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The Lead

Science Connect: Next-Generation Engineering Facilities

April 17, 2015 | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Comments

In the past decade, the expansion of research focus areas in engineering has undergone a transformation. The demands of engineering labs present challenges for institutions because most occupied spaces were conceived during an era with radically different needs and required services.

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Soft Robot Challenge Aims to Advance Field

February 4, 2016 2:37 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

The octopus is a fascinating creature. It’s perhaps one of the most alien-looking lifeforms that calls the Earth home. They can flush their skin a variety of colors, and contort their bodies to fit through holes as small as one inch in diameter. It’s that latter flexibility that’s made the octopus a model for soft robots.

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Dutch Police are Training Birds of Prey to Intercept Drones

February 2, 2016 9:21 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

There’s a slew of methods companies, research institutions, and governments are using to counter the proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

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Blue Origin Takes New Shepard Out for Second Successful Spin

January 25, 2016 12:39 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft made headlines in November when it launched 329,839 ft into the sky and flawlessly landed right-side up on Texan ground. Over the weekend, Blue Origin took New Shepard for another successful spin, demonstrating the spacecraft’s reusability.  

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New Duck-Billed Dino Described

January 25, 2016 8:43 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Around 85 million years ago, North America was halved by 1,000 mi of ocean, which connected the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Sea. The continent was divided into two landmasses: Laramidia and Appalachia. Appalachia stretched from around Alabama up into Canada.

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'Squishy' Robot Fingers Aid Deep Sea Exploration

January 20, 2016 11:31 am | by Wyss Institute | Comments

A team of scientists has developed soft robotic grippers that improve the ability to collect delicate underwater specimens.

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Researchers Develop a Firefighting Drone

January 19, 2016 1:18 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

The quadcopter whines in midair, situated inside a room.  A jutting obstacle blocks its path to the room’s other side, only allowing a slim margin for the quadcopter to pass through. But the drone looks too big. It hovers near a wall before the tight gap, and flips on its top, rolling along the wall until it passes to the other side.

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U.S. Navy Outfits Two Vessels with 3-D Printers

December 30, 2015 1:11 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

The ocean can be a desolate place. If equipment breaks or spare parts are needed, there’s not exactly a Home Depot or a Lowe’s in the neighborhood.

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FAA Approves Terrafugia's Flying Car for Test Flights

December 17, 2015 12:05 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Each day, humanity inches closer to the vision of the future presented by “The Jetsons.” Okay, maybe not exactly that cartoon future, but something resembling it.

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Snake-Arm Robot Welds with Lasers

December 16, 2015 2:45 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Previous studies have suggested the fear of snakes started when mammals developed perceptive abilities capable of focusing on threatening things. Regardless of whether one’s fear approaches phobia—ophidiophobia—or just a passing revulsion, it may be an echo of an ancient mammalian fear pre-wired into the brain.

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Google Unveils New Name, Mission for Life Sciences Division

December 15, 2015 2:28 pm | by Ryan Bushey, Associate Editor | Comments

Google posted a video on Tuesday December 7 touting a new name and mission for the conglomerate’s life sciences division.

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New stretchable, wearable sensor made with chewing gum

December 3, 2015 7:32 am | by American Chemical Society | Comments

Body sensors, which were once restricted to doctors’ offices, have come a long way. They now allow any wearer to easily track heart rate, steps and sleep cycles around the clock. Soon, they could become even more versatile, with the help of chewing gum. Scientists report in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces a unique sensing device made of gum and carbon nanotubes that can move with your most bendable parts and track your breathing.

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Engineers develop “invisible wires” to improve solar cell efficiency

November 30, 2015 7:42 am | by Mark Shwartz, Stanford Univ. | Comments

A solar cell is basically a semiconductor, which converts sunlight into electricity, sandwiched between metal contacts that carry the electrical current. But this widely used design has a flaw: The critical but shiny metal on top of the cell reflects sunlight away from the semiconductor where electricity is produced, reducing the cell's efficiency.

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A new way to monitor vital signs

November 19, 2015 7:45 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | Comments

Using technology invented at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, doctors may one day be able to monitor patients’ vital signs by having them swallow an ingestible electronic device that measures heart rate and breathing rate from within the gastrointestinal tract.

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Blood test results vary from drop to drop in finger prick tests

November 18, 2015 7:31 am | by Jade Boyd, Rice Univ. | Comments

When it comes to needles and drawing blood, most patients agree that bigger is not better. But in the first study of its kind, Rice Univ. bioengineers have found results from a single drop of blood are highly variable, and as many as six to nine drops must be combined to achieve consistent results.

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ITRI’s Fluid-Driven Emergency Lighting Technology

November 9, 2015 8:40 am | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Comments

ITRI’s Fluid-Driven Emergency Lighting Technology is the world’s first ergonomics-oriented hydroelectric fire-fighting technology. It uses the existing water supply on the fire site to produce electricity.

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