Supercoiling Artificial Muscles

An example of supercoiling in the artificial muscles (right), compared to the looser twist (left)
An example of supercoiling in the artificial muscles (right), compared to the looser twist (left)
Geoff Spinks

Tiny robots could serve all kinds of useful functions, but shrinking their actuators has proven challenging. Now researchers at the University of Wollongong (UOW) in Australia have made artificial muscles that surpass your puny natural ones, inspired by the “supercoiling” of DNA strands. read more

LongROAD may track Early Stage Dementia

Researchers have developed models that could predict mild cognitive impairment and dementia with 88 percent accuracy
Researchers have developed models that could predict mild cognitive impairment and dementia with 88 percent accuracy

A fascinating new study from a team of US researchers has used machine learning techniques to develop algorithms that can analyze naturalistic driving data and detect mild cognitive impairment and dementia in a driver. The work is still in the preliminary stages, however, the researchers claim it could be possible in the future to detect early signs of dementia using either a smartphone app or devices incorporated into car software systems. read more

Mega Swiss Army Knife

The XXL stretches 3.6 x 2.5 in
The XXL stretches 3.6 x 2.5 in
Victorinox

Perhaps a sign of the times, Swiss Army knives have gone a little extreme in 2021. Victorinox’s latest Swiss Army releases include one of the largest Swiss Army knives ever offered and a series of Mini Tools among the smallest to wear the cross. Victorinox adds “XXL” sizing to the Swiss Champ lineup with a 73-function monster that just might fill an entire pocket. Its corkscrew holds a tiny screwdriver small enough to repair your sunglasses. read more

New Speed Record

Artist's impression of the Parker Solar Probe on approach to the Sun
Artist’s impression of the Parker Solar Probe on approach to the Sun
NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben (illustration)

Launched in 2018 on a mission to study the Sun from close proximity, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe continues to edge closer and closer to its target, setting one new record after another. The latest came during a close approach today, where the spacecraft exceeded blistering speeds of 330,000 mph (532,000 km/h) as it began its eighth loop of the Sun. read more

NOSEiD can Identify a lost Pooch

NOSEiD is presently limited to the city of Nashville, but should soon be rolled out to other locations
NOSEiD is presently limited to the city of Nashville, but should soon be rolled out to other locations
Iams

Just like our fingerprints, the shape and pattern of each dog’s nose is unique to that animal. Bearing this in mind, pet food company Iams has launched a “nose-centric” app for identifying lost dogs – appropriately enough, it’s called NOSEiD. read more

Dry Mouth? An Accidental Cure may be on the Way

Chronic dry mouth often involves inflammation of the salivary glands, which an existing drug has been shown to reduce
Chronic dry mouth often involves inflammation of the salivary glands, which an existing drug has been shown to reduce
ArenaCreative/Depositphotos

Although we may all get a dry mouth from time to time, for some people it can be an ongoing debilitating condition. There could be new hope for such folks, however, thanks to a recent accidental discovery.

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Portable Alpha Bonfire

When other fire pits are too large, the Alpha Bonfire packs small enough to carry by foot or small, human-powered vehicle
When other fire pits are too large, the Alpha Bonfire packs small enough to carry by foot or small, human-powered vehicle
The Brand Labo

Open-fire cooking you can carry anywhere, the new Alpha Bonfire from Japanese startup The Brand Labo collapses flat into a smartphone-sized package small enough to drop in a pocket. It carries easily by foot, luggage or light vehicle, building into a mini fire pit and grill you can use wherever the journey takes you. The compact kit even brings its own tiny utensils for preparing and eating the food.

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Does the Mars Helicopter need a Designator and Call Sign?

Artist's rendering of Ingenuity and the Perseverance rover
Artist’s rendering of Ingenuity and the Perseverance rover
NASA/Caltech

NASA’s Ingenuity is no longer just the world’s most expensive hobby helicopter. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has given an official flight designator and call-sign codes for the robotic rotorcraft and the Wright Brothers Field in Jezero Crater on the Red Planet.

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Long Range Electric Mercedes

Mercedes-Benz EQS sedan
Mercedes-Benz EQS sedan
Mercedes-EQ/Daimler

Fast-building its EQ family, Mercedes-Benz brings all-electric power to the flagship of the brand: the S-Class. After months of teasing, it has finally given the all-new EQS a proper world premiere. The electric sedan explores the highest echelons of the electric market with a range that pushes 500 miles, a sleek, slippery design that Mercedes defines as the world’s most aerodynamic, and more tech than some Silicon Valley zip codes.

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Scans Show Pterosaurs Unique Bone Structure

An illustration of a giant pterosaur
An illustration of a giant pterosaur
Davide Bonadonna

While dinosaurs roamed the Earth, flying reptiles called pterosaurs ruled the skies above. These included the largest animals to ever take flight, and a new study has uncovered some of the biological secrets that helped them grow so large. CT scans have revealed that the neck vertebrae of giant pterosaurs had a unique supporting structure never seen in any other animal.

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