At a conference this week in Europe on human-machine interfaces, a research team from the U.K. will introduce the concept of “shape resolution”, which it has used to compare the resolution of six prototypes built using new technologies in shape-changing material, such as shape memory alloy and electro active polymer. One example is the Morphees, a self-actuated flexible mobile device that can change shape on-demand.
Recent work by University of Washington climate scientists have provided new insights into how to keep a drink cold on a hot day. Their work shows that, in sultry weather, condensation on the outside of a canned beverage doesn’t just make it slippery: those drops can provide more heat than the surrounding air, meaning the drink would warm more quickly.
Scientists at the world's biggest atom smasher have found further reasons for the apparent lack of antimatter in the universe. A team working with data from CERN's Large Hadron Collider says it has discovered a particle that decays unevenly into matter and antimatter. The laboratory near Geneva said Wednesday that the particle called 'B0s' is the fourth sub-atomic particle known to prefer matter over antimatter.
An international team of physicists have successfully staged “thought experiment” formulated in 1905 by Albert Einstein stating that the reflection from a mirror moving close to the speed of light could, in principle, result in bright light pulses in the short wavelength range.
Astronomers have found a galaxy turning gas into stars with almost 100% efficiency, a rare phase of galaxy evolution that is the most extreme yet observed. The findings come from the IRAM Plateau de Bure interferometer in the French Alps, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, and NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
For the first time, human embryonic stem cells have been transformed into nerve cells that helped mice regain the ability to learn and remember. The study at the University of Wisconsin began with deliberate damage to a part of the brain that is involved in learning and memory.
When superstorm Sandy turned and took aim at New York City and Long Island last October, ocean waves hitting each other and the shore rattled the seafloor and much of the United States—shaking detected by seismometers across the country, University of Utah researchers have recently found. These “microseisms” generated by Sandy were detected by Earthscope, a network of 500 portable seismometers.
The lungfish is the closest living fish relative of animals with four limbs, called tetrapods. But the lungfish genome is too big to decode with current technology. Scientists have decoded the genome of the next best thing: the coelacanth. Thought to have gone extinct some 70 million years ago, the fish was surprisingly discovered alive in 1938 and could provide insights into the evolution of land animals.
Kevin Keener, a professor of food science at Purdue University, looks for new ways to kill harmful bacteria, and has determined that exposing packaged liquids, fruits, and vegetables to an electrical field for just minutes could remove all traces of foodborne pathogens. His method uses electricity to generate a plasma, or ionized gas, from atmospheric gases inside the food package.
A University of Missouri engineer has built a system that is able to launch a ring of plasma as far as two feet. Plasma is commonly created in the laboratory using powerful electromagnets, but previous efforts to hold the super-hot material through air have been unsuccessful. The new device does this by changing how the magnetic field around the plasma is arranged.
Starch is one of the most important components of the human diet and provides 20 to 40% of our daily caloric intake. A team of Virginia Tech researchers has succeeded in transforming cellulose into starch in a process that could provide a previously untapped nutrient source from plants not traditionally thought of as food crops. The process works with cellulose from any plant.
Making choices involves the evaluation of an accumulation of facts. If a wrong choice is made, Princeton University researchers have recently found, the problem may lie in the facts, or information, rather than the brain's decision-making process. The researchers report that erroneous decisions tend to arise from errors, or "noise," in the information coming into the brain.
Bitcoins are a virtual currency whose oscillations have pulled geeks and speculators alike through stomach-churning highs and lows. But an increasing number of transactions—up to 70,000 each day over the past month—that have propelled bitcoins from the world of Internet oddities to the cusp of mainstream use, a remarkable breakthrough for a currency which made its online debut only four years ago.
A letter that scientist Francis Crick wrote to his son about his Nobel Prize-winning DNA discovery was sold to anonymous buyer at a New York City auction on Wednesday for a record-breaking $5.3 million. The price, which far exceeded the $1 million pre-sale estimate, was a record for a letter sold at auction, eclipsing an Abraham Lincoln letter that sold in April 2008 for $3.4 million including commission.
An advance in micromotor technology akin to the invention of cars that fuel themselves from the pavement or air, rather than gasoline or batteries, is opening the door to broad new medical and industrial uses for these tiny devices, scientists said here today. Their update on development of the motors—so small that thousands would fit inside this "o"—was part of the American Chemical Society national meeting.
Mention a breakthrough involving "gumbo" technology in this city, and people think of a new twist on The Local Dish, the stew that's the quintessence of southern Louisiana cooking. But scientific presentations at a meeting of the world's largest scientific society this week are focusing on what may be an advance in developing GUMBOS-based materials with far-reaching medical, electronic and other uses.
Scientists at the Uniersity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have "rationally rewired" some of the cell's smallest components to create proteins that can be switched on or off by command. These "protein switches" can be used to interrogate the inner workings of each cell, helping scientists uncover the molecular mechanisms of human health and disease.
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) this week launched a collaborative initiative with university researchers focused on synthetic, or engineered, cells—part of a larger effort to use the smallest units of life to help Sailors and Marines execute their missions. ONR currently has multiple ongoing projects in the field of synthetic biology.
Another innovative feature has been added to the world’s first practical “artificial leaf,” making the device even more suitable for providing people in developing countries and remote areas with electricity, scientists reported at the American Chemical Society’s National Meeting & Exposition this week. It gives the leaf the ability to self-heal damage that occurs during production of energy.
Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have discovered a new protein that controls the presence of the Vel blood group antigen on our red blood cells. The discovery makes it possible to use simple DNA testing to find blood donors for patients who lack the Vel antigen and need a blood transfusion. This is significant because there is a global shortage of Vel-negative blood
Researchers from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute report that they successfully used a virus vector to restore the expression of a brain protein and improve cognitive functions, in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Because it is impossible to deliver genes directly to the brain without surgery, the researchers injected the virus in the left ventricle of the heart, as this provides a direct route to the brain.
Researchers in Germany have produced a paper-like material from a vanadium pentoxide ceramic which is as hard as copper, yet flexible enough to be rolled up or folded. The material is also different from other ceramics, as it is electrically conductive. Its special mechanical properties are derived from its structure, which resembles that of mother-of-pearl, and looks promising for applications in batteries, flat and flexible gas sensors, and actuators in artificial muscles.
Certain semiconductors, when imparted with energy, in turn emit light; they directly produce photons, instead of producing heat. This phenomenon is commonplace and used in light-emitting diodes, or LEDs. Research from the University of Pennsylvania has enabled "bulk" silicon to emit broad-spectrum, visible light for the first time, opening the possibility of using the element in devices that have both electronic and photonic components.
Scientists have shown that an enzyme in corn responsible for reading information from DNA can prompt unexpected changes in gene activity—an example of epigenetics that breaks accepted rules of genetic behavior. Though some evidence has suggested that epigenetic changes can bypass DNA’s influence to carry on from one generation to the next, this is the first study to show that this epigenetic heritability can be subject to selective breeding.
Scientists in China say they have developed the world's lightest material, which they expect to play an important role in tackling pollution. Call graphene aerogel, or simply carbon aerogel, the new material has a density of just 0.16 milligrams per cubic centimeter, a sixth that of air. It is derived from a gel, with the liquid component replaced by a gas. It appears in solid state with extremely low density.