News

Cockroach Biobots Detect Sound

North Carolina State University researchers have developed technology that allows cyborg cockroaches, or biobots, to pick up sounds with small microphones and seek out the source of the sound. The technology is designed to help emergency personnel find and rescue survivors in the aftermath of a disaster.The researchers have also developed technology that can be used as an “invisible fence” to keep the biobots in the disaster area.“In a collapsed building, sound is the best way to find survivors,” says Dr. Alper Bozkurt, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State and senior author of two papers on the work.The biobots are equipped with electronic backpacks that control the cockroach’s movements. Bozkurt’s research team has created two types of customized backpacks using microphones. One type of biobot has a single microphone that can capture relatively high-resolution sound from any direction to be wirelessly transmitted to first responders.The second type of biobot is equipped with an array of three directional microphones to detect the direction of the sound. The research team has also developed algorithms that analyze the sound from the microphone array to localize the source of the sound and steer the biobot in that direction. SourceAlso: Learn about FINDER (Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response).

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Light Bending Material Facilitates Search for New Particles

Particle physicists have a hard time identifying all the elementary particles created in their particle accelerators. But now researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have designed a material that makes it much easier to distinguish the particles.

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Scientists Find Novel Way to Improve Laser Performance

Energy loss in optical systems, such as lasers, is a chief hindrance to their performance and efficiency and it occurs on an ongoing, frustrating basis. To help laser systems overcome loss, operators often pump the system with an overabundance of photons, or light packets, to achieve optical gain. But now, scientists from the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis have shown a new way to reverse or eliminate such loss by, ironically, adding loss to a laser system to actually reap energy gains. In other words, they've invented a way to win by losing.

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1550 nm Pulsed Laser Diode

OSI Laser Diode, Inc. (LDI) (Edison, NJ) has introduced a 1550 nm pulsed laser diode with an integrated micro lens that delivers a far‑field beam pattern. The beam pattern's divergence is equivalent in both the Fast (perpendicular) and the Slow (parallel) axes of emission. The CVLL 350‑CL90 pulsed laser diode beam divergence (FWHM) is 8 x 8 degrees. The adjusted Far Field pattern offers high coupling efficiency when used with standard spherical lens systems. LDI's new device is RoHS compliant and operates in wavelengths ranging from 1530 nm to 1580 nm, with 1550 nm typical. The operating temperature is 25 degrees C, the pulse width is typically 150 nanoseconds, frequency is 5kHz, the drive current is at 75 W, and peak power is at 22 W.

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Would you eat 3D-printed food?

This week's Question: A startup company, Natural Machines, has introduced a 3D printer called Foodini. The technology creates food with stainless steel capsules and edible, fresh ingredients. The microwave‑oven‑sized Foodini, displayed during Dublin's Web Summit technology conference last week, serves as a miniature food manufacturing plant. The company is currently working with major food manufacturers to create pre‑packaged plastic capsules that can be loaded into the machine. At present, the device only prints the food, which must be then cooked as usual. A future model, however, will also perform the preparation and produce ready‑to‑eat food. What do you think? Would you eat 3D‑printed food?

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High-Res Line Camera Measures Magnetic Fields in Real Time

Scientists have developed a high‑resolution magnetic line camera to measure magnetic fields in real time. Field lines in magnetic systems such as generators or motors that are invisible to the human eye can be made visible using this camera. It is especially suitable for industrial applications in quality assurance during the manufacture of magnets.

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Sensors Monitor Dangerous Hits on the Football Field

In football, a tackle can supply 100 Gs of force or more, well above the amount that can cause a concussion and more than 10 times the force of an F‑16 jet roll maneuver. University of Florida (UF) researchers are using the helmets of Gator football players to help measure the force of on‑field hits to better understand and prevent concussions, and treat them before they cause lasting damage.

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