Apple’s iPhone 12 lineup has the ability to wirelessly charge an external accessory, according to a series of newly unveiled FCC filings that just went public. The documents say the phone “supports a built-in inductive charging transmitter and receiver.” Apple has not officially announced any such functionality that could be used to charge future AirPods or Apple’s long rumored Tile-competitor dubbed “AirTags.” The document goes on to suggest. “Future designs and accessories may support true portable use condition, with the host-client pair able to be placed in a pocket or backpack.”
A team of biomedical engineers and chemists has designed a small, wireless monitor that can be attached to the body to analyze cortisol in sweat. “Once a droplet of sweat is excreted from the skin during exercise, hot bath, or sauna, it travels into an intricate array of microchannels embedded in the microfluidic patch [and] makes contact with assays and electro-chemical sensors inside the microfluidic patch, At which point in time, reactions occur in real time.” With a smart phone, both scientists and users would be able to check and analyze their cortisol levels in real-time, helping keep stress levels in check.
Scientists have created synthetic soft surfaces with tongue-like textures for the first time using 3D printing. This opens new possibilities for testing oral processing properties of food, nutritional technologies, pharmaceutics and dry mouth therapies. They have replicated the highly sophisticated surface design of a human tongue and demonstrated that their printed synthetic silicone structure mimics the topology, elasticity and wettability of the tongue’s surface. A biomimetic tongue will be immensely helpful to increase development productivity and reducing manufacturers’ reliance on human trials in the early stages.
Gold nanotubes – one thousandth the width of a human hair – could be used to treat mesothelioma, a type of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. The researchers added the nanotubes to mesothelioma cells cultured in the lab and found that they were absorbed by the cells, residing close to the nucleus, where the cell’s DNA lies. When the team targeted the cells with a laser, the nanotubes absorbed the light and heated up, killing the mesothelioma cell. The gold nanotubes’ physical properties are ‘tunable’, so the team can tailor the wall thickness, microstructure, composition, and ability to absorb particular wavelengths of light.
Airports Council International Europe (ACI Europe) said it estimated that 193 out of Europe’s 740 commercial airports face “insolvency in the coming months if passenger traffic does not start to recover by the year-end”. The at-risk airports employ 277,000 people and generated collective annual revenues of €12.4bn. Passenger numbers at Europe’s airports in September fell by 75% compared with the same month year earlier. ACI Europe said total “lost passengers” since the pandemic began now stood at 1.3 billion. “This sudden increase in debt – an additional €16bn for the top 20 European airports – is equivalent to nearly 60% of their revenues in a normal year.”
Mercedes-Benz is taking a big stake in struggling British carmaker Aston Martin.The carmakers have confirmed in statements that Mercedes-Benz will increase its stake in Aston Martin over the next three years from 2.6% to as much as 20%. In exchange for the new shares, Aston Martin will get access to Mercedes-Benz technologies and components including next generation hybrid and electric powertrains. Aston Martin was in rough shape even before the coronavirus pandemic slammed the auto industry. For Mercedes-Benz, the deal is a chance to burnish its luxury credentials at a modest price. It said the tech transfer is worth £286 million ($371 million).
Australian scientists have discovered a detached reef more than 500 metres high – taller than the Empire State Building – at the northern end of the Great Barrier Reef. The “blade-like” vertical reef was found during a 3D seabed mapping exercise conducted from a ship. It is the first large detached reef found in the area since the late 19th century when seven others were discovered over a 150km stretch of ocean. The newly discovered reef has “an incredible abundance” of sponges, sea fans and soft corals, suggesting the area is rich in nutrients.
A strike is under way in Poland by women opposed to a court ruling that introduced a near-total ban on abortion in the mainly Catholic country. Crowds have protested in several cities against the decision that outlawed terminations on the grounds of severe health defects. The decision means terminations are only valid in cases of rape or incest, or to protect the mother’s life. Opponents say it puts women at risk by forcing them to carry a baby that is unlikely to survive birth. But supporters insist it will prevent the abortion of foetuses diagnosed with Down’s syndrome.