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Toward ultimate light efficiency on the cheap

July 17, 2014 9:27 am | by Kate McAlpine, Univ. of Michigan | Comments

Researchers have taken a major stride toward perfectly efficient lighting that is also relatively inexpensive and simple to make. The same material can also reveal the presence of water by changing color. Incandescent bulbs only turn 5% of the electricity they use into light, while fluorescent LEDs can produce light from up to 25% of the electrons that pass through them. Phosphorescent LEDs can turn every electron into a ray of light.

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After hybrid success, Toyota gambles on fuel cell

July 17, 2014 8:55 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer | Comments

Long dismissed as too impractical and expensive for everyday cars, fuel cell technology is getting a push into the mainstream by Toyota, the world's top-selling automaker. Buoyed by its success with electric-gasoline hybrid vehicles, Toyota is betting that drivers will embrace hydrogen fuel cells, an even cleaner technology. The company’s fuel cell car will go on sale before April next year.

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PNNL Director Mike Kluse announces retirement

July 17, 2014 8:41 am | Comments

Mike Kluse, director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and senior vice president at Battelle, has announced his plans to retire. Kluse has been that director of the laboratory since 2007 and during tenure has grown its business from $750 million to more than one billion, as well as securing funding for the  construction of seven new buildings on the campus.

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Understanding how the brain retrieves memories

July 17, 2014 8:07 am | by Donald B Johnston, LLNL | Comments

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists are developing electrode array technology for monitoring brain activity as part of a collaborative research project with the Univ. of California San Francisco (UC San Francisco) to better understand how the neural circuitry of the brain works during memory retrieval.

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No-wait data centers

July 17, 2014 7:56 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | Comments

Big Websites usually maintain their own “data centers,” banks of tens or even hundreds of thousands of servers, all passing data back and forth to field users’ requests. Like any big, decentralized network, data centers are prone to congestion: Packets of data arriving at the same router at the same time are put in a queue, and if the queues get too long, packets can be delayed.

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Water molecules favor negative charges

July 17, 2014 7:52 am | Comments

Recent research shows that, in the presence of charged substances, water molecules favor associating with elements with a negative electrical charge rather than a positive electric charge. A study on the subject that employed advanced optical spectroscopy techniques could provide new insights on the processes of cell formation.

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Are ants the answer to carbon dioxide sequestration?

July 17, 2014 7:24 am | Comments

A 25-year-long study published in Geology provides the first quantitative measurement of in situ calcium-magnesium silicate mineral dissolution by ants, termites, tree roots, and bare ground. This study reveals that ants are one of the most powerful biological agents of mineral decay yet observed. This discovery might offer a line of research on how to "geoengineer" accelerated carbon dioxide consumption by Ca-Mg silicates.

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Project yields sharpest map of Mars' surface properties

July 17, 2014 7:20 am | by Robert Burnham, ASU | Comments

A heat-sensing camera designed at Arizona State University has provided data to create the most detailed global map yet made of Martian surface properties. THEMIS, the nine-band visual and infrared camera on NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter, was used to create this map, which is now available online. And citizen scientists are invited to help make it even better.

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CDC director admits safety problems at germ labs

July 16, 2014 4:22 pm | by Mike Stobbe - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | Comments

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged Wednesday that systemic safety problems have for years plagued federal public health laboratories that handle dangerous germs such as anthrax and bird flu. Testifying at a congressional hearing in Washington, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said the agency had long thought of the lapses as unrelated accidents.

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Study: Squid skin protein could improve biomedical technologies

July 16, 2014 2:24 pm | Comments

The common pencil squid may hold the key to a new generation of medical technologies that could communicate more directly with the human body. Materials science researchers in California have discovered that reflectin, a protein in the tentacled creature’s skin, can conduct positive electrical charges, or protons, making it a promising material for building biologically inspired devices.  

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Trying gene therapy to create biological pacemaker

July 16, 2014 2:22 pm | by Lauran Neergaard - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | Comments

No batteries required: Scientists are creating a biological pacemaker by injecting a gene into the hearts of sick pigs that changed ordinary cardiac cells into a special kind that induces a steady heartbeat. The study, published Wednesday, is one step toward developing an alternative to electronic pacemakers that are implanted into 300,000 Americans a year.

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Dispersant from Deepwater Horizon spill found to persist in the environment

July 16, 2014 12:51 pm | Comments

In an attempt to prevent vast quantities of oil from fouling beaches and marshes after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, BP applied 1.84 million gallons of chemical dispersant. The dispersant was thought to rapidly degrade in the environment, but a new study has found that the DOSS dispersant compound remains associated with oil and can persist in the environment for up to four years.

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Bubble wrap serves as sheet of tiny test tubes in resource-limited regions

July 16, 2014 11:46 am | Comments

Popping the blisters on the bubble wrap might be the most enjoyable thing about moving. But now, researchers led by 2007 R&D Magazine Scientist of the Year George Whitesides propose a more productive way to reuse the popular packing material: as a sheet of small, test tube-like containers for medical and environmental samples. Analyses can take place right in the bubbles.

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Breakthrough in the development of stretchable optical waveguides

July 16, 2014 10:33 am | Comments

Scientists in Belgium have recently fabricated the world’s first randomly deformable optical waveguide. This innovative optical link remains functional for bending radii down to 7 mm, and can be stretched to more than a third of its length. A link like this can be used to interconnect optical components within a stretchable system, just like stretchable electrical interconnections.

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Apple, IBM team up in mobile devices, applications

July 16, 2014 10:17 am | by Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer | Comments

Apple is teaming up with former nemesis IBM to work together on about 100 different mobile applications in an attempt to sell more iPhones and iPads to corporate customers and government agencies. The applications, expected to be released this fall, will feature some of data-crunching tools that IBM Corp. sells to companies trying to get a better grasp on their main markets while scouring for new money-making opportunities.  

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