New Face Mask Uses Sensors to Detect COVID-19 COVID-19 has been a tragic and devastating pandemic, completely changing the world and the way we go about our lives. In some countries, vaccination has slowed the spread of the pandemic, while in others, the threat of new mutations and increased risk looms. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have developed wearable sensor-equipped masks that can detect COVID-19 in the wearer. The study was published in the Nature Biotechnology journal. Titled "Wearable materials with embedded synthetic biology sensors for biomolecule detection", involved using wearable biosensors installed on KN95 masks to detect whether to virus was present in the wearer's breath. Within 90 minutes and with the accuracy of a standard PCR COVID test, they were able to test for COVID-19 using the masks. Peter Nguyen, a scientist who co-authored the study, says the sensor has the high accuracy of PCR tests with the speed and low cost of antigen tests. He also said these sensors could be worn on clothing and used to detect "dangerous substances, including viruses, bacteria, toxins, and chemical agents." According to researchers, the team is now looking for manufacturing partners to make these masks available in large numbers during the pandemic.
NASA's Deep Space Atomic Clock is the Most Precise Clock in Space Launched on a satellite in June 2019, NASA's Deep Space Atomic Clock is the most precise clock to ever fly to space. The DSAC as it is abbreviated is at least 10 times more accurate than standard clocks to fly in space, like those on GPS satellites, which means it might be reliable for future space navigation systems. Current spacecraft and probes use signals from antennas earth to navigate the solar system, bouncing these signals back to get readings from clocks on earth to calculate position. These signals require very large, precise clocks and often it can take hours to pinpoint a spacecraft's position. Moving away from this method of navigation and using a clock on the spacecraft itself, the spacecraft would still need signals from earth to pinpoint its location, but wouldn't need to bounce them back. The DSAC gets its stability from electrically charged atoms, or ions, held within electric fields. The electric fields protect the ions, keeping the charges correct and precise so the clock can keep time properly. How stable is the DSAC? Researchers compared it with the U.S. Naval Observatory's hydrogen master clock on the ground and found it drifted about 26 picoseconds over a day. These trillionths of a second drift are comparable to clocks currently used in ground-based deep-space navigation.
Beekeepers Employ Remote Monitoring to Help Protect Honeybees The ancient tradition of beekeeping has become a critical part of agriculture worldwide. Bees provide vital pollination to plants, especially crops feeding 90% of the world's population. 1.4 billion farming jobs also depend on this pollination, bringing in about $557 billion dollars a year. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, bees are in distress too. A deadly parasitic mite, pesticides, and climate change led to an estimate that from 2019-2020, almost over 40% of US beehives were lost. A Boston firm, Best Bees Company, installs monitors near hives commercially and shares the data with universities. These monitors are intended to learn more about the health of the bees and better understand the plight that has caused so many deaths. Best Bees also harvests the honey for homeowners and businesses to keep. The technology is significantly different from the more primitive tools used in beekeeping previously. Beekeepers had to manually inspect hives, whereas these monitors aim to do that remotely. They can get a picture of what is happening in the hive and the overall health of the bees. While about 20% of hives require intervention, beekeepers often don't know which 20%, which is why a monitor sharing information can be helpful.
SpaceX Successfully Launches Military Satellite with Reusable Booster If you have been staying up to date with SpaceX news or watching the webcast, you know they are making major milestones in spaceflight. On June 17th, SpaceX flew its second mission for the US military and sent a GPS satellite successfully to orbit. The booster landed successfully on the drone ship Just Read the Instructions. A few months before the launch, the US military announced contracts to permit SpaceX to fly "national security" launches on these flight-proven boosters. This hasn't been SpaceX's only achievement, as in recent years they have also sent GPS satellites, cargo for the International Space Station, and astronauts to space successfully using reusable boosters. SpaceX decided to launch a flight-proven booster and spacecraft carrying astronauts for the first time ever, a major step for the company. SpaceX has been operating for more than four years, with 92 consecutive successful launches and 67 booster reuses. As more military GPS satellites near completion, the military will likely award more contracts to SpaceX in the future for these flight-proven, reusable spacecraft.
Purdue Promises Sustainable Energy from Artificial Photosynthesis Plants have a secret weapon unique to them, photosynthesis. By harnessing a natural reaction they evolved, plants are able to use a chemical they produce called chlorophyll to harness energy from the sun. This process is invaluable to the ecosystem everywhere, so scientists are trying to mimic the reaction in a lab. Scientists at Purdue University hope to find a new source of sustainable, clean energy. They want to use a reaction similar to photosynthesis to turn sunlight into useable fuel. Clean energy from solar panels and wind turbines already exists and is becoming mainstream as it is more readily available. The option of artificial photosynthesis is even more appealing than wind and solar energy because it would actually pull carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This is the way photosynthesis naturally takes place. In addition to this, solar panels and wind turbines often have a very large carbon footprint as they are manufactured and set up before they even begin producing energy. Photosynthesis is a complicated and elusive reaction, while it is much more efficient than wind and solar energy. There are fundamental physical limitations that inhibit solar panels from absorbing as much energy as photosynthesis is able to. The group at Purdue University is mimicking photosynthesis in a lab by building a synthetic leaf analog that collects light and splits water molecules to collect hydrogen. Hydrogen is an increasingly popular fuel that can be used by itself or combined with other fuels like natural gas in fuel cells powering everything from electronic devices to laboratories. The findings were recently published in the journal Chem Catalysis: Cell Press. Scientists have been working on artificial photosynthesis for over half a century. It has been in the news frequently recently because many major advancements have been made. Scientists expect the technology to become commercially available within the next ten to fifteen years.
A New Place for Social Content Many sites already exist where users can share photos, stories, and even play games with their friends. However, most of the sites we hear about are larger, corporate-run organizations that don't necessarily have the user in mind. A new site in the game, with all these features and more, aims to change this. The site, Uglek.com, is built with the essentials of online communities and news platforms combined. With easily organized sections for user-generated content as well as groups, games, messages, and a self-curated feed of content, you can find a lot of useful features on this site. The site is also quickly gaining popularity and is driving engaged traffic. Built with Django, the site is a sleek and robust application, employing features to keep it secure. With email verification and spam protection, you can be sure no accounts are fake and the community is wholly human and alive. Uglek is protected from fake and malicious users, so it's a safer and better place to share public content than Facebook or Instagram. This website is free to use and shows some advertisements to pay for maintenance costs. There's some great things to read on here, and if you're interested in an independent, clean online community, you should visit Uglek.com.