Physicists Explain How Heat Kills Machines and Electronics

The following essay is reprinted with permission from The Conversation, an online publication covering the latest research. Not only people need to stay cool, especially in a summer of record-breaking heat waves. Many machines, including cellphones, data centers, cars and airplanes, become less efficient and degrade more quickly in extreme heat. Machines generate their own heat, too,

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New Soft Electrode Unfolds inside the Skull

Scientists have made great strides in developing soft “biocompatible” electrodes. But comparatively less attention has gone toward how to actually get these devices—which have wide applications in brain-machine interfaces, such as for controlling prosthetic devices—inside people’s heads. Researchers led by Stéphanie Lacour, a neurotechnologist at Switzerland’s Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), presented an ingenious

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Do Blue-Light Glasses Help with Eyestrain?

Blue-light-filtering glasses have become an increasingly popular solution for shielding our eyes from electronic screens’ near-inescapable glow—light that is commonly associated with eyestrain and poor sleep. In recent years they’ve even become fashion statements that are endorsed by celebrities and ranked in style guides. But a recent review paper shows such lenses might not be

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We Need Smart Intellectual Property Laws for Artificial Intelligence

Once a backwater filled with speculation, artificial intelligence is now a burning, “hair on fire” conflagration of both hopes and fears about the revolutionary technological transformation. A profound uncertainty surrounds these intelligent systems—which already surpass human capabilities in some domains—and their regulation. Making the right choices for how to protect or control the technology is

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The Superconductor Sensation Has Fizzled, and That’s Fine

It’s rare that condensed matter physics is the talk of the town. But recently a remarkable amount of Internet discussion and news coverage has revolved around a purported advance in the field: bombshell claims from a team of South Korean scientists professing to have discovered an ambient-pressure, room-temperature superconductor. Independent confirmation of the researchers’ claims

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