Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Darren Quick

Researchers have finally discovered the key to dark chocolate's health benefits (Photo: Sh...

It has long been known that eating chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, has numerous health benefits. Although various studies have backed this up, the exact reason as to why this is so has remained a mystery. Now researchers from Louisiana State University have provided the answer – gut microbes.  Read More

Using bone conduction, the Dreampad delivers audio only the person lying on it There are many people who find a little music helps them drift off to sleep at night. Conversely, there are many people who don't. The Dreampad from Integrated Listening could be just the thing for couples with a foot in each camp.  Read More

By infusing the leaves of an Arabidopsis thaliana plant with nanoparticles, MIT researcher...

In 2010, Stanford University researchers reported harnessing energy directly from chloroplasts, the cellular "power plants" within plants where photosynthesis takes place. Now, by embedding different types of carbon nanotubes into these chloroplasts, a team at MIT has boosted plants' ability to capture light energy. As well as opening up the possibility of creating "bionic plants" with enhanced energy production, the same approach could be used to create plants with environmental monitoring capabilities.  Read More

A blood test could help reduce the risk of long-term damage for participants of contact sp...

It wasn't so long ago that shaking off a knock to the head and getting back on the field was seen as a sign of toughness for sportspeople. But in recent years, increased awareness of the potential for long-term damage has put the seriousness of concussion in the spotlight. Researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy in Sweden have now developed a blood test that reveals the severity of a concussion and when it is safe for a player to return to the game.  Read More

AeroVironment's TurboCord works with 120-volt and 240-volt outlets

With the increasing popularity of electric and hybrid electric vehicles, some employers have come to the party and installed charging stations for their employees. Now AeroVironment has released its TurboCord, which allows businesses to provide faster EV charging by simply installing NEMA 6-20R 240-volt outlets, rather than going to the expense of providing dedicated charging units.  Read More

The heated bus shelter in Montreal that encourages commuters to reach out to each other With the mercury in Montreal lucky to make it above 0° C at this time of year, Duracell has provided city commuters a way to keep warm by literally reaching out to each other: a bus shelter that will only turn on the heat if travelers hold hands.  Read More

The acoustic cloak was constructed from several sheets of plastic plates dotted with repea...

Metamaterials are already being used to create invisibility cloaks and "temporal cloaks," but now engineers from Duke University have turned metamaterials to the task of creating a 3D acoustic cloak. In the same way that invisibility cloaks use metamaterials to reroute light around an object, the acoustic cloaking device interacts with sound waves to make it appear as if the device and anything hidden beneath it isn't there.  Read More

Volvo has completed a research project testing the use of magnets in the roadway to help s...

Volvo is continuing its work on autonomous vehicle technology with a research project that involves the use of magnets to keep self-driving cars on the road. As well as preventing cars from running off the road, the Swedish automaker says the technology could help improve road maintenance and allow for lanes to be narrowed.  Read More

Microscope photo of tungsten diselenide samples connected to electrodes

Graphene, the two-dimensional lattice of carbon atoms, may be the wonder material du jour, but ultrathin layers of other elements are also proving to be an exciting area of research. One-atom-thick sheets of germanium and tin have shown potential as semiconductors and a topological insulators respectively, and now ultrathin layers of tungsten and selenium have been used to create a diode that could be used in ultrathin, flexible, semi-transparent solar cells.  Read More

ESA's 15 m-diameter dish antenna at the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC), near Madri...

As you might expect, acquiring a signal from a satellite traveling at speeds of over 17,400 mph can be a tricky business. A new system called SARAS, which is a Spanish acronym for "Fast Acquisition of Satellites and Launchers," more than doubles the effective area of the receiving dish antenna, allowing the signal to be acquired much faster.  Read More

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