BRAIN CAPS: University of Maryland, USA, are working on a cap to read brainwaves. The non-invasive, sensor-lined cap looks a bit like a swimming cap studded with sensors and wires. Neural interface software directed by a wearer's thoughts could be used to control computers, robotic prosthetic limbs, and motorised wheelchairs. The cap uses electroencephalography to read brain waves and the software then translates that into actions. Could it work to feed control in as well? Read more at University of Maryland. Check out the video.
CANOE IN YOUR BACKPACK?: You just never know when you might need a canoe, so why not keep one in your backpack? The Adhoc full size canoe weighs 4.1kg and can be assembled in 5 minutes. The telescopic poles that make the frame are carbon fibre, and the skin is made from Aramid — a heat-resistant synthetic fabric used in racing sails.
QUICK FLASH: The European X-ray Free-Electron Laser is being built near Hamburg, Germany. When finished in 2015 it will emit X-ray flashes a billion times brighter than those from conventional X-ray sources. That will mean 3D X-ray images of single molecules or the atomic details of viruses. 27,000 X-rays per second will be generated by a 3 Km long superconducting accelerator. Gotcha! XFEL EU has all the specs.
WALK ON WATER: The water strider is an insect that can literally walk on water. Now Chinese scientists have created a bionic microrobot that can do the same thing. The tiny robot, propelled by 2 miniature motors, has 10 superhydrophobic wire legs and 2 movable, oar-like legs. The robot could be used to monitor water quality. So long as the monitoring equipment doesn't weigh anything, of course. All the science is at Applied Minerals & Interfaces.There's also a video of it.
A BRICK OUT OF THE WALL: If only we could see through walls as chaotic radar can. Canadian scientists have found a way to 'tune'
ultra-wideband radar with a chaotic oscillator. It creates an irregular signal using a fixed algorithm also known to the receiver.
Objects on the far side of a wall reflect distorted radio waves, but this system can make sense of the distorted signals. Sounds a bit like cryptography where sender and receiver both use the same distorted patterns. New Scientist has the details.
Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz