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Dario Borghino

The sensor could be embedded in artificial skin for richer sensing (Image: Technion-Israel...

Using gold nanoparticles on top of a PVC substrate, researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have built a new type of cheap, flexible sensor that simultaneously detects pressure, humidity and temperature with surprising accuracy. The sensor could be used to monitor cracks in bridges, create a better artificial skin to benefit amputees, or even to give robots that special "human touch."  Read More

A newly developed optical transistor could be the key to higher-performance CPUs and a lea...

Researchers at MIT, Harvard and the Vienna University of Technology have developed a proof-of-concept optical switch that can be controlled by a single photon and is the equivalent of a transistor in an electronic circuit. The advance could improve power consumption in standard computers and have important repercussions for the development of an effective quantum computer.  Read More

A closeup of the wood fibers used by the researchers in their sodium-ion battery (Image: U...

Li-ion batteries may be ok for your smartphone, but when it comes to large-scale energy storage, the priorities suddenly shift from compactness and cycling performance (at which Li-ion batteries excel) to low cost and environmental feasibility (in which Li-ion batteries still have much room for improvement). A new "wood battery" could allow the emerging sodium-ion battery technology to fit the bill as a long-lasting, efficient and environmentally friendly battery for large-scale energy storage.  Read More

Researchers are building an all-solid Li-S battery that is cheap, safe, durable, and store...

Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have come up with a promising design for a lithium-sulfur rechargeable battery that is considerably cheaper and energy-dense than standard lithium-ion. Using a solid electrolyte rather than a liquid one, the battery is also testing much safer and more durable than previous designs.  Read More

The Fairphone is a crowdfunded smartphone that puts social values first (Image: Fairphone)

After a short three-week crowdfunding campaign, Dutch startup Fairphone has just reached its goal of 5,000 pre-orders and is slated to start deliveries in October. The company is producing an "ethical" high-end smartphone by watching over the entire process, from mining the ores to the assembly phase, making sure that workers are treated fairly and the environmental footprint is as small as possible.  Read More

The map displays solar radiation data with outstanding resolution (Photo: MIT)

MIT researchers have developed a new technique that can be used to accurately predict the annual yield of a photovoltaic solar array located anywhere on the planet, taking into account local climate, panel orientation, and obstructions from nearby buildings. As a proof of concept, the scientists have mapped out the 17,000 rooftops of Cambridge, Massachusetts and created a user-friendly web interface that residents can use to look up their homes and get an accurate projection of the cost and return on investment of placing a PV panel over their heads.  Read More

Columbia University researchers have come up with a way to produce large joined sheets of ...

A study conducted at Columbia University has revealed that even when stitched together from much smaller fragments, large sheets of graphene still retain much of their mechanical properties. The discovery may be a crucial step forward in the mass-production of carbon nanotubes that could be used to manufacture flexible electronics, ultra-light and strong materials, and perhaps even the first space elevator.  Read More

Theoretical physicists have worked out how entanglement could be ‘recycled’ to increase th...

An international team of researchers has achieved an important theoretical result by finding that quantum teleportation – the process of transporting quantum information at the speed of light, which could in theory be used to teleport macroscopic objects and, one day, even humans – can be achieved in a much more energy-efficient way than was previously thought.  Read More

A UCR researcher is taking inspiration from the teeth of a marine snail to build the techn...

Inspired by the tough teeth of a marine snail and the remarkable process by which they form, assistant professor David Kisailus at the University of California, Riverside is working toward building cheaper, more efficient nanomaterials. By achieving greater control over the low-temperature growth of nanocrystals, his research could improve the performance of solar cells and lithium-ion batteries, lead to higher-performance materials for car and airplane frames, and help develop abrasion-resistant materials that could be used for anything from specialized clothing to dental drills.  Read More

Russia is planning to launch probe Luna-Glob in 2015 as a first step toward building a ful...

The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) is planning to launch an unmanned spacecraft to the Moon in 2015, a first step toward the ambitious long-term plan to establish a robotic base on the surface of our largest satellite. The spacecraft, called Luna-Glob ("Moon globe"), will be followed by two more orbiters and two rovers that will study the lunar soil locally and collect samples of rocks and dust, bringing them back to Earth for analysis.  Read More

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