The success of Pokémon GO made many people familiar with the concept of 'augmented reality': computer-generated perception blends into the real and virtual worlds. So far, these apps largely used optical methods for motion detection. Physicists have now developed an ultrathin electronic magnetic sensor that can be worn on skin. Just by interacting with magnetic fields, the device enables a touchless manipulation of virtual and physical objects.
The afterglow from the distant neutron-star merger detected last August has continued to brighten - much to the surprise of astrophysicists studying the aftermath of the massive collision that took place about 138 million light years away and sent gravitational waves rippling through the universe. New observations indicate that the gamma ray burst unleashed by the collision is more complex than scientists initially imagined.
Women have many options for oral contraceptives that are safe, effective and reversible, but despite decades of research, men have none. Now, scientists report a rat study that shows they finally have a good lead for a male birth control pill. It's based on ouabain, a plant extract that African warriors and hunters traditionally used as a heart-stopping poison on their arrows.
Can tumors teach us about animal evolution on Earth? Researchers believe so and now present a novel hypothesis of why animal diversity increased dramatically on Earth about half a billion years ago. A biological innovation may have been key.
Researchers have developed a first-of-its-kind technique for creating entirely new classes of optical materials and devices that could lead to light bending and cloaking devices -- news to make the ears of Star Trek's Spock perk up. Using DNA as a key tool, the scientists took gold nanoparticles of different sizes and shapes and arranged them in two and three dimensions to form optically active superlattices. The structures could be programmed to exhibit almost any color across the visible spectrum.
When it comes to naming colors, most people do so with ease. But, for odors, it's much harder to find the words. One notable exception to this rule is found among the Jahai people, hunter-gatherers living in the Malay Peninsula. For them, odors are just as easy to name as colors. Now a new study suggests that the Jahai's special way with smell is related to their hunting and gathering lifestyle.
A musician's brain is different to that of a non-musician. Making music requires an interplay of abilities which are also reflected in more developed brain structures. Scientists have discovered that these capabilities are embedded in a much more finely tuned way than assumed: The brain activity of jazz pianists differs from those of classical pianists, even when playing the same piece of music.
The milliDelta robot integrates a new microfabrication technique with high-performance composite materials that can incorporate flexural joints and bending actuators, the milliDelta can operate with high speed, force, and micrometer precision, which make it compatible with a range of micromanipulation tasks in manufacturing and medicine.
A small group of fishes -- possibly the world's cleverest carnivorous grazers -- feeds on the scales of other fish in the tropics. Biologists are trying to understand these scale-feeding fish and how this odd diet influences their body evolution and behavior.
For the first time, research has uncovered the origins of the earliest domestic turkeys in ancient Mexico. The study also suggests turkeys weren't only prized for their meat -- with demand for the birds soaring with the Mayans and Aztecs because of their cultural significance in rituals and sacrifices.
For the first time, researchers have shown that an optical fiber as thin as a human hair can be used to create microscopic structures with laser-based 3-D printing. The innovative approach might one day be used with an endoscope to fabricate tiny biocompatible structures directly into tissue inside the body.
Female fiddler crabs are sensitive to changes in the speed of a male's courtship display, significantly preferring displays that accelerate to those that are performed at a constant speed or slow down.
Chameleons are known to communicate with conspecifics by altering their surface coloration. Munich researchers have now found that the bony tubercles on the heads of many species fluoresce under UV light and form impressive patterns.
Scientists discovered a dinosaur fossil with feathers so well-preserved that they were able to see the feathers' microscopic color-bearing structures. By comparing the shapes of those feather structures with the structures in modern bird feathers, they're able to infer that the new dino, Caihong juji ('rainbow with the big crest') had iridescent rainbow feathers like a hummingbird.
Scientists compared fecal samples from surfers and non-surfers to assess whether the surfers' guts contained E. coli bacteria that were able to grow in the presence of the antibiotic cefotaxime. Cefotaxime has previously been prescribed to kill off these bacteria, but some have acquired genes that enable them to survive this treatment. The study found that 13 of 143 (9 percent) of surfers were colonized by these resistant bacteria, compared to just four of 130 (3 percent) of non-surfers swabbed.
You don't have to be perfectly organized to pull off a wave, according to scientists. Using a set of gyroscopes linked together, physicists explored the behavior of a material whose structure is arranged randomly, instead of an orderly lattice. They found they could set off one-way ripples around the edges, much like spectators in a sports arena -- a 'topological wave,' characteristic of a particularly unusual state of matter.