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Brazilian oil platform P-51 (Image: Agência Brasil/Wikipedia)

Recent years have seen much progress in the development of invisibility cloaks which bend light around an object so it can't be seen, but can the same principles be applied to ocean waves that are strong enough to smash steel and concrete? That's the aim of Reza Alam's underwater “invisibility cloak.” The assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, recently outlined how to use variations of density in ocean water to cloak floating objects from dangerous surface waves.  Read More

An experimental new dieting technology uses augmented reality to make food items appear la...

You might think that your feeling of satiation when eating is due simply to your stomach filling up. According to the Hirose Tanikawa Group at the University of Tokyo, however, the visual perception of food also has something to do with it – the greater the amount of food that a person sees that they’re eating, the sooner they feel full. With that in mind, the team has created a prototype dieting system that uses augmented reality to trick people into thinking their food items are larger than they actually are.  Read More

Scientists have used transplanted cells from disabled dogs' noses to restore their ability...

Scientists from the University of Cambridge’s Veterinary School, working with colleagues from the UK Medical Research Council’s Regenerative Medicine Centre, have got disabled dogs walking again. More specifically, they’ve used the dogs’ own cells to repair their spinal cord injuries, and at least partially restored the functionality of their back legs. The researchers believe that the process shows promise for use on physically challenged humans.  Read More

Rice University graduate student Oara Neumann (left) and scientist Naomi Halas are co-auth...

A team of researchers at Rice University has developed a new technology that uses light-absorbing nanoparticles to convert solar energy directly into steam. Even though it is already significantly more efficient than solar panels at producing electricity, the technology will likely find its first applications in low-cost sanitation, water purification and human waste treatment for the developing world.  Read More

The FDA has approved clinical human trials of the ReFIT system (Photo: Joel Simon)

Researchers at Stanford University have developed a new algorithm suitable for brain-implantable prosthetic systems, or “neuroprosthetics,” which increases the effectiveness of mind-controlled computer cursor movement to a degree that approaches the speed, accuracy and natural movement offered by a real arm.  Read More

IBM researchers have simulated a virtual brain comparable in complexity to that of a human...

Using the world's fastest supercomputer and a new scalable, ultra-low power computer architecture, IBM has simulated 530 billion neurons and 100 trillion synapses – matching the numbers of the human brain – in an important step toward creating a true artificial brain.  Read More

The MIT metamaterial lens

We expect the world to be predictable. Water flows downhill, fire burns and lenses bend light in a particular way. That worldview took a jolt as Isaac Ehrenberg, an MIT graduate student in mechanical engineering, developed a three-dimensional, lightweight metamaterial lens that focuses radio waves with extreme precision. That may not seem too disturbing, but the lens is concave and works in exactly the opposite manner of how such a lens should.  Read More

Individual nanotubes can be 10,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair, yet 10...

An international team of scientists based at the University of Texas, Dallas (UTD), has developed a new type of artificial muscle created from carbon “nanotubes” – tiny hollow cylinders constructed from the same graphite layers found in the core of a standard pencil. Despite measuring 10,000 times less than the diameter of a human hair, the new muscles can lift more than 100,000 times their own weight, which amounts to approximately 85 times the power of a natural muscle of equivalent size.  Read More

Drone pilots (Image: Department of Defense)

The saying that "war is long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror” could have been written for military UAV pilots. The news media like to portray drones like the MQ-1 Predator as robot warriors, but behind each one is a human pilot with only limited powers of endurance. On long missions, pilots get bored and distracted, so a team from MIT’s Human and Automaton’s Lab is studying how what can be done to stave off boredom and keep pilots alert.  Read More

The Reality Deck at SBU boasts 416 high resolution screens

If you’re impressed by the 4K TVs set to hit the market from the likes of Sony, Toshiba and LG, then get an eyeful of the new Reality Deck officially opened at New York’s Stony Brook University (SBU) last week. Described by its creator as the closest thing in the world to Star Trek’s holodeck, the four walls of the Reality Deck are covered in a total of 416 high resolution screens that provide a total resolution of 1.5 billion pixels. SBU says this makes it the largest resolution immersive display ever built driven by a graphic supercomputer.  Read More

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