Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Dario Borghino

During the upcoming ISS resupply mission, SpaceX will attempt to propulsively land the boo...

Yesterday at MIT's AeroAstro Centennial Symposium, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said his company will make a first attempt to land the booster stage of its Falcon 9 rocket on a floating platform during the upcoming ISS resupply mission. If the attempt is successful, the company plans to refurbish and reuse the booster stage, making spaceflight history and paving the way for a significant reduction in the cost of access to space.  Read More

The use of UV light, special blue-light polymers and a clever safety trigger could make th...

Startup company Future Make 3D is developing the Polyes Q1, a 3D pen with a slew of safety features that aims to make it fun and safe for everyone – children included – to sketch out three-dimensional sculptures made of plastic. The cordless, USB-charged pen will come with standard, glow-in-the-dark, transparent and temperature-changing inks and is set to hit Kickstarter sometime next month.  Read More

An extremely lightweight, smartphone-controlled bionic bird could fly for over a mile on a...

A French startup has turned to crowdfunding to build an extremely light bionic bird that can be controlled using the magnetometer and accelerometer in a smartphone. The bird, currently at the prototype stage, would communicate via Bluetooth for a range of 100 meters (330 ft) and be able to fly for up to eight minutes at a time, or over a mile, after a quick 12-minute charge.  Read More

A new low-cost flat panel light source with extremely low power consumption could lead to ...

Researchers at Tohoku University in Japan have developed a new low-cost flat panel light source that could pioneer a new generation of brighter, cheaper and greener lighting devices to rival LEDs. The device uses arrays of highly conductive carbon nanotubes to deliver evenly-distributed illumination with high efficiency and a power consumption as low as 0.1 Watts – about 100 times lower than that of light-emitting diodes.  Read More

A proof of concept nanotube-based anode for lithium-ion batteries has been developed by re...

Researchers at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have developed a new, proof-of-concept anode for lithium-ion batteries that can charge to 70 percent of its capacity in only two minutes and has a very long lifespan of ten thousands charge/discharge cycles. The advance could lead to the production of high-rate lithium-ion batteries, with interesting implications for personal electronics and, perhaps, even electric vehicles.  Read More

A supercapacitor-based charger currently under development can load up in only five minute...

An Oxford-based startup has turned to crowdfunding to help develop Zap&Go, a phone charger with an emphasis on speed and portability. Thanks to a graphene supercapacitor and an ad-hoc power supply, the device will reportedly charge to its 1,500-mAh capacity – enough to fully charge an iPhone 5s – in only five minutes and promises to be a much more practical solution than current alternatives, particularly when traveling.  Read More

An array of nanoscale pillars ('nanograss') structure could make organic solar cells more ...

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Stanford University and the Dresden University of Technology have developed a long sought-after nanostructure that can significantly increase the efficiency of organic solar cells. Their "nanograss," a dense array of vertical nanopillars, can capture photons at a very high efficiency and could also lead to cheaper and more advanced 3D transistors, photodetectors and charge storage devices.  Read More

A new study conducted at MIT suggests that tweaking the size of a costly membrane could he...

A new study conducted at MIT has examined the potential of pressure-retarded osmosis (PRO), a technique that generates electricity from the difference in salinity between two pools of water separated by a membrane. According to the researchers, tweaking the size of the membrane could help generate electricity much more cheaply than ever before.  Read More

 XRay helps users see how popular online services track their personal information  (Image...

A new software tool developed at Columbia University is providing valuable insights into how some very popular websites make use of the sensitive data they collect from their users. The software could help sniff out potential abuses from advertisers and contribute in making the usage of sensitive data a lot more transparent to the end user.  Read More

A flexible artificial skin is designed to wrap around objects and autonomously camouflage ...

A new device developed at the University of Houston can automatically sense its surroundings and blend into them in a matter of seconds, imitating the behavior of squids and other marine creatures. Once it is perfected, the prototype could have interesting applications for the military, or even make its way into consumer technology.  Read More

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