So, yeah, anyone who is has been following this blog knows I love to share random and awesome (in my opinion) news from the world of science – stuff that’s cutting edge and brings the fictional and the imaginative to life.
But recently there has actually been an amazing plethora of stuff coming out and being that I’m lazy and more than a little behind in my posting, there’s a backlog of things I wanted to share.
SO! To bring you everything and not draw it out, I bring you the first “SCIENCE NON-FICTION MEGA POST!”, so scroll on and see the unreal come to life!
Tattoos could make electronic telepathy and telekinesis possible (via io9)
First up, we have one of the more insane sounding but amazing new developments, a step in the direction some would call “cyborg-tech” wherein we are merging man and machine (albeit only a little) to enhance the man. And I don’t mean inserting metal pins or a pacemaker, this is the real sci-fi deal:
Temporary electronic tattoos could soon help people fly drones with only thought and talk seemingly telepathically without speech over smartphones, researchers say. Electrical engineer Todd Coleman at the University of California at San Diego is devising noninvasive means of controlling machines via the mind, techniques virtually everyone might be able to use.
Commanding machines using the brain is no longer the stuff of science fiction. In recent years, brain implants have enabled people to control robotics using only their minds, raising the prospect that one day patients could overcome disabilities using bionic limbs or mechanical exoskeletons.
But brain implants are invasive technologies, probably of use only to people in medical need of them. Instead, Coleman and his team are developing wireless flexible electronics one can apply on the forehead just like temporary tattoos to read brain activity.
The devices are less than 100 microns thick, the average diameter of a human hair. They consist of circuitry embedded in a layer or rubbery polyester that allow them to stretch, bend and wrinkle. They are barely visible when placed on skin, making them easy to conceal from others.
The devices can detect electrical signals linked with brain waves, and incorporate solar cells for power and antennas that allow them to communicate wirelessly or receive energy. Other elements can be added as well, like thermal sensors to monitor skin temperature and light detectors to analyze blood oxygen levels.
Using the electronic tattoos, Coleman and his colleagues have found they can detect brain signals reflective of mental states, such as recognition of familiar images. One application they are now pursuing is monitoring premature babies to detect the onset of seizures that can lead to epilepsy or brain development problems. The devices are now being commercialized for use as consumer, digital health, medical device, and industrial and defense products by startup MC10 in Cambridge, Mass.
In addition, they’ve found that it could be attached to vocal chords and respond to the brains signals that travel to them and allow people who cannot, to speak and it would also allow others to telekinetically control small drones and other machines. How is stuff like this not bigger news? You tell me!
Star Trek’s ‘tractor’ beam created in miniature by researchers (via Phys.org)
A team of scientists from Scotland and the Czech Republic has created a real-life “tractor” beam, as featured in the Star Trek movies, which for the first time allows a beam of light to attract objects. Although light manipulation techniques have existed since the 1970s, this is the first time a light beam has been used to draw objects towards the light source, albeit at a microscopic level.
Researchers from the University of St Andrews and the Institute of Scientific Instruments (ISI) in the Czech Republic have found a way to generate a special optical field that efficiently reverses radiation pressure of light. The new technique could lead to more efficient medical testing, such as in the examination of blood samples.
In the US science fiction show, a tractor beam was a method of using a beam of light which could pull space-ships and other large objects towards the source of the light.
The team, led by Dr Tomas Cizmar, Research Fellow in the School of Medicine at the University of St Andrews, with Dr Oto Brzobohaty and Professor Pavel Zemanek, both of ISI, discovered a technique which will allow them to provide ‘negative’ force acting upon minuscule particles. Normally when matter and light interact the solid object is pushed by the light and carried away in the stream of photons. Such radiation force was first identified by Johanes Kepler when observing that tails of comets point away from the sun.
(To read more about this, follow the link to the original article above)
Functional Iron Man gauntlet shoots lasers powerful enough to pop a balloon (via io9)
Okay, I’ve saved the best for last – well okay, maybe not necessarily the best, but hands down the coolest (especially since we have a working demo video!!).
Patrick Priebe of Laser Gadgets builds custom props with a little something extra, from steampunk laser guns that can really burn to a crossbow that fires buzz saw blades. Here he adds his laser magic to an Iron Man-style gauntlet, arming it with enough power to pop a balloon.
Sadly, Priebe doesn’t post schematics or tutorials, but he does take custom orders through his website.
But enough talk! Let’s pop some balloons!