SciTech Briefs

Brooke Kuei Apr 19, 2015

Researchers develop invisible objects

Previous attempts at making invisible objects have depended on metamaterials — artificial materials engineered to have properties that are not naturally occurring. However, physicists from the Ioffe Institute and Australian National University have recently created cylindrical objects that are not only invisible in the microwave range, but do not require additional metamaterial coatings.

The scientists made this discovery by studying the way light scatters in a glass cylinder filled with water. They found that at high refractive indexes, light scatters via two mechanisms — resonant and non-resonant scattering — and that at certain frequencies, the light scattered through these two mechanisms cancels itself out, making the object appear invisible. The results from this study have been published in Scientific Reports.

Source: Science Daily

Tests can predict risk of breast cancer

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen, in collaboration with the Danish Cancer Society, have created a metabolic blood profile test that can predict whether an individual will develop breast cancer in the next two to five years with an 80 percent sensitivity.

Blood samples taken from participants 20 years ago and stored in liquid nitrogen were compared with more recent blood samples from the same group of people, some of whom had developed breast cancer two to seven years since giving the first sample. Instead of studying a single biomarker, which is a common procedure in medical science, the researchers analyzed all of the compounds in the blood samples and found a pattern that predicts the cancer. The test will have to be better validated before it can be used commercially.

Source: Science Daily

SpaceX rocket has rough landing

Last Tuesday, an unmanned SpaceX rocket took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida to send a cargo ship to the International Space Station. The supply capsule was successfully sent on its way, but the booster rocket did not do as well. While booster rockets usually burn up in Earth’s atmosphere or fall back into the ocean after a launch, SpaceX is attempting to develop boosters that can land safely and be used again, thus reducing the cost of space travel.

The booster from Tuesday’s launch was supposed to land on a customized platform stationed 200 miles off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, but, unfortunately, it landed too hard. According to a tweet from SpaceX founder Elon Musk, the rocket “landed fine, but excess lateral velocity caused it to tip over post landing.”

Source: CNN

T-rex may have been hunted by others

Scientists recently analyzed a 75-million-year-old tyrannosaur skull and jaw discovered in 1994 in Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada. The fossils belonged to a Daspletosaurus, the 30 foot long and two ton cousin of the better known Tyrannosaurus rex. Despite the estimated young age of the Daspletosaurus being studied, a number of scars were found on its skull and jaw. One puncture wound on the back of the skull was particularly noticeable.

The scientists also found that some injuries appeared healed while others were not, indicating that some occurred while the dinosaur was alive. Based on the sizes and shapes of the scars, the researchers concluded that the injuries were inflicted by large, carnivorous dinosaurs, most likely other tyrannosaurs.

Source: Inside Science

Robot chef cooks gourmet meals

Engineers at Moley Robotics in the UK have developed a robotic chef that can cook high quality meals in just a matter of minutes. The system is called the Automated Kitchen and its consumer version, when developed, will come with a library of recipes that users can pick from and download. The robot’s arms were made by Shadow Robot Company, the same company that develops products for NASA.

The robotic chef’s talent is directly derived from professional chef Tim Anderson. Anderson was recorded while cooking with motion-capture gloves and his movements were translated into algorithms for the robotic chef. The makers of the robot believe that their robotic chef will not make real chefs obsolete — instead, it will give chefs a new way to get their recipes out to the public.

Source: Reuters