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Simple wavelength detector could speed data communications

June 5, 2013 7:40 am | News | Comments

Researchers at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford Univ. have created a new device, smaller than a grain of rice, that could streamline optical data communications. It can directly identify the wavelength of light that hits it, and should scale down to the even tinier dimensions needed for multichannel optical data receivers on future generations of computer chips.

Improving the safety of the nation's blood supply

June 3, 2013 12:23 pm | News | Comments

A six-year collaboration between industry and the University of Wisconsin-Madison RFID Lab has achieved a major milestone with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearing the first RFID-enabled solution to improve the safety and efficiency of the nation's blood supply.

NIST, partners offer solution to communications impasse in factories

May 29, 2013 5:15 pm | News | Comments

Once uncommunicative industrial robots and machine tools are now beginning to talk turkey, thanks to a prototype application developed by a team of partner companies led by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM). This application was successfully demonstrated and tested by manufacturing researchers at NIST.

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U.S. defense programs target of China cyber threat

May 29, 2013 1:20 pm | by Lolita C. Baldor, Associated Press | News | Comments

While officials have been warning for years about China's cyber espionage efforts aimed at U.S. military and high-tech programs, the breadth of new revelations about the extent of cyberattacks will increase pressure on American leaders to take more strident action against Beijing to stem the persistent breaches.

Cradle turns smartphone into handheld biosensor

May 23, 2013 10:49 pm | by Liz Ahlberg, University of Illinois | News | Comments

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers have developed a cradle and app for the iPhone that uses the phone’s built-in camera and processing power as a biosensor to detect toxins, proteins, bacteria, viruses and other molecules. Having such sensitive biosensing capabilities in the field could enable on-the-spot tracking of groundwater contamination, or provide immediate and inexpensive medical diagnostic tests.

Unusual testbed analyzes X-ray navigation technologies

May 21, 2013 8:10 am | by Lori Keesey, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center | News | Comments

Pulsars rotate rapidly, emitting powerful and regular beams of radiation that are seen as flashes of light, blinking on and off at intervals from seconds to milliseconds. Their predictability could be useful for future navigation systems. Built to test and validate next-generation X-ray navigation technology, the Goddard X-ray Navigation Laboratory Testbed will demonstrate the feasibility of this approach.

Nanoantennas help improve infrared sensing

May 20, 2013 7:52 am | News | Comments

A team of University of Pennsylvania engineers has used a pattern of nanoantennas to develop a new way of turning infrared light into mechanical action, opening the door to more sensitive infrared cameras and more compact chemical analysis techniques.

Cells must use their brakes moderately for effective speed control

May 15, 2013 11:34 am | News | Comments

All living cells have a regulatory system similar to what can be found in today's smartphones. Just like our phones process a large amount of information that we feed them, cells continuously process information about their outer and inner environment. Researchers have recently modeled how cells regulate this processing function.

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Making frequency-hopping radios practical

May 15, 2013 7:45 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

The way in which radio spectrum is currently allocated to different wireless technologies can lead to gross inefficiencies. Cognitive radio serves as a solution. Different proposals for cognitive radio place different emphases on hardware and software, but the chief component of many hardware approaches is a bank of filters that can isolate any frequency in a wide band. Researchers have developed a new method for manufacturing such filters.

Temporal filtering technique improves solid-state single photon sources

May 9, 2013 3:21 pm | News | Comments

An international collaboration led by researchers at NIST has demonstrated a novel temporal filtering approach that improves the performance of triggered single photon sources based on solid-state quantum emitters. The technique is compatible with a broad class of photon sources, and is expected to provide significant improvements in areas important for applications in photonic quantum information science.

Physical by smartphone becoming real possibility

May 3, 2013 8:35 am | by Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer | News | Comments

It's not a "Star Trek" tricorder, but by hooking a variety of gadgets onto a smartphone you could almost get a complete physical—without the paper gown or even a visit to the doctor's office. Companies are rapidly developing miniature medical devices that tap the power of the ubiquitous smartphone in hopes of changing how people monitor their own health.

Transfer of ultraprecise time signals over a wireless optical channel

May 2, 2013 8:18 am | News | Comments

By bouncing eye-safe laser pulses off a mirror on a hillside, researchers at NIST have transferred ultraprecise time signals through open air with unprecedented precision equivalent to the "ticking" of the world's best next-generation atomic clocks. The demonstration shows how next-generation atomic clocks at different locations could be linked wirelessly to improve distribution of time and frequency information.

The day NASA’s Fermi dodged a 1.5-ton bullet

May 1, 2013 12:08 pm | by Francis Reddy, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center | News | Comments

On March 29, 2012, the science team for NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope learned that a defunct Cold-War spy satellite would pass too close for comfort on April 4. The two spacecraft were expected to occupy the same point in space within 30 milliseconds of each other. The story of how it sidestepped a potential disaster offers a glimpse at an underappreciated aspect of managing a space mission.

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Study: People may welcome talking tissue boxes

May 1, 2013 9:55 am | News | Comments

According to researchers from Penn State University, who presented their findings at the 2013 Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Paris today, people who have embraced computers and smart phones are likely to give their blessing other smart objects, like talking tissue boxes or tweeting refrigerators. Their tests involved the use of actual talking, interacting objects.

NASA mission will study what disrupts radio waves

April 26, 2013 8:46 am | by Karen C. Fox, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center | News | Comments

A NASA-funded sounding rocket mission will launch from an atoll in the Pacific in the next few weeks to help scientists better understand and predict the electrical storms in Earth's upper atmosphere These storms can interfere with satellite communication and global positioning signals.

Tracking gunfire with a smartphone

April 26, 2013 8:41 am | by David Salisbury, Vanderbilt University | News | Comments

You are walking down the street with a friend. A shot is fired. The two of you duck behind the nearest cover and you pull out your smartphone. A map of the neighborhood pops up on its screen with a large red arrow pointing in the direction the shot came from. A team has made such a scenario possible by developing a system that transforms a smartphone into a shooter location system.

What did Alexander Graham Bell's voice sound like?

April 26, 2013 8:34 am | News | Comments

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s sound-restoration experts have done it again. They’ve helped to digitally recover a 128-year-old recording of Alexander Graham Bell’s voice, enabling people to hear the famed inventor speak for the first time. The recording ends with Bell saying “in witness whereof, hear my voice, Alexander Graham Bell.”

Engineers generate world-record millimeter-wave output power from nanoscale CMOS

April 25, 2013 7:44 am | News | Comments

A team of  electrical engineers from Columbia University has generated a record amount of power output—by a power of five—using silicon-based nanoscale CMOS technology for millimeter-wave power amplifiers. Power amplifiers are used in communications and sensor systems to boost power levels for reliable transmission of signals over long distances as required by the given application.

Computational physics software supported presidential inauguration

April 19, 2013 12:41 pm | News | Comments

The Naval Research Laboratory aided both the 2009 and 2013 Presidential Inaugurations with a technology called CT-Analyst. The software modeling tool is designed to provide first responders with a tool that can provides accurate, instantaneous, 3D predictions of chemical, biological, and radiological agent transport in urban settings.

New keyboard developed for touchscreens

April 17, 2013 4:32 pm | News | Comments

A research team in Europe has created a new keyboard called KALQ that enables faster thumb-typing on touchscreen devices. They used computational optimization techniques in conjunction with a model of thumb movement to search among millions of potential layouts to find the best one. A study confirmed that users could type 34% faster than they could with a QWERTY layout.

School’s “Drone Lab” reimagines possibilities for UAVs

April 17, 2013 9:17 am | News | Comments

Say the word “drone” and the image most often conjured is a flying object that is spying on an enemy, or delivering a weapon to a target. Students at University of California, Berkeley’s Drone Lab are developing open-source software that helps put drones to more socially beneficent use. Their efforts require little more than a consumer-grade drone, a smartphone, and a new JavaScript-based software platform.

System allows multitasking runners to read on a treadmill

April 16, 2013 10:03 am | News | Comments

Not many people can run and read at the same time, because the relative location of the eyes to the text is constantly changing. This forces the eyes to constantly adjust. At Purdue University, an industrial engineering professor has introduced a new innovation called ReadingMate, which adjusts text on a monitor to counteract the bobbing motion of a runner's head so that the text appears still.

Microtransistor prototypes map the mind

April 12, 2013 9:42 am | by Blaine Friedlander, Cornell University | News | Comments

To make better mind maps, a group of French scientists—building on prototypes developed at the Cornell University NanoScale Science and Technology Facility—have produced the world’s first microscopic, organic transistors that can amplify and record signals from within the brain itself.

Researchers develop tiny gradient chip

April 12, 2013 8:52 am | News | Comments

Nanotechnologists at the University of Twente have developed a tiny chip that makes it easy to create micrometer-scale gradients. Gradients are gradual transitions in specific properties, such as acidity. This newly developed system can be used to efficiently measure the reaction kinetics of various chemical or biological reactions.

New software could alleviate wireless traffic

April 12, 2013 7:53 am | News | Comments

The explosive popularity of wireless devices is increasingly clogging the airwaves, resulting in dropped calls, wasted bandwidth, and botched connections. New software, called GapSense, being developed at the University of Michigan works like a stoplight to control the traffic and dramatically reduce interference.

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