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New lab working on security shoe sole to ID people

July 23, 2012 4:48 am | by Kevin Begos, Associated Press | News | Comments

Carnegie Mellon University's new Pedo-Biometrics Lab is working to perfect special shoe insoles that can help monitor access to high-security areas, like nuclear power plants or special military bases. The concept is based on research that shows each person has unique feet, and ways of walking. Sensors check on the pressure of feet and the gait, using a computer to compare patterns.

Artificial jellyfish swims in a heartbeat

July 23, 2012 3:46 am | News | Comments

Using recent advances in marine biomechanics, materials science, and tissue engineering, a team of researchers at Harvard University and the California Institute of Technology have turned inanimate silicone and living cardiac muscle cells into a freely swimming "jellyfish."

Colorful science sheds light on solar heating

July 19, 2012 2:04 pm | News | Comments

A new visualization technique created by Nicholeen Viall, a solar scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center produces images of the sun reminiscent of Van Gogh, with broad strokes of bright color splashed across a yellow background. But it's science, not art. The color of each pixel contains a wealth of information about the 12-hour history of cooling and heating at that particular spot on the sun.

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World’s first sensitive artificial finger

July 19, 2012 1:45 pm | by Annette Oestrand | News | Comments

Research teams in Europe have developed a prototype of the first sensitive artificial finger. It works with an array of pressure sensors that mimic the spatial resolution, sensitivity, and dynamics of human neural tactile sensors and can be directly connected to the central nervous system. Combined with an artificial skin that mimics a human fingerprint, the device´s sensitivity to vibrations is improved.

Motions below Sun’s surface are unexpectedly slow

July 19, 2012 8:56 am | News | Comments

Using observations of solar oscillations from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory to glimpse the interior of the Sun, researchers have found that rather than moving at the speed of a jet plane (as previously understood) the plasma flows at a walking pace, just a few meters per second. The finding refutes predictions made by previous numerical models.

Study of interstellar plasma reveals a wave mystery

July 18, 2012 7:33 pm | by Karen C. Fox | News | Comments

Most of the matter in the universe is plasma. Using data from the WAVES instrument on NASA's Wind mission, space plasma physicist Lynn Wilson and his colleagues at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center have discovered evidence for a type of plasma wave moving faster than theory predicted it could move. The research suggests that a different process than expected may be driving the waves.

Hopping bacterial enzyme gives insight into epigenetic gene expression

July 18, 2012 5:00 am | News | Comments

University of California, Santa Barbara researchers' discovery of a variation of an enzyme's ability to "hop" as it moves along DNA, modifying the genetic material of a bacteria—and its physical capability and behavior—holds much promise for biomedical and other scientific applications.

Man-made pores mimic important features of natural pores

July 17, 2012 9:18 am | News | Comments

Inspired by nature, an international research team has created synthetic pores that mimic the activity of cellular ion channels, which play a vital role in human health by severely restricting the types of materials allowed to enter cells. The pores the scientists built are permeable to potassium ions and water, but not to other ions such as sodium and lithium ions.

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Frog calls inspire new algorithm for wireless networks

July 17, 2012 7:02 am | News | Comments

Males of the Japanese tree frog have learned not to use their calls at the same time so that the females can distinguish between them. Scientists at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia have used this form of calling behavior to create an algorithm that assigns colors to network nodes—an operation that can be applied to developing efficient wireless networks.

Generation X is surprisingly unconcerned about climate change

July 17, 2012 6:08 am | News | Comments

As the nation suffers through a summer of record-shattering heat, a University of Michigan report finds that Generation X is lukewarm about climate change—uninformed about the causes and unconcerned about the potential dangers.

Nanorobot can be programmed to target different diseases

July 16, 2012 4:09 pm | News | Comments

University of Florida researchers have created a tiny particle that can be programmed to shut down the genetic production line that cranks out disease-related proteins. In laboratory tests, these newly created “nanorobots” all but eradicated hepatitis C virus infection.

Human eye inspires clog-free inkjet printer

July 16, 2012 11:29 am | News | Comments

Clogged printer nozzles waste time and money while reducing print quality. University of Missouri engineers recently invented a clog-preventing nozzle cover by mimicking the human eye.

Human eye inspires clog-free ink jet printer

July 16, 2012 10:10 am | News | Comments

University of Missouri engineers have recently invented a clog-preventing nozzle cover by mimicking the human eye. The invention uses a droplet of silicone oil to cover the opening of the nozzle when not in use, similar to the film of oil that keeps a thin layer of tears from evaporating off the eye. Instead of eyelids, however, researchers came up with a different solution.

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Messy experiment cleans up physics mystery of cornstarch

July 13, 2012 8:43 am | by Steve Koppes | News | Comments

Cornstarch, when mixed with water, forms a liquid that behaves in surprising ways, instantaneously turning into a solid under the force of a sudden impact. It’s soupy, yet adults can run across a vat of this liquid. A new study from the University of Chicago culminates a long struggle to understand a phenomenon that has elicited a wide range of explanations over the years.

Physics, not chemistry, extinguishes hot flame

July 13, 2012 3:46 am | News | Comments

Fire is a severe threat in enclosed environments such as those aboard naval ships or aircraft. However, new methods for fighting these fires have eluded researchers for 50 years. Using both electric and acoustic methods based on physics, scientists at DARPA were able to demonstrate their effectiveness in eliminating small flames. Future studies will focus on scalability.

Hubble discovers fifth moon orbiting Pluto

July 12, 2012 4:05 am | News | Comments

A research team using Hubble’s powerful vision to scour the Pluto system to uncover potential hazards to the New Horizons spacecraft has located yet another satellite to the icy dwarf planet Pluto. The moon is estimated to be irregular in shape, 6 to 15 miles across, and in a co-planar orbit with other moons in the system. Its discovery prompts discussion on how such a complex collection of moons occurred.

Giving ancient life another chance to evolve

July 11, 2012 5:34 am | News | Comments

It's a project 500 million years in the making. Only this time, instead of playing on a movie screen in Jurassic Park, it's happening in a laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Using a process called paleo-experimental evolution, researchers have resurrected a 500-million-year-old-gene from bacteria and inserted it into modern-day Escherichia coli bacteria.

Why powerlines confuse the internal compass

July 10, 2012 6:38 am | News | Comments

Migratory birds and fish use the Earth’s magnetic field to find their way. Researchers have recently identified cells with internal compass needles for the perception of the field—and can explain why high-tension cables perturb the magnetic orientation.

New studies nix report of arsenic-loving bacteria

July 9, 2012 8:42 am | by Malcolm Ritter, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

It was a provocative finding: strange bacteria in a California lake that thrived on something completely unexpected—arsenic. What it suggested is that life, a very different kind of life, could possibly exist on some other planet. On Sunday, that same journal, Science , released two papers that rip apart the original research.

Life's molecules could lie within reach of Mars Curiosity rover

July 6, 2012 8:34 am | News | Comments

Stick a shovel in the ground and scoop. That's about how deep scientists need to go in order to find evidence for ancient life on Mars, if there is any to be found, a new study suggests. That's within reach of Curiosity, the Mars Science Laboratory rover expected to land on the Red Planet next month.

Healing bullets fly through tissue

July 5, 2012 7:38 am | News | Comments

Microscopically small submarines that can swim through our blood to clear out clogged arteries or destroy malignant tumors. Various micro- and nanomachines have already been developed, but a new type of machine introduced by American researchers finally has enough propulsive power to penetrate tissue and overcome cellular barriers.

World's first photo of a single atom’s shadow

July 5, 2012 7:31 am | by Helen Wright | News | Comments

In an international scientific breakthrough, a research team in Australia has been able to photograph the shadow of a single atom for the first time. At the heart of this achievement is a super high-resolution microscope, which makes the shadow dark enough to see.

Nanostructures modeled after moth eyes may enhance medical imaging

July 3, 2012 7:22 am | News | Comments

Using the compound eyes of the lowly moth as their inspiration, an international team of physicists has developed new nanoscale materials that could someday reduce the radiation dosages received by patients getting X-rayed, while improving the resolution of the resulting images.

Northwestern researchers create “rubber-band electronics”

July 3, 2012 3:32 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Northwestern University, working with a team of scientists from the United States and abroad, have recently developed a type of electronics that can bend and stretch to more than 200% their original size, four times greater than is possible with today’s technology. The key is a combination of a porous polymer and liquid metal.

Discovery may lead to tomatoes with vintage flavor and quality

June 29, 2012 12:38 pm | News | Comments

A University of California Davis research team began studying the genes influencing tomato fruit development and ripening after spending two summers screening tomato plants for transcription factors that might play a role in both fruit color and quality. What they’ve found is that selection for tomatoes with optimal ripening qualities compromises the sugars that contribute to the fruit’s flavor.

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