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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

3-D printing with custom molecules creates low-cost mechanical sensor

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 02:13 PM PST

Imagine printing out molecules that can respond to their surroundings. Chemists teamed up with engineers who are using 3-D printers to create 3-D printed objects with new capabilities. Scientists created a bone-shaped plastic tab that turns purple under stretching, offering an easy way to record the force on an object.

Nano-antioxidants prove their potential

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 02:13 PM PST

Injectable nanoparticles that could protect an injured person from further damage due to oxidative stress have proven to be astoundingly effective in tests to study their mechanism.

Buckyballs offer environmental benefits

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 01:15 PM PST

Treated carbon-60 molecules have the ability to recover valuable metals from liquids, including water and potential pollutants. In testing various metals, researchers found that charge and ionic radius influence how the metals bind to the hydroxylated buckyballs.

Electricity from biomass with carbon capture could make western US carbon-negative

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 10:07 AM PST

Biomass conversion to electricity combined with technologies for capturing and storing carbon, which should become viable within 35 years, could result in a carbon-negative power grid in the western US by 2050. That prediction comes from an analysis of various fuel scenarios. Bioenergy with carbon capture and sequestration may be a better use of plant feedstocks than making biofuels.

Controlling genes with light: Light-activated genes might be precisely controlled and targeted

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 08:32 AM PST

Researchers have demonstrated a new way to activate genes with light, allowing precisely controlled and targeted genetic studies and applications. The method might be used to activate genes in a specific location or pattern, allowing more precise study of gene function, or to create complex systems for growing tissue or new therapies.

Evidence for dark matter in the inner Milky Way

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 08:30 AM PST

A new study is providing evidence for the presence of dark matter in the innermost part of the Milky Way, including in our own cosmic neighborhood and the Earth's location. The study demonstrates that large amounts of dark matter exist around us, and also between us and the Galactic center. The result constitutes a fundamental step forward in the quest for the nature of dark matter.

Stellar partnership doomed to end in catastrophe

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 08:30 AM PST

Astronomers have identified two surprisingly massive stars at the heart of the planetary nebula Henize 2-428. As they orbit each other the two stars are expected to slowly get closer and closer, and when they merge, about 700 million years from now, they will contain enough material to ignite a vast supernova explosion.

Electrochromic polymers create broad color palette for sunglasses, windows

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 06:50 AM PST

Researchers have created a broad color palette of electrochromic polymers, materials that can be used for sunglasses, window tinting and other applications that rely on electrical current to produce color changes. The materials could allow sunglasses that change from clear to colored in seconds, at the push of a button.

The Sun’s activity in the 18th century was similar to that now

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 06:49 AM PST

Counting sunspots over time helps in knowing the activity of our star but the two indices used by scientists disagree on dates prior to 1885. Now an international team of researchers has tried to standardize the historical results and has discovered that, contrary to what one may think, the solar activity of our times is very similar to that of other times, such as the Enlightenment. Scientists have been counting sunspots since 1610 with small telescopes. Thus it has been verified that the Sun's activity increases every eleven years, according to the interval in the growth of the number of darker and colder spots in comparison with the rest of its surface. The more spots that appear, the more luminous the surrounding areas are, and our star shines brighter.

3-D vaccine spontaneously assembles to pack a powerful punch against cancer, infectious diseases

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 06:48 AM PST

Researchers have developed a novel 3-D vaccine that could provide a more effective way to harness the immune system to fight cancer as well as infectious diseases. The vaccine spontaneously assembles into a scaffold once injected under the skin and is capable of recruiting, housing, and manipulating immune cells to generate a powerful immune response. The vaccine was recently found to be effective in delaying tumor growth in mice.

An Internet of Things reality check

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 05:35 AM PST

Connecting different kinds of devices, not just computers and communications devices, to the Internet could lead to new ways of working with a wide range of machinery, sensors, domestic and other appliances. Researchers suggest that we are on the verge of a another technological revolution but practicalities and legal obstacles may stymie the development of the so-called Internet of Things if they are not addressed quickly.

In the quantum world, the future affects the past: Hindsight and foresight together more accurately 'predict' a quantum system’s state

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 05:30 AM PST

In the quantum world, the future predicts the past. Playing a guessing game with a superconducting circuit called a qubit, a physicist has discovered a way to narrow the odds of correctly guessing the state of a two-state system. By combining information about the qubit's evolution after a target time with information about its evolution up to that time, the lab was able to narrow the odds from 50-50 to 90-10.

Nanovectors combine cancer imaging and therapy

Posted: 06 Feb 2015 09:51 AM PST

Researchers have designed and developed hybrid gold-silica nanoparticles, which are turning out to be genuine therapeutic "Swiss Army knives". Tested in mice and on cultured human cells, they make it possible to combine two forms of tumor treatment and three imaging techniques. They notably have a greater drug loading and delivery capacity than carriers currently on the market, which opens interesting perspectives for cancer research.

Twinkle on fast-track mission to unveil exoplanet atmospheres

Posted: 06 Feb 2015 04:12 AM PST

A team of scientists and engineers have announced plans for a small satellite, named 'Twinkle', that will give radical new insights into the chemistry, formation and evolution of planets orbiting other stars. The mission will be launched within four years.

Direct measurement of key molecule will increase accuracy of combustion models

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 12:58 PM PST

Researchers have directly measure hydroperoxyalkyl radicals -- a class of reactive molecules denoted as 'QOOH' -- that are key in the chain of reactions that controls the early stages of combustion for the first time.

Human insights inspire solutions for household robots

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 11:12 AM PST

People typically consider doing the laundry to be a boring chore. But laundry is far from boring for artificial intelligence researchers. To AI experts, programming a robot to do the laundry represents a challenging planning problem because current sensing and manipulation technology is not good enough to identify precisely the number of clothing pieces that are in a pile and the number that are picked up with each grasp. People can easily cope with this type of uncertainty and come up with a simple plan. But roboticists for decades have struggled to design an autonomous system able to do what we do so casually--clean our clothes.

High efficiency concentrating solar cells move to the rooftop

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 09:31 AM PST

Ultra-high efficiency solar cells similar to those used in space may now be possible on your rooftop thanks to a new microscale solar concentration technology developed by an international team of researchers.

Solar and wind power will be the cheapest forms of energy in the future

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 05:30 AM PST

A new study demonstrates that an energy system based completely on renewable forms of energy will be economically viable in the future. Within ten years, solar and wind power will be the cheapest forms of energy production for Asia's largest energy markets.

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