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  • News

    New ways to image and control nerve cells could unlock brain mysteries

    Using laser light, ballooning tissue and innovative genetic tricks, scientists are starting to force brains to give up their secrets.

    By mixing and matching powerful advances in microscopy and cell biology, researchers have imaged intricate details of individual nerve cells in fruit flies and mice, and even controlled small groups of nerve cells in living mice.

    The techniques,...

    01/17/2019 - 14:00 Neuroscience, Technology
  • News in Brief

    These robots can follow how-to diagrams

    Robots imbued with a certain kind of common sense may soon be able to follow instructional diagrams to build things.

    When studying pictures for assembling IKEA furniture or LEGO villages, humans are naturally good at inferring how to get from A to B. Robots, on the other hand, normally have to be painstakingly programmed with exact instructions for how to move. “Even when you try to...

    01/16/2019 - 14:00 Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Technology
  • News

    A new 3-D printed ‘sponge’ sops up excess chemo drugs

    Bringing the filtering abilities of a fuel cell into the blood vessels of living organisms, a new device could cut down on toxic effects of cancer treatment.

    At the heart of this approach — recently tested in pigs — is a tiny, cylindrical “sponge” created by 3-D printing. Wedged inside a vein near a tumor being treated with chemotherapy, the sponge could absorb excess drug before it...

    01/15/2019 - 09:00 Cancer, Chemistry, Technology
  • News

    Desalination pours more toxic brine into the ocean than previously thought

    Technology meant to help solve the world’s growing water shortage is producing a salty environmental dilemma.

    Desalination facilities, which extract drinkable water from the ocean, discharge around 142 billion liters of extremely salty water called brine back into the environment every day, a study finds. That waste product of the desalination process can kill marine life and...

    01/14/2019 - 10:17 Technology, Sustainability, Oceans
  • News

    A drill built for Mars is being used to bore into Antarctic bedrock

    Once destined for Mars, a prototype drill has a new mission: To bore into rocks buried deep beneath the ice in Antarctica.

    In early January, researchers from the University of Glasgow in Scotland took a modified version of their Martian drill to Antarctica. They’re poised to send it down to the bottom of a 651-meter deep ice borehole completed January 10 by researchers with the British...

    01/11/2019 - 14:47 Climate, Technology
  • News

    A new app tracks breathing to detect an opioid overdose

    A new smartphone app may help people who shoot up alone get medical treatment if they accidentally overdose.

    The app, dubbed Second Chance, monitors its user for breathing problems that foreshadow an opioid overdose (SN: 3/31/18, p. 18). In an emergency, the app could call 911 or send an SOS to friends or family who could provide opioid-counteracting medication.

    “Being able to...

    01/09/2019 - 14:00 Health, Technology, Science & Society
  • News

    A new implant uses light to control overactive bladders

    A new soft, wireless implant may someday help people who suffer from overactive bladder get through the day with fewer bathroom breaks.

    The implant harnesses a technique for controlling cells with light, known as optogenetics, to regulate nerve cells in the bladder. In experiments in rats with medication-induced overactive bladders, the device alleviated animals’ frequent need to pee,...

    01/02/2019 - 13:00 Biomedicine, Technology
  • 50 years ago, astronauts orbited the moon for the first time

    Apollo 8: Options on the way

    Just two months after the end of the successful first manned Apollo flight ... three astronauts are ready to fly this Saturday to within 70 miles of the lunar surface.... The Apollo 8 plan is for the astronauts to fly as many as 10 orbits around the moon before heading home.  — Science News, December 21, 1968

    Update

    Apollo 8 launched on December 21...

    12/27/2018 - 05:30 Astronomy, Technology, History of Science
  • News

    These sound waves can levitate and move particles in new ways

    A new machine uses ultrasonic waves to make particles dance in midair like marionettes on (invisible) strings.

    Unlike other devices that also use sound radiation to manipulate matter, the new system can move several objects in different directions at once (SN: 4/19/14, p. 8). This kind of levitation technology, described online the week of December 17 in Proceedings of the National...

    12/17/2018 - 15:00 Physics, Technology
  • News

    A new way to turn saltwater fresh can kill germs and avoid gunk buildup

    A new design for sun-powered desalination technology may lead to longer-lasting devices that produce cleaner water.

    The trick boils down to preventing a device’s components from touching the saltwater. Instead, a lid of light-absorbing material rests above a partially filled basin of water, absorbing sunlight and radiating that energy to the liquid below. That evaporates the water to...

    12/11/2018 - 11:00 Technology, Sustainability