Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Science

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have devised a method for large-scale 3D motion ...

It might soon be possible to perform large-scale 3D motion reconstructions of sporting events or other live performances, thanks to new research by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University. The researchers mounted 480 video cameras in a two-story geodesic dome that enabled them to track the motion of events such as a man swinging a baseball bat or confetti being thrown into the air.  Read More

A barnacle-encrusted camera found by Gizmag writer Ben Coxworth

If you place pretty much any type of solid material in the ocean, barnacles will firmly attach themselves to it. If you were to try applying a glue to any of those materials while they were underwater, however, it likely wouldn't stick. So, what do barnacles know that we don't? Scientists have recently discovered the answer, and it could lead to advances in human technologies.  Read More

Faye Wu uses the supernumerary robotic fingers

Earlier this month, we heard about an MIT project in which test subjects were equipped with an extra set of robotic arms in order to help them perform tasks. While the technology is certainly intriguing, some people might find the concept of a four-armed cyborg to be a little ... much. If you're one of those people, then you might be more comfortable with another ongoing MIT project. It's just aimed at giving people two extra robotic fingers.  Read More

Monash University's Michelle Quayle shows off part of the Printed Anatomy Series kit

While we might not hear much about a "worldwide shortage of cadavers," the fact is that in developing nations and other places, they are in short supply. It costs money to properly embalm and otherwise prepare the bodies, plus they need to be kept refrigerated, and they can only be dissected under strictly-regulated conditions. A team from Australia's Monash University, however, has developed what could be the next-best thing – highly-realistic 3D-printed cadaver body parts.  Read More

The first experimental evidence has shown that clusters of 40 boron atoms form a molecular...

Buckyballs (or Buckminsterfullerene), the soccer ball-like structures of 60 carbon atoms, have a new playmate. Previously only theorized, researchers from Brown University in the US and Shanxi and Tsinghua Universities in China have been the first to experimentally observe a boron "buckyball."  Read More

The living replica of Vincent Van Gogh's ear, grown using genetic material from one of his...

If you thought cloning mice, frogs and extinct mammoths to be challenging, how about cloning Vincent Van Gogh's ear? Dutch artist Diemut Strebe has grown a living replica of the ear that Vincent Van Gogh reportedly sliced off in a troubled episode, using genetic material from one of Van Gogh's direct descendants. With a lifespan of 80 years or more, the ear could live as long as any one of us, says Strebe, who is investigating the idea of replicating people from historical DNA.  Read More

A concrete beam coated with the skin (above), and a computer map of the cracks in it

Although concrete structures such as bridges are now often built with strain sensors embedded within them, that certainly hasn't always been the case. In order to alert authorities to cracks developing within these older structures, one solution involves attaching sensors to them. Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Eastern Finland are working on an alternative, however – an electrically-conductive paint-on "sensing skin."  Read More

KIST researchers have developed a material that has properties similar to graphene but is ...

For all the attention graphene gets thanks to its impressive list of properties, how many of us have actually encountered it in anything other than its raw graphite form? Show of hands. No-one? That's because it is still difficult to mass-produce without introducing defects. Now a team at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) has developed a graphene substitute from plastic that offers the benefits of graphene for use in solar cells and semiconductor chips, but is easy to mass-produce.  Read More

Researchers have increased the toughness of various metals by giving them a 'gradient stru...

Steel is a common benchmark against which the strength of materials is measured, with "stronger than steel" a familiar catch cry for those touting the properties of some new space-age material. But now researchers at North Carolina State University have created steel that is stronger than steel using a process that increases the toughness of various metals by altering the microstructures within them.  Read More

The teeth inside squids' sucker rings help the creatures hang onto prey, and they could he...

There seems to be no end to the proposed human technologies based on attributes of the squid. The animals' beaks have inspired a material that could be used for medical implants, their muscles may lead us to color-changing clothing, the chitosan in their "pens" has been used to create a proton-conducting transistor, and their movements served as the inspiration for a soft-bodied robot. Now, it turns out that the teeth inside the suckers on their tentacles might be the basis for materials that could be used in fields such as reconstructive surgery.  Read More

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