Tech

The recent success of Pokémon GO made many people very familiar with the concept of "augmented reality": computer-generated perception blends into the real and virtual worlds. So far, these apps have largely used optical methods for motion detection. Physicists at the German Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) working together with colleagues at the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research (IFW) and the Johannes Kepler University Linz (JKU) (Austria) have now developed an ultrathin electronic magnetic sensor that can be worn on skin.

In the race to build a computer that mimics the massive computational power of the human brain, researchers are increasingly turning to memristors, which can vary their electrical resistance based on the memory of past activity. Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have now unveiled the long-mysterious inner workings of these semiconductor elements, which can act like the short-term memory of nerve cells.

DURHAM, N.C. - More than seven years after Pennsylvania officials requested that the disposal of radium-laden fracking wastewater into surface waters be restricted, a new Duke University study finds that high levels of radioactivity persist in stream sediments at three disposal sites.

The contamination is coming from the disposal of conventional, or non-fracked, oil and gas wastewater, which, under current state regulations, can still be treated and discharged to local streams.

Middle class describes an economic tier between rich and poor. It implies upward mobility and a break from poverty.

But a recent article co-authored by Portland State University anthropologist Charles Klein shows that the term does little to shine a light on the real lives of people who make it into this social classification. It may be a convenient term for politicians and marketers, he said, but it's too simplistic be used as a one-size-fits-all descriptor of economic status across different countries and cultures.

This year's flu season is shaping up to be an especially serious one, and it's important for clinicians to promptly recognize, diagnosis, and treat influenza in hospitalized patients, especially in vulnerable populations such as older individuals. A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, however, indicates that adults aged 65 years and older who are hospitalized with fever or respiratory symptoms during influenza seasons are less likely to have a provider-ordered influenza test than younger patients.

Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have developed a novel electric propulsion technology for nanorobots. It allows molecular machines to move a hundred thousand times faster than with the biochemical processes used to date. This makes nanobots fast enough to do assembly line work in molecular factories. The new research results appeared today as the cover story in the renowned scientific journal Science.

There is a well-known patent dispute between University of California (UC), Berkeley and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT over use of the CRISPR-Cas9 system. That legal fight is unsurprising, given the billions of dollars at stake and the reality that academics want to be rich just like everyone else.

WASHINGTON - A comprehensive aviation safety system as envisioned by NASA would require integration of a wide range of systems and practices, including building an in-time aviation safety management system (IASMS) that could detect and mitigate high-priority safety issues as they emerge and before they become hazards, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. An IASMS could continuously monitor the national airspace system, assess the data that it has collected, and then either recommend or initiate safety assurance actions as necessary.

A dawning field of research, artificial biology, is working toward creating a genuinely new organism. At Princeton, chemistry professor Michael Hecht and the researchers in his lab are designing and building proteins that can fold and mimic the chemical processes that sustain life. Their artificial proteins, encoded by synthetic genes, are approximately 100 amino acids long, using an endlessly varying arrangement of 20 amino acids.

Organisms that aren't closely related may evolve similar traits as they adapt to similar challenges. It's called convergent evolution, and familiar examples include the wings of birds, bats, and insects, and echolocation in bats and dolphins. Now, molecular biologists have found evidence of convergent evolution in an important mechanism of gene regulation in humans and mice.