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Robotics and Science

 

Festo's BionicKangaroo is able to store energy from the landing phase of a jump and reuse ...
Festo’s BionicKangaroo is yet another impressive addition to the company’s already mind-blowing bionic zoo that includes, among other things, bionic seagulls, dragonflies, flying penguins, elephant trunks and a whole selection of robotic marine critters. Just like its animal cousin, the robo-marsupial developed by Fasto’s Bionic Learning Network is able to store energy from the landing phase of a jump and reuse it efficiently on subsequent jumps. The technology developed for the BionicKangaroo may hold the key to more energy-efficient machines based on both pneumatic and electric drive technologies.  Read More
Accomplice is an artwork in which artificially intelligent robots gradually destroy a wall
Generally speaking, we use robots to help us build or create things. An artwork on display at the UK's Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT), however, does quite the opposite. Accomplice comprises a number of robots systematically destroying a gallery wall.  Read More
MiP balances on two wheels, using the mobile inverted pendulum principle
You may never be able to afford your own Segway, but soon you'll be able to buy something similar for just a hundred bucks. You won't be able to ride it, but it might ultimately end up being more fun. It's Wowwee's MiP toy robot, which performs a variety of activities while balancing on its two wheels.  Read More
The business end of Medrobotics Corp's Flex System
When we last heard about the modular snake robot designed by Carnegie Mellon University robotics professor Howie Choset, it had been used to explore an abandoned nuclear power plant. Now, however, a new line of robots based on it are set to explore something a little more confined – the human body.  Read More
MIT's Daniela Rus and Andrew Marchese with their sharp-turning robotic fish
Anyone who has ever tried to grab a minnow out of the water knows that it's almost impossible. Not only can they swim forward very quickly, but they can also make near-instantaneous right-angle turns, unpredictably shooting off to one side or the other in mere milliseconds. Now, scientists at MIT have replicated that capability in a soft-bodied robotic fish.  Read More
The Cubestormer 3 robot used ARM technology to set the new record
A specially designed robot known as Cubestormer 3 has been used to break the world record for solving a Rubik’s Cube. The robot, which broke the previous record by more than two seconds, is powered by an octa-core Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone.  Read More
Chaotic Moon's CUPID is a drone that can taser people with an 80,000 volt shock
Last week, at SXSW, creative tech studio Chaotic Moon demonstrated CUPID, a drone equipped with an stun gun that can incapacitate people with an 80,000 volt shock. The brave intern used as a guinea pig can no doubt testify to its effectiveness. The studio says the exercise was aimed at raising awareness of the extent to which technology is outpacing our ability to regulate and live with it.  Read More
Joris Laarman has created a metal 3D printing robot
Although the world of 3D printing is hurtling through milestones at the moment, to a large extent the technology still remains in its infancy. If you thought it was all Etsy jewellery and plastic toys, though, think again. Joris Laarman has created a free-standing 3D printing robot that creates beautiful metal sculptures with the graceful brush strokes of an artist.  Read More
A 3D printed robotic exoskeleton has enabled a woman paralyzed from the waist down to walk...
3D Systems, in collaboration with Ekso Bionics, has created a 3D-printed robotic exoskeleton that has restored the ability to walk in a woman paralyzed from the waist down. The Ekso-Suit was trialled and demonstrated by Amanda Boxtel, who was told by her doctor that she'd never walk again after a skiing accident in 1992.  Read More
Table tennis player Timo Boll will face a Kuka robot opponent for a showdown on March 11
German robotics manufacturer Kuka has arranged a table tennis contest between one of its robots and former world number one Timo Boll. The showdown will take place on March 11.  Read More

Scientists watch bioengineered self-healing muscle tissue grow within a mouse

April 2, 2014
Strands of engineered muscle fiber have been stained to better observe their growth within...
The living skeletal muscle tissue grown by Duke University researchers is 10 times stronger than any previously bioengineered muscles. Not only does it contract as strongly and as rapidly as the real thing but it is also capable of self-healing, both in the lab and after implantation into an animal. This has been proven beyond any doubt through a novel approach that involves peeking at the growing muscle tissue through a glass window in the back of a living mouse.  Read More

New software from the University of Washington can accurately predict what your kid will l...
If you're a parent wondering what your child will look like as an adult, now you don't need to wonder anymore. Researchers at the University of Washington claim to have developed software that can accurately predict what a child will look like as an adult, up to the age of 80. The technique can even work from poorly lit photos, and could prove a big help in missing persons cases.  Read More
The mini Mustang, ready to take to the air
Although no one is saying that aircraft carriers will soon be able to fuel their jet fighters using water from the ocean, such a scenario has recently come a step closer to reality. Scientists from the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have successfully flown a radio-controlled airplane that was running purely on fuel derived from sea water.  Read More
The NIST-F2 loses one second in 300 million years
If you’re someone who is happy to spend an hour setting the clock on the microwave because it has to be just right, then the news out of the US Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is right up your alley. NIST has announced the launch of a new atomic clock as the official standard for civilian time. Called NIST-F2, it is so accurate that it will lose only one second in 300 million years.  Read More
The human body has inspired a new form of digital security (Image: Shutterstock)
Researchers at Lancaster University, UK have taken a hint from the way the human lungs and heart constantly communicate with each other, to devise an innovative, highly flexible encryption algorithm that they claim can't be broken using the traditional methods of cyberattack.  Read More
A rendering of a nanoparticle trapped in a laser and in thermal non-equilibrium (Image: Iñ...
It may be a little late for April Fool’s, but your skepticism is nonetheless warranted when reading that researchers have shown nanoparticles to disobey a fundamental law of physics which dictates the flow of entropy and heat in, it was believed, any situation. Specifically, researchers from three universities theoretically proposed then demonstrated that a nanoparticle in a state of thermal non-equilibrium does not always behave as larger particles might under the same conditions, with implications for various fields of research.  Read More
Scientists at Stanford University have found a way of creating artificial diamonds out of ...
Pressure makes diamonds, but according to recent findings, there may also be a much quicker, hassle-free way. A team of researchers at Stanford University has stumbled upon a new way of turning graphite (the material used for pencil leads) into a diamond-like carbon structure simply by applying hydrogen over a platinum substrate, without the need to apply external pressure of any kind. The discovery could lead to easier and more flexible manufacturing of diamonds used in cutting tools and other industrial devices.  Read More
MIT professor of geophysics Daniel Rothman stands next to part of the Xiakou formation in ...
A team of researchers from MIT may have found new evidence to shed light on the cause of the most devastating mass extinction in the history of our planet. The event, estimated to have taken place around 252 million years ago, was responsible for the extinction of roughly 90 percent of all life on Earth.  Read More
 
Virtual simulation image of the sun atop the obelisk with the Altar of Peace in the foregr...
Campus Martius, also known as the Campus of Mars, was built by the Roman Senate just outside the ancient Rome city walls back in 9 BCE. It was built to celebrate the peace brought upon the Roman people as a result of Emperor Agustus’s military conquests. Thanks to a complex computer simulation created by the Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts (IDIA) for Indiana University's School of Informatics and Computing, it is now possible to verify if and how solar alignments influenced the positioning of the different objects on site.  Read More
Georgia Tech researchers Pamela Peralta-Yahya and Stephen Sarria examine the production of...
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the US Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute have engineered a bacterium that could yield a new source of high-energy hydrocarbon fuel for rocketry and other aerospace uses. High-energy, specific-use hydrocarbon fuels such as JP-10 can be extracted from oil, along with more commonly used petroleum fuels, but supplies are limited and prices are high – approaching US$7 per liter. That’s where the new bacterium, engineered by Georgia Tech scientists Stephen Sarria and Pamela Peralta-Yahya, could come in.  Read More
An MIT rendering of a bacterial cell, trailing fibers containing gold nanoparticles and qu...
Scientists at MIT are developing hybrid materials that are a cross between living bacterial cells and non-living components such as gold nanoparticles or quantum dots. The resulting "living materials" are able to respond to their environment like regular living cells, while also doing things like conducting electricity or emitting light.  Read More
London's Science Museum is currently hosting '3D: printing the future,' looking at the imp...
London's Science Museum is wildly popular, hosting over 2.9 million visitors a year. It's currently showing 3D: printing the future, an exhibition about 3D printing and how it will impact our lives. Gizmag payed the exhibition a visit.  Read More
It may someday be possible to ascertain someone's appearance by analyzing their DNA
As any fan of just about any TV cop show will tell you, it's possible to determine someone's sex and race based on a sample of their DNA. In the future, however, such samples may provide police with even more valuable information ... they might allow investigators to construct an image of the person's face.  Read More
tDCS has come a long way from Giovanni Aldini's 1802 pioneering treatment of Luigi Lanzari...
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has become a widely used technique for reaching into a person's brain and altering the way in which it functions. Vanderbilt psychology Professor Geoffrey Woodman and graduate student Robert Reinhart have just published the results of a new study in the Journal of Neuroscience in which they found that tDCS stimulation of the mediofrontal cortex for a period of minutes can change one's ability to recognize and learn from error for a period of several hours.  Read More
Which expression do you think shows real pain? (Photo: UC San Diego)
A computer-vision system able to detect false expressions of pain 30 percent more accurately than humans has been developed. Authors of the study, titled Automatic Decoding of Deceptive Pain Expressions, believe the technology has the potential for detecting other misleading behaviors and could be applied in areas including homeland security, recruitment, medicine and law.  Read More

TERMES robots are seen as the first step towards an autonomous multi-robot system that can...
Researchers at Harvard University have taken inspiration from the swarm construction method used by termites to create TERMES. These robots are intended as the first step in a project with the ultimate goal of creating a fully automated robotic workforce that can create complex structures without the need for centralized control.  Read More
The SuperDroid snow plow in action
In the southeast United States, snow storms are as about as common as canoes on Mount Everest, which is what makes the current task of digging the region out from under the recent deposit of the white stuff so irksome. To aid the inexperienced snow shoveler, SuperDroid of Raleigh, North Carolina is selling a remote-controlled robotic snow plow that allows you to clear the drive while sitting where it’s warm with a cup of cocoa.  Read More
Ohio State's Carlos Castro, with an ant similar to those used in the study (Photo: The Ohi...
Though ants have long been known to carry loads many times their own weight, a new study has cast light on the extent of this strength and the mechanics responsible for it. Research conducted by a team from The Ohio State University suggests an ant can lift 5,000 times its own body weight, with its neck bearing most of the load, providing a potential blueprint for the development of much stronger robots.  Read More
The Riverview system is a symbiosis of two robots – an Autonomous Surface Vehicle (ASV) an...
The string of disastrous floods currently plaguing Britain demonstrate that managing rivers and other waterways is about more than protecting curlew nests and counting otters. To help provide a better understanding of riverine areas, a team headed by José Barata and Pedro Santana of the University of Lisbon are developing a “marsupial” robotic system called Riverwatch that teams a robotic catamaran with an on-board hexacopter to survey areas beyond the reach of the hip-boots and rubber raft brigade.  Read More
ERWIN can display five distinct emotions whilst interacting with humans, via the manipulat...
Scientists from the School of Computer Science, University of Lincoln, UK are using expressive robot ERWIN (Emotional Robot with Intelligent Network) to study how long-term relationships may form between robots and humans. In its current form, the robot has the ability to display five distinct emotions whilst interacting with humans via the manipulation of its mouth and eyebrows.  Read More
The robot makes a bee-line for a red cylinder, after learning that 'red is good'
Because of bees' small size, maneuverability and almost machine-like swarm mentality, it shouldn't come as a surprise that scientists are developing tiny flying robots based on the insects. In order to navigate autonomously, however, those robots' artificial bee brains will have to be capable of identifying objects in their environment, and reacting accordingly. Well, thanks to research recently conducted in Berlin, they may soon be able to do so.  Read More
The design of the automated filleting machine developed by the APRICOT project
Manual filleting of fish can be a time-consuming task. Due to higher salaries in Nordic countries, processing of fish caught there is often carried out in places like Asia, Eastern Europe and Russia where labor costs are lower, before the fish is returned to Scandinavia for sale. The APRICOT (Automated Pinbone Removal In Cod and WhiTefish) project set out in January, 2012 to find an automated solution that would keep fish processing local and it has now developed a machine that achieves just that.  Read More
Scientists at Berkeley Lab and the University of California have created 'e-whiskers' that...
Scientists at Berkeley Lab and the University of California (UC) Berkeley have created sensitive, tactile sensors that are similar to a cat's whiskers. The so-called "e-whiskers" could be used to help robots feel their way around a space.  Read More
The University of Coimbra's minesweeping robot
A team from the Institute of Systems and Robotics at Portugal's University of Coimbra is developing a minesweeping robot to assist in the monumental task of clearing the millions of active land mines around the globe. Currently putting it through a series of field testings, the team is working to optimize the robot to automate the manual, and exceedingly dangerous, humanitarian de-mining effort.  Read More
The Georgia Tech system is designed to improve the 'intelligence' of human-controlled robo...
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have created a system that makes a human-controlled robot more "intelligent," and improves the amount of control that a human user has over it. It incorporates a number of sensors that are placed on the user's arm to read muscle information, and help the robot to anticipate the user's intentions. The system has been developed to improve safety and efficiency in manufacturing plants.  Read More
 
A new Perovskite solar cell has been found have light absorbing and light emitting propert...
When looking for the best materials with which to construct a solar cell, the obvious preference is for one that absorbs light, not emits it. But researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have discovered a material that does both. Amongst a variety of potential applications, the researchers say the material, Perovskite, opens up the possibility of mobile devices with displays that double as solar cells.  Read More
The synthetic mother-of-pearl ceramic (left) and its natural counterpart
Although you may know it simply as the shiny iridescent stuff on the inside of mollusk shells, mother-of-pearl (or nacre) is a remarkable material. It allows those shells, which otherwise consist almost entirely of brittle calcium carbonate, to stand up to the abuses of life in the sea. Now, a team led by the Laboratoire de Synthèse et Fonctionnalisation des Céramiques (CNRS) in Paris, has copied the structure of nacre to create a ceramic material that's almost 10 times stronger than conventional ceramics.  Read More

One of KAIST's silver nanowire fingerprints
The counterfeiting of high-end products is a growing problem, and has led to the development of countermeasures such as invisible woven patterns, butterfly wing-inspired printing techniques, and even synthetic DNA. One of the drawbacks of some of these approaches, however, is the fact that implementing them can be quite a complex process. Now, a team from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has come up with something simpler – tiny jumbles of nanowires that form item-specific "fingerprints."  Read More
At the microscopic level, combustion can't support itself, as it does in this Petri dish f...
If you’re going to do something like building a Porsche 911 that fits on the head of a pin, or make a microscopic medical pump, you need a microscopic engine. A team of researchers from the University of Twente in the Netherlands, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Germany’s University of Freiburg have developed a micro-engine that burns oxygen and hydrogen, but there’s a small problem; they’re not sure how the thing works.  Read More
Harvard physicists Federico Capasso (left) and Steven J. Byrnes (right) are part of a team...
Could it one day be possible to generate electricity from the loss of heat from Earth to outer space? A group of Harvard engineers believe so and have theorized something of a reverse photovoltaic cell to do just this. The key is using the flow of energy away from our planet to generate voltage, rather than using incoming energy as in existing solar technologies.  Read More
A rendering of one of the two-dimensional LEDs
In regular microchips, work is performed via the movement of electrons within the chip. Thanks to the recent creation of the thinnest-ever LEDs, however, such chips may one day be able to use light instead of electrons, saving power and reducing heat. Of course, those LEDs could also just be used as a really flat form of lighting, in any number of applications.  Read More
The BICEP2 facility at the South Pole has discovered compelling evidence for quantized gra...
In a discovery that has profound implications for our understanding about the beginnings of the universe, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics this morning announced evidence of so-called primordial B-modes in the cosmic microwave background (CMB). These B-modes directly show quantum gravitational waves originating during the inflationary period of cosmic evolution, from about 10-36 sec to 10-32 sec after the Big Bang, and give us a direct view of physical processes taking place at 1016 GeV – a trillion times more energetic than particle collisions at the Large Hadron Collider.  Read More
'This technology enables people to 'see' radiation,' says Zhong He, professor of nuclear e...
Turn on any old science fiction film and odds are that you'll see someone listening to the ominous chirping of a Geiger counter. It's very dramatic, but not very precise and, unfortunately, nuclear scientists and engineers of today are stuck with the same problem. Now, researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a faster, cheaper way for nuclear power plants to detect and map dangerous hot spots and leaky fuel rods using a camera that maps radiation in real time.  Read More

 
The acoustic cloak was constructed from several sheets of plastic plates dotted with repea...
Metamaterials are already being used to create invisibility cloaks and "temporal cloaks," but now engineers from Duke University have turned metamaterials to the task of creating a 3D acoustic cloak. In the same way that invisibility cloaks use metamaterials to reroute light around an object, the acoustic cloaking device interacts with sound waves to make it appear as if the device and anything hidden beneath it isn't there.  Read More
The Foldscope is made mostly of cardstock, and can be shipped flat-packed
According to the World Health Organization, there were approximately 207 million cases of malaria worldwide in 2012, 627,000 of which proved fatal. Unfortunately, the disease most often occurs in developing nations, where diagnostic equipment may not be available. This means that doctors can't determine the particular strain of malaria from which a patient is suffering, and thus don't know which medication will work best. Manu Prakash, an assistant professor of bioengineering at the Stanford School of Medicine, hopes to change that ... using his disposable folding paper microscope.  Read More
A whole sky picture of the Milky Way galaxy as seen in gamma-ray light (Photo: NASA)
New analyses of the x-ray and gamma-ray emissions from the center of the Milky Way galaxy, the Andromeda galaxy, and the Perseus galaxy cluster have detected significant signs of two possible dark matter particles. One is likely a 7.1 keV sterile neutrino, and the other appears to be a 35 GeV WIMP (Weakly Interacting Massive Particle).  Read More
Jason Barnes and Professor Gil Weinberg demonstrate the robotic prosthesis
In 2012, Jason Barnes lost the lower part of his right arm after being electrocuted. Though he could have pursued his dream of becoming a professional drummer using only his remaining limb (like Def Leppard's Rick Allen, for example), he decided to build his own stick-wielding prosthesis. The attachment certainly allowed him to make some noise, but it wasn't flexible enough to give the speed or bounce control he was looking for. Now, thanks to the work of Georgia Tech's Professor Gil Weinberg, Barnes is preparing for a gig later this month where a novel robot drumming prosthetic arm will help him pound out precision rhythms with a live band.  Read More

A diagram and a microscope image (inset) of one of the bio-bots
If you were asked to think of something microscopic that moves quickly, chances are that sperm would be the first thing to come to mind. The tiny reproductive cells are able to swim as fast as they do thanks to their long whip-like tails, known as flagella. So, imagine how helpful it might be if sperm-like machines could be used for applications such as delivering medication to targeted areas of the body. Well, that's what scientists at the University of Illinois are in the process of making possible, with the creation of their heart cell-powered "bio-bots."  Read More
A rendering of Prosthesis the Anti-Robot – ready to race (Image: Anti-Robot)
Who wouldn't want to slip into Iron Man's armor or try out the gigantic Jaegers that saved the world in the movie Pacific Rim? Wearable exoskeletons currently being built, from the military-based TALOS, XOS 2 and HULC to rehabilitative models like the ReWalk, MindWalker and X1, all have one thing in common; they are all robotic automated body suits designed to enhance or assist people. Is there a place for a skill-oriented, non-robotic walking exoskeleton, that a person would have to master physically by feel, much like how one might master riding a bicycle or using a skateboard? Jonathan Tippet thinks so. He and his team of volunteers are building Prosthesis, claimed to be the world's first human-piloted racing robot. It's a 5-meter (16-ft) tall behemoth that will rely entirely on the pilot's skill to balance itself or walk or run.  Read More
A demonstration of RoboEarth has been given at Eindhoven University for Technology
A network and repository of data, where robots can share and learn from each other about the tasks they perform, has been demonstrated at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). The project is the culmination of four years of research by scientists from TU/e, Philips, ETH Zürich, TU München and the universities of Zaragoza and Stuttgart.  Read More
This near-infrared photo shows the invisible IR LED's on the Leddar in action
Leddar, short for LED Detection and Ranging, is a new type of detection and ranging sensor that uses LEDs to detect objects and determine their distance. While the Leddar is low resolution, it is also low cost, and it may find new applications in vehicles, traffic management, robotics and safety. Read on for our hands-on review.  Read More
The Versaball grasps a shock absorber
Back in 2010, we first heard about a clever device known as the robotic universal jamming gripper. With its business end composed of a party balloon filled with coffee grounds, it could form a secure grip around objects of varying sizes and shapes. Now, that device has been commercialized – although incorporating higher-tech materials than balloons and coffee.  Read More
Parrot has made two high-flying additions to its robotic lineup: the MiniDrone and the Jum...
Well-known drone-maker Parrot has been drawing quite a few onlookers to its booth at CES with two high-flying additions to its robotic lineup: the MiniDrone and the Jumping Sumo. The MiniDrone is a small quadcopter that can fly in the air and roll along the ground using detachable wheels, while the Jumping Sumo is a remote-controlled ground bot that leaps into the air using a high-powered piston.  Read More
Keecker has launched a new home entertainment robot
CES always throws up some gadgets that are more radical and fun than most, and this year is no different. Keecker, founded by ex-Google employee Pierre Lebeau, has unveiled an all-singing, all-dancing smart robot aimed at “redefining the home entertainment and connected devices market.”  Read More
The Revolution JD is a humanoid robot with two-fingered grippers
Ez-Robot, a small company based in Calgary, Canada, is aiming to start a new "revolution" in robotics. The company's new Revolution line is a series of small, hobby-sized robots with modular parts, easy-to-use features, and snap-together mechanics. The line consists of three new robot kits: a humanoid two legged walker, a rover with tracks, and a hexapod, or six-legged spider-bot.  Read More
Schaft scored 27 points
Leave it to DARPA to turn disaster relief into a competitive sport for robots, and for Google to walk away with the prize. On Saturday, 16 robotics teams from around the world competed in the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials for 2013, as part of DARPA’s project for developing robots capable of autonomously navigating disaster areas and doing useful work using tools and materials at hand. The two-day event was streamed live on December 20 and 21 from Florida’s Homestead Miami Speedway. Google’s Schaft humanoid robot scored 27 points and won first place as it navigated an obstacle course which was made to simulate a disaster area, while carrying out a series of tasks.  Read More
Cubli stays balanced even on a tilted surface
Back in October, we heard about MIT's M-Blocks – they're metal cubes that use internal flywheels to hurl themselves around, sticking together magnetically to form simple structures. Now, scientists from ETH Zurich have unveiled something similar. Their Cubli cubic robot also uses flywheels to move around, plus it can actually balance on one corner.  Read More
Flying snakes are actually very gifted gliders, not unlike flying squirrels (Photo: Jake S...
So first of all ... yes, flying snakes do exist. Disappointingly, though, they don't have scaly dragon-like wings. Instead, they're able to flatten out their bodies after launching themselves from tree branches, proceeding to glide through the air for up to 100 feet (30.5 m). Recently, scientists figured out why that technique works as well as it does. Their findings could have some major applications for us humans.  Read More
The sounding rocket loaded with sensory equipment, being launched into the aurora (Photo: ...
NASA scientists have successfully launched a sounding rocket into the heart of an aurora. The launch, which took place on March 3rd, was part of the NASA-funded Ground-to-Rocket Electrodynamics-Electrons Correlative Experiment (GREECE) mission, the purpose of which is to discern the cause of the distinctive shape of auroral curls.  Read More
Researchers have discovered conditions that would allow plants to grow quickly in optimal ...
There's a conundrum of growing food in outer space: the same optimal conditions that create quick plant growth also leaves them missing a nutrient that protects human eyes from radiation, such as astronauts experience. However, scientists under the direction of Barbara Demmig-Adams at the University of Colorado Boulder have developed a method of using bright pulses of light to trick plants into producing more zeaxanthin, which humans cannot produce on their own but is essential for long-term eye health and visual acuity.  Read More
A six-gill shark sports one of the camera packs
Perhaps you've seen footage from National Geographic's "Crittercam," an underwater video camera that has been attached to animals such as sharks and whales. Well, scientists from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and the University of Tokyo have gone one better. Not only have they been putting cameras on sharks to see what they get up to, but they've also been slipping them ingestible sensors, to monitor their dietary habits. The data that they've gathered could help protect shark populations, and the overall health of the ocean.  Read More
In this false-color image, E. coli bacteria (green dots) can be seen trapped around pit me...
In many parts of the world, the presence of harmful bacteria makes it vitally important that water from lakes or rivers be thoroughly filtered before being consumed. While materials such as silver nanoparticles and titanium dioxide will do the job, people in developing nations or rural settings typically need something a lot cheaper and easier to manufacture. As it turns out, wood from pine trees works great.  Read More
A new cell-printing technique similar to the ancient art of block printing could see the c...
Researchers in Houston have developed a cost effective method for printing living cells, claiming almost a 100 percent survival rate. The method, which is akin to a modern version of ancient Chinese wood block printing, allow cells to be printed on any surface and in virtually any two dimensional shape. And while current inkjet printers adapted to print living cells can cost upwards of US$10,000 with a cell survival rate of around 50 percent, this simple new technique could see the cell stamps produced for around $1.  Read More
The unit will fit inside a shipping container, and could be towed around the port on a bar...
Shipping ports are major sources of air and water pollution, due in part to anchored or docked ships using diesel generators to keep their onboard systems powered up. A year from now, however, the Port of Honolulu will be trying out a mobile hydrogen fuel cell unit, as a more eco-friendly and fuel-saving alternative.  Read More
Scientists are working on a biofuel-producing strain of sugarcane  (Photo: Shutterstock)
Sugarcane grows like crazy, so if it could be used as a source of biofuel, well ... not only might it produce higher yields than other crops, but it could conceivably do so using less land. With that in mind, scientists from the University of Illinois are creating a strain of the plant that produces more oil, gets more energy from the sun, and can be grown in colder climates.  Read More
The intensity of the asteroid's impact on the lunar surface was sufficient to be seen with...
A meter-wide (3 ft) asteroid impacted the Moon's surface September 11, 2013, producing a bright explosion and digging a new crater about 40 meters (130 ft) in diameter. The video of the event shows a bright flash of light against the stark blackness of the Moon's dark side. Similar in brilliance to the brightest stars in the Big Dipper, the asteroid impact is the largest confirmed impact on the Moon since continuous monitoring started some 15 years ago.  Read More
The artificial muscles can lift 100 times as much weight as human muscles of the same size...
Artificial muscles could find use in a wide range of applications, including prosthetic limbs, robotics, exoskeletons, or pretty much any situation in which hydraulics or electric motors just aren't a practical means of moving objects. Scientists have been working on such muscles for a number of years, using materials like vanadium dioxide, graphene, carbon nanotubes and dielectric elastomers. Now, however, some of those same scientists have discovered that very powerful artificial muscles can be made from much more down-to-earth materials – regular polymer fishing line, and metal-coated nylon sewing thread.  Read More

The researchers used three specially developed inks that borrow biological properties from...
The notion of 3D printed biological tissue holds all kinds of possibilities for drug testing and the reparation of damaged cells, though replicating the complexities of human tissue in a lab presents some very big challenges. A new bioprinting method developed by researchers from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University has enabled the creation of tissue constructs with small blood vessels and multiple cell types, marking important progress toward the printing of living tissue.  Read More
Someday, simply having your phone in the car while driving could recharge it
While it's already possible to wirelessly recharge smartphones in cars, those cars need to be equipped with a special charging pad that the phone has to be placed on. Thanks to a newly-developed "nanogenerator," however, it might eventually be possible to place the phone anywhere in any car, letting the vehicle's vibrations provide the power.  Read More
A shield around the anode made from graphite, a material that is used in lithium-ion anode...
Increasing the range of electric vehicles and improving the storage of renewable energy systems are two examples of the benefits offered by lithium-sulfur batteries. Though they can hold four times the energy per mass of the lithium-ion batteries used today, their considerably shorter lifespan has proven something of a roadblock. Researchers from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have now designed a lithium-sulfur battery with four times the longevity, bringing the technology that little bit closer to maturity.  Read More
A microscope image of the gecko foot-inspired tape with some of the larger dirt-simulating...
Geckos' feet are right up there with adhesive tape, when it comes to being able to stick to things. Unlike tape, however, those feet retain their adhesive qualities even after many, many uses. Now, thanks to research being conducted at Carnegie Mellon University and Germany's Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, we may one day be using self-cleaning reusable gecko-inspired tape.  Read More
“Stick insects have developed an ingenious way of overcoming the conflict between attachme...
Could studying the slow moving stick insect help Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt cover 100 meters faster? Researchers at Cambridge believe it could. It's all to do with sticky toes versus hairy toes.  Read More
One of the new micro-batteries, amongst grains of rice for scale
In order to better understand and protect wild stocks of salmon, it's necessary to track their whereabouts using implanted acoustic tags. Needless to say, the longer that those tags are able to transmit a signal, the greater the amount of data that can be gathered. Scientists at Washington state's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) are helping make that happen, by developing batteries that have both a smaller size and higher energy density than conventional fish tag batteries.  Read More
One of the flexible, stretchable optical interconnections
If flexible electronic devices are ever going to become practical for real-world use, the circuitry incorporated into them will have to be tough and resilient. We're already seeing progress in that direction, including electrical wires that can still carry a current while being stretched. However, what if the application calls for the use of fiber optics? Well, scientists from Belgium may have that covered, too. They've created optical circuits utilizing what they believe are the world's first stretchable optical interconnections.  Read More
Patterns created by bacteria swimming through the living liquid crystal
With any medical condition, the earlier it's detected, the better the chances are of successfully treating it. When assessing biological samples from a patient, however, it's often quite difficult to see the indicators of a disease when it's still in its early stages. That could be about to change, thanks to the development of a solution known as "living liquid crystal."  Read More
Australian researchers have developed a new type of laser that could expand the applicatio...
Various institutes around the world have long touted the potential of breath testing as a form of early and non-invasive disease detection. Now a research team from Australia's University of Adelaide has developed a new kind of laser with the ability to detect low concentrations of gases, opening up even more possibilities for disease diagnosis and other applications such us measuring the concentration of particular greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.  Read More
Instead of the usual carbon atoms, artificial graphene is made from crystals of traditiona...
Graphene is truly a 21st-century wonder material, finding use in everything from solar cells to batteries to tiny antennas. Now, however, a group of European research institutes have joined forces to create a graphene knock-off, that could prove to be even more versatile.  Read More

A metallic case called a hohlraum holds the fuel capsule for the NIF experiments (Photo: E...
In a perfect example of beating swords into plowshares, a team of scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's (LLNL) National Ignition Facility (NIF) in California reached a milestone in the quest for practical fusion power using a process designed for the development and testing of nuclear weapons. The announcement in the February 12 issue of Nature claims that the team used the world’s most powerful laser barrage to produce a controlled fusion reaction where more energy was extracted from the fuel than was put into it.  Read More
A bottle of beer is cooled using the new magnetic refrigeration system developed by GE
The fridge is the most common of common household appliances. Despite improvements in efficiency over the years, they remain one of the biggest users of electricity in the home, relying on chemical refrigerant and a compressor to transfer heat from the inside to the outside of the fridge. GE researchers have now developed a new type of refrigeration technology using magnets that is more environmentally friendly and is predicted to be 20 to 30 percent more efficient that current technology ... and it could be in household fridges by the end of the decade.  Read More
Brajendra Kumar Sharma, center, with research chemist Dheeptha Murali, left, and process c...
Despite efforts to limit their use through implementation of charges or bans, billions of plastic bags continue to clog landfills, waterways and the world's oceans every year. Already a potential source for carbon fiber and carbon nanotubes, researchers have provided another reason not to throw the ubiquitous bags away by converting them into a range of petroleum products.  Read More
A moly sulfide nanocluster on a graphite surface form the electrode that allows it to form...
Chemical engineers have found a 30-year-old recipe that stands to make future hydrogen production cheaper and greener. The recipe has led researchers to a way to liberate hydrogen from water via electrolysis using molybdenum sulfide – moly sulfide for short – as the catalyst in place of the expensive metal platinum.  Read More
The Concordia Research Station's inhospitable setting makes it useful for studying the eff...
The Concordia Research Station, a joint interest between the French IPEV polar institute and the Italian PNRA Antarctic program, is by all accounts one of the most isolated and inhospitable locations available to humanity, requiring more time to reach than it takes to travel to the International Space Station (ISS). The European Space Agency (ESA) takes advantage of the facility's unique location and conditions, conducting extensive research into the implications of long-term space flight on the human body. Read on as we take a look at the conditions at the station, and the importance of the research being carried out there.  Read More
A piece of dynamic polyurea, that has healed up after being cut in two
Stretchy, self-healing paints and other coatings recently took a step closer to common use, thanks to research being conducted at the University of Illinois. Scientists there have used "off-the-shelf" components to create a polymer that melds back together after being cut in half, without the addition of catalysts or other chemicals.  Read More
Yu Wang and Katie Zhong, with their gum-inspired electrolyte
Although high-capacity lithium batteries make many of today's mobile electronics possible, they do have one flaw – they occasionally catch fire. This can happen when they overheat, and their liquid acid electrolyte ignites and leaks out. Now, however, scientists at Washington State University have created a gummy electrolyte material that could make such fires a thing of the past.  Read More
An electronic tongue is able to distinguish between varieties of beer with a success rate ...
When we first covered the electronic tongue developed by a team led by Professor Manel Del Valle at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, it was enjoying a glass or two of cava wine. Now the researchers have turned to beer, and report that their electronic tongue can correctly identify different beer varieties with a success rate of almost 82 percent.  Read More
Scientists are investigating BO as an additional form of biometric identification (Photo: ...
Move over, fingerprints, iris scans and facial recognition, because a new form of biometric identification may soon be joining you – body odor. According to scientists at Spain's Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, peoples' unique scent signatures remain steady enough over time to allow for an ID accuracy rate of approximately 85 percent.  Read More
Polymers similar to the proteins found in this Arctic cod could dramatically improve the c...
How is it possible that cold-blooded fish such as cod can live in Arctic waters without just freezing solid? As it turns out, they've got proteins in their bloodstream that act as a sort of antifreeze. British scientists have now copied the fashion in which those proteins work, to create a process by which donated human blood could be frozen for storage, then quickly made available for transfusion.  Read More

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