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Bonnethead Shark

Researchers at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are investigating the use of drones to study, detect, and track bonnethead sharks. The primary aim of this research is to study shark ecology and aid conservation of shark species. The researchers are testing how well drones can locate sharks in different habitats and in various water conditions; a job that was previously accomplished using planes. The drones are equipped with cameras which can capture imagery of coastal areas that can be difficult to access.

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 2015 IEEE Presidents' Scholarship winner, Alex Tacescu's Project Maverick was recently featured on The Tonight Show. Project Maverick is an omni-directional robotic system designed to provide a mobility solution for people with walking disabilities by mimicking the movement patterns of humans.

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sprouts

Having enough food to eat might be considered a basic human right, but millions of people in poor areas go hungry because they’re not able to grow enough food for themselves, let alone have a surplus to bring to market.

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Chemical engineers at Stanford University have developed technology aimed at making contact lenses more comfortable. Dry eyes caused by contact lenses occur when moisture protecting the surface of the eye, known as the tear film, breaks up in a process known as dewetting. The researchers found that the oily layer on the surface of the tear film plays an important role in providing strength and flexibility to the water beneath, as well as preventing evaporation. They recognized that the key to developing comfortable contacts, is creating lenses that do not break up the tear film.

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origami star and flower

Engineers at Brigham Young University are developing surgical instruments inspired by origami, the Japanese art of paper-folding. The tools in development are so small that the incisions required to accommodate them would be able to heal without sutures. The origami-inspired designs involve fewer parts, enabling them to be both simpler and smaller. A robotically-controlled forceps designed by the team, is small enough to enter through an incision only 3mm in size!

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Namib Beetle

Researchers at Virginia Tech have taken cues from beetles to create technology that could prevent the development and spread of frost. The researchers studied the physiology of the Namib Beetle, which resides in the deserts of southern Africa. This variety of beetle has a shell that is designed to collect moisture from the air and then channel it into the insect's mouth. The shell's design inspired the researchers to develop chemical micropatterns using photolithography, on top of a surface that repels water to deter the spread of frost.

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New, potentially life-saving, headphone technology debuted this year at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Known as Audio Augmented Reality (AAR), the wearer can use this technology to selectively cancel out sounds they do not want to hear, while enhancing those sounds they need to hear. The headphones can be programmed via an app to recognize various “audio triggers” picked up by the headphones’ external microphones. These triggers can include the wearer's own name being called, a bike bell, or even the honking of a car horn.

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Engineers at Tel Aviv University have developed a miniature jumping robot inspired by the characteristics and movement of the locust. The researchers designed the robot, known as TAUB, around the locust's basic biomechanical features as well as its great ability to use stored mechanical energy when jumping. The robot is powered by a small battery and can be controlled remotely using a microcontroller. The researchers employed a 3D printer to create the robot's body out of the same type of plastic used in Lego blocks.

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Researchers at the University of Southern California's USC Institute for Creative Technologies and Imperial College London have created a new method for rendering CGI skin that is almost indistinguishable from the real thing. Current high resolution scanning technologies allow the details of skin such as pores and creases to be captured only at the mesoscale. This new technique captured images of both the appearance and behavior of skin at the microscale, or below one tenth of a millimeter.

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Researchers at the University of Exeter have developed new photography software that converts digital photos into animal vision. The software can be used to analyze colors and patterns, which is useful in the study of plant and animal signaling, camouflage, and predation. The user-friendly software program enables users to calibrate images, incorporate multiple layers (including visible and UV channels), convert to animals' visual color palettes, and easily measure images. Humans see the world in three colors - red, green and blue.

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