Science has turned its torch to many corners of the animal kingdom in the pursuit of advanced adhesives. Immoveable mussels, grippy geckos and stubborn shellfish have helped nudged these efforts along in the past, and now another critter has emerged with a few sticky secrets of its own. Researchers have replicated the adhesive secreted by sandcastle worms to form a new kind of underwater glue, a substance they say could find use in a number of applications including tissue repair and dentistry.
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Robots may be the wave of the future, but it will be a pretty chaotic future if they don't learn to work together. This cooperative approach is known as swarm robotics and in a first in the field, a team of engineers has demonstrated a swarm of intelligent aquatic surface robots that can operate together in a real-world environment. Using "Darwinian" learning, the robots are designed to teach themselves how to cooperate in carrying out a task.
Each year, the US military set outs on a resupply mission to McMurdo Station, the National Science Foundation's Antarctic research center. With swathes of sea ice standing in its way, the Polar Star icebreaker first plows channels for other ships loaded with food, fuel and other supplies to pass through. But this year it has received a helping hand, by way of an unmanned drone that flies out ahead of the ship to scout the safest path forward.
Although many people may think that cloud computing exists purely in cyberspace, it does in fact have a physical home – data centers located around the world, each one full of linked servers. These data centers use a lot of power, they create a lot of heat, and it helps if they're close to populated areas. While we've already seen some creative approaches to meeting these needs, Microsoft recently announced that it's tried something else yet … it anchored an unmanned data center to the bottom of the sea.
New research apparently confirms a phenomenon that many of us may have already suspected: excessive exposure to social media can disrupt sleep patterns. The conclusion comes from a study by a team at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, which found that the longer young adults spend on social media, the more likely they are to have the quality of their sleep compromised.
The Ford Model T wasn't the first car to ever be commercially available, but it was one of the very first to be mass-produced. This meant that its price could be kept relatively low, allowing for purchase by people who would otherwise have never been able to afford an automobile. Well, the DEDAVE could be to autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) what the Model T was to cars. Created by Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation, it's claimed to be "the world's first autonomous underwater vehicle to be developed from the outset with a view to series production."
A research team at the University of Saskatchewan has found what may be an inexpensive and environmentally-friendly way of recycling gold from jewelry and electronics. Using a solution of what is essentially reusable table vinegar, the team has shown that for CAD$66 (about US$47) it can produce one kilogram (2.2 lb) of gold with 100 liters (26 gal) of reusable waste water – this is as compared to current methods that can cost over CAD$1,500 (US$1,070) and create 5,000 liters (1,321 gal) of toxic, non-reusable waste.
For years now, fiber optics has been synonymous with super-speed communications and data transfer, but now NASA is working to develop the next generation of high-speed modems using an emerging technology called integrated photonics. The agency's first integrated photonics modem is set to be deployed aboard the International Space Station in 2020. The palm-sized device makes use of optics-based functions like lasers, switches and wires that are all integrated on a microchip much like those in our cell phones.
A new restaurant is aimed at showing that good food need not be bad for the environment. The Perennial, in San Francisco, uses sustainable produce, practices and design. It has its own aquaponic greenhouse, sources responsibly-reared meat and has recycled furnishings.