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Lakshmi Sandhana

Materials

Temperature-controlled hydrogel can walk

Scientists have developed a new hydrogel that stretches and contracts just like an artificial muscle. The team created an L-shaped object made out of the hydrogel and immersed it in a water bath. When the water’s temperature was varied, it slowly "walked" forward.Read More

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.Read More

Smartwatches

Braille smartwatch lets blind read texts

A South Korean startup has created an active Braille smartwatch for the visually impaired that can be read by touch. Aptly named Dot, the wearable relays the time with a set of pins that rise and fall. Users will be able to receive and read text messages in real time, read e-books and even learn Braille.Read More

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.Read More

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.Read More

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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