Researchers at the University of California, Davis and Berkeley have managed to miniaturize low-depth ultrasound technology to create a fingerprint sensor that can scan your finger in 3D. This low-power technology, which could improve on the robustness of current-generation capacitive scanners, could soon find its way to our smartphones and tablets.
There are already several methods of identifying cattle –
branding, ear tags, tattooing and ear notching all come to mind. Now,
however, Egyptian scientists are working on a new biometric system that's less
invasive and more difficult to thwart: electronic muzzle-printing.
Cars are one of mankind's most revolutionary creations. But just like with the iPhone, space travel or Wi-Fi, there's always room for improvement. In the eyes of a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers, one of the more promising ways automotive technology might be improved upon lies in the energy wastage caused by friction as tires roll across the road. Armed with special nanogenerator and a toy Jeep, the researchers have demonstrated that this power can be captured and turned into electricity, a development that could bring about better fuel efficiency in the full-sized cars of the future.
A discovery at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of
Solids could pave the way for further leaps forward in the speed of
electronic systems. The finding that a material called niobium phosphide dramatically
increases its resistance in a magnetic field could lead to faster, higher-capacity hard drives and other electronic
Graphene is the modern go-to material for scientists and engineers looking to create all manner of new electronic devices. From ultra-frugal light bulbs (both big and small), to super-efficient solar cells, flexible displays and much more, graphene is a multi-tasking marvel. However, in all of these instances, graphene in its original form of atom-thin, flat sheets has had to be used with peripheral supports and structures because it lacks a solid shape and form of its own. Now researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have come up with a way of creating 3D objects out of graphene that opens up the possibility of fashioning a whole new range of innovative electronic devices.
It's hard to find an article about graphene that doesn't include the words "wonder material" somewhere within it. Less wondrous, unfortunately, is the expensive and time consuming chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process used to produce it industrially. Now researchers from the University of Exeter claim to have discovered a new low-cost technique to produce high quality graphene that could see the wonder material start to realize its potential.
Processor chips may get all the glory, but if it wasn't for lithium-ion batteries, modern electronics would look like something out of the 1950s. Unfortunately, while they may be compact and long lasting, these batteries also suffer from overheating and can become fire hazards as they get old. Now a team led by Stanford University and the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has come up with an additive that holds the promise of extending lithium battery life while improving safety and performance.
One potential clean energy future requires an economical, efficient, and relatively simple way to generate copious amounts of hydrogen for use in fuel-cells and hydrogen-powered vehicles. Often achieved by using electricity to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, the ideal method would be to mine hydrogen from water using electricity generated directly from sunlight without the addition of any external power source. Hematite – the mineral form of iron – used in conjunction with silicon has shown some promise in this area, but low conversion efficiencies have slowed research. Now scientists have discovered a way to make great improvements, giving hope to using two of the most abundant elements on earth to efficiently produce hydrogen.
If you had to grasp a tiny delicate object such as a blood vessel, doing
so with traditional tweezers would be a very painstaking process – just
a little too much pressure, and the object could be crushed. Instead,
scientists from Iowa State University have developed miniature coiling
tentacles for doing the job. They're even capable of holding an ant
without harming it.
Owls are exceptional predators. In addition to their impressive vision and hearing capabilities, they are also able to fly almost silently. This stealthy flight is thanks to the structure of their wings, which researchers have analyzed and mimicked to develop a prototype coating that they claim could significantly reduce the noise generated by wind turbines, computer fans and airplanes.