New method generates precisely controlled graphene microbubbles with perfectly spherical curvature for lenses — ScienceDaily

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Tiny bubbles can solve large problems. Microbubbles — around 1-50 micrometers in diameter — have widespread applications. They’re used for drug delivery, membrane cleaning, biofilm control, and water treatment. They’ve been applied as actuators in lab-on-a-chip devices for microfluidic mixing, ink-jet printing, and logic circuitry, and in photonics lithography and optical resonators. And they’ve contributed remarkably to biomedical imaging and applications like DNA trapping and manipulation.

Given the broad range of applications for microbubbles, many methods for generating them have been developed, including air stream compression to dissolve air into liquid, ultrasound to induce bubbles in water, and laser pulses to expose substrates immersed in liquids. However, these bubbles tend to be randomly dispersed in liquid and rather unstable.

According to Baohua Jia, professor and founding director of the Centre for Translational Atomaterials at Swinburne University of Technology, “For applications requiring precise bubble position and size, as well as high stability — for example, in photonic applications like imaging and trapping — creation of bubbles at accurate positions with controllable volume, curvature, and stability is essential.” Jia explains that, for integration into biological or photonic platforms, it is highly desirable to have well controlled and stable microbubbles fabricated using a technique compatible with current processing technologies.

Balloons in graphene

Jia and fellow researchers from Swinburne University of Technology recently teamed up with researchers from National University of Singapore, Rutgers University, University of Melbourne, and Monash University, to develop a method to generate precisely controlled graphene microbubbles on a glass surface using laser pulses. Their report is published in the peer-reviewed, open-access journal, Advanced Photonics.

The group used graphene oxide materials, which consist of graphene film decorated with oxygen functional groups. Gases cannot penetrate through graphene oxide materials, so the researchers used laser to locally irradiate the graphene oxide film

Amazon Luna, spherical Echo speakers, Fire TV, a flying Ring camera and more: Every new product announced this fall

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Amazon surprised us at its Fall Devices and Services event with its new Luna cloud-gaming service, along with the expected updates to its line of Echo, Fire TV and Ring products. The event helps Amazon generate buzz as we roll into the holiday shopping season, and for the first time, Prime Day. (The annual sale is usually held in July, but this year it is slated to start on Oct. 13.) That means putting Alexa everywhere — inside homes and out — and addressing privacy concerns, which were big storylines in 2019 for both Ring and Alexa. In today’s life-at-home existence, with millions of us hunkered down for the long haul, the connected house concepts that Amazon has been developing for years have become more relevant than ever. 

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Amazon/Screenshot by Caitlin Petrakovitz/CNET

The company’s Echo and Fire TV products will be its first to earn sustainability badges, and it’s working on reducing power consumption across devices with a new low-power mode and an energy dashboard integrated with Alexa. Amazon also pledged to build solar and wind farms to generate energy to match the consumption of all its devices.


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The company launched a cloud-gaming service on top of Amazon Web Services that runs on PCs, Fire TVs and even iOS. There’s a Luna Plus game channel with a curated set of games, and Amazon is partnering with publisher Ubisoft for Day 1 availability of some of them.

It has a custom $50 controller that connects directly to the cloud rather than the local device.

Read more: Amazon gets into game streaming with Luna

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This is the custom controller that connects directly to the cloud, which Amazon says reduces roundtrip latency by 17 milliseconds

Amazon unveils spherical Echo speakers, flying indoor security camera, and cloud gaming service

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Amazon unveiled a new lineup of spherical Echo devices, an autonomous flying indoor Ring security camera, a new cloud gaming service, and new features to help Alexa converse and interact more naturally with users.

The flurry of news came Thursday morning during the company’s annual Devices & Services event, a virtual version of a fall tradition in which the company typically shows its newest Echo speakers and other Alexa-enabled devices.

Luna, the cloud gaming service, will cost $5.99/month during an early access period. It will be available on Fire TV, Mac, Windows PCs, iOS and later Android, going head-to-head with similar offerings from Microsoft and Google. Amazon will offer a dedicated game controller for the service, available for $49.99, which connects directly to the cloud to let gamers switch quickly between devices. Games can also be played with a keyboard and mouse or a Bluetooth game controller. Luna integrates with the Amazon-owned Twitch streaming service.

The new spherical Echo offers upgraded sound and a built-in smart home hub, something that was previously available on higher-end Echo devices. It will sell for $99.99, and a spherical Echo Dot will sell for $49.99. A version of the Echo Dot with a visible clock will sell for $59.99.

The company also showed new Alexa features including the ability to learn different modes for reading or vacation unique to each user. With a new “natural turn-taking” feature, users will also be able to ask Alexa to join a conversation taking place in the kitchen, for example, chiming in as two people order a pizza and pick a movie for the evening.

The company says Alexa uses “multi-sensory artificial intelligence,” including audio and visual cues to determine whether the request or comment is directed at Alexa or another person in the room.

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Amazon launches spherical Echo and flying camera drone

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Amazon has announced a full range of new spherical Echo devices, new motorised smart display, a camera drone that flies around your house, a game-streaming service and more.



Photograph: Amazon


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Photograph: Amazon

In a streaming presentation, the firm showed off a smorgasbord of new devices from its various brands, including Ring, Eero Fire and Echo.



a close up of a ball: The new 2020 Amazon Echo is a fabric covered ball with improved sound. Photograph: Amazon


© Provided by The Guardian
The new 2020 Amazon Echo is a fabric covered ball with improved sound. Photograph: Amazon

The new standard Echo ditches its cylindrical shape for a fabric-covered ball design with Amazon’s characteristic light-ring in the base to indicate when it is listening to you. It has a new 3in woofer and two tweeters with Dolby processing for stereo sound and automatic adjustment to the acoustics of your room.



Next generation Amazon Echo is a fabric-covered sphere while new Ring Always Home Cam can fly around your house to record security events.


© Photograph: Amazon
Next generation Amazon Echo is a fabric-covered sphere while new Ring Always Home Cam can fly around your house to record security events.

It also has Amazon’s new AZ1 artificial intelligence chip for greater local processing of voice and other actions for increased privacy and speed. It will cost £89.99 in the UK or $99.99 in the US.

The next-generation £49.99/$49.99 Echo Dot also adopts a similar design although smaller, including a model with an LED clock on the front for £59.99/$59.99 and a Kids Edition, which has child-friendly settings, responses and activities including a reading coach.

The new Echo Dots have 1.6in front-firing speakers and tap-to-snooze or silence features.

Echo Show 10



a laptop computer sitting on top of a wooden table: The 2020 Echo Show 10 is a smart display with a motorised screen that can follow you around while you interact with it. Photograph: Amazon


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The 2020 Echo Show 10 is a smart display with a motorised screen that can follow you around while you interact with it. Photograph: Amazon

A new motorised Echo Show 10 was also unveiled costing £239.99 in the UK or $249.99 in the US. The device has a 10in