Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show


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

It's now possible to hide an object from being felt, thanks to research by scientists at K...

Scientists at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have developed a method of concealing objects from the sensation of touch that would finally meet the exacting standards of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale princess, who felt a single pea prodding her beneath 20 mattresses and 20 feather beds.  Read More

An international research collaboration has confirmed that the potential Higgs boson does ...

Fresh evidence has come to light supporting the theory that the particle detected at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in 2012 is indeed the elusive Higgs boson. The work is the result of an international collaboration led by researchers from MIT, and confirms that the potential Higgs boson does exhibit the decay characteristics that would be expected under the Standard Model.  Read More

Student-led project Time Capsule To Mars is aiming to land digital time capsules on the su...

A US$25 million crowdfunded, student-led mission plans to send three CubeSat microsatellites all the way to Mars, landing time capsules on the surface of the Red Planet, that will contain the digital messages from tens of millions of people from all countries around the world. You can upload a picture of your own, up to 10 MB in size, by contributing just 99 cents.  Read More

A new 3D-printed composite surpasses the lightness and stiffness of balsa wood (Photo: Har...

Reseachers at Harvard University have developed a way to 3D-print a cellular composite with record lightness and stiffness using an epoxy resin. This marks the first time that epoxy is used for 3D-printing, and the advance could lead to the development of new lightweight architectures for more efficient wind turbines, faster cars, and lighter airplanes.  Read More

In its low-drag configuration, the 'smorph' looks like a golf ball (Image: MIT)

Researchers at MIT have developed a smart curved surface that can morph at will to reduce drag, generating a series of small, evenly spaced dimples that make it resemble the outside of a golf ball. This technology could be used to reduce hurricane damage on some public buildings, as well as increase the aerodynamic and fuel efficiency in cars.  Read More

Researchers at the University of Queensland have simulated the behavior of a photon travel...

Researchers at the University of Queensland, Australia claim to have simulated the behavior of a single photon traveling back in time and interacting with an older version of itself, in an effort to investigate how such a particle would behave. Their results suggest that, under such circumstances, the laws of quantum mechanics would stretch to become even more bizarre than they already are.  Read More

The super-stretchy graphene yarn

Copper electrical wiring may soon be facing some stiff competition – or actually, some very stretchy competition. Scientists at Pennsylvania State University and Japan's Shinshu University recently created a "super-stretchable" conductive yarn made from graphene.  Read More

Lawrence Livermore Engineer Xiaoyu 'Rayne' Zheng studies a macroscale version of the unit ...

Imagine materials strong enough to use in building airplanes or motor cars, yet are literally lighter than air. Soon, that may not be so hard to do because a team of researchers from MIT and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have developed new ultra-lightweight materials that are as light as aerogel, but 10,000 times stiffer, and may one day revolutionize aerospace and automotive designs.  Read More

LLNL researchers are working to improve 3D metal printing using higher-powered lasers

To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, there was a time when 3D metal printing was like a dog walking on his hind legs – it wasn't done well; but you were surprised to find it done at all. Now that laser sintering or Selective Laser Melting (SLM) is used for everything from printing rocket engine components to semi-automatic pistols, the time for surprise may b long past, but the technology still has plenty of room for improvement. That's why researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) are working on simulations to improve the speed of 3D laser printing and the quality of the final product by using higher-powered lasers.  Read More

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