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Scientific Instruments

The Scientific Instruments Blog is the place for conversation and discussion about spectroscopy and chromatography, microscopy and imaging, industrial applications, and metrology and calibration. Here, you'll find everything from application ideas, to news and industry trends, to hot topics and cutting edge innovations.

Interact with Your Smartwatch Using Sonar Technology

Posted April 25, 2016 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

Now, the same technology used to find fish and submerged treasure can help people interact with their mobile devices and smartwatches. Computer scientists and electrical engineers from the University of Washington have developed sonar technology, called FingerIO, that lets people interact with tiny-screen devices by writing or gesturing on any nearby surface, such as a tabletop, paper, or even in mid-air. Sounds like science fiction, but FingerIO actually uses sound science - it leverages a smart device's microphone and speakers to bounce signals off the moving finger, record the echoes, and then calculate the finger motions in space.


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Simple Solution Gives Standard Scopes Super Resolution

Posted November 19, 2015 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

Scientists will soon see single molecules as they never have before, thanks to a cost-effective new technology from The Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. The Institute is launching a new startup, Ultivue, to commercialize the technology - target-specific imaging reagents that improve the imaging capabilities of standard single-molecule microscopes. The new reagents take advantage of the physical properties of carefully designed nucleotide sequences in complementary strands of DNA, one attached to the target and the other to a fluorescent dye.


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New Instruments Study Microscopic Magnetos

Posted October 08, 2015 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

Magnetotactic bacteria are found in both fresh and salt water, and feature unique organelles that contain nano-sized iron crystals, making the bacteria swim in the direction of the Earth's magnetic field. These little compass needles are valuable to scientists studying layers of sedimentary rock, but the elaborate electromagnetic systems used to observe them have proven problematic. Now, researchers have developed a simple but effective tool for monitoring the bacteria's movement by using a single permanent magnet positioned on top of a series of rotating gears. The beauty of this simple system is that it can be used with any light microscope and it doesn't require a hefty power supply to create the magnetic field.


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1 comments; last comment on 10/11/2015
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Tycoon Joins Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Posted August 19, 2015 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

With a $100 million investment, physicist Stephen Hawking, SETI pioneer Frank Drake, and billionaire investor Yuri Milner are committing to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Called the "Breakthrough" initiatives, the funding will help to expand SETI's listening power by acquiring more valuable telescope time: specifically, the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia and the Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia. Breakthrough Listen will also use the Automated Planet Finder Telescope at the Lick Observatory to search for optical laser transmissions, which some experts theorize could be a possible communication method for an advanced civilization. A second initiative, Breakthrough Message, seeks the public's insights on how we might use digital messages to introduce humanity to an alien race.


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2 comments; last comment on 08/19/2015
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The Precision (and Promise) of the James Webb Telescope

Posted May 24, 2015 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is scheduled for launch in October 2018, and when it becomes operational, it is expected to advance human understanding of the universe, just as the Hubble Space Telescope did 25 years ago. Designed to observe the first galaxies that formed after the Big Bang, the JWST will peer farther than any telescope before it, up to 13.5 billion light-years away. The telescope's onboard spectroscopic equipment will analyze the chemical composition, temperature, and other characteristics of the galaxies, stars, and planets it observes. These instruments will be so sensitive that the JWST may be able to detect the signatures of life in a distant planetary atmosphere.


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Here Comes the Sun

Posted April 06, 2015 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

The sun has been the talk of the solar system lately, showcased in a new video released by NASA and new research that reveals the source of its magnetic field. The video features five years' worth of stunning images from the successful Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), launched in 2010. The SDO is equipped with a variety of scientific instruments capable of imaging the extreme ultraviolet radiation from the sun's chromosphere and corona. In addition, the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia, using the telescopes and spectrometer on the HINODE observatory, revealed how the small supergranules at the boundaries of the sun's magnetic web contribute to the flow of the entire magnetic field.


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2 comments; last comment on 04/14/2015
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