Sci/Tech briefs

Future contacts include head-up display

Researchers at the University of Washington led by Babak Parviz are developing contact lenses that include the necessary components to produce virtual images in users’ eyes. The circuitry included in the lens projects an image directly into the eye, without blocking the field of vision. The devices can be powered by nearby radio sources. Eventually, the research team hopes that cell phones will be able to power the lenses at the same time they send content.

Current implementations of head-up displays often have a restricted area, but the technology under development by Parviz should be able to project images across the entire field of view. The applications range from recreational use and gaming to military information systems. While this technology is still only in the prototype stage, the team will be presenting their findings at the Biomedical Circuits and Systems conference this month.

Source: New Scientist

Scientists find new dinosaur species

A team led by Adam Yates of Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand has uncovered the bones of up to four new dinosaur species. The fossils were found in Spion Kop in the South African province of Free State, a location of many paleontological sites. While the team expected to find fossils from massospondylus, a common dinosaur of the area, they actually found bones from the species now named Aardonyx celestae.

The significance of the Aardonyx find is that it fills a gap in the evolutionary history of dinosaurs. At one stage in their evolution, huge sauropods such as brontosaurus began to separate from the earlier bipedal dinosaurs. The Aardonyx specimens found were young, but Yates claims that an adult might have grown to 50 feet and weighed half a ton. Yates hopes that continued excavation at the site will reveal more about the other new species found.

Source: Los Angeles Times

NASA finds water on the moon

Scientists studying data returned by an October lunar mission announced Friday that they had definitive evidence of water near the lunar surface. The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) was a NASA mission that on Oct. 9 crashed a spacecraft into a crater near the moon’s south pole. Scientists projected that the impact would send a plume of debris several miles high. Since that time, the team has been working to analyze the data picked up by spectrometers, which can analyze the components of the plume.

After a month of work, Anthony Colaprete, the project’s lead scientist, announced that they had found over 25 gallons of water. This confirmed the long-held belief that water did exist on the lunar surface, and it encourages proponents of lunar colonies. Astronauts would be able to use existing resources instead of bringing everything they needed from Earth.

Source: Associated Press