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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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Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have demonstrated that blood can be transported successfully by small drone. The researchers collected and then drove over 300 healthy blood samples to a flight site one hour away from the hospital  Half of the samples were packaged for flight and loaded onto a  hand-launched fixed-wing drone. These samples were flown in an unpopulated area for lengths of time ranging from 6 to 38 minutes.

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Stanford University researchers are partnering with LumosTech to develop a sleep mask that could help alleviate jet lag. The mask is outfitted with an Arduino that controls two bright LEDs. The LEDs emit brief flashes of light, about two milliseconds long, at the wearer's eyes. These flashes are capable of shifting the sleep phase of the wearer's circadian rhythm without disturbing sleep. When going on a trip, the mask can help a person prepare for time zone changes before they leave and even on the plane.

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In 2014, Alex Tacescu set out to build an assistive device to improve his grandfather's mobility. The result was a standing wheelchair prototype, named Project Maverick, which earned him the $10,000 IEEE Presidents' Scholarship at the 2015 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

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Researchers at Tel Aviv University have developed a device that can steal laptops' data wirelessly using a radio receiver and a piece of pita bread. The device sends encoded information to a nearby laptop, which is then decoded by that laptop. Changes in the electromagnetic field around the laptop during this process are then monitored and recorded. These changes can then be analyzed to derive the laptop's secret decryption keys, enabling encrypted communications to be read.

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An international group of researchers based at Trinity College Dublin have developed a new highly sensitive graphene biosensor for the detection of diseases such as cholera, tuberculosis, and even cancer. The Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) sensor is an already established optical technique for medical diagnosis. The researchers discovered that adding graphene to the SPR sensor greatly improved its effectiveness by amplifying the sensor signal. This SPR sensor can detect diseases in mere minutes, as opposed to traditional methods, which can often take days.

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IBM researchers have developed a new semiconductor chip that brings us one step closer to the development of a practical quantum computer. The chip integrates four qubits, the basis of quantum computing, in a two by two, 2-D grid. Qubits are bits that can exist as a 1 and a 0 simultaneously (known as a superposition state), offering quantum computers the possibility of making simultaneous calculations. Quantum computers would likely involve grids of hundreds or thousands of qubits working together to perform calculations.

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Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, have used a 3D printing technique, know as direct ink writing, to create a new kind of graphene aerogel that has applications ranging from energy storage to electronics. Aerogels, also known as "frozen smoke", are esssentially gels where the liquid has been replaced by a gas. The resulting material is ultra lightweight, compressible, highly conductive, mechanically stiff, and has a high surface area. Previous attempts at creating graphene aerogels resulted in random structures which could not be tailored for specific applications.

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Moley Robotics

London-based company Moley Robotics recently unveiled the first robotic kitchen, which can prepare gourmet dishes at the push of a button. The system uses two articulated robotic hands designed by Shadow Robotics, in a specially designed kitchen equipped with a stovetop, dishwasher and sink. Containing 20 motors, 24 joints and 129 sensors, the hands can be programmed to mimic 3D recorded movements of a human chef preparing a meal. The hands can manipulate utensils, cookware, and ingredients; and be taught to mix, stir, chop and even clean up afterwards.

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