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Tiny Chip Roundup

July 29, 2011

The tiniest camera in the world can record the firing of single neurons.



A camera fit for a flea. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

You’ve seen pocket cameras and mini-pocket cameras. But in the journal Optics Letters, Cornell scientists describe a camera so small, it can sit on the head of a pin. It’s just a half-millimeter square and will be used to image brain cells genetically modified to glow when they’re active.

In other news, electromagnetic radiation from radio transmitters, cell phone towers and satellite communications is all around us. Now, Georgia Tech researchers have built electronic sensors that run on this invisible power source. The devices could go in food packaging and change color if the food is spoiled; monitor bridges and aircraft parts for signs of stress; or sniff for bombs in airports—all powered by the radiation that permeates the modern world. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.