Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Science

The MIT researchers developed an algorithm that gives standard portrait shots a profession...

Instagram devotees and champions of the selfie rejoice, for your filtering options may be about to get a little more diverse. Researchers from MIT have developed an algorithm that takes standard "style-transfer" techniques up a notch, enabling the distinctive style of studio photography to be layered over the top of your portraits.  Read More

Lasers could dramatically shrink the size and cost of particle accelerators such as the LH...

Particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are wonders of modern engineering and vending machines for Nobel prizes, but they’re also large – as indicated by the LHC's name – and costly. A new theoretical study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator (BELLA) Center suggests how lasers could dramatically shrink the size and cost of particle accelerator. If the models hold true, it could remove a significant bottleneck from physics research and open up such machines to industrial and medical applications.  Read More

Researchers have devised a method of spraying graphene onto a wide variety of surfaces  (I...

Despite its many desirable qualities and potential applications, graphene still isn't as widely used as it could be for one main reason – it's difficult to apply to surfaces, particularly large ones. Attempting to do so often causes damage to the graphene, or otherwise results in a non-uniform, flawed coating. Now, however, scientists have devised a method of simply spraying the stuff on, that actually improves the graphene in the process.  Read More

Solar cells created from ultra-thin layers of quantum dots (Photo: Chia-Hao Chuang, Depart...

Flexible, inexpensive, large-area, lightweight solar cells are difficult to produce as they require an inert atmosphere and high temperatures, and they often degrade in a short time after exposure to air. Researchers at MIT, however, have used a new method to craft solar cells from ultra-thin layers of quantum dots in a process that promises to avoid these problems, and at room temperature. At the same time, they have also set a new record of nine percent for the most efficient quantum-dot solar cells produced to date.  Read More

The Power Pallet is a combination gasification unit and electrical generator

It could be the most important portable power plant you've never heard of. It's called the "Power Pallet" and it is essentially a combined biomass refinery and generator that fits on a single pallet and can kick out up to 20 kilowatts of electricity.  Read More

A diagram of the new graphene production technique

Graphene is very thin, incredibly strong, electrically conductive and chemically inert, allowing it to be used in a wide range of technologies. It's also rather difficult to work with, however, limiting its practicality. That may be about to change, as researchers at MIT and the University of Michigan have devised a new method of large-scale graphene production.  Read More

GE has found a way to extend wind turbine rotor blades without replacing them

Sometimes progress can be its own worst enemy, with early adopters being stuck with obsolete equipment that leaves them with the choice of living with out-dated technology or an expensive replacement. The green energy field isn’t immune to this, and as part of a US$2 million renewable energy project, GE has developed a way to make smaller, less efficient wind turbines into bigger more efficient ones with a bit of plastic (or carbon composite) surgery.  Read More

The giant exoplanet GU Psc b has an orbital period of 80,000 years (Image: Lucas Granito/G...

Using an infrared camera, astronomers at the University of Montreal have discovered and directly imaged GU Psc b, a planet with a mass 10 times greater than Jupiter's and orbiting its star at 2,000 times the distance between Earth and our sun. This very rare find will encourage scientists to start looking for exoplanets in places where, thus far, they hadn't even thought to look.  Read More

The 3D fruit printer uses spherification to create hybrid fruits, or to recreate existing ...

By now we're all quite used to seeing blended fruit juices such as banana-strawberry or apple-lime, but what about solid three-dimensional hybrid fruits that are made to order? Well, that's just what Cambridge, UK-based design company Dovetailed is promising, with its 3D fruit printer.  Read More

One of the three Lutra airboats used in the study

Although hippos may look slow and docile, they're actually very aggressive, killing more people every year than any other large African animal. So, it would follow that you wouldn't want to swim anywhere near them. That's why when researchers from Yale University and the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies wanted to study the effects of hippo dung on water quality in Kenya's Mara River, they sent in three autonomous air boats instead of people. To help those boats blend in, they were dressed up as crocodiles.  Read More

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