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Michael Mulcahy

— Science

Nature can still surprise us: more than 350 new species found in Himalayas

By - August 13, 2009 3 Pictures
You’d think there’d be nothing new in the world to discover, but Mother Nature still has a few surprises up her sleeve. According to a new report from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), scientists have discovered 353 new species in the eastern Himalayas over the past decade. They include a ‘flying frog’ that glides using long webbed feet, fossil evidence of a 100 million-year-old gecko, and the world’s shortest deer which, when fully grown, stands just 20 inches tall. Read More
— Science

Painting brain tumors with nanoparticles may help defeat cancer

By - August 12, 2009 1 Picture
Nanotechnology is preoccupying science to the point where it's starting to seem unremarkable. But a group of researchers from the University of Washington has released findings that could profoundly improve the chances of surviving brain cancer. The team has developed a fluorescent nanoparticle that is capable of penetrating – for the first time – the blood-brain barrier without damaging it. The fluoro nanoparticle targets tumors using a derivative of scorpion venom and enables precise imaging of the size and location of cancerous growths. When the particles meet the tumor, they light up like Christmas. Read More
— Automotive

Diesel used as gasoline 'spark plug' improves economy and emissions

By - August 11, 2009 1 Picture
The two engine technologies tend to be regarded as completely separate, so we rarely contemplate how gasoline and diesel can work together. But, in a series of tests conducted at the University of Wisconsin, scientists have used an engine’s fuel injection to produce the optimal diesel-gas mix for any given moment. The results are impressive: an average 20% greater fuel efficiency; combustion temperatures reduced by up to 40%; and effortless meeting of the stringent EPA 2010 emission regulations. Plus, the researchers believe that if their findings were implemented into every gasoline and diesel engine in the US, the savings could be as great as 4 million barrels of oil daily. Read More
— Science

Harnessing blowflies to teach robots how to see

By - August 11, 2009 2 Pictures
One of the biggest challenges facing robotics is teaching machines to perceive surroundings and make sense of what they see. Attempting to duplicate the complexity of human perception is next to impossible, so researchers at Cognition for Technical Systems (CoTeSys) in Munich are, instead, studying how blowflies process images using a 'flight simulator'. Despite having a brain the size of a pinhead, a fly can process and interpret 100 discrete images per second – four times better than humans. Read More
— Marine

Is this the world’s best ship design? The Austal 102 trimaran

By - August 6, 2009 3 Pictures
Shipbuilder Austal first came to Gizmag’s attention in 2005 with the launch of the world’s largest aluminum vessel, the 127 meter Benchijigua Express. The company then started building Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) for the US Navy, based on the same trimaran design. And, now, Austal is launching an even more refined version that improves sea-keeping, passenger comfort and fuel efficiency. This week, Tony Armstrong, Austal’s head of R&D, spoke exclusively to Gizmag about potentially building 20% of the US Navy fleet, how they reduced fuel consumption by a quarter, what sick bags can tell you, and much more. Read More
— Automotive

MIT tackles challenge of electric car that recharges in ten minutes flat

By - August 6, 2009 3 Pictures
Sometimes in science, it helps to set the bar high. That seems to be the attitude of the MIT Electric Vehicle Team (EVT). By their reckoning, one of the biggest impediments to the average driver adopting an electric vehicle is recharge times. So, having converted a Porsche 914 to electric, their next project is to produce a prototype family car that will achieve 0-60mph in under nine seconds, have a range of 200 miles, and fully recharge in under 11 minutes. Read More
— Good Thinking

From AAA to D: the one-size-fits-all rechargeable battery concept

By - August 3, 2009 4 Pictures
People think deeply about everything, even batteries. Comedian Demetri Martin, for example, decided the reason there’s no B-Battery is because it’d sound like you had a stutter asking for one. A group of Korean designers, on the other hand, has decided what the world really needs is a rechargeable nickel hydroxide battery that, thanks to a memory foam casing, can squeeze down to fit any size from AAA to D. Read More
— Automotive

U.S. vehicle fuel efficiency has increased only 3 mpg in 80 years

By - August 2, 2009 1 Picture
Gizmag is always on the lookout for alternative means of powering vehicles and saving precious fossil fuels. But, in truth, the vast majority of us still drive exclusively petrol-powered cars. And the even sadder truth, outlined in a new research from the University of Michigan, is that the average fuel efficiency of a US vehicle has improved only three miles per gallon since the days of the Ford Model T. Read More
— Science

New barcode system could see the end of ugly stripes

By - August 2, 2009 3 Pictures
I remember encountering the ugly black-and-white stripes of a barcode for the first time – defacing the front of my favorite magazine. Of course, Mad found a way of dealing with the UPC code by making jokes at its expense. But now, some ground-breaking work at MIT could see the visual blight of barcodes replaced altogether by Bokodes, tiny tenth-of-an-inch optical data tags that can hold thousands of times more information and be read by the camera on your mobile phone. Read More

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