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Norbert von der Groeben/Stanford

Engineers at Stanford University have created a material that can radiate heat away from buildings and send it directly into space. Composed of layers of silicon dioxide and hafnium oxide atop of a layer of silver, the material is only 1.8 microns thick, which is 50 times thinner than a sheet of paper. The material can reflect sunlight back into space like a mirror and direct heat-bearing infrared rays away from the source and into the cosmos.

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origami boat

Scientists at New York University and the University of Melbourne have developed a method using DNA origami to turn one-dimensional nano materials into two dimensions. Their breakthrough offers the potential to enhance fiber optics and electronic devices by reducing their size and increasing their speed.

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Researchers at the University of Central Lancashire are patenting a 3D printing process that can be used to manufacture pharmaceuticals.

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Two teams of researchers at the University of New South Wales in Australia made a major breakthrough in quantum computing using silicon. Both teams developed a different method of creating a quantum bit, or qubit, with an accuracy of 99%. Qubits are bits that can exist as a 1 and a 0 at the same time, offering quantum computers the possibility of making simultaneous calculations. One team created an artificial atom containing a nucleus qubit and an electron qubit.

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Keith Vonderhuevel squeezes toothpaste onto a toothbrush.

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University are testing a prosthetic arm that could someday help to restore wearers' sense of touch. Contact points on the arm's cuff electrically stimulate nerve bundles in the arm of the wearer that relay sense of touch to the brain. This allows the wearer to feel familiar sensations and control the arm with more dexterity.

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Nobel medallion

Recently announced Nobel prizes recognize engineering contributions in the fields of physics and chemistry. The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to professors Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura who developed blue light emitting diodes in the early 1990s. Environmentally-friendly blue LEDs have paved the way for such technologies as colored LED screens and energy-efficient white lamps. Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell and William E. Moerner were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy, or nanoscopy.

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A new technology being developed by engineers at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute could reduce the dangerous glare caused by automotive headlights. Instead of a standard headlight or LED cluster, the system uses a Digital Light Processing (DLP) projector that can break the light up in to a million tiny beams. A camera captures images of the road which are then analyzed by a processor. A Spacial Light Modulator (SLM) is used to either dim individual beams of light to reduce glare, or brighten them to illuminate street signs or dark roadways.

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tinnitus sufferer

Boston researchers are studying a new audio tablet game designed to help individuals suffering from tinnitus. Tinnitus is a ringing, chirping or hissing sound believed to be the result of damage to sound-processing nerve cells caused by loud noises. Damage to these nerve cells cause patients to hear sound when none exists. The game aims to rewire patients' brains and retrain nerve cells similar to how video games are used to treat "lazy eye". The game invites players to assemble an invisible jigsaw puzzle with their finger on a touch screen using only audio clues.

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Touchscreen Film

Researchers at the University of Akron have developed a transparent electrode that could put an end to cracked screens on smartphones and tablets. Touchscreen devices on the market today use a coating of indium tin oxide (ITO) which is expensive to produce and likely to shatter. The screen material developed by the researchers is made up of transparent electrodes attached to a polymer surface. It is just as transparent as ITO screens but much more conductive. The researchers have completed several tests of the screen including repeated bending and scotch tape peeling.

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water bead on hydrophobic surface

Engineers at Brigham Young University have created a surface with extreme water-repelling properties. Known as super-hydrophobic surfaces, these materials are so waterproof that water molecules can be bounced off of them like a ball. The surfaces are also "self-cleaning" in that as water beads up on them, it picks up dirt and just rolls it away. Engineers created the surfaces by combining micro-etched patterns of channels or posts with a hydrophobic coating such as Teflon.

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