Nature has had billions of years to perfect photosynthesis, which directly or indirectly supports virtually all life on Earth. In that time, the process has achieved almost 100% efficiency in transporting the energy of sunlight from receptors to reaction centers where it can be harnessed, a performance vastly better than even the best solar cells.
Soft robots can bend, walk and grip. And, unlike their rigid counterparts, some can get flattened and bounce back into shape. Now scientists report a new advance in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces: a way to make elastic material for soft robots that changes color when it stretches. They say this process opens the door to robot camouflage, new ways to deliver medicines and other applications.
Miss Georgia tripped in the final round. Jennifer Lawrence stumbled on her way to accept an Oscar. Even rock stars, world leaders and presidential candidates have fallen in front of the crowd or completely off stage. And robots can too.
A study published in Nature Medicine has shown a possible path to creating effective neural prosthetics. The study’s subjects, only listed as T6 and T7, have Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
Scientists aspire to build nanostructures that mimic the complexity and function of nature’s proteins, but are made of durable and synthetic materials. These microscopic widgets could be customized into incredibly sensitive chemical detectors or long-lasting catalysts, to name a few possible applications.
Deep in the jungles of the Yucatan peninsula, residents of the remote Mexican village of La Mancalona are producing clean drinking water using the power of the sun. For nearly two years now, members of the community, most of whom are subsistence farmers, have operated and maintained a solar-powered water purification system engineered by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The significant advance, by a team at the Univ. of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney appears in Nature. "What we have is a game-changer," said team leader Andrew Dzurak, Scientia Professor and Director of the Australian National Fabrication Facility at UNSW.
Inspired by a naturally occurring material found in marine mussels, researchers at The Univ. of Texas at Austin have created a new flame retardant to replace commercial additives that are often toxic and can accumulate over time in the environment and living animals, including humans.
Months of warning signs from Mauna Loa, on Hawaii’s Big Island, prompted the U.S. Geological Survey to recently start releasing weekly updates on activity at the world’s largest active volcano. For now, such warning signs can only rely on external clues, like earthquakes and gas emissions. But a Univ. of Washington simulation has managed to demonstrate what’s happening deep inside the volcano.
Watching the clouds go by, swirls of white puff up and melt away. The changes mirror mixing within the clouds as drier air mingles with water-saturated air. New research led by Michigan Technological Univ. with support from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz Univ., analyzes this mixing with holographic imaging and an airborne laboratory.
Before embarking on a transcontinental journey, jet airplanes fill up with tens of thousands of gallons of fuel. In the event of a crash, such large quantities of fuel increase the severity of an explosion upon impact. Researchers at Caltech and JPL have discovered a polymeric fuel additive that can reduce the intensity of post-impact explosions that occur during accidents and terrorist acts.
Notch receptors are core components of the signaling pathways that regulate the development of cells within the human body. Notch signaling pathways can determine how cells proliferate or change during development, and defects in Notch signaling can lead to many diseases, including several types of cancer and developmental disorders.
Using nanometer-scale components, researchers have demonstrated the first optical rectenna, a device that combines the functions of an antenna and a rectifier diode to convert light directly into DC current. Based on multiwall carbon nanotubes and tiny rectifiers fabricated onto them, the optical rectennas could provide a new technology for photodetectors that would operate without the need for cooling.
The ultra-stable properties of the proteins that allow deep-diving whales to remain active while holding their breath for up to two hours could help Rice Univ. biochemist John Olson and his colleagues finish a 20-year quest to create lifesaving synthetic blood for human trauma patients.
Trudging through the Maryland woods, the soldier carried a bulbous pack. He held a gun in his hands. But something was different. Cables hung around him, extending from his pack to his pants. At the Aberdeen Proving Ground, scientists are performance testing a battery-powered soft exoskeleton.