Sci-Tech Briefs

La Niña to bring warm temperatures

According to WSI forecaster Todd Crawford, people in Pittsburgh and the rest of the eastern U.S. can expect warm weather this winter.

The reason for a warmer winter is due to “La Niña,” the occurrence of low temperatures in the equatorial Pacific.

According to Mike Halpert, the head of forecast operations at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, this winter will be “a lot like last year, but the climate models are even more in agreement now than they were last fall.”

Warmer weather this winter could cut down on residents’ oil costs, which are currently high due to oil trading above $80 a barrel.

Source: Reuters

Sensor helps athletes, patients

By attaching a sensor behind a person’s ear, doctors and athletic trainers can monitor an individual’s body movements.

Researchers at Imperial College London created this sensor to track the position of a person’s body based on data from an accelerometer. An accelerometer is a device that measures a person’s change in velocity. The accelerometer determines the body’s movement based on shock waves that travel through the person’s body.

After recording data, the sensor sends information wirelessly to a computer. This information can be used to track the body movements of patients who are recovering from surgery or athletes who wish to improve their performance.

The sensor may enter large-scale production in the next year.

Source: Technology Review

Microsoft develops new Zune

Complete with a new look and feature repertoire, Microsoft released its new lineup of the Zune media player last week on Tuesday.

The newer Zune 80 has an 80 GB hard drive player and a 3.2 inch screen, compared to a 30 GB hard drive and thicker casing in the older model.

The new Zune features a wireless syncing feature between the Zune and a computer to transfer music, photos, and video. The new Zune also feature a Zune pad, which consists of a mouse and touch pad for easy navigation.

Lastly, the new Zune features an improved social feature that connects Zune users via a new community website called “social.”

Source: CNN

New promising cornea research

Scientists in the European Union have created an artificial cornea that could save people’s eyesight.

Around 40,000 people each year in Europe need a cornea transplant, but cornea donors are very low and past attempts at creating an artificial cornea have failed.

Researchers from Potsdam and Regensburg in Germany have made a polymer that is resistant to water and cell growth. These polymers are coated with a protein that enables them to attach to the periphery of the eye’s cornea but avoid cell growth in the cornea’s center.

Source: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft