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Ben Coxworth

Scientists have created an inexpensive, robust, liquid-repellent surface material, inspire...

Who doesn't like carnivorous plants? They eat pesky bugs, they look like something out of Flash Gordon, and now it turns out that one of them has inspired a new type of liquid-repellent surface. The inspirational flora is the pitcher plant, which is shaped like - well, like a water pitcher, or perhaps a wide-end-up trumpet. When insects step onto its slippery inner surface, they lose their footing and fall down into a pool of collected rainwater in its base, where they are digested. Scientists from Harvard University's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have copied the structure of that inner surface and come up with a material that resists not only most liquids, but also ice and bacteria, and it does so under a wide range of conditions.  Read More

Scientists have created a system that is able to visually reconstruct images that people h...

In the 1983 film Brainstorm, Christopher Walken played a scientist who was able to record movies of people's mental experiences, then play them back into the minds of other people. Pretty far-fetched, right? Well, maybe not. Utilizing functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and computer models, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have been able to visually reconstruct the brain activity of human subjects watching movie trailers - in other words, they could see what the people's brains were seeing.  Read More

The idea of matter traveling faster than light may no longer be limited to the realm of sc...

According to Einstein’s restricted theory of relativity, nothing can travel faster than light in a vacuum. Up until today, that had pretty much seemed to be the case, too. Early this morning, however, researchers from the Geneva-based OPERA project announced that the results from one of their recent experiments indicate that neutrinos can in fact outrun light particles.  Read More

The Vehicle Production Group's MV-1 van is designed with wheelchair-using passengers in mi...

The AM General auto assembly plant in Mishawaka, Indiana is where they used to build Hummer H2s. Now, its workers are making something a little less ... controversial. It’s a van called the MV-1, MV standing for “Mobility Vehicle,” and it’s designed specifically for wheelchair-using passengers. Its designers claim that it is better suited to the handicapped than converted conventional vans, and the first factory-built model rolled off the assembly line yesterday.  Read More

Buildings such as this office tower could benefit from windows that can be darkened or lig...

Dimmable windows, in one form or another, have been with us for several years now. We’ve seen examples such as the manually-adjustable SPD-Smart motorcoach windows, the energy-harvesting Smart Energy Glass product, and the RavenWindow, which darkens or lightens according to the outside temperature. According to researchers from Korea’s Soongsil University and Korea Electronics Technology Institute, however, such windows can be expensive, don’t work properly for long enough, and require toxic substances in their manufacturing process. The team claims to have developed a system of their own, that has none of these drawbacks.  Read More

Squids have provided the key ingredient for a proton-conducting transistor, that may allow...

When it comes to sending and receiving information, man-made devices utilize negatively-charged particles commonly known as electrons. Biological systems such as human bodies, on the other hand, use protons via positively charged hydrogen atoms or ions. This would indicate that there is something of a language barrier, when we try to develop electronic devices that can communicate with living systems. That barrier could be on its way down, however, as scientists from the University of Washington have developed a transistor that can conduct pulses of protons - and they've done it with some help from our friends the cephalopods.  Read More

Artist Nik Nowak has converted a Japanese mini-dumper into a 'sound tank' that pumps out 4...

Do you like car stereos with good, thumping bass? I mean, do you really, really like them? If so, you might be appreciative of "Tank," a creation by Berlin artist Nik Nowak. The fully-functioning tracked vehicle sports six 12-inch mid-range drivers, three 18-inch subwoofers, four tweeters, and pumps out 4,000 watts of gut-wobbling sound - just think of it as an acoustic assault vehicle.  Read More

A Honda FCX Clarity being refueled at the UK's first open access hydrogen filling station,...

If you live in Britain and are debating whether or not you should purchase a hydrogen-powered Honda FCX Clarity, well ... your decision may now be a bit easier to make. In order to encourage development of fuel cell vehicles such as the FCX, Honda has just opened the UK’s first open access station for hydrogen-powered vehicles. It’s located on the grounds of Honda of the UK Manufacturing in Swindon, and everyone who needs a little hydrogen in their lives is welcome.  Read More

Scientists at Stanford University have created heart cells that contract when exposed to l...

Working their way towards energy-efficient pacemakers that use light pulses to control the beating of the heart, scientists at New York's Stony Brook University recently developed optogenetic heart tissue – it contracts when exposed to light. More specifically, they took donor cells that had been modified to respond to light, and coupled them to conventional heart cells. A team from California’s Stanford University, however, has now created actual optogenetic heart cells.  Read More

The prototype 'intelligent T-shirt' is capable of remotely monitoring patients' vital sign...

More and more we're hearing about clothing made from smart fabrics being used in the field of medicine, to monitor patients wearing such garments. One of the latest examples is the "intelligent T-shirt," designed by scientists at Spain's Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M). It can remotely monitor a person's temperature, heart rate, activity level, position and location.  Read More

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