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Pittcon gears up for 2014

September 27, 2013 | Comments

Pittcon, a leading laboratory science and technical innovation showcase, attracts thousands of conferees from 90 countries visit each year to evaluate new products and technologies, formulate purchase decisions, and form valuable business connections. Conferee registration, is now open for Pittcon 2014, to be held March 2-6, at McCormick Place South, Chicago, Ill.

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R&D Daily

Shaping the future of nanocrystals

August 22, 2014 8:55 am | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

The first direct observations of how facets form and develop on platinum nanocubes point the way towards more sophisticated and effective nanocrystal design and reveal that a nearly 150 year-old scientific law describing crystal growth breaks down at the nanoscale.

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Scientists develop water splitter that runs on ordinary AAA battery

August 22, 2014 7:27 am | by Mark Shwartz, Stanford Univ. | Comments

In 2015, American consumers will finally be able to purchase fuel cell cars from Toyota and other manufacturers. Although touted as zero-emissions vehicles, most of the cars will run on hydrogen made from natural gas, a fossil fuel that contributes to global warming. Now scientists at Stanford Univ. have developed a low-cost, emissions-free device that uses an ordinary AAA battery to produce hydrogen by water electrolysis.

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Researchers develop models to study polyelectrolytes

August 21, 2014 9:04 am | by Matt Shipman, News Services, North Carolina State Univ. | Comments

Researchers from North Carolina State Univ. have developed a novel and versatile modeling strategy to simulate polyelectrolyte systems. The model has applications for creating new materials as well as for studying polyelectrolytes, including DNA and RNA. Polyelectrolytes are chains of molecules that are positively or negatively charged when placed in water.

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Water leads to chemical that gunks up biofuels production

August 21, 2014 7:53 am | by Mary Beckman, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | Comments

Trying to understand the chemistry that turns plant material into the same energy-rich gasoline and diesel we put in our vehicles, researchers have discovered that water in the conversion process helps form an impurity which, in turn, slows down key chemical reactions. The study, which was reported online at the Journal of the American Chemical Society, can help improve processes that produce biofuels from plants.

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Bacterial nanowires not what scientists thought they were

August 19, 2014 8:28 am | by Robert Perkins, Univ. of Southern California | Comments

For the past 10 years, scientists have been fascinated by a type of “electric bacteria” that shoots out long tendrils like electric wires, using them to power themselves and transfer electricity to a variety of solid surfaces. A team led by scientists has now turned the study of these bacterial nanowires on its head, discovering that the key features in question are not pili as previously believed.

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New tool makes a single picture worth a thousand—and more—images

August 14, 2014 5:57 pm | by Sarah Yang, Univ. of California, Berkeley | Comments

Software developed by Univ. of California, Berkeley computer scientists seeks to tame the vast amount of visual data in the world by generating a single photo that can represent massive clusters of images. This tool can give users the photographic gist of a kid on Santa’s lap, housecats, or brides and grooms at their weddings. It works by generating an image that literally averages the key features of the other photos.

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Tattoo biobatteries produce power from sweat

August 13, 2014 12:45 pm | Comments

In the future, working up a sweat by exercising may not only be good for your health, but it could also power your small electronic devices. Researchers report that they have designed a sensor in the form of a temporary tattoo that can both monitor a person’s progress during exercise and produce power from their perspiration.

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Foam favorable for oil extraction

August 13, 2014 7:49 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

A Rice Univ. laboratory has provided proof that foam may be the right stuff to maximize enhanced oil recovery (EOR). In tests, foam pumped into an experimental rig that mimicked the flow paths deep underground proved better at removing oil from formations with low permeability than common techniques involving water, gas, surfactants or combinations of the three.

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Researchers show that how fast you drive might reveal exactly where you are going

August 12, 2014 7:41 am | Comments

Rutgers Univ. researchers have shown that GPS technology is not needed to show where a driver traveled. A starting point and the driver's speed are enough when using a technique dubbed “elastic pathing”, which predicts pathways by seeing how speed patterns match street layouts. This could cause concerns for privacy, however, since many insurance companies offer discounts in return for customers allowing their driving habits to be monitored.

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Photo editing algorithm changes weather, seasons automatically

August 11, 2014 8:27 am | Comments

A computer algorithm being developed by Brown Univ. researchers lets users instantly change the weather, time of day, season or other features in outdoor photos with simple text commands. Machine learning and a clever database make it possible. A paper describing the work will be presented at SIGGRAPH 2014.

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Multiple UAVs perform autonomous formation flight

August 8, 2014 8:05 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | Comments

These days, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) typically fly alone with a team of ground operators controlling their activities through teleoperation or waypoint-based routing.  But one aircraft can only carry so many sensors, limiting its capabilities. That’s one reason why a fleet of autonomous aircraft can be better than one flying alone.

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New material structures bend like microscopic hair

August 6, 2014 10:31 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | Comments

MIT engineers have fabricated a new elastic material coated with microscopic, hairlike structures that tilt in response to a magnetic field. Depending on the field’s orientation, the microhairs can tilt to form a path through which fluid can flow; the material can even direct water upward, against gravity. Researchers say structures may be used in windows to wick away moisture.

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No-power Wi-Fi connectivity could fuel Internet of Things reality

August 6, 2014 8:11 am | by Michelle Ma, Univ. of Washington | Comments

Imagine a world in which your wristwatch or other wearable device communicates directly with your online profiles, storing information about your daily activities where you can best access it—all without requiring batteries. Or, battery-free sensors embedded around your home could track minute-by-minute temperature changes and send that information to your thermostat to help conserve energy.

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Researchers boost insect aggression by altering brain metabolism

August 6, 2014 7:37 am | by Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | Comments

Scientists report they can crank up insect aggression simply by interfering with a basic metabolic pathway in the insect brain. Their study, of fruit flies and honey bees, shows a direct, causal link between brain metabolism and aggression. The new research follows up on previous work from the laboratory of Univ. of Illinois entomology professor and Institute for Genomic Biology director Gene Robinson, who also led the new analysis.

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Extracting audio from visual information

August 4, 2014 12:17 pm | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | Comments

Researchers at MIT, Microsoft, and Adobe have developed an algorithm that can reconstruct an audio signal by analyzing minute vibrations of objects depicted in video. In one set of experiments, they were able to recover intelligible speech from the vibrations of a potato-chip bag photographed from 15 feet away through soundproof glass.

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