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Pittcon gears up for 2014

September 27, 2013 | Comments

Pittcon, a leading laboratory science and technical innovation showcase, attracts thousands of conferees from 90 countries visit each year to evaluate new products and technologies, formulate purchase decisions, and form valuable business connections. Conferee registration, is now open for Pittcon 2014, to be held March 2-6, at McCormick Place South, Chicago, Ill.

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R&D Daily

Bacterial nanowires not what scientists thought they were

August 19, 2014 8:28 am | by Robert Perkins, Univ. of Southern California | Comments

For the past 10 years, scientists have been fascinated by a type of “electric bacteria” that shoots out long tendrils like electric wires, using them to power themselves and transfer electricity to a variety of solid surfaces. A team led by scientists has now turned the study of these bacterial nanowires on its head, discovering that the key features in question are not pili as previously believed.

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New tool makes a single picture worth a thousand—and more—images

August 14, 2014 5:57 pm | by Sarah Yang, Univ. of California, Berkeley | Comments

Software developed by Univ. of California, Berkeley computer scientists seeks to tame the vast amount of visual data in the world by generating a single photo that can represent massive clusters of images. This tool can give users the photographic gist of a kid on Santa’s lap, housecats, or brides and grooms at their weddings. It works by generating an image that literally averages the key features of the other photos.

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Tattoo biobatteries produce power from sweat

August 13, 2014 12:45 pm | Comments

In the future, working up a sweat by exercising may not only be good for your health, but it could also power your small electronic devices. Researchers report that they have designed a sensor in the form of a temporary tattoo that can both monitor a person’s progress during exercise and produce power from their perspiration.

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Foam favorable for oil extraction

August 13, 2014 7:49 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

A Rice Univ. laboratory has provided proof that foam may be the right stuff to maximize enhanced oil recovery (EOR). In tests, foam pumped into an experimental rig that mimicked the flow paths deep underground proved better at removing oil from formations with low permeability than common techniques involving water, gas, surfactants or combinations of the three.

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Researchers show that how fast you drive might reveal exactly where you are going

August 12, 2014 7:41 am | Comments

Rutgers Univ. researchers have shown that GPS technology is not needed to show where a driver traveled. A starting point and the driver's speed are enough when using a technique dubbed “elastic pathing”, which predicts pathways by seeing how speed patterns match street layouts. This could cause concerns for privacy, however, since many insurance companies offer discounts in return for customers allowing their driving habits to be monitored.

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Photo editing algorithm changes weather, seasons automatically

August 11, 2014 8:27 am | Comments

A computer algorithm being developed by Brown Univ. researchers lets users instantly change the weather, time of day, season or other features in outdoor photos with simple text commands. Machine learning and a clever database make it possible. A paper describing the work will be presented at SIGGRAPH 2014.

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Multiple UAVs perform autonomous formation flight

August 8, 2014 8:05 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | Comments

These days, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) typically fly alone with a team of ground operators controlling their activities through teleoperation or waypoint-based routing.  But one aircraft can only carry so many sensors, limiting its capabilities. That’s one reason why a fleet of autonomous aircraft can be better than one flying alone.

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New material structures bend like microscopic hair

August 6, 2014 10:31 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | Comments

MIT engineers have fabricated a new elastic material coated with microscopic, hairlike structures that tilt in response to a magnetic field. Depending on the field’s orientation, the microhairs can tilt to form a path through which fluid can flow; the material can even direct water upward, against gravity. Researchers say structures may be used in windows to wick away moisture.

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No-power Wi-Fi connectivity could fuel Internet of Things reality

August 6, 2014 8:11 am | by Michelle Ma, Univ. of Washington | Comments

Imagine a world in which your wristwatch or other wearable device communicates directly with your online profiles, storing information about your daily activities where you can best access it—all without requiring batteries. Or, battery-free sensors embedded around your home could track minute-by-minute temperature changes and send that information to your thermostat to help conserve energy.

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Researchers boost insect aggression by altering brain metabolism

August 6, 2014 7:37 am | by Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | Comments

Scientists report they can crank up insect aggression simply by interfering with a basic metabolic pathway in the insect brain. Their study, of fruit flies and honey bees, shows a direct, causal link between brain metabolism and aggression. The new research follows up on previous work from the laboratory of Univ. of Illinois entomology professor and Institute for Genomic Biology director Gene Robinson, who also led the new analysis.

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Extracting audio from visual information

August 4, 2014 12:17 pm | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | Comments

Researchers at MIT, Microsoft, and Adobe have developed an algorithm that can reconstruct an audio signal by analyzing minute vibrations of objects depicted in video. In one set of experiments, they were able to recover intelligible speech from the vibrations of a potato-chip bag photographed from 15 feet away through soundproof glass.

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“Wetting” a battery’s appetite for renewable energy storage

August 4, 2014 9:22 am | by Frances White, PNNL | Comments

Sun, wind and other renewable energy sources could make up a larger portion of the electricity America consumes if better batteries could be built to store the intermittent energy for cloudy, windless days. Now a new material could allow more utilities to store large amounts of renewable energy and make the nation's power system more reliable and resilient.

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Hummingbirds vs. helicopters: Stanford engineers compare flight dynamics

July 30, 2014 2:31 pm | by Bjorn Carey, Stanford News Service | Comments

More than 42 million years of natural selection have turned hummingbirds into some of the world's most energetically efficient flyers, particularly when it comes to hovering in place. Humans, however, are gaining ground quickly. A new study led by David Lentink, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Stanford, reveals that the spinning blades of micro-helicopters are about as efficient at hovering as the average hummingbird.

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Vision-correcting display makes reading glasses so yesterday

July 30, 2014 9:00 am | by Sarah Yang, UC Berkeley | Comments

What if computer screens had glasses instead of the people staring at the monitors? That concept is not too far afield from technology being developed by UC Berkeley computer and vision scientists. They are developing computer algorithms to compensate for an individual’s visual impairment, and creating vision-correcting displays that enable users to see text and images clearly without wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses.

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Researchers discover cool-burning flames in space

July 28, 2014 2:04 pm | by Ioana Patringenaru, Jacobs School of Engineering | Comments

A team of international researchers has discovered a new type of cool burning flames that could lead to cleaner, more efficient engines for cars. The discovery was made during a series of experiments on the International Space Station by a team led by Forman Williams, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the Univ. of California, San Diego.

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