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Seed pods such as pine cones were the inspiration behind this novel composite material com...

While there are already memory materials that are able to change to a given shape when exposed to certain stimuli, researchers from ETH Zurich have created something a little different. Taking inspiration from the humble pine cone, they’ve developed a process that allows a wider variety of materials to be used, that can in turn attain a wider variety of shapes.  Read More

The Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) (Image: Courtesy TMT Observatory Corporation)

The world’s largest optical telescope got the go ahead last Friday when the Hawaiian Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) granted a building and operating permit for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) to be sited on a plateau of Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii. The next-generation telescope, which uses a 30-meter (98 ft) segmented mirror promises to capture images from the near-ultraviolet to the mid-infrared wavelengths with unprecedented clarity.  Read More

The lights themselves can be as small as single cells, and are printed onto the end of a f...

Optogenetics is the process by which genetically-programmed neurons or other cells can be activated by subjecting them to light. Among other things, the technology helps scientists understand how the brain works, which could in turn lead to new treatments for brain disorders. Presently, fiber optic cables must be wired into the brains of test animals in order to deliver light to the desired regions. That may be about to change, however, as scientists have created tiny LEDs that can be injected into the brain.  Read More

Scientists have created a material that can be continuously tweaked between hydrophobic an...

Last year, a group of Harvard University scientists led by Dr. Joanna Aizenberg announced the development of a highly-hydrophobic (water-repellant) material known as SLIPS, or Slippery Liquid Porous Surfaces. The material is remarkable, in that it repels virtually any liquid. Now, Aizenberg and colleagues have created a new material inspired by human tears, the repellency of which can be fine-tuned for different applications.  Read More

3D images taken in daylight from 910 meters away using the new imaging system (Photo: Opti...

Physicists at Scotland’s Heriot-Watt University have created a 3D imaging camera system capable of resolving depth on a millimeter scale at distances of up to one kilometer. Working much like a laser version of radar, the “Time-of-Flight” (ToF) measurement system “pings” a low-powered infrared laser beam off distant objects and records a pixel-by-pixel map using a detector that counts and positions individual photons as they arrive back at the source.  Read More

Researchers have used a CT scanner and a 3D printer to create a physical model of a live r...

Researchers at Indiana’s University of Notre Dame recently placed an anesthetized lab rat in a CT scanner, created a digital 3D model of its skeleton from the scan data, and then sent that model to a commercial MakerBot 3D printer. A highly-accurate plastic replica of the skeleton was the end result.  Read More

The Multi-Angle Snowflake Camera, or MASC, is able to capture 3D photos of individual snow...

Falling snow can play havoc with radar systems, so the more that we know about the manner in which snow falls, the better that those systems can be equipped to compensate for it. That’s why for the past three years, researchers from the University of Utah have been developing a device known as the Multi-Angle Snowflake Camera – or MASC. Using three cameras and two motion sensors, it captures 3D photos of snowflakes in free-fall.  Read More

The beak of a giant squid (Photo: NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet)

You probably don’t give a lot of thought to squid beaks, but they actually possess a pretty interesting quality. While the end of the beak is hard and sharp, the beak material gradually becomes softer as it nears the mouth. This means that there’s no abrupt boundary between the hard beak and the soft mouth, which could result in discomfort or injuries. Inspired by the squid, scientists at Ohio’s Case Western Reserve University have now developed a material with the same qualities, that could be used to create more comfortable, less harmful medical implants.  Read More

The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar embarking on its circumnavigation of the globe in 2010 (Photo: ...

The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, the world's largest solar-powered boat, took to the seas once more on Thursday – this time, in the name of science. Equipped with unique instruments, the Tûranor will carry a team of scientists who will monitor the air and water of the Atlantic Ocean's Gulf Stream, a current which influences the climates of North America's east coast and Europe's west. The goal is to gain understanding of the processes which regulate climate.  Read More

A 3D printer built at Oxford University can produce droplet networks capable of folding in...

While the prospect of 3D printers pumping out biological tissues and replacement organs has many justifiably excited, researchers at Oxford University have gone in a slightly different direction with the creation of a custom 3D printer capable of producing synthetic materials that have some of the properties of living tissues. Rather than being intended for supplying spare parts for damaged replicants, the new materials could be used for drug delivery or replacing or interfacing with damaged tissues inside the human body.  Read More

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