Engineers have designed a wide-angle lens that is completely flat. It is the first flat fisheye lens to produce crisp, 180-degree panoramic images. The design is a type of “metalens,” a wafer-thin material patterned with microscopic features that work together to manipulate light in a specific way. The new lens consists of a single flat, millimeter-thin piece of glass covered on one side with tiny structures that precisely scatter incoming light to produce panoramic images. The lens works in the infrared part of the spectrum, but the researchers say it could be modified to capture images using visible light as well.
BodyCompass is the first home-ready, radio-frequency-based system to provide accurate sleep data without cameras or sensors attached to the body. BodyCompass works by analyzing the reflection of radio signals as they bounce off objects in a room. The researchers then map the paths of these signals, working backward from the reflections to determine the body’s posture. Signals that bounce off a person’s chest and belly are uniquely modulated by breathing. Once the breathing signal was identified as a way to “tag” reflections, the researchers could analyze those reflections compared to the position of the device to determine how the person was lying in bed.
Researchers have built the world’s smallest ultrasound detector: the silicon waveguide-etalon detector, or SWED. The SWED size is about half a micron (0,0005 millimeters). This size corresponds to an area that is at least 10,000 times smaller than the smallest piezoelectric detectors employed in clinical imaging applications. The SWED is also up to 200 times smaller than the ultrasound wavelength employed, which means that it can be used to visualize features that are smaller than one micrometer, leading to what is called super-resolution imaging. The increased imaging resolution may lead to studying ultra-fine details in tissues and materials.
Scientists have shown for the first time that a dramatic change in the purpose of sleep occurs at the age of about 2-and-a-half. Before that age, the brain grows very rapidly. During REM sleep, when vivid dreams occur, the young brain is busy building and strengthening synapses — the structures that connect neurons to one another and allow them to communicate. After 2-and-a-half years, sleep’s primary purpose switches from brain building to brain maintenance and repair, a role it maintains for the rest of our lives. This transition corresponds to changes in brain development.
Two-thirds of employees believe that in 2035, humans with chips implanted in their bodies will have an unfair advantage in the labor market, according to a Citrix survey of employees in the United States and Europe. “Leaders are consistently more positive about the benefits that technology and AI will bring, while workers are more skeptical and concerned about their own role in the changing world of work.” Seventy-seven percent of business leaders believe that under-the-skin chips and sensors will boost worker performance and productivity by 2035. By comparison, just 43% of workers share that positive view on chips.
Two big Spanish banks have announced a deal to create the country’s largest domestic lender in a move that could signal the start of further consolidation in Europe’s banking sector. CaixaBank will buy state-owned Bankia in an all-share deal that will help the companies tackle falling profitability as a result of the pandemic. The deal values Bankia at €4.3 billion ($5.1 billion). The new entity will have 20 million customers and a quarter of all loans and deposits in Spain. Total assets will exceed €664 billion ($786.6 billion), making it the largest bank in the domestic market. Santander and BBVA, which have extensive overseas operations, are Spain’s largest banks.
Rare books worth more than £2.5m that were stolen from a warehouse in west London in a daring heist have been found buried under the floor of a house in rural Romania. The recovery of the 200 books, which include first editions of significant works by Galileo and Sir Isaac Newton, is the culmination of a three-year police operation that involved raids on 45 addresses across three countries. The suspects were identified as being part of a Romanian organised crime group responsible for a string of high-value warehouse burglaries across the UK.
Saudi Arabia likely has enough mineable uranium ore reserves to pave the way for the domestic production of nuclear fuel, according to confidential documents. Details of the stocks are contained in reports prepared by Chinese geologists, who have been scrambling to help Riyadh map its uranium reserves at breakneck speed as part of their nuclear energy cooperation agreement. The survey report identifies reserves that could produce over 90,000 tonnes of uranium from three major deposits in the centre and northwest of the country.