedical engineer at Draper Laboratory, a research and development center in Massachusetts, told Nature. “Until recently, there has not been a lot of progress in this area.”

 

The device was created by researchers at the University of Illiinois, who, in January, developed a rechargeable nanoribbon that relied on the electromechanical interaction, piezoelectricity, to power a device. Essentially, the rechargeable “battery” converted the movement of organs into electricity devices could use. 

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Sun powers complex cancer test for remote regions

Sun powers complex cancer test for remote regions | :: Science Innovation :: Research News :: | Scoop.it

Kaposi’s sarcoma is a type of cancer linked to AIDS, and remains commonplace across Africa due to a lack of basic medical care and simple lab tests. Thankfully, Cornell University engineers have created a solar-powered smartphone accessory that can detect the problem, and also be adapted for other ailments such as E. coli and hepatitis.

The device consists of a smartphone, an app, a lens and a tiny round chip, which are used to carry out a chemical test. Gold nanoparticles are combined with slices of DNA that bind to Kaposi’s DNA sequences in a solution, which is then added to a microfluidic chip. In the presence of viral DNA, particles clump together and limit how much light can travel through the solution, which also causes a color change.

 

An optical sensor hooked up to the smartphone via a micro-USB port detects the amount of color change to indicate the severity of infection. The solution is bright red when there is little or no Kaposi’s virus present, whereas it turns purple when the concentrations of viral DNA are higher.

A fully-charged phone battery supplies enough power for the whole system to run for up to 70 hours, with each test taking about half an hour to complete. Compared to traditional methods, the solar-powered device uses 100 times less energy, and is expected to cost less than $500.

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Sniff out explosives with "lobster radar"

The way lobsters find a specific scent might one day keep soldiers safe on the battlefield.

 

Researchers say the neurons involved in “lobster radar” could be used to develop improved electronic “noses” to detect landmines and other explosives.

 

For many years, scientists have worked to create sensors that can detect everything from contamination in food products to harmful bacteria, as well as land mines and explosives. And because of the dangerous nature of hazardous material detection, scientists are constantly looking for ways to improve those devices.

 

“An electronic nose has to recognize an odor and locate its source. Finding the source has often been the job of the person handling the electronic nose,” said Barry W. Ache, distinguished professor of neuroscience and biology and director of the Center for Smell and Taste in UF’s Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute. To date, the technology has had its drawbacks — especially when the nose is used to detect potentially deadly materials that could endanger its human handler.

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Graphene smart contact lenses could give you thermal infrared and UV vision

Graphene smart contact lenses could give you thermal infrared and UV vision | :: Science Innovation :: Research News :: | Scoop.it
A breakthrough in graphene imaging technology means you might soon have a smart contact lens, or other ultra-thin device, with a built-in camera that also gives you infrared “heat vision.” By sandwiching two layers of graphene together, engineers at the University of Michigan have created an ultra-broadband graphene imaging sensor that is ultra-broadband (it can capture everything from visible light all the way up to mid-infrared) — but more importantly, unlike other devices that can see far into the infrared spectrum, it operates well at room temperature.
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Test One's Blood with the Screen of a Cellphone

Test One's Blood with the Screen of a Cellphone | :: Science Innovation :: Research News :: | Scoop.it

Using the properties of a smartphone screen to perform blood tests: the device developed by Qloudlab allows at-home analysis in less than a minute. The expanded diagnostics will be used to help people undergoing anticoagulant treatment.


The use of anticoagulants has the effect of limiting the formation of blood clots in the veins, arteries or heart. But this treatment requires frequent monitoring of blood flow in the hospital. To overcome this constraint, Qloudlab, a start-up based in EPFL’s Microengineering Laboratory, is developing a test whose results can be read by a smartphone screen. The data can then be sent directly to a physician through an application. “Such a test will significantly improve the quality of life for people undergoing this kind of treatment,” said Arthur Queval, founder of the start-up.

 

Transformed into a mini-laboratory by a small single-use film, the smartphone reveals an indication of coagulation within a few dozen seconds. Still in development, the film deposited on the device is made of a microstructured plastic layer that is a few micrometers thick. A drop of blood enters by capillary action and comes into contact with a molecule initiating the coagulation process. But how does the phone read the results? It analyzes disruptions in the electric field, which is the surface of the iPhone or Samsung screens, for example – similar to what happens when you touch the screen with your finger. This change of the electric field produced by the path of the blood in the film is analyzed and interpreted with a specific app also developed by Qloudlab.


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Researchers create 'thinnest possible' LEDs at only three atoms thick

Researchers create 'thinnest possible' LEDs at only three atoms thick | :: Science Innovation :: Research News :: | Scoop.it

LEDs are already pretty tiny, but they just got a whole lot smaller. Researchers at the University of Washington have built what they say are the "thinnest-possible LEDs" — tiny lights that measure just three atoms thick. "Such thin and foldable LEDs are critical for future portable and integrated electronic devices," Xiaodong Xu, co-author of a paper on the research that was published over the weekend in Nature Nanotechnology, says in a statement. At three atoms thick, the researchers' LEDs are said to be 10 to 20 times thinner than conventional LEDs, opening up a number of potential new uses for them.

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Light-activated drug could reduce side effects of diabetes medication

Light-activated drug could reduce side effects of diabetes medication | :: Science Innovation :: Research News :: | Scoop.it

Scientists have created a drug for type 2 diabetes that is switched on by blue light, which they hope will improve treatment of the disease. The drug would be inactive under normal conditions, but a patient could in theory switch it on using blue LEDs stuck to the skin. Only a small amount of light would need to penetrate the skin to change the drug's shape and turn it on. This change is reversible, so the drug switches off again when the light goes off.

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Scientists create new protein-based material with some nerve

Scientists create new protein-based material with some nerve | :: Science Innovation :: Research News :: | Scoop.it
UC Berkeley scientists have taken proteins from nerve cells and used them to create a “smart” material that is extremely sensitive to its environment. This marriage of materials science and biology could give birth to a flexible, sensitive coating that is easy and cheap to manufacture in large quantities.
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Researchers Create a No-Power Internet of Things

Researchers Create a No-Power Internet of Things | :: Science Innovation :: Research News :: | Scoop.it

No-power Wi-Fi connectivity could fuel Internet of Things reality

 

Researchers at the University of Washington have devised a way for battery-free devices to skim a connective link from errant WiFi signals, potentially increasing the reach of the Internet of Things to include just about any thing. The new tool, called a backscatter, looks like a thin plate of metal that works by "looking" for WiFi signals moving between the router and a laptop or smartphone.

 

They encode data by either reflecting or not reflecting the Wi-Fi router’s signals, slightly changing the wireless signal. Wi-Fi-enabled devices like laptops and smartphones would detect these minute changes and receive data from the tag. In this way, your [battery-free] smart watch could download emails or offload your workout data onto a Google spreadsheet.

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New Screen Technology May Correct Vision

New Screen Technology May Correct Vision | :: Science Innovation :: Research News :: | Scoop.it

Technology could lead to e-readers, smartphones, and displays that let users dispense with glasses.

 

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California at Berkeley have joined forces to produce a system which “predistorts” digital content for the individual observer in order to produce a correctly-perceived image without corrective eye wear. Drawing from UC Berkeley’s School of Optometry and Computer Science Division and MIT’s Media Lab and Camera Culture Group, the team has developed technology which can account for, but also potentially diagnose, a user’s vision correction.

 

As lead author Fu-Chung Huang explains, the project’s significance is that, “instead of relying on optics to correct your vision, we use computation. This is a very different class of correction, and it is non-intrusive.” Project leader Brian Barsky has further suggested that a potential impact of the technology may even be removing the need for invasive eye treatments and the effects of lowered visual function.

 

trendspotter's insight:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9YZk9Hsdbs

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Wearable computing gloves can teach Braille, even if you’re not paying attention

Wearable computing gloves can teach Braille, even if you’re not paying attention | :: Science Innovation :: Research News :: | Scoop.it

Several years ago, Georgia Institute of Technology researchers created a technology-enhanced glove that can teach beginners how to play pianomelodies in 45 minutes. Now they’ve advanced the same wearable computing technology to help people learn how to read and write Braille. The twist is that people wearing the glove don’t have to pay attention. They learn while doing something else.

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Gecko-like Adhesives Now Useful for Real World Surfaces

Gecko-like Adhesives Now Useful for Real World Surfaces | :: Science Innovation :: Research News :: | Scoop.it

The ability to stick objects to a wide range of surfaces such as drywall, wood, metal and glass with a single adhesive has been the elusive goal of many research teams across the world, but now a team of University of Massachusetts Amherst inventors describe a new, more versatile version of their invention, Geckskin, that can adhere strongly to a wider range of surfaces, yet releases easily, like a gecko’s feet.

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Engineering students invent virtual fitting room for online shoppers

Engineering students invent virtual fitting room for online shoppers | :: Science Innovation :: Research News :: | Scoop.it

A virtual fitting room may help solve one of the biggest drawbacks to shopping for clothes online. Rice University students took advantage of Microsoft's motion-sensing Kinect to create their senior design project.

 

With the software developed by the students, shoppers are able to see realistic details, even wrinkles in the garments. They can rotate the model to see how the garment fits from all sides. Thus far, Wong and Zhang have adapted the software to show dresses and shirts, and they are working on shorts.

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Engineers design ‘living materials’

Engineers design ‘living materials’ | :: Science Innovation :: Research News :: | Scoop.it

Inspired by natural materials such as bone — a matrix of minerals and other substances, including living cells — MIT engineers have coaxed bacterial cells to produce biofilms that can incorporate nonliving materials, such as gold nanoparticles and quantum dots.

 

Biological and electrical engineers at MIT have combined E.coli cells with gold nanoparticles to make the bacteria conductive -- all using "sticky" biofilms. The hope is that by engineering inorganic cells like these that "talk to each other", just like their living equivalent, we can produce self-assembling or even self-healing batteries, solar cells or even medical diagnostic sensors that hop a ride on molecular drug delivery systems.

 

"It shows that you can make cells that talk to each other and they can change the composition of the material over time," said Timothy Lu, lead author on the paper describing the technique in Nature Materials. "Ultimately, we hope to emulate how natural systems, like bone, form. No one tells bone what to do, but it generates a material in response to environmental signals."

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Scientists 3D Print New Solar Panels Which Work Best When Cloudy

Scientists 3D Print New Solar Panels Which Work Best When Cloudy | :: Science Innovation :: Research News :: | Scoop.it

Even though conventional solar panels can still function well in overcast weather, British scientists at the National Physical Laboratory have created a new type of solar cell that thrives in overcast environments. What’s more impressive however, is that they are made from small organic molecules that can easily be dissolved into a solution and 3D printed into any shape, size, or color desired.

 

That’s right, they produce more energy when clouds are blocking the sun, than when the sun is out in full force. In fact, scientists have shown that the new solar panels manage only 10% efficiency when placed in direct sunlight, while that number jumps to 13% when placed in cloudy conditions.

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Smartphone Lens Could Diagnose Diseases On The Spot

Smartphone Lens Could Diagnose Diseases On The Spot | :: Science Innovation :: Research News :: | Scoop.it

We've recently seen a number of projects aimed at creating Star Trek-like medical tricorders, that take the form of stand-alone electronic devices built specifically for the purpose. Now, however, scientists at the University of Houston are taking an approach that's currently popular in many other areas of product design – they've asked, "Why build a whole new device, if a smartphone can provide the electronics?". The result is a proposed phone lens attachment, that could be used to diagnose diseases in real time.

 

A special lens uses a thin, glass slide with a gold grid, which will be blocked up if bacteria are present in a person’s fluid sample. While the slides of the lens are currently only visible under a microscope, the researchers hope to develop a working model that can be inspected with the phone’s flash function. 

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Scientists Hack Plants With Nanotubes to Supercharge Photosynthesis

Scientists Hack Plants With Nanotubes to Supercharge Photosynthesis | :: Science Innovation :: Research News :: | Scoop.it

By incorporating nanomaterials into the energy-producing structures inside plants, scientists have managed to turn an ordinary plant into a super plant.

 

The carbon nanotubes expand the range of light wavelengths that activate a plant’s photosynthetic systems. Even at their most productive, plants can normally only absorb about 10 percent of full sunlight. 

 

Next, the team wanted to see how the nanotubes affect photosynthesis. To do this, they used a dye that changes color when it absorbs electrons. These charged particles are produced during photosynthesis, so the more photosynthesis that’s going on, the more dramatic the change in the color of the dye. This is what the scientists saw when they looked at plants that had been transformed with carbon nanotubes.

 

Lastly, the team showed that carbon nanotubes are capable of detecting nitric oxide in the environment, expanding the range of sensory capabilities in the plants.

trendspotter's insight:

http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2014/bionic-plants.html

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Researchers develop fully textile waveguide antenna using a metamaterial-inspired unit cell

Researchers develop fully textile waveguide antenna using a metamaterial-inspired unit cell | :: Science Innovation :: Research News :: | Scoop.it

A new type of wearable antenna has been created as part of a project aiming at an integrated solution for monitoring, locating, alerting and communicating with senior citizens indoors.

 

Technical textiles are continuing to advance and this, combined with the rapid development of integrated circuit technology and the corresponding miniaturisation of electronics, according to Yan, makes it likely that wearable electronics and textile antennas will be combined within the next decade to form complete miniaturised wearable systems integrated into clothing.

 

"Sophisticated signal processing techniques, increased storage capabilities and high quality wireless connections will allow the design and manufacture of systems with unique high performance properties," he said. "Besides being able to increase productivity in specialised occupational segments, we would very much like to see this technology being widely applied in the healthcare sector, where it could result in an improved quality of life for many patients."

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3-D printer creates transformative device for heart treatment

3-D printer creates transformative device for heart treatment | :: Science Innovation :: Research News :: | Scoop.it

Stretchable electronics make it possible to custom fit pacemakers for each patient. 

 

An interconnected web of sensors and electrodes has been developed by scientists that can monitor someone’s heart around the clock, as well as deliver tiny electrical impulses to ensure it keeps beating properly. This even applies to catastrophic events such as a heart attack, which the device can often reverse. Thanks to the use of 3D printing, each device can be custom fitted to an individual patient to ensure the best possible results.

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