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Mon, 27 Feb 2017
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Eye 1

Sony files patent for a digital contact lens that is blink powered & records video

Unlike other forms of contacts and glasses that created an augmented reality or hook you up to the internet, Sony's new patent is on a simple set of contacts that can record video.

The recording is turned on and off with the user's blink and sensors can detect if it was an intentional or unintentional one. The image capture technology and data storage would be held within the lens.

Simple, piezoelectric sensors would allow the movements of the eye to charge the battery of the device.

Comment: The prototype for the digital contact lens was created back in 2008: New Contact Lenses Go Bionic
The project was led by Harvey Ho, a former graduate student of Parviz's now working at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, Calif., who presented the results this week at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' international conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems in Tucson, AZ.

It was difficult for the researchers to graft the tiny electrical circuits, built from layers of metal only a few nanometers thick (for comparison, the width of a typical human hair is about 80,000 nanometers), onto the contact lenses, which are made of organic materials that are safe for the body.

The engineers tested the finished lenses on rabbits for up to 20 minutes and the animals showed no problems.

Eventually, the technique could yield a plethora of gadgets. Perhaps drivers and pilots could see their direction and speed projected across their view, or people could surf the Web without looking at an external device's screen. Video gamers could immerse themselves in game landscapes directly in front of their eyes. Maybe the technique could even create sight aids for visually-impaired people.

"People may find all sorts of applications for it that we have not thought about," Parviz said. "Our goal is to demonstrate the basic technology and make sure it works and that it's safe."



Battery

Silicon will blow lithium batteries out of water says Adelaide firm

© David Mariuz
1414 Degrees chairman Kevin Moriarty and executive director and chief technical officer Matthew Johnson with a prototype of their silicon energy storage system.
An Adelaide company has developed a silicon storage device that it claims costs a tenth as much as a lithium ion battery to store the same energy and is eyeing a $10 million public float.

1414 Degrees had its origins in patented CSIRO research and has built a prototype molten silicon storage device which it is testing at its Tonsley Innovation Precinct site south of Adelaide.

Chairman Kevin Moriarty says 1414 Degrees' process can store 500 kilowatt hours of energy in a 70-centimetre cube of molten silicon - about 36 times as much energy as Tesla's 14KWh Powerwall 2 lithium ion home storage battery in about the same space.

Put another way, he says the company can build a 10MWh storage device for about $700,000. The 714 Tesla Powerwall 2s that would be needed to store the same amount of energy would cost $7 million before volume discounts.

Bulb

Russia tests new lasers capable of 'blinding' guided missiles

© Sputnik/ Dmitriy Vinogradov
The Russian Defense Ministry is due to get a sophisticated mobile laser system capable of "blinding" aircraft optics and laser GPS-guided bombs and missiles from dozens of kilometers away, according to the Russian newspaper Izvestia.

A state-of the-art mobile laser system will enter service with the Russian Armed Forces in the near future, the Russian newspaper Izvestia reported.

The system can "blind" the optics arrays of enemy warplanes, helicopters as well as laser GPS-guided bombs and missiles that are dozens of kilometers away, according to the newspaper.

Additionally, it can counteract the optoelectronic systems of armored vehicles and tanks, as well as the hind sights of anti-tank missile systems.

Question

Did the 2015 Nepal earthquake shrink Mount Everest?

© Unknown
In April 2015, the Himalayan nation of Nepal was struck by a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that claimed nearly 9,000 lives and injured tens of thousands more.

Based on observations through satellite data, some scientists suspect the quake, which lasted for approximately 20 seconds, may have also caused Mount Everest to shrink, according to a report from Smithsonian Magazine.

In the earthquake's wake, the ground in the region shifted to such a degree that changes in the landscape were detectable through the comparison of before and after radar images gathered by satellite.

Robot

Could this pollinating drone replace butterflies and bees?

Pollinators around the world are in trouble: A recent report puts 40% of the smallest ones—like butterflies and bees—at risk of extinction. Could miniature drones fill the gap? To find out, researchers ordered a small drone online and souped it up with a strip of fuzz made from a horsehair paintbrush covered in a sticky gel. The device is about the size of a hummingbird, and has four spinning blades to keep it soaring. With enough practice, the scientists were able to maneuver the remote-controlled bot so that only the bristles, and not the bulky body or blades, brushed gently against a flower's stamen to collect pollen—in this case, a wild lily (Lilium japonicum), they report today in Chem.

Comment: will it work?


Satellite

SpaceX to deliver superbug to ISS - so we can kill it faster in future

© NASA / Reuters
On February 14, SpaceX will send a bacterium to the International Space Station (ISS) that kills more Americans every year than HIV/AIDS, emphysema, Parkinson's disease and homicide combined, all for a good cause, of course.

Two strains of the MRSA bacterium will be monitored in the microgravity environment aboard the ISS with the view to getting one step ahead of the antibiotic-resistant pathogen and potentially altering the future of medicine here on Earth.

Gear

Salk Vaccine Institute creates human-pig GMO

© Mercola.com
In Greek mythology, a chimera is a fire-breathing monster created from different species, most often portrayed as a creature with a lion's head, a goat's body and a serpent's tail.

Chimeras have long been regarded as mythical creatures, to the extent that the word "chimera" also means "an illusion or fabrication of the mind" or "an unrealizable dream."1 Among humans, chimeras, or people who have two genetically distinct types of cells, do exist, however.

Most often this occurs among non-identical twins who shared a blood supply in the uterus and end up having more than one blood type (they're known as blood chimeras). The idea of a human-animal chimera has remained confined largely to mythology, however — until now.

Bug

The curious case of cockroach magnetization

© MIT Technology Review
Birds are the best-known example of creatures able to sense magnetic fields and to use them for orientation and navigation. Less well known are the magneto-sensing abilities of American cockroaches, which quickly become magnetized when placed in a magnetic field.

Just how these creatures use this ability is the subject of much speculation. But there is general agreement that a better understanding of biomagnetic sensing could help engineers design better sensors for other applications, such as microrobot navigation.

But before that can happen, engineers will need a far better understanding of how cockroaches sense magnetic fields and how they become magnetized themselves.

Enter Ling-Jun Kong at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and a few pals who have measured the way American cockroaches become magnetized. In the process, they've made a remarkable discovery—it turns out that the magnetic properties of living cockroaches are strikingly different from those of dead cockroaches. And they think they know why.

The experiments are straightforward. Kong and co placed a series of living and dead cockroaches in a magnetic field of 1.5 kiloGauss; that's about 100 times stronger than a fridge magnet. The team left the creatures in the field for 20 minutes and then measured how strongly they had become magnetized and how long it took for this magnetization to decay.

The results make for interesting reading. The team could easily measure the magnetic field associated with all the cockroaches, alive or dead, as soon as they came out of the external field. The field associated with living cockroaches then decayed in about 50 minutes. By contrast, it took almost 50 hours for the field to decay in dead cockroaches.

That raises an obvious question: why the difference? Kong and co have created a mathematical model of magnetization to come up with the answer. They assume that magnetization is the result of magnetic particles inside the cockroaches aligning themselves with the external magnetic field. When removed from the external field, the magnetization decays because Brownian motion causes the magnetic particles to become randomly aligned again.

But they also investigate how the time this takes varies according to the viscosity of the medium the particles are trapped in. They show that the decay time increases as the viscosity of this medium increases and becomes more glassy.

Airplane Paper

US scientists create next-generation drone that looks and moves like a bat

© Youtube/SciNews
US scientists from several tech universities have created an unusually small and maneuverable drone inspired by bats.

The device called "Bat Bot" can soar and fly upside down, like a real bat.

A video of a test flight was posted by the scientists on YouTube.

As the caprion says, the new drone weighs only 85 grams. Its "skeleton" is made of carbon fiber, covered with a silicon "skin".

Syringe

New cancer therapy uses salmonella bacteria to hijack tumor cells

© NIH
A cancer cell (white) being attacked by immune cells (in red). A new bacterial cancer therapy gives a boost to this natural anti-cancer attack.
Researchers from South Korea have engineered a strain of bacteria that infiltrates tumors and fools the body's immune system into attacking cancer cells. In experiments, the modified bacteria worked to reduce cancer in mice, raising hope for human trials.

In a study published today in Science Translational Medicine, a research team led by biologists Joon Haeng Rhee and Jung-Joon Min from Chonnam National University in South Korea describe a new immunotherapy in which a bioengineered strain of Salmonella is converted into a biological version of the fabled Trojan Horse. Once inside an unsuspecting tumor, the modified bacteria transmits a signal that triggers nearby immune cells into launching an attack on the malignant cells.

In preliminary tests, the technique shrunk tumors in more than half of the mice who received injections of the commandeered bacteria. It's preliminary, but the researchers are hopeful that this form of immunotherapy will be both safe and effective in humans.