News, Technology

Magic bullet changes direction mid-flight to hit enemy anywhere

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The United States Department of Defense just demonstrated one of the scariest weapons ever – a ‘magic bullet’ that can change trajectory in mid flight on command and hit a target no matter what. Shots can be fired from as far as 1.2 miles, and snipers can remain hidden without risk of getting spotted. In fact, shots can be fired even…

News, Physics, Technology

Quantum physics used to make virtually uncrackable authentication system

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Security experts have devised a novel authentication system that exploits quantum effects to make fraud-proof credit cards or IDs. Called Quantum-Secure Authentication (QSA), the technology relies on the quantum properties of single light beams, called photons, including their ability to be in multiple places at once. Quantum physics keys “We experimentally demonstrate quantum-secure authentication (QSA) of a classical multiple-scattering key. The…

News, Physics, Technology

The key to high-temperature superconductivity might lie in manipulating electron spin

High-temperature superconductivity helps scientists measure small magnetic fields, and aids advances in fields including geophysical exploration, medical diagnostics and magnetically levitated transportation. The discovery earned Bednorz and Müller the 1987 Nobel Prize in Physics. Credit: IBM

Superconductivity or zero electrical resistance at room temperature is any physicist’s dream, but so far the challenges have proven too great. Typically, metals like mercury become superconductive at temperatures close to absolute zero or -273 degrees Celsius. This means that we need to add a lot of energy to refrigerate the material so we might then exploit superconductivity, making the…

Animals, News, Technology

Dog born without front legs can walk thanks to 3D Printing

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Unfortunately, Derby the husky cross wasn’t born like other dogs. While her back paws are normal and well developed, a deformity caused him to be born with small and very twisted forelegs. He couldn’t walk at all. But Derby caught a break when she was adopted by Tara Anderson, who works for a 3D printing company called 3D Systems. Tara teamed up…

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Holographic microscopes might be the cost-effective alternative of the future

A holographic microscope used to analyze tissue samples. Credit: UCLA Nano- and Bio-Photonics Lab

Microscopes have gone a long since  Zacharias Jansen first invented them in the 1590s. Besides optical telescopes, we now have digital microscopes, atomic force microscopes or, my favorite, electron microscopes. Now, it may be the right time to add a new class to the list: holographic microscopes. While these have been investigated for some time, it’s only recently that we’re…

Discoveries, News

Microbial life found 2.4 km beneath the ocean floor – it’s the deepest marine drill ever

Microscope image of the tiny organisms discovered 2,4 km deep below the sea bed. Image: IODP Expedition

An expedition that drilled 2,400m beneath the seabed off Japan – the deepest marine drilling ever –  found life in cores brought back to the surface. The tiny, single celled organisms survived there without any oxygen or light, relying only on a harsh diet of hydrocarbons to make means. Because of the limited resources available to them, the organisms have an…

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Worm ‘brain’ controls LEGO robot – what this means for the human brain

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One of the most interesting projects in science today are the  BRAIN Initiative in the US and the Human Brain Project in Europe, which aim to map all the synapse connections in the human brain, or connectome, and ultimately simulate it. It’s an ambitious project with numerous challenges, but the possible benefits are well worth it. We could finally deconstruct…

News, Technology

Blasting ink drops with lasers may lead to better computers

POW  A pulse of laser light obliterates a free-falling ink drop in an image from an award-winning video in the American Physical Society’s 2014 Gallery of Fluid Motion competition.

Have you ever wondered how an ink drop blasted by a laser looks like? Physicist Hanneke Gelderblom of the University of Twente in Enschede, Netherlands did! She and her team have won the American Physical Society’s 2014 Gallery of Fluid Motion competition for this technique which is not only super cool, but may one day lead to better computers. This is what it…

News, Technology

Stacked “high-rise” computer chips add a new dimension to manufacturing

This illustration represents the four-layer prototype high-rise chip built by Stanford engineers. The bottom and top layers are logic transistors. Sandwiched between them are two layers of memory. The vertical tubes are nanoscale electronic "elevators" that connect logic and memory, allowing them to work together to solve problems. Credit: Max Shulaker, Stanford

Moore’s law says that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles every two years, hence doubling also the computing power. Since it was first predicted in 1965, this trend has hold true allowing computers to evolve at an exponential rate. To support the law, scientists tweak one or all of these three main manufacturing parameters: chip size, speed…

News, Technology

Making walls talk – new technique extracts audio from video

Graffiti artists can make walls turn to life, and speak to the hearts of people through art. Researchers have now given new meaning to the phrase "walls can speak". Image: Theater Fever

A very simple, yet effective optical technique was demonstrated that can transform video inputs, such as the motion of a piece of paper, into audio. To achieve this, the researchers involved exploited a simple principle that describes how sound waves causes objects in their path to vibrate. If you reverse engineer the vibrations, you can effectively decode the sound source…