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Science

Researcher Lawrence Bonassar holds a fabricated ear created with a 3D printer (Photo: Lind...

When a child is born with the congenital deformity known as microtia, they have an underdeveloped external ear – also known as the pinna. Even though their inner ear may be normal, the lack of the external structure can affect their hearing, plus it looks unusual. Normally, a replacement pinna is made from a foam-like material (or sometimes even cartilage from the rib cage) and implanted under the skin, although these don’t always look particularly natural. Now, scientists from Cornell University have developed a more realistic pinna grown from biological material, using a 3D printer.  Read More

Students at the University of Surrey imprint their smartphones onto a bacterial growth med...

A relatively straightforward classroom experiment this may be, but the fascinating (and beautiful) images produced by students at the University of Surrey when they imprinted their smartphone onto a bacterial growth medium will inevitably give owners of similar devices pause for thought.  Read More

One of the test mice, and a live video feed of its fluorescing neurons

What’s that mouse thinking about? Scientists at California’s Stanford University can now tell you – to a limited extent. They recently had success in imaging the neural activity of mice, in real time. While the ability to “read a mouse’s mind” may not fire many peoples’ imaginations, the technology could prove very useful in researching diseases like Alzheimer's.  Read More

NASA's research holds the promise of a home nuclear reactor (Image: NASA)

If Joseph Zawodny, a senior scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center, is correct, the future of energy may lie in a nuclear reactor small enough and safe enough to be installed where the home water heater once sat. Using weak nuclear forces that turn nickel and hydrogen into a new source of atomic energy, the process offers a light, portable means of producing tremendous amounts of energy for the amount of fuel used. It could conceivably power homes, revolutionize transportation and even clean the environment.  Read More

Vapor trail of the Chelyabinsk meteor (Photo: Nikita Plekhanov/Wikipedia)

The European Space Agency (ESA) is assessing information about the Chelyabinsk meteor that exploded last week over Russia in the hope of improving the space agency’s asteroid-hunting program. Calculations by Peter Brown at Canada's University of Western Ontario based on the analysis of extremely low-frequency sound waves detected by a global network, was combined with videos, satellite images and eyewitness accounts to allow ESA to construct a more complete and accurate account of the event.  Read More

Researchers have disabled the cold sensation in lab mice  (Photo: Shutterstock)

How many times have you been shivering on a winter day, and wished that you were capable of simply not feeling the cold? Well, that’s just what scientists at the University of Southern California have done to a group of lab mice – they disabled the animals’ ability to sense cold, while leaving their ability to sense heat and touch intact. It is hoped that the research could lead to more effective pain medications for humans.  Read More

Is a sun-powered space laser the answer to stopping major asteroid impacts? (Photo: Shutte...

This past Friday was not a good day for asteroid-human relations with asteroid 2012 DA14 passing a mere 27,700 km (17,200 miles) from the Earth just a few hours after a meteor exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, damaging hundreds of buildings and injuring thousands. Scientists have been quick to point out that both of these events – a meteor exploding over a populated area and a large asteroid passing through Earth's geosynchronous orbit – are quite rare, but when the worst case scenario is the complete annihilation of all life on Earth, it's probably best to be prepared. That's why researchers in California recently proposed DE-STAR – a system which could potentially harness the sun's energy to dissolve wayward space rocks up to ten times larger than 2012 DA14 with a vaporizing laser.  Read More

One of Duke University's infrared detector-equipped test subjects

Quite often, when we hear about brain-machine interfaces, it’s in the context of returning an ability to people who lack it. People who are unable to speak, for instance, might be able to interface with a machine that could speak for them. Recently, however, scientists at Duke University used such an interface to augment rats with a sort of “sixth sense” – the ability to detect invisible infrared light by sense of touch. The research could have significant implications for the disabled.  Read More

KTH's Josefin Illergård, who led the research on the new material

Because they’re known for being effective killers of bacteria, silver nanoparticles have been finding their way into a wide variety of antimicrobial materials. There are concerns, however, regarding the consequences of those nanoparticles being shed by the material and entering the environment. In particular, there are worries that through continuous low-level exposure to the nanoparticles, bacteria could develop a resistance to them. Now, researchers from Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology have announced the development of a new type of antibacterial material, that they claim won’t cause such problems.  Read More

The new software has already accurately reconstructed the Proto-Austronesian language, whi...

Imagine the wealth of knowledge we could uncover if it was possible to travel back in time and re-construct ancient languages. While that’s impossible right now, scientists at UC Berkley and the University of British Columbia reckon they’ve managed the next-best thing, by developing new software which uncovers existing fragments of “proto-languages” from languages still in use.  Read More

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