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R&D Daily

Light as a puppeteer

March 18, 2015 9:24 am | by Laura Petersen, OIST | Comments

Researchers at the OIST have demonstrated a more robust method for controlling single, micron-sized particles with light. Passing light along optical microfibers or nanofibers to manipulate particles has gained popularity in the past decade and has an array of promising applications in physics and biology. Most research has focused on using this technique with the basic profile of light.

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Minimal device maximizes macula imaging

March 18, 2015 7:49 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

A smart and simple method developed at Rice Univ. to image a patient’s eye could help monitor eye health and spot signs of macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, especially in developing nations. The patient-operated, portable device invented at Rice is called mobileVision. It can be paired with a smartphone to give clinicians finely detailed images of the macula, without artificially dilating the pupil.

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“Smart bandage” detects bed sores before they are visible

March 17, 2015 2:23 pm | by Sarah Yang, Univ. of California, Berkeley | Comments

Engineers at the Univ. of California, Berkeley, are developing a new type of bandage that does far more than stanch the bleeding from a paper cut or scraped knee. Thanks to advances in flexible electronics, the researchers have created a new “smart bandage” that uses electrical currents to detect early tissue damage from pressure ulcers, or bedsores, before they can be seen by human eyes, and while recovery is still possible.

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Graphene membrane could lead to better fuel cells, water filters

March 17, 2015 12:32 pm | by Walt Miss, Penn State Univ. | Comments

An atomically thin membrane with microscopically small holes may prove to be the basis for future hydrogen fuel cells, water filtering and desalination membranes, according to a group of 15 theorists and experimentalists. The team tested the possibility of using graphene as a separation membrane in water and found that naturally occurring defects allowed hydrogen protons to cross the barrier at unprecedented speeds.

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Researchers collaborate to develop revolutionary 3D printing technology

March 17, 2015 10:30 am | by Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill | Comments

A 3D printing technology developed by Silicon Valley startup, Carbon3D Inc., enables objects to rise from a liquid media continuously rather than being built layer-by-layer as they have been for the past 25 years, representing a fundamentally new approach to 3D printing. The technology allows ready-to-use products to be made 25 to 100 times faster than other methods.

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Maps predict strength of structures

March 16, 2015 7:36 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

Mother-of-pearl, the iridescent layer in the shells of some mollusks, inspired a Rice Univ. study that will help scientists and engineers judge the ultimate strength, stiffness and toughness of composite materials for anything from nanoscale electronics to buildings.

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Necklace can help track food intake

March 13, 2015 11:05 am | by Bill Kisliuk, Univ. of California, Los Angeles | Comments

A sophisticated necklace developed by researchers at the Univ. of California, Los Angeles, can monitor food and drink intake, which could help wearers track and improve their dietary habits. The inventors of the WearSens device say it could help battle obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other problems related to nutrition.

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Magnetic brain stimulation

March 13, 2015 7:54 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | Comments

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a method to stimulate brain tissue using external magnetic fields and injected magnetic nanoparticles: a technique allowing direct stimulation of neurons, which could be an effective treatment for a variety of neurological diseases, without the need for implants or external connections.

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Engineers solve mystery of dancing droplets

March 12, 2015 8:17 am | by Tom Abate, Stanford Engineering | Comments

A puzzling observation, pursued through hundreds of experiments, has led Stanford Univ. researchers to a simple yet profound discovery: Under certain circumstances, droplets of fluid will move like performers in a dance choreographed by molecular physics.

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Cheap Lamp Key to Energy Storage

March 9, 2015 8:00 am | by Univ. of British Columbia | Comments

Researchers wanted to find a better way to make coatings that can be painted onto surfaces to conduct electricity or convert electricity into hydrogen fuels. Instead, they found a new way to make state-of-the-art materials for energy storage using a cheap lamp from the hardware store.

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3-D Printing Blasts Off

March 6, 2015 9:55 am | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Comments

3-D printing isn’t just a commodity on Earth, it’s now also a commodity in space. In November 2014, the first 3-D printer in space created its first object, albeit self-fulfilling, a replacement faceplate for the printer’s casing that holds its internal wiring in place.

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Breakthrough in energy harvesting could power life on Mars

March 5, 2015 9:15 am | by Northumbria Univ. | Comments

Martian colonists could use an innovative new technique to harvest energy from carbon dioxide thanks to research pioneered at Northumbria Univ. The research proposes a new kind of engine for producing energy based on the Leidenfrost effect, a phenomenon which happens when a liquid comes into near contact with a surface much hotter than its boiling point.

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Pens filled with high-tech inks for DIY sensors

March 3, 2015 9:06 am | by Ioana Patringenaru, Jacobs School of Engineering | Comments

A new simple tool developed by nanoengineers at the Univ. of California, San Diego, is opening the door to an era when anyone will be able to build sensors, anywhere. The team developed high-tech bio-inks that react with several chemicals, including glucose. They filled off-the-shelf ballpoint pens with the inks and were able to draw sensors to measure glucose directly on the skin and sensors to measure pollution on leaves.

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First ever photograph of light as both a particle and wave

March 2, 2015 8:34 am | by EPFL | Comments

Light behaves both as a particle and as a wave. Since the days of Einstein, scientists have been trying to directly observe both of these aspects of light at the same time. Now, scientists at EPFL have succeeded in capturing the first-ever snapshot of this dual behavior.

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Electrochemical “fingers” unlock battery’s inner potential

February 27, 2015 8:18 am | by Justin Eure, Brookhaven National Laboratory | Comments

Lithium-ion batteries unleash electricity as electrochemical reactions spread through active materials. Manipulating this complex process and driving the reactions into the energy-rich heart of each part of these active materials is crucial to optimizing the power output and ultimate energy capacity of these batteries. Now, scientists have mapped these atomic-scale reaction pathways and linked them to the battery’s rate of discharge.

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