Paper gets tough

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Paper gets tough

An entangled film of 10-to-40-nanometre-thick cellulose fibres makes strong, tough nanopaper that could be used in medical implants and vehicle parts, says Technology Review. A cross section of a fracture surface in the paper shows layers of cellulose fibres.

By splitting up wood pulp into cellulose nanofibres and rearranging the fibres into an entangled porous mesh, researchers have made a nanopaper that is stronger than cast iron and tougher than bone. The nanopaper is seven times stronger and two to three times as stretchy as conventional paper. It could be used to make tough packaging material, filters, membranes, and even car and aircraft parts.

"Wood pulp is widely available, and there is the potential to produce nanofibres in very large quantities," says Lars Berglund, a biocomposites researcher at the Royal Institute of Technology, in Stockholm, Sweden, and co-author of a paper in Biomacromolecules that describes the new material.

Interactive advertising

Samsung and interactive advertising company Reactrix Systems are revolutionising billboard advertising, says Technology Review. The two companies have partnered to bring 57-inch interactive displays to Hilton hotel lobbies by year-end. These displays can "see" people standing up to 15 feet away from the screen as they wave their hands to play games, navigate menus, and use maps.

With the buzz surrounding the Wii, the iPhone, and Microsoft's Surface, "people are more open and ready to interact using their hands and gestures", says Matt Bell, chief scientist and founder of Reactrix. It's easy to see how a gesture-based interface might work well for video games and virtual worlds, and certainly companies such as Belgian start-up Softkinetic make systems for those very needs.

But Reactrix is aiming for the out-of-home advertising market, traditionally dominated by large static displays like billboards. Founded in 2001, Reactrix has some experience already: today, its interactive floor displays attract crowds in shopping centres across the US.

Earth imaging satellite coming in August

Get ready for your close-up, planet Earth. A new imaging satellite is set for launch in a couple of months and pictures of our little blue marble will look even sharper, reports

The new imaging satellite, called GeoEye-1, is set to launch from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California on 22 August.

Resolution on GeoEye-1 is said to be able to distinguish objects that measure just 0.17 square metres; which is an improvement on the current commercial resolution of 0.36 square metres. What that means, according to GeoEye CEO Matt O'Connell, is impressive. "We can see a beach ball 16 inches across". Rumor has it though, that government-allowed resolution on the GeoEye-1 may be even tighter.

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