December 13, 2018

    You can't hide anymore. A new face recognition system works even in the dark.
    Nowhere to hide - A face recognition tech effective even in the dark - short science news - technology

    Researchers have developed a face recognition system that can identify faces from thermal face images which are usually captured by thermal cameras. Under low light conditions, there is insufficient illumination to accurately capture facial imagery without active illumination which might give away the position of surveillance cameras. This new system could be used for covert military operations which are usually carried out in the dark and could help inform soldiers if a person is a person of interest like someone on a watchlist. The technology uses artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to match thermal face images and existing biometric face databases.

    Read the full story: ScienceDaily


    Smartphone cameras could replace lab microscopes one day by employing artificial intelligence techniques
    Smartphones as microscopes - artificial intelligence at its best - short science technology news

    Since smartphone cameras of today are specially designed to photograph scenery but not to develop high-resolution microscopic images, researchers have developed an attachment which can be placed on the smartphone lens to increase its resolution to one-millionth of a meter. However, since this 3D printed attachment wasn't enough to give results of high-end lab microscopes, they then developed artificial intelligence algorithms to develop microscope level images. Researchers fed the images shot by the smartphone and a microscope to a computer system to rapidly enhance the mobile phone images. This innovation could help develop cheap alternatives to the expensive lab microscopes.

    Read the full story: University of California Los Angeles
    Scientific publication: ACS Photonics


    Scientists developed a new type of biocompatible, flexible polymer, using caffeine as a catalyst. Credit: MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital
    Caffeine used to create polymers with applications in medicine - short science news - technology news

    Caffeine is now used in a totally unexpected way: to stimulate the formation of a new type of polymer material. Caffeine acts as a catalyst, facilitating the production of a gel-like biomaterial, scientists discovered. The gel has several potential medical applications, including the delivery of drugs in the body. The researchers showed that they could load two malaria drugs, artesunate and piperaquine, into these polymers and they found do harmful effects of the gels in four different types of cells tested.

    Read the full story: MIT
    Scientific publication: Biomaterials


    Internet searches and Twitter activity predict trends in syphilis cases
    Using social media and internet searches to predict syphilis trends - short science news - technology and health

    Two different studies found that certain terms that people searched in Google, or twitted about were correlated with trends in syphilis infections. For the internet searches, the study looked at 25 phrases such as “find sex” and “STD”. For Twitter, the study included the activity of 8,538 users. In both cases, a computer algorithm was able to predict with up to 90% accuracy the syphilis counts. This suggests that monitoring internet searches and social media data could help predict future syphilis outbreaks.

    Read the full story: University of California, Los Angeles WebsiteDirections Save
    Scientific publication: Preventive Medicine
    Scientific publication: Epidemiology


    A material coating is developed which can repel all liquids
    An 'everything-repellent' coating can kid-proof phones and homes - short science articles and news

    Material scientists have developed a material which can repel just about any known liquid. Called an 'omniphobic' material, this coating is the first that is durable, clear and long-lasting. Scientists claim that this new coating can prevent phone screens, table tops, camera lenses and just about anything from getting greasy. IT can easily repel water, alcohols, oils and even peanut butter. The material is a mixture of fluorinated polyurethane and a special fluid repellent molecule called F-POSS. Scientists believe that in the next coming years the cost of production will dramatically decrease which will help in mass adoption.

    Read the full story: University of Michigan
    Scientific publication: ACS Applied and Materials interfaces


    A biosensor under the skin to monitor blood alcohol levels
    An injectable sensor to monitor blood alcohol levels - short science news and articles

    Engineers have now developed a small, injectable biosensor which can be put just below the skin surface to monitor long-term blood alcohol levels. This sensor can be powered wirelessly by wearable devices like a smartwatch. The sensor is coated with alcohol oxidase enzyme which selectively interacts with alcohol to generate a product which is then detected by the sensor. Scientists say that the ultimate goal is to develop a routine drug monitoring device especially for patients in substance abuse programs. This sensor could be n alternative to breathalyzers which normally require patient initiation and are widely inaccurate.

    Read the full story: ScienceBriefss


    DNA to store your data is an amazing idea
    This startup could store your favourite song in DNA- short science articles and news

    Twist Bioscience is one of the world's largest supplier of manufactured synthetic DNA. Storing data in DNA is a $30 billion a year industry up for grabs. Instead of storing data on magnetic tapes, it is now possible to store it in DNA, such that each bit of information is translated into genes which then can be sequenced when the data is needed for retrieval. As a data storage device, DNA has unlimited potential. They have developed methods to recover individual data files in an error-free way from a 200 MB of data stored in DNA. The company has already supplied 20 million custom coded DNA strands to Microsoft research and is now working towards developing DNA storage into a business.

    Read the full story: MIT technology Review


    Arnav Kapur, a researcher in the Fluid Interfaces group at the MIT Media Lab, demonstrates the AlterEgo project. Credit: Lorrie Lejeune/MIT
    A system to transcribe words spoken silently 'in your head' - short science articles and news

    Researchers have developed a computer interface which can transcribe words that are spoken internally and not actually spoken aloud. This silent speech interface device wraps around the back of the neck and then has projections which touch the face at 7 different locations. Neuromuscular signals are picked up by electrodes in the device from the face and the jaw and these signals when processed by the computer code could distinguish non-spoken words with an accuracy of 92%. Scientists are confident that they would be able to achieve full conversation someday with applications in high-noise environments like power plants and printing presses.

    Read the full story: ScienceBriefss


    Bacteria could be killed using light using the new NanoEnzyme
    A 'NanoZyme' kills bacteria using light- short science technology articles

    For years scientists have been trying to develop artificial enzymes which can fight against bacteria by use of external triggers. Now, researchers have developed a new artificial enzyme which uses light to kill bacteria. Made of extremely small nanorods which are 1000 times thinner than the human hair, these 'NanoZymes' create highly reactive oxygen species using light and moisture which then can rapidly kill the bacteria. This enzyme can be made in a solution to mimic fluids in a wound or as powers to mix with paint, ceramics and other products. This has numerous applications like making surfaces bacteria free like public toilets and control infections in public hospitals.

    Read the full story: RMIT university
    Scientific publication: Applied nanomaterials


    Parental control apps might not be useful
    Parental control apps to keep children safe online might be counterproductive-short science articles and news

    Mobile apps which are designed to keep children safe from online predators are actually counterproductive since they hamper the trust between the child and the parent. It also reduces the ability of the child to respond to online threats. Researchers found children who had authoritarian parents experienced higher online risks like harassment, sexual solicitation and explicit content. Researchers state that children would rather want their parents to talk to them rather than use these apps. This could form the basis of designing apps meant to keep our children safe online.

    Read the full story: University of Florida


    ZIPLINE launches the fastest drone delivery system
    ZIPLINE is set to launch the world's fastest delivery drone- short technology news

    A few years ago, the California startup ZIPLINE created a national drone delivery system to ship drugs and blood to remote regions of Rwanda. Now, the same startup has launched the world's fastest commercial delivery drone which has a top speed of 128 km/hr. The USA is set to pass a bill which would allow a private drone to operate at heights at which people on earth cannot see them. ZIPLINE has plenty of experience in this scenario in Rwanda and Rinaudo. They have also developed a streamlined launch and recovery system so that now ZIPLINE can manage about 500 flights in a single day from one centre. Way for future delivery systems....

    Read the full story: MIT technology Review


    Injectable bandages could save lives on the battlefield
    Injectable bandages are here - short science technology news and articles

    Researchers have developed hydrogels which can be injected at the site of penetrating injuries. These hydrogels then achieve hemostasis by promoting the natural cascade of blood clotting. Researchers used a common thickening agent known as the kappa-carrageenan which is usually obtained from seaweeds. This kappa-carrageenan was then mixed with clay-based nanoparticles resulting in the development of injectable gelatin. The negatively charged nanoparticles also enabled interactions with therapeutic agents which then are slowly released into the wound. This also helps in the healing process in addition to homeostasis.

    Read the full story: Texas A&M Engineering
    Scientific publication: Acta Biomaterialia


    This new plastic could help prevent overheating of electronic instruments. Credit: Chelsea Turner/MIT
    Converting plastic insulators to heat conductors - short science news and articles

    Plastic is an excellent insulator and it has been used to efficiently trap heat, for eg a coffee cup. However, the same property is a problem with plastic casings for laptops and mobiles which leads to overheating. However, MIT researchers have now developed a plastic material which is a thermal conductor, which means it dissipates heat. While traditional plastics are made of long-chain fibres which are intertwined like a spaghetti ball, the new plastics developed consist of stretched chains which enables the heat to skip easily. These new plastics result in heat conduction about 300 times as compared to older plastics. This could help develop plastics for advanced applications like self-cooling alternatives to existing electronic casings.

    Read the full story: MIT


    Squids can reflect light in such a way that become essentially invisible
    Now you see it, now you don’t : new invisibility material invented

    Inspired by light reflection by squid skin, researchers have invented a material that can quickly change the way it reflects heat, smoothing or wrinkling its surface in under a second after being stretched or electrically stimulated. This makes it invisible to infrared night vision devices. This invention can be applied for better camouflage for troops, or for insulation for spacecraft, storage containers, clinical care, and building heating and cooling systems.

    Read the full story: University of California – Irvine
    Scientific publication: Science


    A molecular model of peptoid nanosheet which binds to Shiga Toxin. Credit: Berkeley Lab
    Nanosheets coated with sugar developed to target pathogens-short science articles

    Researchers have developed ultrathin sheets of self-assembling polymers called peptoids which can be coated with different sugars. These nanosheets effectively mimic cell surfaces functioning as a trap. The sugars selectively bind to different proteins including Shiga toxin, which causes dysentery. Depending on which sugars are used to coat these nanosheets, different pathogens can be attracted to the surface. The applications are numerous, environmental cleanups to clear specific pathogens and toxins or targetting pathogens like Ebola or E.coli. Or we could develop nasal sprays containing these pathogen trapping nanosheets to prevent respiratory infections.

    Read the full story: Berkeley Lab
    Scientific publication: ACS Nano


    Released CO2 could be repurposed
    What could we do with captured CO2 emissions - short science articles

    Scientists are very optimistic that in the next 10 years we could affordably capture CO2 from power plants and other emissions and convert it into useful molecules. The technology is still in its infancy but could be used to convert CO2 to hydrogen, methane and ethane as biofuels, ethylene and alcohol as consumer goods and formic acid in the pharmaceutical industry or as fuel in fuel cells. While currently, the electricity required to do so is very high making it very expensive, rapid strides could be made since renewable energy sources will become more available.

    Read the full story: phys.org
    Scientific publication: Joule journal


    A new thin flexible and cheap LCD could revolutionize the industry
    Thin, flexible paperlike LCD- short science technology articles

    Engineers from HongKong and China have developed a special liquid crystal display (LCD) which is flexible, light and paper thin. Like traditional LCDs, this screen is designed to have liquid crystal between two plates. However, unlike traditional LCDs, which uses electric connections to switch individual pixels from light to dark, this new LCS uses special molecules which realign on exposure to polarized light and change the colour of the pixels. Normally spacers are used in all LCDs to determine the liquid crystal thickness, which on an impact or bending moves the liquid away leaving a section of screen blank. However, this new LCD has a mesh-like spacer which prevents the liquid crystal to move away on impact. This could lead to rewritable LCDs in the future.

    Read the full story: NanoWrek
    Scientific publication: Applied Physics papers


    A new material, with the thickness of only three atoms, could be the future of smart displays
    New device paves the way for invisible displays and light-emitting tattoos - short science news - technology news

    A team of engineers announced successfully building a device only a few millimeters wide, fully transparent, with interesting properties. It can emit light, it is flexible and it is a semiconductor. When not used, it becomes completely transparent. Thus, it works as a display that is invisible when not in use, with applications going as far as light-emitting tattoos and smart screens. The device is a proof-of-concept, but further research is still needed in order to make it available for practical applications.

    Read the full story: University of California, Berkeley
    Scientific publication: Nature Communications


    Fluctuations in leave brightness could help generate electricity
    Harvesting energy from leaves fluttering in the wind- short science technology articles

    Plant leaves are regularly subjected to fluctuations between sunshine and shade. Researchers have now developed a system and material which generates electricity by harnessing the changes in heating between shade and sunlight. They have developed gold nanodiscs which then convert the generated heat into electricity. Such systems could be employed so that they cover large surface areas of leaves and then harness electricity by the fluctuations in the light intensity induced by blowing winds.

    Read the full story: Linköping University
    Scientific publication: Advanced Optic materials


    Future smart cars may be connected to our brains in order to facilitate driving
    The future of driving may involve connecting your brain with the car - science news technology

    Researchers from EPFL and Nissan announced the development of a brain-machine interface that can read the brain signals of a driver. The signals can be sent to a smart car which will anticipate the driver’s intentions. This technology is called brain-to vehicle (B2V) and is intended to facilitate driving. The researchers claim that the vehicle can learn from the driver’s brain signals, in order to personalize the feedback and to accurately anticipate the reactions. B2V is the first technology of its kind and it may be one of the future directions in the development of smart cars. 

    Read the full story: www.sciencebriefss.com
    Scientific source: EPFL


    Getting microorganisms to digest oil before being release in water could decrease oil pollution
    Getting the oil out of the water more efficiently- short science technology articles

    Lithuanian scientists have developed a system that clears oil products effectively from water making it literally pollution free. Several countries allow oil in discharge water to be less than 5mg/L to be released into the water environment. Although the marine life could survive this, these oil products pass into the organisms which then affects the ecosystem in total. However, the new Wastewater cleaning technology employs microorganisms which can digest these oil products into CO2 and water. This system is ready to be used in situations like the treatment of oil production and refinery wastewater, car wash oil, polluted petroleums etc.

    Read the full story: Kaunas University of Technology


    Water out of thin air.. Could happen soon. Credits: Courtesy of the researchers
    Let's extract water from the air of the driest deserts-short science articles

    Researchers have developed a device which could extract potable water from the air even when the humidity is less than 10%. The system which was first described last year is based on a new high-surface area material termed the metal-organic framework (MOF). Current methods such as fog-harvesting method or dew harvesting method require more than 50% humidity and also a large amount of energy. However, the device based on MOF is powered by solar energy which is a step forward from the old techniques. Still in a nascent stage, but this proof of concept technology could be our answer for future water woes.

    Read the full story: MIT
    Scientific publication: Nature Communications


    New fingertip test could help rapid identification of drug users
    You could have cocaine on your fingertips even if you have never used it- short science articles

    Researchers have found that drugs like cocaine and heroin are so common in the environment that it is present on the fingertips of 13% of the population even if they have never used the drug. However, this doesn't mean that true drug users will get any respite since these researchers have developed a cut-off level to confidently distinguish them from people who have drugs on their skin as secondary contaminants. Thus, fingerprint testing is a quick way to identify drug users and is certainly the future.

    Read the full story: University of Surrey
    Scientific publication: Clinical Chemistry


    We could learn from plants to separate oil and water
    How plants can teach us about clearing up oil spills

    Scientists have taken a cue from leaf structure to fabricate materials which can separate oil and water which could help in easier oil spill cleanups. They have successfully mimicked the biological phenomenon called the 'Salvinia effect', observed in floating plant in South America called Salvinia molesta. The plant's surface is hydrophobic which helps it to maintain a layer of air around itself. Scientists have created a 3D printed version made of carbon nanotubes which could make it both hydrophobic and also oil-absorbing which when combined can separate water from oil.

    Read the full story: University of Southern California
    Scientific publication: Advanced Materials


    Technology could help early detection of Alzheimer's
    Early signs of Alzheimer's can be spotted more efficiently by AI

    Identifying the earliest signs of Alzheimer's before any obvious symptoms would be extremely useful for patients for testing new drugs or allowing family members to plan for care. Researchers at MIT have developed an AI-powered device which could pick up these subtle signs. Initially designed as a fall detector, researchers started using this long-term device to identify movements like pacing and wandering which can be signs of Alzheimer's. Using wireless radio signals the device can identify the smallest possible motions which then is processed by machine learning algorithms to predict the disease with 84% accuracy.

    Read the full story: MIT technology Review


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