April 20/27, 2005   

   Telescopes make bug-eye optics
Cameras and imaging systems built into cellphones and other small devices sport small single lenses that produce relatively poor images. Researchers working to improve the quality of these lenses are turning to the compound design of insect eyes for inspiration. An artificial compound eye based on an array of microtelescopes shows promise.
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Summarizer ranks sentences
Someday you will be able to ask your computer what's going on in the world and it will scan dozens of news sources and give you a concise summary of the day's events. A prototype multi-document summarization system brings this vision closer to reality with an algorithm like the one Google uses to sort out the Web.

Impact Assessment: Overly smart buildings
The latest iteration of the intelligent building promises energy savings, health benefits, security and other advantages, but its complexity could short-circuit things. Sound familiar?


Ultraviolet shifts plastic's shape
Mix a pair of plastics, one of which reacts to ultraviolet light, and the result is a handy shape-shifting material that promises to provide surgeons with intelligent sutures and stents.

Spiral laser beam demoed
Crossing corkscrew- and cone-shaped lightwaves yields a corkscrew beam that promises new ways to use light to manipulate particles.

Nanotube chemical sensor gains speed
Measuring the way carbon nanotubes store electric charges is key to fast, sensitive chemical sensors.

Trapped cells make micromotors
People who are trapped by circumstances often feel like they are going around in circles. Making this literally true for microorganisms could expand the nanotechnology toolkit.

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