Technologies & Strategies That Enable R&D
Subscribe to R&D Magazine All

The Lead

Saying No: Teaching Robots to Reject Orders

November 30, 2015 | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

The anthropomorphic robot stands on a table. “Sit down,” a nearby human says. “Okay,” the robot says, before squatting down. The human then tells the robot to stand and walk forward. “Sorry, I cannot do that as there is no support ahead,” the robot responds. “Walk forward,” the human reiterates.

View Sample

FREE Email Newsletter

R&D Daily

Energy: How to Solve the Greatest Challenge of Our Time

December 1, 2015 9:35 am | by Michelle Taylor, Editor-in-Chief, Laboratory Equipment | Articles | Comments

In a Keynote speech at the R&D 100 Awards and Technology Conference in late November, Thom Mason, the Director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory said energy “is the most important challenge of our time.” And he expects scientific innovation and technology to solve it. 


Novel material has potential to soak up oil spills

December 1, 2015 8:06 am | by Britt Faulstick, Drexel Univ. | News | Comments

In hopes of limiting the disastrous environmental effects of massive oil spills, materials scientists from Drexel Univ. and Deakin Univ., in Australia, have teamed up to manufacture and test a new material, called a boron nitride nanosheet, that can absorb up to 33 times its weight in oils and organic solvents—a trait that could make it an important technology for quickly mitigating these costly accidents.


Researchers grow retinal nerve cells in the lab

December 1, 2015 7:57 am | by Marin Hedin, Johns Hopkins Univ. | News | Comments

Johns Hopkins Univ. researchers have developed a method to efficiently turn human stem cells into retinal ganglion cells, the type of nerve cells located within the retina that transmit visual signals from the eye to the brain. Death and dysfunction of these cells cause vision loss in conditions like glaucoma and multiple sclerosis.


Simulation shows key to building powerful magnetic fields

December 1, 2015 7:48 am | by Kimm Fesenmaier, Caltech | News | Comments

When certain massive stars use up all of their fuel and collapse onto their cores, explosions 10 to 100 times brighter than the average supernova occur. Exactly how this happens is not well understood. Astrophysicists have used the National Science Foundation's Blue Waters supercomputer to perform 3-D computer simulations to fill in an important missing piece of our understanding of what drives these blasts.


Molecule self-assembles into flower-shaped crystalline patterns

December 1, 2015 7:41 am | by Indiana Univ. | News | Comments

The National Science Foundation has awarded $1.2 million to three research groups at Indiana Univ. to advance research on self-assembling molecules and computer-aided design software required to create the next generation of solar cells, circuits, sensors and other technology.


Favorable Launch Conditions for ISS Resupply Mission

November 30, 2015 4:52 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

Today, NASA announced a 60% chance of favorable launch conditions for the Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft aboard the Atlas V rocket, which is slated to carry more than 7,700 lbs of equipment, supplies and experiments to the International Space Station (ISS). The launch is scheduled for Thursday at 5:55 p.m. from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.


Supercomputers Help Model Gas Giants’ Storms

November 30, 2015 2:28 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

In 1664, jack-of-all-trades astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini set his telescope’s lens on Jupiter and observed the bands and spots of the planet. Later, in 1675, he discovered a narrow gap separating Saturn’s rings into two parts. The gap was later named the Cassini Division. His discoveries were monumental, but added more mystery to the celestial bodies above.


Jaguar Land Rover Introduces Holographic Head-up Display

November 30, 2015 12:57 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

In 1988, General Motors brought the first head-up display (HUD) to market. Designed with the intent to keep driver attention on the road, these systems display vital information, such as vehicle speed and warning messages, in the driver’s field of vision. Today, this technology is widely available, but the Univ. of Cambridge and Jaguar have teamed up to offer the first HUD to use laser holographic techniques to project information.


Changing the fate of stem cells

November 30, 2015 12:00 pm | by Leah Burrows, SEAS Communications | News | Comments

Researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard Univ. and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have developed a new, more precise way to synthetically control differentiation of stem cells into bone cells by leveraging bioinspired hydrogels.


Primordial Skull Provides Clues for Limb Loss in Snakes

November 30, 2015 11:23 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

In order to navigate underground labyrinths and detect predators and prey, active burrowing snakes require heightened function of the inner ear. But where did this trait come from? And what can it tell scientists about the snake’s evolutionary story?


Research exploits extraordinary properties of graphene

November 30, 2015 10:52 am | by Univ. of Exeter | News | Comments

Innovative new research led by the Univ. of Exeter has demonstrated how the extraordinary properties of graphene can be exploited to create artificial structures that can be used to control and manipulate electromagnetic radiation over a wide range of wavelengths.


The R&D Index Market Pulse, November 30, 2015: Holiday-Shortened Week Sees Few Overall Changes

November 30, 2015 8:13 am | by Tim Studt | Articles | Comments

The R&D Index: Market Pulse for the week ending November 27, 2015, closed at 1,561.64 for the 25 companies in the R&D Index. The R&D Index was down 0.14% (or just over two basis points) over the previous week ending November 20, 2015. For the Thanksgiving Holiday-shortened trading session week ending November 27, 20 of the 25 members lost or gained less than 1% of the market value.


Engineers develop “invisible wires” to improve solar cell efficiency

November 30, 2015 7:42 am | by Mark Shwartz, Stanford Univ. | Videos | Comments

A solar cell is basically a semiconductor, which converts sunlight into electricity, sandwiched between metal contacts that carry the electrical current. But this widely used design has a flaw: The critical but shiny metal on top of the cell reflects sunlight away from the semiconductor where electricity is produced, reducing the cell's efficiency.


Coming to a monitor near you

November 30, 2015 7:33 am | by Sarah Yang, Univ. of California, Berkeley | News | Comments

An emerging class of atomically thin materials known as monolayer semiconductors has generated a great deal of buzz in the world of materials science. Monolayers hold promise in the development of transparent LED displays, ultra-high efficiency solar cells, photo detectors and nanoscale transistors. Their downside? The films are notoriously riddled with defects, killing their performance.


Doping powers new thermoelectric material

November 30, 2015 7:26 am | by Megan Fellman, Northwestern Univ. | News | Comments

In the production of power, nearly two-thirds of energy input from fossil fuels is lost as waste heat. Industry is hungry for materials that can convert this heat to useful electricity, but a good thermoelectric material is hard to find. Increasing the efficiency of thermoelectric materials is essential if they are to be used commercially.



You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.