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Super-Light Plastic As Strong as Steel 226

Roland Piquepaille writes "A new composite plastic built layer by layer has been created by engineers at the University of Michigan. This plastic is as strong as steel. It has been built the same way as mother-of-pearl, and shows similar strength. Interestingly, this 300-layer plastic has been built with 'strong' nanosheets of clay and a 'fragile' polymer called polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), commonly used in paints and glue, which acts as 'Velcro' to envelop the nanoparticles. This new plastic could soon be used to design light but strong armors for soldiers or police officers. The researchers also think this material could be used in biomedical sensors and unmanned aircraft."

Drawing on Air With Haptics in 3D 62

Roland Piquepaille writes "In a recent article, reports that a team of computer scientists at Brown University has developed 'Drawing on Air', a haptic-aided interface to help artists to create 3D illustrations while wearing a virtual reality mask. 'The technique introduces two new strategies, using one hand or two hands, to give artists the tools they need for drawing different types of curves, and for viewing and editing their work.' The researchers hope that these techniques will improve the precision with which scientists can interact with their 3D data using a computer. This also would help artists to illustrate complicated artistic, scientific, and medical subjects."
The Almighty Buck

Long Range Eye Tracking for Advertisers 134

holy_calamity writes "A Canadian firm has launched a device that can track the gaze of multiple people from up to 10 metres away. Originally developed at Queen's University, Ontario, they hope to sell it to advertisers to allow them to monitor how many people look at their ads. Admittedly they are trying more benign stuff too like better hearing aids, but I doubt that will make up for movie posters that make a song and dance whenever you glance their way."

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