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Smart windows can change the opacity

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New Delhi: Researchers from Harvard University have developed a technique that can quickly change the opacity of a window, turning it cloudy, clear or somewhere in between with the flick of a switch.

Previous technologies used in “tunable” windows relied on electrochemical reactions and were very expensive.

“However, the new technology uses geometry to adjust the transparency of a window which is a much cheaper option,” said David Clarke from Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

The “tunable” window is comprised of a sheet of glass or plastic, sandwiched between transparent, soft elastomers sprayed with a coating of silver nanowires, too small to scatter light on their own.

With an applied voltage, the nanowires on either side of the glass are energised to move toward each other, squeezing and deforming the soft elastomer.

Since the nanowires are distributed unevenly across the surface, the elastomer deforms unevenly.

The resulting roughness causes light to scatter, turning the glass opaque in less than a second.

“It’s like a frozen pond. If the frozen pond is smooth, you can see through the ice. But if the ice is heavily scratched, you can’t see through,” added postdoctoral fellow Samuel Shian in a paper that appeared in the journal Optics Letters.

“Because this is a physical phenomenon rather than based on a chemical reaction, it is a simpler and potentially cheaper way to achieve commercial tunable windows,” Clarke noted.

The team is now working on incorporating thinner elastomers, which would require lower voltages, more suited for standard electrical supplies. (IANS)

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Non-invasive brainwave technology can potentially cut post-traumatic stress

The technology works through resonance between brain frequencies and the acoustic stimulation, where the brain is supported to make self-adjustments towards improved balance and reduced hyperarousal. It requires no conscious or cognitive activity.

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Brainwaves can now potentially cure PTSD.
Brainwaves can now potentially cure PTSD.
  • The new technology aims to reduce the effect of post traumatic stress in an individual.
  • It can reduce many post-traumatic symptoms, including insomnia, depressive mood and anxiety.

Researchers have developed a non-invasive brainwave mirroring technology that can significantly reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress, especially in military personnel.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a disorder characterised by failure to recover after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event.

PTSD can cause Insomnia, Anxiety and many other mental problems.
PTSD can cause Insomnia, Anxiety and many other mental problems. Wikipediacommon

The symptoms include insomnia, poor concentration, sadness, re-experiencing traumatic events, irritability or hyper-alertness, as well as diminished autonomic cardiovascular regulation.

“Ongoing symptoms of post-traumatic stress, whether clinically diagnosed or not, are a pervasive problem in the military,” said lead investigator Charles H. Tegeler, professor, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre in North Carolina.

“Medications are often used to help control specific symptoms, but can produce side effects. Other treatments may not be well tolerated, and few show a benefit for the associated sleep disturbance. Additional non-invasive, non-drug therapies are needed,” Tegeler added.

In the study, published in the journal Military Medical Research, the team used a high-resolution, relational, resonance-based, electroencephalic mirroring (HIRREM) — a non-invasive method, in which computer software algorithms translate specific brain frequencies into audible tones in real time.

This provides a chance for the brain to listen to itself through an acoustic mirror, Tegeler said.

The results showed reductions in post-traumatic symptoms, including insomnia, depressive mood and anxiety after six months of using the brainwave technology.

The technology works through resonance between brain frequencies and the acoustic stimulation, where the brain is supported to make self-adjustments towards improved balance and reduced hyperarousal. It requires no conscious or cognitive activity.

The net effect is to support the brain to reset stress response patterns that have been rewired by repetitive traumatic events, physical or non-physical, the researchers said. IANS

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