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  • News

    Lasers trace a new way to create hovering hologram-like images

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    The 3-D displays seen in such sci-fi movies as Star Wars may not be so far, far away.

    A new laser system renders full-color 3-D images in thin air, researchers report in the Jan. 25 Nature. This technology could someday make futuristic, free-floating visuals for everything from air traffic control to surgical planning.

    With this new technology, “you really can...

    01/24/2018 - 14:30 Technology, Physics
  • Feature

    Your phone is like a spy in your pocket

    Consider everything your smartphone has done for you today. Counted your steps? Deposited a check? Transcribed notes? Navigated you somewhere new?

    Smartphones make for such versatile pocket assistants because they’re equipped with a suite of sensors, including some we may never think — or even know — about, sensing, for example, light, humidity, pressure and temperature.

    Because...

    01/23/2018 - 12:00 Computing, Technology
  • News

    New technique could help spot snooping drones

    Now there’s a way to tell if a drone is spying on someone.

    Researchers have devised a method to tell what a drone is recording — without having to decrypt the video data that the device streams to the pilot’s smartphone. This technique, described January 9 at arXiv.org, could help military bases detect unwanted surveillance and civilians protect their privacy as more commercial drones...

    01/23/2018 - 07:00 Technology, Science & Society
  • Science Ticker

    A robotic arm made of DNA moves at dizzying speed

    A new robotic arm made of DNA moves 100,000 times faster than previous DNA machinery.

    The DNA nanobot is shaped like a gearshift, with an extendible arm that ranges from 25 to more than 400 nanometers long that’s attached to a 55-by-55-nanometer platform. Researchers remotely control this DNA device, described in the Jan. 19 Science, with electric fields that tug on charged molecules in...

    01/18/2018 - 14:00 Biophysics, Technology
  • News

    Pollution is endangering the future of astronomy

    OXON HILL, Md. — Even as technological advances allow astronomers to peer more deeply into the cosmos than ever before, new technologies also have the potential to create blinding pollution.

    Three sources of pollution — space debris, radio interference and light pollution — already are particularly worrisome. And the situation is getting worse. In the next two decades, as many as 20,000...

    01/12/2018 - 13:27 Astronomy, Pollution, Technology
  • Teaser

    A new gel could help in the fight against deadly, drug-resistant superbugs

    A new antibacterial ointment could help take down drug-resistant bacteria.

    In human skin samples and mice, the medicine completely cleared wounds of MRSA, the strain of Staphylococcus aureus that is resistant to methicillin and other antibiotics, and antibiotic-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii. Both microbes are known to cause serious infections in hospital patients. Researchers in the...

    01/10/2018 - 14:00 Microbes, Health, Technology
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers wrangle with definition of ‘species’

    Species shmecies

    In “Defining ‘species’ is a fuzzy art” (SN: 11/11/17, p. 22), Susan Milius asked scientists to define “species.” Schoolbooks may define the concept as a group of organisms that create fertile offspring when mating with each other but not when mating with outsiders. But for researchers specializing in the topic, a single definition is hard to come by.

    “It seems to me...

    01/10/2018 - 12:37 Evolution, Technology, Astronomy
  • News

    New pill tracks gases through your gut

    Ingestible electronics are giving their first full tours of the gas in people’s guts.

    Newly constructed capsules, described online January 8 in Nature Electronics, sense various gases while traveling through a person’s digestive tract, revealing how the gut’s chemical composition reacts to factors like diet.

    What exactly each person’s gut gas could reveal about his or her health “...

    01/08/2018 - 11:00 Microbes, Technology
  • News

    These disease-fighting bacteria produce echoes detectable by ultrasound

    Ultrasound can now track bacteria in the body like sonar detects submarines.

    For the first time, researchers have genetically modified microbes to form gas-filled pouches that scatter sound waves to produce ultrasound signals. When these bacteria are placed inside an animal, an ultrasound detector can pick up those signals and reveal the microbes’ location, much like sonar waves bouncing...

    01/03/2018 - 13:00 Microbes, Technology
  • News in Brief

    Boy robot passes agility tests

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    Robots are on their way to passing gym class.

    The design of a new life-size bot named Kengoro closely resembles the anatomy of a teenage boy in body proportion, skeletal and muscular structure, and joint flexibility, researchers report online December 20 in Science Robotics. Compared with previous humanoid robots with more rigid, bulky bodies, Kengoro’s anatomically...

    12/21/2017 - 16:13 Robotics, Technology