Engineers have designed a Velcro-like food sensor, made from an array of silk microneedles, that pierces through plastic packaging to sample food for signs of spoilage and bacterial contamination. The sensor’s microneedles are molded from a solution of edible proteins found in silk cocoons, and are designed to draw fluid into the back of the sensor, which is printed with two types of specialized ink. One of these “bioinks” changes color when in contact with fluid of a certain pH range, indicating that the food has spoiled; the other turns color when it senses contaminating bacteria such as pathogenic E. coli.
A team of Swiss researchers have a new solution for overheating chips by integrating cooling liquid directly into the chip itself. This approach could yield orders of magnitude improvements in efficiency to previously proposed cooling models, and bring computing into a new age of innovation. Dubbed a “microfluidic–electronic co-design,” buried coolant channels are integrated across the device, allowing for even heat dissipation and management. “The buried channels are therefore embedded right below the active areas of the chip, so that the coolant passes directly beneath the heat sources.”
Sun-seeking behavior is linked to genes involved in addiction, behavioral and personality traits and brain function, according to a study of more than 260,000 people. The team identified five key genes involved in sun-seeking behavior. ‘Our results suggest that tackling excessive sun exposure or use of tanning beds might be more challenging than expected, as it is influenced by genetic factors. It is important for the public to be aware of this predisposition. Some of these genes have been linked to behavioral traits associated with risk-taking and addiction, including smoking, cannabis and alcohol consumption and number of sexual partners.’
New research found that people who suffer from migraine may benefit from green light therapy, which was shown to reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches and improve patient quality of life. Overall, green light exposure reduced the number of headache days per month by an average of about 60%. Using a numeric pain scale of 0 to 10, participants noted that green light exposure resulted in a 60% reduction in pain, from 8 to 3.2. Green light therapy also shortened the duration of headaches, and it improved participants’ ability to fall and stay asleep, perform chores, exercise, and work.
Maserati has taken the wraps off a new high performance sports car which parent Fiat Chrysler hopes will help turn the brand into the “crown jewel” of its merger with France’s Peugeot. Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley predicted Maserati would return to profit from next year and was destined to be a “crown jewel” for the new Stellantis group to be born from the Peugeot merger. Maserati is expected to deliver annual sales of more than 75,000 vehicles and a profit margin of more than 15% “towards the end” of a five-year period. The MC20 is part of a fleet of new vehicles planned between now and 2023 to bolster FCA’s presence at the top end of the autos market.
BP is moving into offshore wind power for the first time with a $1.1 billion investment in the United States, as the company pushes into clean energy following a century of oil exploration. BP will buy a 50% stake in Equinor’s Empire Wind and Beacon Wind projects on the east coast of the United States. Together, they have the potential to power more than 2 million American homes. BP unveiled a major strategic overhaul last month to deliver on its promise of net zero emissions by 2050. The company plans a 10-fold increase in annual low carbon investments to $5 billion by 2030, when it expects its oil and gas production to have fallen by 40% on 2019 levels.
NASA is looking to pay companies to collect dirt or rocks on the Moon within the next four years, as a first step in the agency’s goal to accelerate lunar exploration. NASA is seeking proposals from companies for how and where the collection of lunar regolith will happen. Under the terms of a contract, by 2024 a company would collect between 50 grams and 500 grams of Moon soil, provide imagery to NASA of the material and data of where to find it, and then transfer ownership of the materials to the space agency. The competition for contracts is not limited to U.S. companies.
Nearly 21,000 monitored populations of mammals, fish, birds, reptiles and amphibians, encompassing almost 4,400 species have declined an average of 68% between 1970 and 2016. Species in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as global freshwater habitats, were disproportionately impacted, declining, on average, 94% and 84%, respectively. The report points to land-use change – in particular, the destruction of habitats like rainforests for farming – as the key driver for loss of biodiversity, accounting for more than half of the loss in major geographies.