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NASA Advances Next-Generation 3D-Imaging Lidar

Building, fixing, and refueling space-based assets or rendezvousing with a comet or asteroid will require a robotic vehicle and a super-precise, high-resolution 3D imaging lidar that will generate real-time images needed to guide the vehicle to a target traveling at thousands of miles per hour. A team at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is developing a next-generation 3D scanning lidar — dubbed the Goddard Reconfiguable Solid-state Scanning Lidar (GRSSLi) — that could provide the imagery needed to execute these orbital dances. GRSSLi is a small, low-cost, low-weight platform capable of centimeter-level resolution over a range of distances, from meters to kilometers. Equipped with a low-power, eye-safe laser; a MEMS scanner; and a single photodetector, GRSSLi will "paint" a scene with the scanning laser, and its detector will sense the reflected light to create a high-resolution 3D image at kilometer distances. A non-scanning version of GRSSLi would be ideal for close approaches to asteroids. It would employ a flash lidar, which doesn’t paint a scene with a mechanical scanner, but rather illuminates the target with a single pulse of laser light — much like a camera flash. Source:

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Moving Cameras “Talk” to Identify and Track Pedestrians

University of Washington electrical engineers have developed a way to automatically track people across moving and still cameras by using an algorithm that trains the networked cameras to learn one another’s differences. The cameras first identify a person in a video frame then follow that same person across multiple camera views. With the new technology, a car with a mounted camera could take video of a scene, then identify and track humans and overlay them into the virtual 3D map on a GPS screen. The researchers are developing this to work in real time, which could help track a specific person who is dodging the police. The team also installed the tracking system on cameras placed inside a robot and a flying drone, allowing the robot and drone to follow a person, even when the instruments came across obstacles that blocked the person from view. Source:

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Imaging Via Nanoparticles Could Monitor Cancer and Other Diseases

MIT chemists have developed new nanoparticles that can simultaneously perform magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and fluorescent imaging in living animals. Such particles could help scientists to track specific molecules produced in the body, monitor a tumor’s environment, or determine whether drugs have successfully reached their targets. The researchers have demonstrated the use of the particles, which carry distinct sensors for fluorescence and MRI, to track vitamin C in mice. Wherever there is a high concentration of vitamin C, the particles show a strong fluorescent signal but little MRI contrast. If there is not much vitamin C, a stronger MRI signal is visible but fluorescence is very weak. The researchers are now working to enhance the signal differences that they get when the sensor encounters a target molecule such as vitamin C. They have also created nanoparticles carrying the fluorescent agent plus up to three different drugs. This allows them to track whether the nanoparticles are delivered to their targeted locations. These particles could also be used to evaluate the level of oxygen radicals in a patient’s tumor, which can reveal valuable information about how aggressive the tumor is. Source:

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Technique Enables Imaging of Transparent Organisms

Researchers at the RIKEN Quantitative Biology Center in Japan and the University of Tokyo have developed a method that combines tissue decolorization and light-sheet fluorescent microscopy to take extremely detailed images of the interior of individual organs and even entire organisms. The work allows scientists to make tissues and whole organisms transparent, and then image them at extremely precise, single-cell resolution. The method, called CUBIC (Clear, Unobstructed Brain Imaging Cocktails and Computational Analysis), was used to take images of mouse brains, hearts, lungs, kidneys, and livers, and then was attempted on infant and adult mice. In all cases, they could get clear tissues. The method could be used to study how embryos develop or how cancer and autoimmune diseases develop at the cellular level, leading to a deeper understanding of such diseases and perhaps to new therapeutic strategies. The group plans to allow for the rapid imaging of whole bodies of adult mice or larger samples such as human brains, and to apply this technology to further our understanding of autoimmune and psychiatric diseases. Source:

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Researchers Develop a Way to Control Material with Voltage

A new way of switching the magnetic properties of a material using just a small applied voltage, developed by researchers at MIT and collaborators elsewhere, could signal the beginning of a new family of materials with a variety of switchable properties. The technique could ultimately be used to control properties other than magnetism, including reflectivity or thermal conductivity. The first application of the new finding is likely to be a new kind of memory chip that requires no power to maintain data once it’s written, drastically lowering its overall power needs. This could be especially useful for mobile devices, where battery life is often a major limitation.

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Garnet Ceramics Could Be the Key to High-Energy Lithium Batteries

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have discovered exceptional properties in a garnet material that could enable development of higher-energy battery designs. The ORNL-led team used scanning transmission electron microscopy to take an atomic-level look at a cubic garnet material called LLZO. The researchers found the material to be highly stable in a range of aqueous environments, making the compound a promising component in new battery configurations.

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Ultrasound Creates 3D Haptic Shapes

Touch feedback, known as haptics, has been used in entertainment, rehabilitation, and even surgical training. University of Bristol researchers, using ultrasound, have developed an invisible 3D haptic shape that can be seen and felt.Led by Dr Ben Long and colleagues Professor Sriram Subramanian, Sue Ann Seah, and Tom Carter from the University of Bristol’s Department of Computer Science, the research could change the way 3D shapes are used.  The new technology could enable surgeons to explore a CT scan by enabling them to feel a disease, such as a tumor, using haptic feedback.By focusing complex patterns of ultrasound, the air disturbances can be seen as floating 3D shapes. Visually, the researchers have demonstrated the ultrasound patterns by directing the device at a thin layer of oil so that the depressions in the surface can be seen as spots when lit by a lamp.The system generates an invisible three-dimensional shape that can be added to 3D displays to create an image that can be seen and felt. The research team have also shown that users can match a picture of a 3D shape to the shape created by the system. SourceAlso: Learn about an Ophthalmic Ultrasound System for Ocular Structures.

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