Highlights from the 2015 Geneva Motor Show

Science

Prof. Zhong Lin Wang with one of the piezo-phototronic LED arrays

What do electronic signatures, fingerprint scans and touch-sensitive robot skin have in common? All three technologies may soon be advancing, thanks to a new system that turns an array of zinc oxide nanowires into tiny LEDs. Each wire illuminates in response to externally-applied mechanical pressure. By analyzing the resulting mosaic of miniscule points of light, a computer is able to produce a high-resolution map of the pressure-applying surface.  Read More

The researchers hope to start bettering the superglass coating for use on curved surfaces ...

Joanna Aizenberg, Ph.D. and her team at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have improved upon the Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous Surfaces (SLIPS) technology they developed back in 2012. The ultra smooth surface, which the team claims is the slipperiest known synthetic surface, has now been made transparent and more durable, giving it the potential to make the issues glass has with sticky liquids, frost and ice formation, and bacterial biofilms a thing of the past.  Read More

Prawns raised on the Novacq fish-free feed additive (Photo: CSIRO)

When it comes to commercial aquaculture, a lot of people have some legitimate concerns – fish farms can introduce antibiotics, anti-algal chemicals and concentrated fish waste into the ocean; escaped fish can upset the local ecological balance; and wild fish still need to be caught in large numbers, as a food source for some species of farmed fish. While there have been recent efforts to address the first two concerns, the fish-in-the-fish-food problem is now being taken on in two different research projects. These are aimed at replacing the fish content in fish feed with more sustainable ingredients.  Read More

Professor Jennifer Curtis 'painting' the 30-micron Mini Lisa

Arguably the world’s most famous painting, da Vinci's Mona Lisa has now been copied onto the world’s smallest canvas at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Associate Professor Jennifer Curtis' "Mini Lisa" is one-third the width of a human hair, with details as small as one-eighth of a micron. Mini Lisa demonstrates the flexibility of a new nanolithography technique that can vary the surface concentration of molecules on very small portions of a substrate.  Read More

The lab-grown burger was served with the usual trappings for presentation purposes

If Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University ever opens a burger bar, you might want to take a close look at the prices before you order. On Monday, at a press conference in London, a burger made by Post and his team was served that cost a cool €250,000 (about US$330,000). The reason? The beef that went into making it never saw a pasture and the people in the white coats who handed it to the chef weren't butchers, but bioengineers.  Read More

Artist's conception of a commercial hydrogen production plant that uses sunlight to split ...

A new technique developed by a University of Colorado Boulder team converts sunshine and water directly into usable fuel. The technique involves concentrating sunlight in a solar tower to achieve temperatures high enough to drive chemical reactions that split water into its constituent oxygen and hydrogen molecules. In this way, the team says it should be able to cheaply produce massive amounts of hydrogen fuel.  Read More

MIT neuroscientists identified the cells (highlighted in red) where memory traces are stor...

An ongoing collaboration between the Japanese Riken Brain Science Institute and MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory has resulted in the discovery of how to plant specific false memories into the brains of mice. The breakthrough significantly extends our understanding of memory and expands the experimental reach of the new field of optogenetics.  Read More

This robotic leaf fish may not look scary to you, but then you're not a zebrafish

With some help from a robotic fish, scientists have discovered that zebrafish are much like humans in at least one way – they get reckless when they get drunk. OK, “drunk” might not be technically accurate, but when exposed to alcohol, the fish show no fear of a robotic version of one of their natural predators, the Indian leaf fish. When they’re “sober,” they avoid the thing like crazy. The researchers believe that the experiments indicate a promising future for robots in behavioral studies.  Read More

Using Caltech's system, an ordinary microscope can capture 100 times more information per ...

Thanks to research being conducted at the California Institute of Technology, regular microscopes could soon be capable of much higher-resolution imaging. Instead of making changes to the microscopes’ optics, the Caltech researchers are instead focusing on using a computer program to process and combine images from the devices.  Read More

One of the titanium dioxide filaments, that make up the shag carpet coating

Like a lot of things, bone cells grow and reproduce quicker on textured surfaces than on smooth ones. With that in mind, a team of scientists from Ohio State University are developing a new coating that could allow implants such as artificial hips to bond with bones faster. That coating is described as “a microscopic shag carpet made of tiny metal oxide wires.”  Read More

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