The movie Frozen inspired the icy, 3-D printing of blood vessels
Science News Explores » Invention & Innovation
by Sarah Wells
2M ago
Superhighways of vessels beneath our skin transport blood and nutrients. These natural pathways branch out like tree limbs to help our body move food and oxygen to our organs. Our bodies make vessels naturally, but bioengineers also want to make them artificially. And now a team of engineers has found a cool new way to do that in the lab: They use ice. The idea was actually inspired by the ice magic in a Disney movie, says Burak Ozdoganlar. He’s a mechanical engineer who’s leading the new vessel-building project at Carnegie Mellon University. It’s in Pittsburgh, Pa. Frozen’s ice queen commands ..read more
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Lego bricks inspired a new way to shape devices for studying liquids
Science News Explores » Invention & Innovation
by Stephen Ornes
2M ago
When building devices, engineers mostly use solids, such as metal or plastic. But not a team in China. Their building blocks are drops of water. With those drops, they’ve created a system to study and manage tiny flows of liquids. Best of all, these new devices are unusually easy to build, take apart and refashion. Their inspiration? Legos, says Xin Du. He’s a biomechanical researcher at Southeast University in Nanjing, China and led the new work. He recalls the day a student working on this project brought in some of his son’s toys. They were building blocks that snap together. “Is it possibl ..read more
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A new tool could guard against deepfake voice scams
Science News Explores » Invention & Innovation
by Kathryn Hulick
3M ago
Imagine scrolling through TikTok and seeing famous YouTuber MrBeast pop up. He says he’s giving away brand-new iPhones. “Click the link below to claim yours now!” Do you click? Maybe. It sure looks and sounds like MrBeast. But it’s actually a deepfake — a phony clip created by artificial intelligence, or AI. Last October, this TikTok clip tricked some fans into sharing personal details. They also paid shipping fees for a phone that would never arrive. But a new tool — AntiFake — could help prevent such scams. Most deepfake defenses simply scan existing video or audio files to try to see if the ..read more
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Balsa wood transistors could usher in ‘greener’ electronics
Science News Explores » Invention & Innovation
by Stephen Ornes
6M ago
This is another in our series of stories identifying new technologies and actions that can slow climate change, reduce its impacts or help communities cope with a rapidly changing world. A team in Europe is working with wood, but not in the usual ways. They’re not carpenters. Or furniture-builders. Instead, they’re scientists exploring how wood can lead to greener electronic devices — ones whose production spews less climate-warming gas into the air. Their latest invention is a transistor made from balsa wood. Transistors play a critical role in computers and other devices. They ..read more
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Engineers cook up a new way to tackle CO2: Make baking soda
Science News Explores » Invention & Innovation
by Stephen Ornes
9M ago
This is another in our series of stories identifying new technologies and actions that can slow climate change, reduce its impacts or help communities cope with a rapidly changing world. Carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere, which warms our planet. But lately, excess levels of that gas have been making much of our world too toasty. Many climate solutions focus on reducing how much of that gas makes its way into the air. Some engineers instead look to mop up what’s already there. Arup SenGupta is one of them. “Why don’t you take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere?” asks ..read more
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Ultrasound waves can help remove polluting microplastics in water
Science News Explores » Invention & Innovation
by Kathiann Kowalski
10M ago
Listen to this story: Have feedback on the audio version of this story? Let us know! Wave goodbye to microplastic water pollution. Ultrasound waves can remove those itty bits of plastic from water. This new treatment could lead to safer drinking water. It also could cut the chance that wildlife will ingest plastic bits. Tiny pieces of plastic taint water the world over — including drinking water — as well as the air and many foods. As a result, data now suggest all of us have microplastics in our bodies. Scientists don’t yet know all the risks posed by these plastic bits, which are smal ..read more
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New glasses can ‘hear’ what you lip sync — and tell your phone
Science News Explores » Invention & Innovation
by Kendra Redmond
11M ago
“Siri, text mom.” “Alexa, play ‘Flowers’ by Miley Cyrus.” Voice commands are convenient — unless you’re at a deafening concert, in a quiet library, or you’re unable to use your voice. New frames for eyeglasses that read the wearer’s lips now offer a solution. Lip-reading involves tracking facial movements to determine what someone is saying. Many lip-reading devices point a camera at the user’s face. Others rely on sensors stuck in or around the speaker’s mouth. Neither approach is suitable for daily use, says Ruidong Zhang. He studies information science at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y ..read more
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Made from fungi, this vegan leather can self-heal holes or rips
Science News Explores » Invention & Innovation
by Jude Coleman
11M ago
Leather fabrics can be pricey — so a rip in a favorite jacket or purse might be upsetting. But what if torn leather could repair itself? That can’t happen today. But it might one day — if that jacket is fashioned from a specially prepared fungus. Scientists shared their recipe for this novel leather in the April 11 issue of Advanced Functional Materials. Scientists Say: Fungi Most leather comes from animal hides. But researchers in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, have just fashioned theirs from mycelium (My-SEE-lee-um). It’s the interwoven, thready rootlike structures — hyphae (HI-fee) — made by ..read more
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This electronic bandage sterilizes wounds with flashes of light
Science News Explores » Invention & Innovation
by Katie Grace Carpenter
11M ago
A new electronic bandage kills germs with flashes of light. And good new: No antibiotics needed. Embedded with tiny LED bulbs, the bandage emits light at ultraviolet-C, or UVC, wavelengths. Doctors and dentists often use this high-energy light to clean medical equipment. But sterilizing wounds with UVC hasn’t been so easy. The big hurdle: energy. A light-flashing bandage needs power. So typically, those bandages have needed a battery. (Otherwise, they would have to be plugged in.)  But powered by wireless technology, the new bandage needs no bulky batteries. That allows the devi ..read more
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New device can harvest clean energy from humid air anywhere
Science News Explores » Invention & Innovation
by Laura Allen
1y ago
This is another in our series of stories identifying new technologies and actions that can slow climate change, reduce its impacts or help communities cope with a rapidly changing world. Imagine a device that could make clean electric power anytime, anywhere, out of thin air. It’s an old idea. But scientists have new data to show they’re on the way to at last making it a reality. Using a new device, the researchers harvested electricity from humidity in the air. It wasn’t a lot of electricity. But it was enough to show the process can work. If this new device can be scaled up, i ..read more
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