News, Technology

Force Field Umbrella – Coming Soon, to a town near you!

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It’s not Jedi technology, but it’s pretty close – scientists and students from China have devised an umbrella that eliminates the need for awkward and hard to wield umbrellas; the technology creates a force-field of air around you to shield you from the rain. We first wrote about this technology in June 2013, when the technology was announced for the first time….

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Internet addiction affects over 400 million people globally, study finds

Internet addiction affects over 400 million people, study finds.

We’ve probably all experienced it at some point – you really have no reason to stay online… but you do so nonetheless. But six percent of the global population actually suffers from internet addiction (IA). Addiction is defined as a substance or activity which is initially pleasurable, but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities,…

Health & Medicine, Mind & Brain, News, Technology

Quadriplegic instructs robot hand to flex, move, rotate or grip objects with her thoughts

The four robot positions: fingers spread, scoop, pinch, and thumb up (credit: Journal of Neural Engineering/IOP Publishing)

The latest in brain-computer interface technology was recently demonstrated after woman with quadriplegia shaped a sophisticated robotic hand with ten degrees of freedom using her thoughts. Through the interface, she instructed the robotic hand to move up, down or sideways, pick up small or big objects and even squeeze them. In just a couple of years, brain-computer interfaces have shown they…

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…

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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…

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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…