News

# Full-Body Scanner Quickly Detects Skin Cancer

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF have developed the Dermascanner full-body dermatological scanner to help doctors diagnose skin conditions. When the exam starts, the surface of the patient’s skin is scanned from different positions and broken down into approximately 100 individual scans. Such image documentation already exists, but the actual size and changes in growth cannot be clearly discerned solely on the bases of scans.

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# New Nanomaterials Mimic Bird Feathers

Inspired by the way iridescent bird feathers play with light, UC San Diego scientists have created thin-film materials in a wide range of pure colors: red, orange, yellow, and green. The hues are determined by physical structure rather than pigments.Melanosomes, tiny packets of melanin found in the feathers, skin, and fur of many animals, can produce structural color when packed into solid layers, as they are in the feathers of some birds. The UC San Diego researchers assembled synthetic melanin nanoparticles to mimic the natural structures found in bird feathers. Structural color arises from the interaction of light with the materials that have patterns on a minute scale, which bend and reflect light to amplify some wavelengths and dampen others. To mimic natural melanosomes, Yiwen Li, a postdoctoral fellow in Gianneschi's lab, chemically linked a similar molecule, dopamine, into meshes. The linked polydopamine balled up into spherical particles of near uniform size. Researchers then dried different concentrations of the particles to form thin films of tightly packed polydopamine particles.The films reflect pure colors of light. The hue is determined by the thickness of the polydopamine layer and how tightly the particles packed.Unlike pigment-based paints or dyes, the structural color of the material does not fade. The UV-absorbing coating protects materials, and the pure hues could become a valuable trait in colorimetric sensors. Source

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# Researchers Create Jet Fuel Compounds From Fungus

Washington State University researchers have found a way to make jet fuel from a common black fungus found in decaying leaves, soil, and rotting fruit. They used Aspergillus carbonarius ITEM 5010 to create hydrocarbons, the chief component of petroleum, similar to those in aviation fuels.

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# NASA Tests Green Aviation Technology

Two NASA experiments designed to help reduce fuel consumption and emissions will fly this spring on a specially outfitted Boeing 757 airplane called the ecoDemonstrator. One includes 31 small devices that will blow jets of air on the vertical tail, and the other involves non-stick coatings to help repel bugs from the leading edge of wings. Both are designed to improve the air flow over the surface and ultimately reduce drag.

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# Airflow Model Could Reduce Time on the Tarmac

New research could lead to more efficient takeoffs on airport runways and improve safety. A mathematical tool was developed to calculate the flow of turbulent air produced by a plane’s wing tips — known scientifically as wing-tip vortices — when an airplane takes off. The study will assist in improving the present standards for the separation distance between planes, while maintaining safety. Mathematically calculating the amount of turbulence created by the wing tips of aircraft, particularly during takeoff, gives air traffic controllers a better method of determining how far each aircraft should be from the next.

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# Molecules Could Harvest Sunshine for a Rainy Day

The Sun is a huge source of energy. In just one hour, planet Earth is hit by so much sunshine that humankind could cover its energy needs for an entire year if only we knew how to harvest and save it. A student at the University of Copenhagen has researched his way to a breakthrough that may prove pivotal for technologies trying to capture the energy of the Sun, and saving it for a rainy day.

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# Electrical Power Converter Accepts Power from Renewable Energy

Engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas have invented a novel electrical power converter system that simultaneously accepts power from a variety of energy sources and converts it for use in the electrical grid system. The U.S. Department of Energy is seeking licensing opportunities for potential commercialization.

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# Researchers Create Acoustic 'Image' of Thunder

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) researchers have imaged the first acoustic signature of thunder, visually capturing the sound waves created by artificially triggered lightning.While the general mechanics of thunder generation are understood, it is not particularly clear which physical processes of the lightning discharge contribute to the thunder we hear. By studying the acoustic power radiated from different portions of the lightning channel, researchers can learn more about the origins of thunder as well as the energetic processes associated with lightning.

Dr. Maher A. Dayeh, a research scientist in the SwRI Space Science and Engineering Division, designed a large, sophisticated array of microphones to study the acoustic signature of thunder. Fifteen microphones, spaced one meter apart, were lined up 95 meters away from the rocket launch pad where the triggered lightning would strike. To image the vertical profile of the bolt, Dayeh used post-signal processing techniques and directional amplification of the data signals captured by the microphone array. The technique revealed a distinct signature of thunder generated by the lightning strike. Future experiments could allow scientists to study the probable acoustic signatures of current pulses, step leader branches, and discharge channel zigzags independently.SourceLearn about an Accelerometer Sensors Network for Acoustic Diagnostics (MASNAD).

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