News

Will 'smart glasses' catch on?

This week's Question: A recent patent application from the South Korean electronics giant Samsung revealed a new concept for smart contact lenses. The eyewear includes a built-in camera, sensors, and a display that can project images directly into a wearer’s eyes. The smart lenses can be controlled using eye movements and blinking, potentially allowing users to take photos with the miniature camera simply by winking or blinking. According to the 29-page application, however, the image quality of smart glasses is limited, and the technology does not provide a natural interface. What do you think? Will 'smart glasses' catch on?  

Posted in: Question of the Week

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Researchers Store Digital Data in DNA

Researchers from the University of Washington and Microsoft have stored digital images in DNA. The team of computer scientists and electrical engineers has detailed one of the first complete systems to encode, hold, and retrieve digital data using the molecules, which can store information millions of times more compactly than current archival technologies.

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Are cars set to be the next 'ultimate mobile device'?

This week's Question: As companies like Google and Apple lead self-driving car efforts, Hyundai Motors America CEO David Zuchowski expects the bridge between Silicon Valley and auto companies to narrow. In a recent interview with CNBC, Zuchowski suggested cars could replace mobile phones as the next big smart device. The CEO expects alliances to form between automakers — potential "hardware builders" — and technology companies that supply the software. "[Consumers] want an Apple experience," Zuchowski told CNBC. "The car is the ultimate mobile device, right?" What do you think? Are cars set to be the next 'ultimate mobile device'?    

Posted in: Question of the Week

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NASA Measures Raindrop Sizes from Space

For the first time, scientists have three-dimensional snapshots of raindrops and snowflakes around the world, thanks to the joint NASA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission. With the new global data on raindrop and snowflake sizes, scientists can improve rainfall estimates from satellite data and numerical weather forecast models.

Posted in: News, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring

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Will self-cleaning laundry catch on?

This week's Question: Researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, have developed a cheap and efficient way to alter fabric so that stains disappear after a few minutes of sun exposure. When the nanostructures are placed in light, the materials receive an energy boost that creates "hot electrons." The "hot electrons" release a burst of energy that enables the nanostructures to degrade organic matter. The researchers, however, are challenged with how to build the nanostructures on an industrial scale and permanently attach them to textiles. What do you think? Will self-cleaning laundry catch on?

Posted in: Question of the Week

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Researchers Turn Carbon Dioxide into Concrete

A new system developed by UCLA researchers captures carbon from smokestacks and processes the C02 into a new building material that could replace concrete. The tiny cones of the "CO2NCRETE" material are fabricated using 3D printers.

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New Flow Battery Offers Lower-Cost Energy Storage

A new flow battery technology is projected to cost 60 percent less than today's standard flow batteries. The lower cost is due to the battery's active materials being inexpensive organic molecules, compared to the commodity metals used in today's flow batteries.

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