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Finger-mounted reading device for the blind

March 10, 2015 | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | Comments

Researchers at the MIT Media Laboratory have built a prototype of a finger-mounted device with a built-in camera that converts written text into audio for visually impaired users.             

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Forecasting future flooding

April 1, 2015 5:03 pm | by Faith Singer-Villalobos, Univ. of Texas at Austin | Comments

The Pacific Northwest is dotted by small, low-lying, coastal cities where populations tend to cluster. These communities can be isolated and are susceptible to devastation from major storms that bring substantial wind, waves and storm surge. With climate change, it is anticipated that storms will only become more frequent and intense, signifying a need to understand how the areas will be affected.

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Nanoparticles provide novel way to apply drugs to dental plaque

April 1, 2015 4:26 pm | by Peter Iglinski, Univ. of Rochester | Comments

Therapeutic agents intended to reduce dental plaque and prevent tooth decay are often removed by saliva and the act of swallowing before they can take effect. But a team of researchers has developed a way to keep the drugs from being washed away. Dental plaque is made up of bacteria enmeshed in a sticky matrix of polymers, a polymeric matrix, that is firmly attached to teeth.

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Secondhand smog

April 1, 2015 2:37 pm | by Kat Kerlin, UC Davis News Service | Comments

Approximately 10% of ozone pollution in California’s San Joaquin Valley is estimated to be coming from outside of the state’s borders, particularly from Asia, according to preliminary research presented by the Univ. of California, Davis. Secondhand smog from Asia and other international sources is finding its way into one of the nation’s most polluted air basins, the San Joaquin Valley.

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Tracking ultra-fast creation of a catalyst

April 1, 2015 2:26 pm | by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | Comments

An international team has, for the first time, precisely tracked the surprisingly rapid process by which light rearranges the outermost electrons of a metal compound and turns it into an active catalyst, a substance that promotes chemical reactions. The results could help in the effort to develop novel catalysts to efficiently produce fuel using sunlight.

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How tropical forests respond to climate change

April 1, 2015 2:17 pm | by Dan Krotz, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

Tropical forests play major roles in regulating Earth’s climate, but there are large uncertainties over how they’ll respond over the next 100 years as the planet’s climate warms. An expansive new project led by scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory aims to bring the future of tropical forests and the climate system into much clearer focus.

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Quick-charging hybrid supercapacitors

April 1, 2015 1:11 pm | by Shaun Mason, Univ. of California, Los Angeles | Comments

The dramatic rise of smartphones, tablets, laptops and other personal and portable electronics has brought battery technology to the forefront of electronics research. Even as devices have improved by leaps and bounds, the slow pace of battery development has held back technological progress. Now, researchers have successfully combined two nanomaterials to create a new energy storage medium.

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Scientists pinpoint protein that affects heart transplant survival

April 1, 2015 12:54 pm | by Ziba Kashef, Yale Univ. | Comments

The protein haptoglobin boosts inflammation in transplanted hearts, reducing their survival, according to a study led by Yale Univ. researchers. The finding may help identify new anti-inflammatory therapies to enhance organ transplant survival.

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Nanoscale speed bump could regulate plasmons for high-speed data flow

April 1, 2015 12:08 pm | by Mark Esser, NIST | Comments

The name sounds like something Marvin the Martian might have built, but the “nanomechanical plasmonic phase modulator” is not a doomsday device. Developed by a team of government and university researchers, including physicists from NIST, the innovation harnesses tiny electron waves called plasmons. It’s a step towards enabling computers to process information hundreds of times faster than today’s machines.

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Quantum teleportation on a chip

April 1, 2015 11:28 am | by Univ. of Bristol | Comments

The core circuits of quantum teleportation, which generate and detect quantum entanglement, have been successfully integrated into a photonic chip by an international team of scientists from the universities of Bristol, Tokyo, Southampton and NTT Device Technology Laboratories. These results pave the way to developing ultra-high-speed quantum computers and strengthening the security of communication.

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Rydberg atoms can be used to produce magnetic crystals in an optical lattice

April 1, 2015 10:11 am | by Max Planck Society | Comments

It is a situation familiar from one's own living environment: Relations between neighbors can be intense, yet also characterized by sensitivities. Complex quantum systems can be imagined in a similar way, especially when magnetism is involved. A team at Max Planck Institute is investigating such a system, which takes its inspiration from the crystals of magnetic solids.

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Light-powered gyroscope is world’s smallest

April 1, 2015 9:43 am | by Kelly Mack, The Optical Society | Comments

A pair of light waves, one zipping clockwise the other counterclockwise around a microscopic track, may hold the key to creating the world's smallest gyroscope: one a fraction of the width of a human hair. By bringing this essential technology down to an entirely new scale, a team of applied physicists hopes to enable a new generation of phenomenally compact gyroscope-based navigation systems, among other intriguing applications.

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Mighty microexons take center stage in shaping of the brain

April 1, 2015 8:52 am | by Liam Mitchell, Univ. of Toronto | Comments

Complex brain disorders, such as autism or schizophrenia, still puzzle scientists because their causes lie hidden in early events of brain development, which are still poorly understood. This is about to change thanks to research by Univ. of Toronto Profs. Ben Blencowe and Sabine Cordes, who have developed a powerful model that will allow researchers to better understand the physiology behind many disorders.

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Video gamers may learn visual tasks more quickly

April 1, 2015 8:44 am | by David Orenstein, Brown Univ. | Comments

Many studies show that video gamers perform better than non-gamers on certain visual tasks, like managing distractors and identifying targets, but a small new Brown Univ. study provides gamers with some cognitive bonus points. The study results suggest that gaming not only improves their visual skill but also may improve their learning ability for those skills.

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U.S. pledges to cut emissions in global treaty

April 1, 2015 8:32 am | by Josh Lederman, Associated Press | Comments

The U.S. pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions up to 28% as part of a global treaty aimed at preventing the worst effects of climate change, the White House said. The Obama administration's contribution to the treaty, which world leaders expect to finalize in December, codifies a commitment President Barack Obama first made late last year in Beijing.

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Adding renewable energy to power grid requires flexibility

April 1, 2015 8:24 am | by Anne Ju, Cornell Univ. | Comments

Solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles and other power sources are proliferating rapidly, but their reliable integration into the existing electric grid is another story. A new study offers a comprehensive reimagining of the power grid that involves the coordinated integration of small-scale distributed energy resources. The study, asserts that the proliferation of renewable energy must happen at the periphery of the power grid.

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