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Edwin Thomas, left, and Jae-Hwang Lee holding a polymer material containing three bullets ...

Scientists have theorized that paper-thin composite nanomaterials could stop bullets just as effectively as heavy weight body armor, but progress has been hampered by their inability to reliably test such materials against projectile impacts. Researchers at MIT and Rice University have developed a breakthrough stress-test that fires microscopic glass beads at impact-absorbing material. Although the projectiles are much smaller than a bullet, the experimental results could be scaled up to predict how the material would stand up to larger impacts.  Read More

The material repairs itself in about 30 minutes after being sliced in half with a scalpel ...

Our largest bodily organ is also one of the most remarkable. Not only is our skin pressure sensitive, it is also able to efficiently heal itself to provide a protective barrier between our insides and the world around us. While we’ve covered synthetic materials that can repair themselves or are pressure senstive, combining these properties in a single synthetic material has understandably proven more difficult. Now researchers at Stanford University have developed the first pressure-sensitive synthetic material that can heal itself when torn or cut, giving it potential for use in next-generation prostheses or self-healing electronic devices.  Read More

A male Giant Blue Morpho (Photo: Jo McCulty, courtesy of Ohio State University)

Butterfly wings cannot be very far behind geckos' toes so far as sources of inspiration for biomimicry research goes. Various properties of the wings of lepidopterans have triggered research into banknote forgery prevention, light reflection and solar cells. New research from Ohio State University suggests the delicate membranes may hold clues to dirt-resistance surfaces.  Read More

Artist's concept of the HD 40307 planetary system featuring a close-up view of HD 40307g, ...

Due to the masterful efforts of an international team of astronomers, a new super-Earth planet has been discovered within the habitable zone of a star just 42 light years from Earth. Part of a six planetary system, the super-Earth known as HD 40307g has several promising attributes in terms of its ability to support life and because of its relative proximity, it may soon be possible to observe the planet optically.  Read More

Apple is considering using its own in-house processors in Mac computers

Apple is exploring the possibility of a long-term move away from Intel-manufactured processors in its Mac personal computers, a Bloomberg report suggests. The story comes from unnamed sources inside the company and suggests that the iPad manufacturer believes that its own ARM-based chips, currently used in iOS devices, may one day be up to the task.  Read More

A rather larger laser (Photo: Andrea Pacelli)

Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a laser the size of a virus particle that can operate at room temperature. The "nanolaser," which uses gold nanoparticles instead of mirrors, is claimed to be the first demonstration to make use of a so-called bowtie arrangement of metal nanoparticles, though nano-scale lasers have been previously demonstrated.  Read More

Rice University researchers Madhuri Thakur, left, and Sibani Lisa Biswal with their crushe...

Researchers at Rice University and Lockheed Martin may have developed a low-cost method of creating longer-lasting, high-capacity lithium-ion batteries. Currently graphite is used as the anode in commercial li-ion products, despite the fact that a silicon anode could potentially store ten times more lithium ions. The team says it has solved one of the problems associated with silicon, which nearly triples the energy density of current li-ion batteries.  Read More

A fingerprint image obtained using the new method

Nick Stokes, Sarah Sidle and the gang on CSI should be glad to hear this – Israeli scientists have developed a new method for getting fingerprints from paper surfaces, that is claimed to get better results than existing technology.  Read More

The research may point to new avenues in developing aids for the blind (Photo: Shutterstoc...

In an effort to enable blind people to navigate their surroundings more safely and effectively, researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science have drawn inspiration from an unexpected source: rat whiskers.  Read More

The Yoda puppet, as operated by Frank Oz in The Phantom Menace

Here at Gizmag, we like to focus on the very latest developments in science and technology. That said, when I had the chance to cover the new Star Wars Identities exhibition today, well ... it was an opportunity too good to pass up. The show features approximately 200 original props, costumes and models used in all six films, many of which have never been displayed in public before. Using interactive technology, however, it also teaches us how our own identities are formed, using the Star Wars characters as examples.  Read More

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