Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Science

Just a few grains of the newly synthesized material could allow us to stay underwater with...

Using specially synthesized crystalline materials, scientists from the University of Southern Denmark have created a substance that is able to absorb and store oxygen in such high concentrations that just one bucketful is enough to remove all of the oxygen in a room. The substance is also able to release the stored oxygen in a controlled manner when it is needed, so just a few grains could replace the need for divers to carry bulky scuba tanks.  Read More

A new map of the seafloor is twice as accurate as the previous version (Image: David Sandw...

Given they aren't covered by oceans, it's maybe not so surprising that we know more about the topography of the Moon and Mars than we do about Earth's ocean depths. But researchers have evened the score at least a little with the creation of a new map of the world's seafloor. Twice as accurate as the previous version produced almost 20 years ago, the new map details thousands of previously uncharted mountains and provides new clues on the formation of the continents.  Read More

A new study conducted at MIT suggests that tweaking the size of a costly membrane could he...

A new study conducted at MIT has examined the potential of pressure-retarded osmosis (PRO), a technique that generates electricity from the difference in salinity between two pools of water separated by a membrane. According to the researchers, tweaking the size of the membrane could help generate electricity much more cheaply than ever before.  Read More

The complex eyes of the mantis shrimp are inspiring new cameras that can detect cancer and...

One of nature’s most notorious psychopaths may be giving cancer patients new hope. The mantis shrimp is famous for having a punch like a .22 bullet and a perpetual bad attitude, but is also has the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom, which are excellent at detecting polarized light. With this in mind, the University of Queensland is developing new cameras based on the mantis shrimp’s eyes that can detect a variety of cancer tissues.  Read More

Red algae is a source of bacteria-killing lanosol (Photo: John Martin Davies)

Silver nanoparticles are very effective at killing bacteria, finding use in everything from water filters to non-smelly clothing. That said, there are some major concerns regarding the effects that those particles may have on human health and on the environment. Among other things, it has been suggested that they cause cell death, and compromise the immune system. Now, however, scientists at Sweden's KTH Royal Institute of Technology have come up with what could be a less harmful alternative – red algae.  Read More

University of Rochester researchers have developed a simple four-lens cloaking system that...

Two scientists at the University of Rochester have taken invisibility cloaking back to basics. Their novel arrangement of four standard, off-the-shelf lenses keeps an object hidden (and the background undisturbed) as the viewer moves up to several degrees away from the optimal viewing angle.  Read More

A rolled film of the material – the roll is about one tenth the diameter of a human hair

With its incredible strength, chemical stability, high thermal conductivity and low electrical resistance, it's no wonder that graphene is finding more and more uses. Soon, however, it may be facing some competition from molybdenum di-sulphide – a thin metallic film that can emit light.  Read More

This may look like modern art, but it's actually a microfluidic system built from MFICs

With their ability to guide and analyze tiny quantities of liquid, microfluidic "lab-on-chip" devices have found use in everything from seawater desalination to explosives detection to the viewing of viruses. Each time a new type of device is created, however, it must be built from scratch. This can be time-consuming and costly, as the fabrication of multiple prototypes is a traditional part of the trial-and-error development process. Now, however, building them may be as simple as mixing and matching prefabricated Lego-like modules.  Read More

By playing around with materials, researchers have reduced the operating temperature of an...

Our ability to store energy has proven a big hurdle in the adoption of renewable energies. But now a team of researchers from MIT has developed a new all-liquid battery system that extends the life of such devices while also costing less to make, a development they say could make wind and solar energy more competitive with traditional sources of power.  Read More

Ciara Judge, Émer Hickey and Sophie Healy-Thow found that Diazotroph bacteria could reduce...

Google has announced the winners of this years Google Science Fair, an annual, worldwide science and technology competition for 13-18 year olds. This year's Grand Prize winner is a project that used bacteria to speed up the germination process of certain crops.  Read More

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