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Self-Test Kit Warns Soldiers of Biological Exposure

The U.S. Army’s newly developed biological self-test kit can quickly identify the presence of a pathogen of concern such as ricin, anthrax, or plague, and automatically send the result to a soldier and his commander. Known as SmartCAR, the device uses a colorimetric assay, much like a home pregnancy test strip.

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NASA Tests Life-Detection Drill in Earth’s Driest Place

The Atacama Rover Astrobiology Drilling Studies (ARADS) project completed its first deployment after one month of field work in the hyper-arid core of the Atacama Desert in Chile, the “driest place on Earth.” More than 20 scientists from the United States, Chile, Spain, and France camped together miles from civilization and worked in extremely dry, 100+ degree heat with high winds during the first ARADS field deployment.

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App Turns Smartphones into Earthquake Detection Network

UC Berkeley scientists released a free Android app that taps a smartphone’s ability to record ground shaking from an earthquake, with the goal of creating a worldwide seismic detection network that could eventually warn users of impending jolts from nearby quakes. The app, called MyShake, is available from the Google Play Store and runs in the background with little power, so that a phone’s onboard accelerometers can record local shaking any time of the day or night.

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Ultra-Thin Solar Cells Rest on a Soap Bubble

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have demonstrated a solar cell so light and thin that it can rest atop a soap bubble.Though it may take years before the device is developed into a commercial product, the laboratory proof-of-concept shows a new approach to making solar cells that could help power the next generation of portable electronic devices.

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Researchers Charge Up ‘Water Batteries’

Researchers from TU Graz and the Wetsus research center in The Netherlands have produced electrically charged water by means of a floating water bridge. The electric charge of the "water battery" can be stored for a short time.

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NASA Shakes Up Earthquake Warning Systems

The most important information that is immediately needed for earthquake disasters is the location, depth, and magnitude of the earthquake. The most common method of establishing an earthquake's magnitude is using seismic sensors on the ground that measure the shaking of the earth's crust. Authorities and first responders need better data to accurately and quickly assess the risk associated with the earthquake.

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Smartphone-Based System Could Speed Development of Driverless Cars

Two new systems for driverless cars can identify a user’s location and orientation in places where GPS does not function, and identify the various components of a road scene in real time on a regular camera or smartphone, performing the same job as sensors costing much more. The separate but complementary systems have been designed by researchers from the University of Cambridge.

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