Zothecula writes: Along with its use in jewellery, gold also has numerous applications in fields such as electronics and scientific research. It's a handy material, but – of course – it's also expensive. That's why researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a new way of making a small amount of gold go a long way. They've created a gold foam that looks much like solid gold, but is actually 98 parts air. As an added bonus, the aerogel-type foam can also be made in non-gold colors such as dark red.
Zothecula writes: As strange as it sounds, the future of skin care could involve tiny robots powered by changes in humidity. This week, a group of Seoul National University researchers shared their research into creating such devices, inspired by the slow motions of plants.
Zothecula writes: Much has changed in camera design over the years, but snapping photos and shooting video still invariably requires a lens to capture light and focus on a subject. But if a camera could somehow replicate this process digitally, making relatively chunky lens attachments completely unnecessary, what would be left to look at? Well, going by new research underway at Rice University, not really much at all. Engineers have produced a functional camera that is thinner than a dime, raising the possibility of tiny, flexible versions that could one day be embedded in everything from your wallpaper to your credit card.
Zothecula writes: Since first being synthesized by Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov at the University of Manchester in 2004, there has been an extensive effort to exploit the extraordinary properties of graphene. However the cost of graphene in comparison to more traditional electronic materials has meant that its uptake in electronic manufacturing has been slow. Now researchers at the University of Glasgow have discovered a way to create large sheets of graphene using the same type of cheap copper used to manufacture lithium-ion batteries.
Zothecula writes: Of the many new exoplanets discovered over the past two decades, all have been identified as established, older planets – none have been acknowledged as newly-forming protoplanets. Now scientists working at the Keck observatory have spied just such a planet in the constellation of Taurus, some 450 light-years from Earth, that is only just beginning its life, collecting matter and spinning into a brand new world.
Zothecula writes: In what is being touted as the most complex and complete face transplant ever performed, a crew of medicos at New York University's (NYU) Langone Medical Center has replaced the entire face of 41-year-old Patrick Hardison, a volunteer firefighter who suffered catastrophic burns while on duty in 2001. The team replaced Patrick's scalp, ears and ear canals, parts of bone in the chin and cheeks, and his entire nose. He also received new eyelids and the muscles that control them.
Zothecula writes: In a world where lasers are sci-fi's weapon of choice for melting away an enemy spaceship, researchers at the University of Washington have swum against the current and produced the first laser capable of cooling liquids. The technology could be especially useful for slowing down single cells and allow scientists to study biological processes as they happen.
Zothecula writes: Inspired by the water boatman bug, a team at the University of Bristol has created the Row-bot, a robot prototype that is designed to punt itself across the top of the water in dirty ponds or lakes, and "eat" the microbes it scoops up. It then breaks these down in its artificial stomach to create energy to power itself. In this way, it generates enough power to continuously impel itself about to seek out more bacteria to feed upon.
Zothecula writes: The Italians have a colorful expression – to make a hole in water – to describe an effort with no hope of succeeding. Researchers at Queen's University Belfast (QUB), however, have seemingly managed the impossible, creating a class of liquids that feature permanent holes at the molecular level. The properties of the new materials are still largely unknown, but what has been gleaned so far suggests they could be used for more convenient carbon capturing or as a molecular sieve to quickly separate different gases.
Zothecula writes: Scientists at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have developed a display technology that may soon spell the end of awkward-looking smartglasses. The resulting displays are thin, lightweight, and much more discrete than those of current-generation hi-tech spectacles.
Zothecula writes: Fires in high-rise buildings can be very problematic. It can be difficult to move around the building, to quickly get equipment to where it needs to be and even to communicate with people inside. Dubai, a place with lots of towering constructions, plans to tackle this by giving jetpacks to its firefighters.
Zothecula writes: 3D printing just hit another benchmark, with the recent announcement by Aurora Flight Sciences and Stratasys Ltd that they have developed a 3D-printed, jet-powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with the ability to reach speeds of up to 150 mph (241 km/h). Unveiled at this week’s Dubai Airshow, it is reportedly the largest and most complex UAV ever created using 3D printing.
Zothecula writes: Fans of The Simpsons may recall Lisa using genetic engineering to create a super tomato that she hoped would cure world hunger. Now researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have come close to the real thing, not through genetic engineering, but with the use of nanoparticles. Although the individual fruit aren't as large as Lisa's creation, the team's approach has resulted in tomato plants that produced almost 82 percent more fruit by weight, with the fruit also boasting higher antioxidant content.
Zothecula writes: Researchers from the University of Leeds and Sheffield University have created a way to move data through magnetic nanowires by using surface acoustic waves as the motivating force. Being developed for use in so-called racetrack solid-state memory, the researchers claim that using sound waves for data transfer should markedly increase computer processing speeds while vastly reducing power consumption.
Zothecula writes: Scientists at MIT and the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) have leveraged videogame technology to generate broadcast quality 3D video of soccer (aka football in much of the world) matches from a 2D source in real time. The resulting video can reportedly be enjoyed with any 3D TV or virtual reality headset, and could lead to much more 3D content becoming available in the near future.