While just about everyone knows that bats locate prey in the dark using echolocation, one thing that many people may not
realize is the fact that horseshoe bats are particularly good at it.
With this in mind, engineers at Virginia Tech are now developing a sonar
system that emulates the system used by those bats. Once perfected, it
could be a much more compact and efficient alternative to traditional
manmade sonar arrays.
A team of MIT and University of Michigan researchers has a new method for manufacturing graphene that it believes could take the material out of the laboratory and into commercial products. The method involves forming the strong, conductive material in a chamber consisting of two concentric tubes.
A team of MIT scientists has combined graphene with a second, similarly structured material, producing a hybrid that can wield significant control over light waves. The findings could have an impact in a number of fields, including efforts to utilize light in computing chips.
Back in 2013, we heard that nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diago (UC San Diego) had successfully used nanosponges to soak up toxins
in the bloodstream. Fast-forward two years and the team is back with
more nanospongey goodness, now using hydrogel to keep the tiny fellas in
place, allowing them to tackle infections such as MRSA, without the need for antibiotics.
By enabling the rigid brains of adult mice to return to the high levels of plasticity found in juvenile brains, scientists are opening new pathways to the treatment of brain injuries such as stroke. Back in 2013, researchers from Yale University reported the discovery of a molecular switch that achieved this result, and now scientists at the University of California, Irvine, have managed to make an old brain young again using a different approach.
Silicon photonics is an emerging technology that incorporates electronic circuits using photons of laser light rather than electrons to transmit, receive, and manipulate information. As such, a silicon photonic CPU could potentially process information at the speed of light – millions of times faster than computers available today. In a step towards this goal, engineers working at the University of Utah have developed an ultra-compact photonic beam-splitter so small that millions of these devices could fit on a single silicon chip.
A new invisibility cloak developed at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is reportedly able to hide any object that can fit inside a one-inch diameter cylinder. The cloaking device is among the first to rely on common materials like polymers and acrylic paint, and could be used for a practical demonstration of cloaking technology.
A 17-year-old Canadian has earned first place at Intel's 2015 International Science and Engineering Fair, which the company claims is the biggest high school science competition in the world. Raymond Wang's system to improve air quality in airplane cabins scooped the US$75,000 top prize ahead of a low-cost HIV testing device and a new containment enclosure for undersea oil wells.
Although lithium-ion batteries perform far better than alkalines,
they're also relatively costly, the lithium salts used in them aren't
widely available, and they sometimes catch fire. That's why some
scientists are suggesting sodium-ion batteries as an alternative. To that end, Williams Advanced Engineering recently demonstrated that they could be used to power an electric bike.