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Science

Meet Zoe - a virtual talking head capable of expressing human emotions

The University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom has unveiled a virtual “talking head” that is capable of expressing a range of human emotions. The team believes that the lifelike face, called Zoe, is the most expressive controllable avatar ever created, and could one day be used as a digital personal assistant.  Read More

American cliff swallows building nests under a bridge

The American cliff swallow is best known for its yearly migration between North and South America, traditionally resulting in the annual return of the swallows to Mission San Juan Capistrano in Southern California on March 19. Now it seems they also provide a lesson in the workings of natural selection. A three-decade long study carried out by a husband and wife ornithological team in western Nebraska has, thanks to long years of carefully recording all available data, shown that roadkill has exerted a selective advantage on swallows with shorter wingspans.  Read More

Beer salvaged from a shipwreck will be reproduced using modern industrial methods (Photo: ...

Produced at least as far back as 5,000 BC, beer has been with us for a long time. But coming third only to water and tea in terms of worldwide popularity means that the lifespan of individual beers is more likely to be measured in days or weeks rather than years or decades. The exception is if they’re preserved at the bottom of the Baltic Sea in a shipwreck. One such shipwrecked beer that is about 170 years old has been salvaged and analyzed and will be reproduced using modern industrial techniques.  Read More

Scientists have replicated the flexible-but-tough internal structure of the sea sponge, to...

Chances are that if you were heading into battle, you wouldn’t wish that you were covered in sponges. It turns out that the sea sponge, however, has a unique structure that allows it to be flexible while remaining relatively impervious to predators. Scientists have now simulated this structure, in a lab-created material that may someday find use in body armor.  Read More

New research may result in bio-engineered replacement teeth which are generated from a per...

New research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre and King's College London, UK, may result in bio-engineered replacement teeth which are generated from a person’s own gum cells. Though artificial whole-tooth implants are currently available to people who are missing a tooth, such implants are unable to fully reproduce the natural root structure of a tooth. This means that in time, friction caused by eating and other movement of the jaw can result in a loss of jaw bone.  Read More

The proposed SinterHab moon base would consist of bubble-like compartments coated in a pro...

The race to build a manned research station on the moon has been slowly picking up steam in recent years, with several developed nations actively studying a variety of construction methods. In just the past few months, the European Space Agency revealed a design involving 3D-printed structures and the Russian Federal Space Agency announced plans for a moon base by 2037. Now international design agency, Architecture Et Cetera (A-ETC), has thrown its hat into the ring with a proposal for SinterHab, a moon base consisting of bubble-like compartments coated in a protective layer of melted lunar dust.  Read More

An artist’s impression of the gastric-brooding frog that was cloned by scientists working ...

Australian scientists have successfully revived and reactivated the genome of an extinct frog. The "Lazarus Project" team implanted cell nuclei from tissues collected in the 1970s and kept in a conventional deep freezer for 40 years into donor eggs from a distantly-related frog. Some of the eggs spontaneously began to divide and grow to early embryo stage with tests confirming the dividing cells contained genetic material from the extinct frog.  Read More

Mouse clones from the 24th and 25th generation of serial cloning (Photo: Riken)

Using the technique that created Dolly the sheep, researchers from the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan, have identified a way to produce healthy mouse clones that live a normal lifespan and can be sequentially cloned indefinitely. In an experiment that started in 2005, the team led by Dr. Teruhiko Wakayama has used a technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SNCT) to produce 581 clones of one original "donor" mouse through 25 consecutive rounds of cloning.  Read More

JWST's golden mirrors

NASA astronomers involved in the mission of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) say the successor to the Hubble and Spitzer telescopes will likely enable mankind to finally answer the existential question "Are we alone?" within this generation. That was one of the clear themes in a recent panel discussion on the telescope at the South By Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, Texas, where a full scale model of the JWST was also on display outdoors all week long.  Read More

The Mindwalker project has received a grant of EUR 2.75 million (roughly US$3.5 million) a...

Each year, thousands of people worldwide experience full or partial paralysis as a result of spinal cord injury. Though there’s currently no medical cure for such injuries, new EU-funded research poses the potential to give patients the ability to walk again, with the aid of a mind-controlled robotic exoskeleton dubbed “Mindwalker.”  Read More

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