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Ben Coxworth

Ormia ochracea has excellent hearing, and is hated by crickets everywhere  (Photo: Jpaur)

When it comes to animals with good hearing, flies might not be the first one you'd think of. The Ormia ochracea fly, however, has a unique hearing mechanism that allows it to precisely determine the location of a cricket based on its chirps ... it then deposits its larvae on the cricket, which ultimately consume the poor insect. Scientists at the University of Texas Austin have now duplicated that mechanism, with hopes that it could find use in applications such as next-generation hearing aids.  Read More

Waste like this should meet all of a UK grocery store's electrical needs (Photo: Shutterst...

It's an unfortunate fact that every day around the world, supermarkets throw out tons of food that has spoiled before it could be purchased. While it would be best if that spoilage could be avoided in the first place, British grocery chain Sainsbury's is taking what might be the next-best approach – it's about to start using that unsellable food to power one of its stores.  Read More

The work-loop assay, with its heart tissue visible at center

When scientists want to find out how a new medication will affect the cardiovascular system, the traditional way of doing so is via animal or human trials. This takes time, can be potentially harmful to the test subjects, and doesn't always deliver conclusive results. Thanks to a device created at Coventry University in the UK, however, the testing process may soon be quicker, safer and more reliable.  Read More

The Stique Multilever ML123

Cycling multi-tools are sort of like smartphone cases, in that there seems to be no end to the innovations that are possible. One that recently caught our eye was the Nutter, which consists of a tire lever that does double duty as ... well, as a bunch of things. Many people prefer to use a couple of smaller levers as opposed to one big one, however. Those people might be interested in the Stique Multilever ML123.  Read More

Working on HARKEN in the lab – the finished version wouldn't include the extra chest strap...

It was just last week that we heard about how researchers from Nottingham Trent University are looking at embedding heart rate sensors in car seats, to detect when drivers are nodding off. Well, it turns out that they're not the only ones. A consortium of European companies and institutes is developing a similar system known as HARKEN, which uses seat-located sensors to monitor both the driver's heart rate and their rate of respiration.  Read More

Functional human platelets (the orange starfish-like things in the picture) could one day ...

Scientists have already successfully coaxed stem cells into becoming red blood cells, which could be used to create "man-made" blood for transfusion. Red blood cells, however, aren't the only component of human blood. Now, researchers at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital have also created functional human platelets, using a bioreactor that simulates the medium in which blood cells are naturally produced – bone marrow.  Read More

Dr. Brian Feldman is one of the inventors of the testing system

For people who don't already know, here's the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes: the body produces little or no insulin in the case of type 1, and isn't able to utilize the insulin that it does produce in type 2. It's a significant difference, so it's important that patients are diagnosed correctly. Thanks to a new microchip developed by a team at Stanford University led by Dr. Brian Feldman, doing so could soon be quicker, cheaper and easier than ever before.  Read More

The FitRider lets cyclists propel themselves using both leg and arm power

Much as cycling is a good source of exercise for the lower body and the core, it admittedly doesn't do much for the upper body. We've seen a number of attempts to address this shortcoming, mostly in the form of bikes that are pedaled with both the legs and the arms. The FitRider takes a somewhat different approach, looking somewhat like a cross between a regular bicycle and a NordicTrack.  Read More

The 2015 Toyota Sienna offers Driver Easy Speak "I'll pull this car over right now if you kids don't stop misbehaving!" It might be an effective threat, but it won't make any difference if it's not heard in the first place. That's why the 2015 Toyota Sienna minivan has an optional microphone system that lets the driver relay announcements via speakers in the back.  Read More

Prof. Rolf Reitz (center) and members of his student team with the RCCI-powered Saturn

Five years ago we first heard about a Caterpillar diesel engine located at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, that had been modified to run on an unlikely-sounding mixture of diesel and gasoline. Not only did the one-cylinder engine work, but it was more efficient than pure-diesel or pure-gas engines at converting the chemical energy of fuel into motion. Sitting in a basement lab, however, isn't the same as experiencing use in the real world. That's why students at UW-Madison, led by Prof. Rolf Reitz, have now put another diesel/gas engine into a 2009 Saturn.  Read More

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