Scientists are developing smart clothing fabric to spy on the body

Do you remember Google glasses? For a hot minute in 2013, I seriously believed that we might all be forced to wear them in order to partake in basic forms of media. At the time, I even interviewed a scientist who develops brain-computer interfaces to understand how Google Glass and other similar products could change the way we see the world (imagine walking around your neighborhood and receiving advertisements for your local pizzeria via the interface). Google Glass was effectively shelved in 2015, but that hasn’t stopped scientists from searching for other smart wearables – and soon we might have smart t-shirts.

I’m Claire Cameron, Editor-in-Chief of Reverse. Ashley Bardhan, our newsletter editor, will be back tomorrow, but while I have your attention… welcome to Monday! Keep scrolling for a collection of amazing stories about the world we live in (and some we don’t).

This is an adapted version of Reverse Daily newsletter of Monday, March 28, 2022. Subscribe for free and learn something new every day.

We can’t wait.Shutterstock

The James Webb Space Telescope could be the key to understanding galactic evolution. The observatory can look about three times further in time than the iconic Hubble. Doris Elín Urrutia reports:

The Webb will detect infrared wavelengths long enough to pierce through the dense smog of all the light and dust that lies between Earth and the most distant galactic outposts, revealing information about the ancient universe where these wavelengths wave began their journey through space billions of years ago.

Although not quite ready to collect data yet, the Webb Telescope promises a level of perception made possible by its four instruments. These instruments can operate at the same time to siphon off observations of objects like galaxies, thus maximizing the efficiency of the telescope.

On March 17, NASA announced that the Webb had begun a new phase of its preparations to look deep into space and time: a six-week procedure called Multi-Instrument Multi-Field Alignment (MIMF). This process will help ensure the commissioning of its four scientific instruments by the summer of this year.

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Read this next: 30 years ago, an international space mission radically changed our view of Earth


A new fiber made from a piezoelectric material and a conductor can record sound as mechanical waves and convert them to electrical waves, helping to monitor bodies, writes Elana Spivack.

A team of engineers from MIT collaborated with students from the Rhode Island School of Design to create a textile that can hear and (eventually) interpret what is happening on and inside our bodies. Their work, published this month in the journal Nature, details how the tissue works in the early stages of its development.

The new fabric technology can hear – or at least detect – sound (in the form of mechanical waves) and translate it into electrical waves. This ability comes from a special 10 centimeter fiber woven into the fabric.

Clothing “has been used as sound absorbers for millennia, dampening sound in heat,” says lead author Wei Yan. Reverse. So he asks: “Can a tissue function as an audible microphone sensitive like the human ear which converts sound [pressure] in electrical signal? »

Read the full story.

Robots to the rescue: How polluting nanobots could solve a major societal problem

Sing when you win.ClassicStock/Archive Photos/Getty Images

In a new study, researchers have identified, for the first time, a group of neurons that are “singing-selective”, responding specifically to singing, but not to instrumental music or speech. Nick Keppler has the story:

A few years ago, a team of neuroscientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology approached a group of patients undergoing electrocardiography – an invasive form of brain monitoring where a surgeon removes the top of the skull and places electrodes on the surface of the brain to record electrical signals. activity – and asked if they could study how their brains process music.

The researchers located a “song-selective” hotspot in the middle of the superior temporal gyrus, the part of the brain that contains its sound processing center, the auditory cortex. This particular selective region of the song has stronger vocal responses than the larger area that is sensitive to music and is linked to the mechanisms of emotions and memories.

Read the full story.

Beat it: An endangered animal could reveal the origins of musical rhythm

Air pollution disproportionately affects people of color.Anton Petrus/Moment/Getty Images

Two recent studies published in the American Journal of Public Health and Environmental Science and Technology Letters reveal stark racial disparities in exposure to air pollution, finding that some historically marginalized communities suffer disproportionately from toxic pollutants in the air. The results, as Tara Yarlagadda reports, show that despite the general decline in air pollution in the United States, some communities are being left behind.

The findings of one of the studies suggest “that many tribal communities, particularly in more rural areas, may not have benefited as much from increased air pollution regulation as the rest of the country. “, Maggie Li, lead author of the study and Ph. .D. candidate for the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Columbia Mailman School School of Public Health, tells Reverse.

Together, the studies also highlight how intentionally racist policies over time have contributed to the disproportionate burden of air pollution in these communities of color.

Go further.

We have a problem: Will a global treaty really stop plastic pollution? 4 experts intervene

The birdsiconic.LMPC/LMPC/Getty Images

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  • On this day in history: On March 28, 1963, Alfred Hitchcock was released The birds.
  • Song of the day: “Song Sung Blue” by Neil Diamond

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