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Researchers Develop Self-Healing, Shape-Changing Smart Material

Washington State University researchers have created a multi-functional smart material that changes shape when subjected to heat or light; the material then assembles and disassembles itself.

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Coding and Computers Could Help Detect Explosives

The top image shows a typical reading from a mass spectrometer, where each line indicates the presence of a certain substance. The bottom image shows a reading from the new coded aperture, where researchers rely on computers to collapse the numerous lines into a brighter version of the image above. (Photo: Jeff Glass, Duke University) A modern twist on an old technology could soon help detect rogue methane leaks, hidden explosives and much more. A Duke University team is using software to dramatically improve the performance of chemical-sniffing mass spectrometers.

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Engineers Use Cyborg Insects as Biorobotic Sensing Machines

Sensors placed on the insect monitor neural activity while they are freely moving, decoding the odorants present in their environment. (Photo: Baranidharan Raman) A team of engineers from Washington University in St. Louis is looking to capitalize on the sense of smell in locusts to create new biorobotic sensing systems that could be used in homeland security applications.

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Researchers Improve Decontamination Criteria for Combat-Vehicle Coatings

U.S. Army combat vehicle coatings provide chemical warfare agent protection as well as camouflage and corrosion resistance. An ECBC research team provided the Army with a more accurate method for evaluating the protective value of coatings purchased from vendors. (Photo: ECBC Communications) When it comes to protecting warfighters from exposure to chemical agents that have contaminated combat vehicles, determining how much agent gets absorbed into the material matters. That's what researchers at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) discovered and helped the Army fix.

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Thought-Controlled Robotic Arm Mimics Real Limb

Researchers developing a thought-controlled robotic arm. Scientists from Tomsk Polytechnic University are developing a robotic arm prototype and its control algorithm using myoelectric signals. The mechanical limb will independently recognize the motions of its owner and perform the same motions as a healthy arm.

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3D Printer Produces Cartilage from Strands of Bioink

A multi-arm bioprinter that can print cartilage. (Ozbolat Lab/Penn State) Strands of cow cartilage substitute for ink in a 3D bioprinting process that may one day create cartilage patches for worn out joints. A cartilage strand substitutes for ink in a 3D printing process. Using a specially designed prototype nozzle that can hold and feed the cartilage strand, the 3D printer lays down rows of cartilage strands in any pattern the researchers choose.

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Mobile Phone-Based Microscopes Diagnose Parasites in the Field

A local lab technician in the Ivory Coast is being trained on a portable, handheld, battery-operated microscope. (Photo: Dr. Isaac Bogoch) Handheld, mobile phone-based microscopes can be used in developing countries after minimal training of community laboratory technicians to diagnose intestinal parasites quickly and accurately. A community-based study carried out in the Republic of Ivory Coast in West Africa found that two different handheld microscopes could both effectively rule in individuals infected by parasites.

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