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Lakshmi Sandhana

Lakshmi Sandhana

When Lakshmi first encountered pig's wings in a petri dish, she realized that writing about scientists and imagineers was the perfect way to live in an expanding mind bubble. Articles for Wired, BBC Online, New Scientist, The Economist and Fast Company soon followed. She's currently pursuing her dream of traveling from country to country to not only ferret out cool stories but also indulge outrageously in local street foods. When not working, you'll find her either buried nose deep in a fantasy novel or trying her hand at improvisational comedy.

— Energy

Underwater chemical garden powers a light bulb

Researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have grown underwater chimney-like structures capable of generating enough electricity to power a light bulb. The team linked several of these chimneys to get the required electricity. Their findings indicate that the seafloor equivalents of these chemical gardens might just have contributed the electricity needed for the Earth's first organisms to develop.

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— Around The Home

Knocki taps into the Internet of Things

Can you knock on your kitchen countertop to dim the lights, turn on your favorite music or send your partner a text message? You can if you have a "Knocki" stuck to it. Developed by Texas-based Swan Solutions, Knocki is a disc-shaped device that turns solid surfaces, such as walls, doors or tables, into remote control switches for internet-connected devices. All you have to do is knock.

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— Medical

Silk-based functional inks put biosensor data on your fingertips

Although we've seen "bio-inks" that allow sensors to be drawn directly on a person's skin and other surfaces to gauge things like glucose levels, functional inks such as this are usually heat-sensitive, meaning they aren't suitable for use in inkjet printers. Researchers at Tufts University have now developed silk-based inks containing bacteria-sensing agents that can withstand the rigors of inkjet printing, opening the door much wider for printing biomolecules.

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— Automotive

Prototype electric vehicle passes first test on road to Antarctica

The Venturi Antarctica, a prototype electric vehicle designed to tackle the harsh climes of Antarctica recently completed its first test drive in the Southern Alps of Europe. Manufactured by Venturi Automobiles, the joystick-controlled prototype seats five and can reach a top speed of 25 km/h (15 mph) on snow tracks and 45 km/h (27 mph) on wheels. When fully developed, the electric vehicle will allow scientists to drive to research sites without any risk of contaminating the samples to be collected. Read More
— Medical

Scientists create functioning "mini-lungs" to study cystic fibrosis

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have grown functional "mini-lungs" using stems cells derived from the skin cells of patients with a debilitating lung disease. Not only can the development help them in coming up with effective treatments for specific lung diseases like cystic fibrosis, but the process has the potential to be scaled up to screen thousands of new compounds to identify potential new drugs. Read More
— Medical

Prosthetic arm takes alternate route to mind control

Researchers from the Medical University of Vienna have developed a technique that allows amputees to control a robotic prosthesis with their mind when there's no neural connection left to exploit between the brain and the part of the hand that remains. Called "bionic reconstruction," the procedure was applied to three patients who were able to successfully use the prosthesis to undertake routine activities, thereby improving their quality of life. Read More
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