Photokina 2014 highlights

Science

The new micro-lattice material is so light that it can sit atop dandelion fluff without da...

Researchers have created a new metallic material that they claim is the world’s lightest solid material. With a density of just 0.9 mg/cm3 the material is around 100 times lighter than Styrofoam and lighter than the "multiwalled carbon nanotube (MCNT) aerogel" - also dubbed "frozen smoke" – with a density of 4 mg/cm3 that we looked at earlier this year. Despite being 99.99 percent open volume, the new material boasts impressive strength and energy absorption, making it potentially useful for a range of applications.  Read More

A True 3D pyramid hovers in mid-air  (Image: DigInfo)

Engineers from Burton Inc. in Japan have rolled out a "True 3D" display, which evolved from work begun five years previously by teams at Keio University and Japan's national institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST). While most 3D displays available today involve a form of optical illusion that depends on the parallax or disparity inherent in human binocular vision, this new system, which can function in air or under water, needs no screen of any sort, and the effect is quite impressive.  Read More

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new technique for transf...

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new technique for transforming two-dimensional print output into 3-D structures, using nothing but light. A pre-stressed polymer sheet is fed into a conventional inkjet printer, which applies black stripes to areas designed to be used as hinges. The desired pattern is then cut out and subjected to infrared light. The material contracts at the hinges, and the sheet collapses into a predefined 3D structure. Dr. Michael Dickey, who co-authored a paper describing the research, says the process could be used for packaging purposes and could be applied to high-volume manufacturing.  Read More

A plastic material inspired by the leaves of the aquatic weed Salvinia molesta may lead to...

It may be an invasive weed that’s fouling waterways in the U.S., Australia and other countries, but it turns out that Salvinia molesta has at least one good point – it’s inspired a man-made coating that could help ships stay afloat. The upper surface of the floating plant’s leaves are coated with tiny water-repellent hairs, each of which is topped with a bizarre eggbeater-like structure. These hairs trap a layer of air against the leaf, reducing friction and providing buoyancy, while the eggbeaters grab slightly at the surrounding water, providing stability. Scientists at Ohio State University have successfully replicated these hairs in plastic, creating a buoyant coating that is described as being like “a microscopic shag carpet.”  Read More

Creating a plastic bag as a bio-container using electrically-charged plasma (Photo: Fraunh...

The humble Petri dish may soon be a thing of the past. A team of researchers in Germany have developed a new technique for treating plastic bags with plasmas to turn them into sealed, sterile containers suitable for microbiology work with much less chance of contamination than traditional containers. This holds the promise of not only decreasing the possibility of contamination in stem cell and live-cell therapy techniques, but also the potential for cultivating whole human organs for transplant surgery.  Read More

The prototype device, which is reportedly able to detect illicit drugs in a person's syste...

Fingerprints have been used to confirm or determine peoples' identities for over one hundred years now, but new technology is allowing them to be put to another use - drug testing. Intelligent Fingerprinting (a spin-off company affiliated with the UK's University of East Anglia) has just unveiled a prototype portable device that can detect the presence of illicit drugs or other substances in a person's system by analyzing the sweat in their fingerprints.  Read More

Front view of Curiosity Mars rover  (Image: NASA)

We've had our sights on NASA's Curiosity Rover (also known as the Mars Science Laboratory or MSL) for quite some time now. Well, it's finally ready and in a few short weeks, this amazingly advanced one-ton (900 kg) explorer will find itself atop a massive Atlas V rocket for the eight-month, 354 million-mile (570 million-km) trip to our red neighbor – the culmination of over seven years of development and US$2.5 billion in funding.  Read More

Scientists have created an 'electric car' that is only a few nanometers long (Image: Empa)...

We’ve seen some fairly small electric cars in recent years, such as those made by Tango, Think, Wheego, and of course, smart. All of those automobiles are absolute monsters, however, compared to what scientists from Swiss research group Empa have created. Working with colleagues at the Netherlands’ University of Groningen, they’ve built a one-of-a-kind electric car that measures approximately 4 x 2 nanometers.  Read More

The new super-black coating made from hollow carbon nanotubes prevents reflection because ...

When it comes to gathering measurements of objects so distant in the universe that they can no longer be seen in visible light, the smallest amount of stray light can play havoc with the sensitive detectors and other instrument components used by astronomers. Currently, instrument developers use black paint on baffles and other components to help prevent stray light ricocheting off surfaces, but the paint absorbs only 90 percent of the light that strikes it. NASA engineers have now developed a nanotech-based coating that absorbs on average more than 99 percent of the ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and far-infrared light that hits it, making it promising for a variety of space- and Earth-bound applications.  Read More

The original image on the left, the modified image in the middle, and the 'heat-map' produ...

From nude pictures of celebrities to politicians caught in compromising positions, verifying the authenticity of images online is often no easy task. To address this problem, a team at Duke University looking has developed software called YouProve that can be integrated into the Android operating system to track changes made to images or audio captured on an Android smartphone. The software then produces a non-forgeable "fidelity certificate" that uses a "heat-map" to summarize the degree to which various regions of the media have been modified compared to the original image.  Read More

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