The salt crystals on potato chips only dissolve about 20 percent of the way on the tongue, while the center of each tiny cube-shaped crystal remains intact until after it's swallowed. Thus, most of the salt you're eating on your chips is not contributing to the taste of the chip, but it is dissolving further down your digestive tract and causing whatever the FDA alleges that increased dietary sodium intake causes.
The redesigned salt crystal, with more surface area, should dissolve completely on the tongue, thus theoretically allowing each chip to taste just as salty with only 20 percent as much salt.
"There was an opportunity for our scientists," Pepsico's chief scientific officer Mehmood Khan said. "If we could figure out a way of getting the salt crystals to dissolve faster, then we could decrease the amount of salt we put on a snack with no compromise on taste."
Junk Food Science
Quantum Tunnelling Robot Skin.
One goal of making robots in a humanoid form is to let them interact closely with people. But that will only be possible if a robot is fully aware of what its powerful motorised limbs are in contact with [before destroying the puny human].
The skin is made up of triangular, flexible printed circuit boards which act as sensors. Each bendy triangle is 3 centimetres to a side and contains 12 capacitive copper contacts. A layer of silicone rubber acts as a spacer between those boards and an outer layer of Lycra that carries a metal contact above each copper contact. This arrangement allows 12 "tactile pixels" - or taxels - to be sensed per triangle. This taxel resolution is enough to recognise patterns such as a hand grasping the robot's arm. [...]
Peratech's answer is a stretchy, elastic material it calls quantum tunnelling composite (QTC). This comprises a polymer such as silicone rubber that is heavily loaded with spiky nickel nanoparticles. A voltage is applied across the skin, and when it is pressed, the distance between the nanoparticles within the polymer diminishes, which results in electrons flowing, or "tunnelling", from one nanoparticle spike to the next in the area being touched.
If there has been a better headline today than "Steve Jobs Recommends Android For Fans of Porn", I have not yet seen it.