Tiny 3D-printed robotic fish smaller than the width of a human hair may one day deliver drugs to specific places in our bodies and sense and remove toxins, thanks to research at the University of California, San Diego. The so-called microfish are self-propelled, magnetically steered, and powered by hydrogen peroxide nanoparticles. And they might be just the first chip off the block for a future filled with "smart" microbots inspired by other biological organisms such as birds, each with its own specialized functionality.
A 162-m (531-ft) tall observation tower being built in Brighton, UK, has reached its full height in just 10 weeks. It is claimed that the Brighton i360 will be the world’s tallest moving observation tower when it opens next year, and will give visitors views of up to 26 miles (42 km) around.
Solar-powered homes, cars, and planes are all well and good, but decades of research in the field have finally resulted in something really useful: the IrresistiCat solar-powered cat toy. It's a simple device, featuring a ball that's propelled around a circular enclosure when enough juice has been received from its solar panel.
The boundary between laptops and tablets with keyboard covers continues to blur, as the former get thinner and the latter get more capable. Researchers at Microsoft's Applied Sciences Group have come up with an innovative new keyboard called the DisplayCover that clips on to a Surface tablet and includes its own e-ink display panel.
If your drone-flying career is yet to take off, the Limited Edition Code Black Drone is a good way to get started. It fits in the palm of your hand, but features auto-stabilization and an HD camera. Over at Gizmag Store, it currently has 50% off.
A glue that performs at a high-level in wet environments could bring about all sorts of possibilities in areas like surgical care and ship maintenance. A somewhat common approach to this problem has been trying to replicate the freakish ability of mussels to bind themselves to boats and jetties, but a team from Singapore's Nanyang Technological University is coming at it from a slightly different angle by developing a glue that hardens when an electrical charge is applied.
Space is cold, but not cold enough for satellite sensors that need to be kept at cryogenic temperatures. Lockheed Martin’s lightweight High Power Microcryocooler is designed to keep these vital components cold, and it now packs three times the power density of previous systems.
Not content with using hybrid artificial photosynthesis to turn CO2 emissions into plastics and biofuel, researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) now claim to have produced an enhanced system that uses water and solar energy to generate hydrogen, which is in turn used to produce methane, the main element of natural gas, from carbon dioxide. Generating such gases from a renewable resource may one day help bolster, or even replace, fossil fuel resources extracted from dwindling sub-surface deposits.
Radio tags have made things easier for environmental scientists tracking animal movements, but they still involve spending a lot of time and money traipsing over land by foot in search of a signal. This is particularly pertinent for Australian National University's (ANU) Debbie Saunders, who has spent years trying to track small, evasive birds. But work is set to become easier for Saunders and her team, who have developed the first radio-tracking drone that locates radio-tagged wildlife in a fraction of the time of previous methods.
After toiling away on gravel roads for about four hours we pulled over to ask an elderly Mapuche man for directions. We were undertaking a bumpy off-road adventure through Chile's southern Andes in search of one of the country's more remarkable eco-destinations – the Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve. Home to bizarrely-shaped hotels crafted from local timber and surrounded by dense Patagonian rainforest and crashing waterways, this magical getaway stands tall as a beacon of sustainable architecture in one of the world's most pristine environments.