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Researchers at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., have developed techniques for spinning silk into diffraction gratings and other structures that have myriad applications, depending on what they’re paired with. The device shown here, which has a silk substrate overlaid with gold, is a radio-frequency identification coil designed as a biosensor that tells you when food is spoiled.
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Willie Jones is an associate editor at IEEE Spectrum. In addition to editing and planning daily coverage, he manages several of Spectrum's newsletters and contributes regularly to the monthly Big Picture section that appears in the print edition.