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.
A team led by researchers at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom has developed a new, non-invasive test that's able to detect cocaine use in a patient by analyzing a single fingerprint. Unlike existing tests, the new technique is able to determine whether the subject has ingested the drug, rather than just touched it.
In a development that could mean big things in the automotive and marine industries, researchers from Deep Springs Technology (DST) and the New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering have created a new metal matrix composite that is so light it can float on water. In addition to having potential marine applications, the material also boasts properties that would make it suitable for use in automobile components.
Unless you work for a medical school or a research lab, you probably
haven't priced out cadavers lately. If you were to do so, however, you'd
find that they generally cost anywhere from nothing up to around
US$10,000. On top of that, however, there are transport and disposal
fees, the need for specialized storage facilities and staff, and the
fact that they're not reusable. That's why SynDaver Labs has been
creating ultra-realistic synthetic human bodies and body parts for
several years now. Instead of filling in for a dead body, its latest
product plays the part of a live patient.
If you happen to be frolicking around in some tropical waters at some point in the future, you may have the marine life circling your feet to thank for keeping your shoulders from roasting. Scientists have uncovered a technique used by zebrafish and various other animals to create their own sunscreen and recreated it in the lab. They say the method could one day be used to produce sunscreen and other pharmaceuticals for humans.
We frequently hear that eating fish is a healthy thing to do, because
it's full of beneficial long chain fatty acids. Unfortunately, the
Western diet tends to be short on fish and bigger on beef, which
contains short chain fatty acids that aren't quite so good for us.
Chinese scientists are creating a work-around, however –
genetically-engineered beef that's high in the "good" fatty acids.
The bombardier beetle has a unique defensive mechanism. It induces a chemical explosion inside its shell to create a boiling, toxic liquid which it sprays at its aggressor. Now researchers in the US have discovered how it does this, and they hope that further study of the conditions inside the beetle that allow it to produce the jet without harming itself may inform real world technologies.