Archive for the 'Biology' Category

A Step Towards the Bionic Eyeball

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A few decades ago, the idea of fixing your vision by putting a thin lens on your eyeball was the stuff of sci-fi movies. Today, contact lenses help millions of people to see with near-perfect vision.

The next horizon of contact lens technology might also seem like an episode of the Bionic Woman: scientists have created contact lenses with small integrated electrical circuits and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

What’s the purpose? Eventually, developers want to use LEDs to project artificial images onto the view of your surroundings. This could, in principle, overlay words, pictures, or even a web browser-like interface onto your normal vision.

The technology, created at the University of Washington, is just a small step toward creating a revolutionary new visual interface. The contacts are completely clear despite containing circuits with nanometer-sized components. The one thing the lenses don’t do is correct vision. But eventually, engineers hope to integrate prescription lenses with the LED display capabilities.

Don’t Forget to Check for Poison

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The more we know about chemistry, nuclear physics, and health care, the more it seems like we are threatened by unseen sources: radon from the ground and lead in paint and plastics are just a couple examples.

But scientific advances also reassure us as we come up with more devices to help us combat these unseen foes. An example is the new small, portable x-ray fluorescence spectrometer, or XRF device. This tabletop device uses x-rays to probe objects for any of the highlighted elements in the photo shown above. This includes potentially toxic chemicals like lead.

The California Department of Toxin Control recently put on a demonstration of the devices. So far, they have been used to find lead and other toxins in consumer products like toys and shopping bags.

Read more at CNet.com.

Gummy Bear Experiment