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  • News in Brief

    Gecko-inspired robot grippers could grab hold of space junk

    Get a grip. A new robotic gripping tool based on gecko feet can grab hold of floating objects in microgravity. The grippers could one day help robots move dangerous space junk to safer orbits or climb around the outside of space stations.

    Most strategies for sticking don’t work in space. Chemical adhesives can’t withstand the wide range of temperatures, and suction doesn’t work in a...

    06/28/2017 - 14:08 Robotics, Astronomy, Technology
  • The –est

    New video camera captures 5 trillion frames every second

    View the video

    A new video camera, the fastest by far, has set a staggering speed record. It films 5 trillion frames (equivalent to 5 trillion still images) every second, blowing away the 100,000 frames per second of high-speed commercial cameras. The device could offer a peek at never-before-seen phenomena, such as the blazingly fast chemical reactions that drive explosions or...

    06/13/2017 - 04:00 Technology
  • News in Brief

    New pelvic exoskeleton stops people from taking tumbles

    View the video

    A wearable robot could prevent future falls among those prone to stumbles.

    The new exoskeleton packs motors on a user’s hips and can sense blips in balance. In a small trial, the pelvic robot performed well in sensing and averting wearers’ slips, researchers report May 11 in Scientific Reports.

    Exoskeletons have the potential to help stroke victims and people...

    05/11/2017 - 09:00 Technology, Biomedicine
  • Science Ticker

    Trackers may tip a warbler’s odds of returning to its nest

    Strapping tiny trackers called geolocators to the backs of birds can reveal a lot about where the birds go when they migrate, how they get there and what happens along the way. But ornithologists are finding that these cool backpacks could have not-so-cool consequences.

    Douglas Raybuck of Arkansas State University and his colleagues outfitted some Cerulean warblers (Setophaga cerulea)...

    05/05/2017 - 14:30 Animals, Technology
  • News in Brief

    New printer creates color by shaping nanostructures

    Carving nanostructures with a laser creates long-lasting colors.

    Researchers developed the new printing technique as an alternative to ink-based printing, in which colors fade with time. Aside from eternally vibrant art, the technique could lead to new types of color displays or improve security labels, the scientists report in the May 5 Science Advances.

    Anders Kristensen of...

    05/05/2017 - 14:00 Technology, Physics
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers concerned about cancer’s sugary disguise

    Sugarcoated

    A new wave of potential immune therapies aims to target the network of complex sugars that coat cancer cells, Esther Landhuis reported in “Cancer’s sweet cloak” (SN: 4/1/17, p. 24). Some of these sugars, called sialic acids, help tumors hide from the immune system.

    “Are the offending sugars referred to in this article the ones we are eating or are they the result of...

    05/03/2017 - 11:20 Cancer, Technology, Animals
  • Science Ticker

    SpaceX launches and lands its first reused rocket

    In a spaceflight first, the aerospace company SpaceX has successfully launched and landed a previously used rocket.

    The Falcon 9 rocket blasted off March 30 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Flight Center in Florida at 6:27 p.m. EDT carrying a commercial telecommunications satellite. After separating from the rest of the rocket and its payload, the refurbished first stage of the rocket touched...

    03/30/2017 - 18:42 Technology, Astronomy
  • News in Brief

    Single-atom magnets store bits of data

    NEW ORLEANS — ­The tiniest electronic gadgets have nothing on a new data-storage device. Each bit is encoded using the magnetic field of a single atom — making for extremely compact data storage, although researchers have stored only two bits of data so far.

    “If you can make your bit smaller, you can store more information,” physicist Fabian Natterer of the École Polytechnique Fédérale...

    03/20/2017 - 16:25 Physics, Technology, Condensed Matter
  • Feature

    Virtual reality has a motion sickness problem

    Tech evangelists predicted that 2016 would be “the year of virtual reality.” And in some ways they were right. Several virtual reality headsets finally hit the commercial market, and millions of people bought one. But as people begin immersing themselves in new realities, a growing number of worrisome reports have surfaced: VR systems can make some users sick.

    Scientists are just...

    03/07/2017 - 06:00 Technology, Health, Science & Society
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers amazed by Amasia

    Saved by the Bell

    Physicists used light from stars to perform a cosmic Bell test, which verified that quantum particles were indeed “spooky,” Emily Conover reported in “Quantum effect passes space test” (SN: 1/21/17, p. 12).

    Reader George Mitchell took issue with Conover’s description of entangled photons before they are measured as having multiple polarizations at once. “We don’t know...

    02/22/2017 - 12:43 Quantum Physics, Earth, Technology