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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

NASA Rover Opportunity views comet near Mars

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 09:35 PM PDT

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity captured images of a comet passing much closer to Mars than any previous known comet flyby of Earth or Mars. The images of comet Siding Spring were taken against a backdrop of the pre-dawn Martian sky on Sunday (Oct. 19).

Mars Orbiter image shows comet nucleus is small

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 09:33 PM PDT

The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured views of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring while that visitor sped past Mars on Sunday (Oct. 19), yielding information about its nucleus.

Measuring on ice: Researchers create 'smart' ice skating blade

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:25 PM PDT

An ice skating blade that informs figure skaters of the stresses they are imposing on their joints has been developed by a group of researchers in the US.

See-through sensors open new window into the brain

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:23 PM PDT

Developing invisible implantable medical sensor arrays, a team of engineers has overcome a major technological hurdle in researchers' efforts to understand the brain. The team has now described its technology, which has applications in fields ranging from neuroscience to cardiac care and even contact lenses.

New study examines web-based biosurveillance systems in identifying disease outbreaks

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 11:51 AM PDT

Little quantitative evidence exists to show that electronic event-based biosurveillance systems that gather near real-time information to identify infectious disease outbreaks have led to specific health policy actions, decisions or outcomes, according a new study.

Robots recognize humans in disaster environments

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 11:15 AM PDT

Through a computational algorithm, a team of researchers has developed a neural network that allows a small robot to detect different patterns, such as images, fingerprints, handwriting, faces, bodies, voice frequencies and DNA sequences.

See-through, one-atom-thick, carbon electrodes powerful tool to study brain disorders

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 11:15 AM PDT

A graphene, one-atom-thick microelectrode now solves a major problem for investigators looking at brain circuitry. Pinning down the details of how individual neural circuits operate in epilepsy and other brain disorders requires real-time observation of their locations, firing patterns, and other factors.

Heavy metal frost? A new look at a Venusian mystery

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 10:39 AM PDT

Venus is hiding something beneath its brilliant shroud of clouds: a first order mystery about the planet that researchers may be a little closer to solving because of a new re-analysis of twenty-year-old spacecraft data. Venus's surface can't be seen from orbit in visible light because of the planet's hot, dense, cloudy atmosphere. Instead, radar has been used by spacecraft to penetrate the clouds and map out the surface – both by reflecting radar off the surface to measure elevation and by looking at the radio emissions of the hot surface. The last spacecraft to map Venus in this way was Magellan, two decades ago.

User-friendly electronic 'Eyecane' enhances navigational abilities for blind

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 09:14 AM PDT

White Canes provide low-tech assistance to the visually impaired, but some blind people object to their use because they are cumbersome, fail to detect elevated obstacles, or require long training periods to master. Electronic travel aids (ETAs) have the potential to improve navigation for the blind, but early versions had disadvantages that limited widespread adoption. A new ETA, the "EyeCane," expands the world of its users, allowing them to better estimate distance, navigate their environment, and avoid obstacles, according to a new study

Facetless crystals that mimic starfish shells could advance 3-D-printing pills

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:55 AM PDT

In a design that mimics a hard-to-duplicate texture of starfish shells, engineers have made rounded crystals that have no facets.

Wild molecular interactions in a new hydrogen mixture

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:55 AM PDT

Hydrogen responds to pressure and temperature extremes differently. Under ambient conditions hydrogen is a gaseous two-atom molecule. As confinement pressure increases, the molecules adopt different states of matter -- like when water ice melts to liquid. Scientists have now combined hydrogen with its heavier sibling deuterium and created a novel, disordered, 'Phase IV'-material. The molecules interact differently than have been observed before, which could be valuable for controlling superconducting and thermoelectric properties of new materials.

Crystallography: Towards controlled dislocations

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:53 AM PDT

Scientists have used atomic-resolution Z-contrast imaging and X-ray spectroscopy in a scanning transmission electron microscope to explore dislocations in the binary II-VI semiconductor CdTe, commercially used in thin-film photovoltaics. The results may lead to eventual improvement in the conversion efficiency of CdTe solar cells. These novel insights into atomically resolved chemical structure of dislocations have potential for understanding many more defect-based phenomena.

Protocells and information strings: Self-organizing autocatalytic network created in computer model

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:50 AM PDT

Protocells are the simplest, most primitive living systems, you can think of. However, creating an artificial protocell is far from simple. One of the challenges is to create the information strings that can be inherited by cell offspring, including protocells. Such information strings are like modern DNA or RNA strings, and they are needed to control cell metabolism and provide the cell with instructions about how to divide. Now using a a virtual computer experiment, researchers in Denmark have discovered information strings with peculiar properties.

Physicists build reversible laser tractor beam

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:50 AM PDT

Physicists have built a tractor beam that can repel and attract objects, using a hollow laser beam, bright around the edges and dark in its center. It is the first long-distance optical tractor beam, 100 times larger than previous ones.

1980s American aircraft helps quantum technology take flight

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:50 AM PDT

The X-29, an American experimental aircraft has inspired quantum computing researchers in a development which will bring the technology out of the lab.

Digital native fallacy: Teachers still know better when it comes to using technology

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:49 AM PDT

A new study looks at how teachers and students use technology inside and outside the classroom. It turns out that members of today's younger Net Generation aren't more tech savvy than their teachers just because they were born into a world full of computers. In fact, if it weren't for the coaxing and support of their educators, many students would never use their electronic devices for more than playing games or listening to music, say experts.

Design of micro, nanoparticles to improve treatments for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:49 AM PDT

Techniques are being developed to deliver correctly and effectively certain drugs to treat Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Both disorders affect the neurones: their structure and function is lost, and this in turn leads to the deterioration in the patient's motor, cognitive, sensory and emotional functions.

Goldilocks principle wrong for particle assembly: Too hot and too cold is just right

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 07:47 AM PDT

Microscopic particles that bind under low temperatures will melt as temperatures rise to moderate levels, but re-connect under hotter conditions, a team of scientists has found. Their discovery points to new ways to create "smart materials," cutting-edge materials that adapt to their environment by taking new forms, and to sharpen the detail of 3D printing.

NASA's Mars Odyssey Orbiter watches comet fly near

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:28 AM PDT

The longest-lived robot ever sent to Mars came through its latest challenge in good health, reporting home on schedule after sheltering behind Mars from possible comet dust.

NASA's MAVEN studies passing comet and its effects

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:26 AM PDT

NASA's newest orbiter at Mars, MAVEN, took precautions to avoid harm from a dust-spewing comet that flew near Mars Oct. 19 and is studying the flyby's effects on the Red Planet's atmosphere.

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter studies comet flyby

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:21 AM PDT

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has sent home more data about Mars than all other missions combined, is also now providing data about a comet that buzzed The Red Planet Oct. 19.

New tracers can identify frack fluids in the environment

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:03 AM PDT

Scientists have developed geochemical tracers to identify hydraulic fracturing flowback fluids that have been spilled or released into the environment. The tracers have been field-tested at two sites and can distinguish fracking fluids from wastewater versus conventional wells or other sources. They give scientists new forensic tools to detect if fracking fluids are escaping into water supplies and what risks, if any, they might pose.

In between red light and blue light: New functionality of molecular light switches

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:00 AM PDT

Diatoms play an important role in water quality and in the global climate. They generate about one fourth of the oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere and perform around one-quarter of the global carbon dioxide assimilation, i.e. they convert carbon dioxide into organic substances. Their light receptors are a crucial factor in this process. Researchers have now discovered that blue and red light sensing photoreceptors control the carbon flow in these algae.

Structure of an iron-transport protein revealed

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 06:00 AM PDT

Iron is the most abundant trace element in humans. As a cofactor of certain proteins, it plays an essential role in oxygen transport and metabolism. Due to the major importance of iron in a wide variety of cellular processes, and the harm caused by its uncontrolled accumulation in the body, its uptake and storage is strictly regulated. In mammals, iron is imported into cells by the membrane transport protein DMT1. Mutations of DMT1, which affect its transport properties, lead to iron-related metabolic disorders such as anemia and the iron storage disease hemochromatosis.

3-D printed facial prosthesis offers new hope for eye cancer patients following surgery

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 05:51 AM PDT

A fast and inexpensive way to make facial prostheses for eye cancer patients has been developed using facial scanning software and 3-D printing, according to researchers. Their novel process can create more affordable prosthetics for any patients who have hollow sockets resulting from eye surgery following cancer or congenital deformities.

iPad screenings effective for detecting early signs of glaucoma in underserved, high-risk populations

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 05:47 AM PDT

Using a tablet screening app could prove to be an effective method to aid in the effort to reduce the incidence of avoidable blindness in populations at high-risk for glaucoma with limited access to health care, according to a study. In this study, researchers used a free peripheral vision assessment app to screen approximately 200 patients in Nepal for glaucoma using an iPad®. The results show promise for screening populations that have limited or no access to traditional eye care.

Improved electricity access has little impact on climate change

Posted: 19 Oct 2014 12:17 PM PDT

Expanding access to household electricity services accounts for only a small portion of total emission growth, shows a new study, shedding light on an ongoing debate on potential conflicts between climate and development.

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