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Science

Scientists at PNNL have developed a new liquid alloy electrode that can improve the perfor...

A new battery electrode designed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) combines liquid-state cesium and sodium to dramatically improve on the efficiency, safety and useful life of sodium-beta batteries (NBBs). If the technology is scaled up successfully, the advance could help build a smart electric grid that makes better use of renewables such as solar and wind.  Read More

Using a US$40 needle, the scientists created a 3D microscope capable of creating images wi...

Beginning with a US$40 needle, researchers from the University of Utah have designed a microscope with the ability to generate miniaturized 3D images. The low-cost device is capable of producing images around 70 times smaller than the width of a human hair, a development that could offer new insights into how particular proteins in the brain function.  Read More

Male medflies that are genetically altered using the RIDL technique don't produce viable f...

Mediterranean fruit flies are responsible for extensive damage to fruit and vegetable crops, not only in the Mediterranean region but also in Australia, North and South America. While existing methods of controlling them include the use of insecticides and sterilization, the University of East Anglia and biotech company Oxitec are pioneering what they claim is a greener and less expensive approach – they're genetically modifying male fruit flies to produce only male viable offspring.  Read More

An illustration shows how the polymer could clean up smokestack emissions – although its r...

Hydrogen may hold promise as an alternative to fossil fuels, but there's still a huge petrol-producing infrastructure in place, and not many service stations offer hydrogen refills yet. That's why some scientists are exploring a bridging technology known as the integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) process, for converting fossil fuels into hydrogen. Along with hydrogen, though, carbon dioxide is also a byproduct of the IGCC process, which must be dealt with. Fortunately, scientists from the University of Liverpool have developed a polymer that soaks up that CO2 for use in other applications.  Read More

An asymmetrical elephant top that balance thanks to an algorithm created at Disney Researc...

Tops, yo-yos, and other spinning toys are amongst the oldest playthings created by man, with the earliest examples dating back to 3,500 BC. Paradoxically, they’re not very easy to make with their design requiring a lot of trial and error. One mistake and, instead of a pirouetting plaything, you get a clattering paperweight. That’s why spinning toys tend to be symmetrical – until now. In a blow for symmetry, Disney Research Zurich and ETH Zurich have developed a computer algorithm that can take any shape, no matter how cock-eyed, and make it spin like a top.  Read More

Dr. Horst Punzmann and team leader Prof. Michael Shats, at the ANU wave tank

If you've ever tried to retrieve an object that's floating away in a lake or the ocean, then you'll know how frustrating it can be, trying to draw that item towards you. According to research recently conducted at The Australian National University (ANU), however, it's possible to move such objects in whichever direction you wish – as long as you can generate the right type of waves.  Read More

A microscope cross-sectional view of the material, in which the microhairs are standing st...

What if your house's windows could automatically reduce the amount of hot sunlight passing through them, or your car's windshield could cause rain droplets to bead off to its edges? These things and more could soon be possible, thanks to a new animal hair-inspired material developed at MIT.  Read More

Breathing on a nanoscale-printed material reveals a hidden image of Marilyn Monroe

Allowing consumers to identify counterfeit goods is a tricky and expensive problem, as many security measures such as holograms might be easily mimicked by counterfeiters. A new nanoscale printing technique, however, allows researchers to create labels that reveal a "watermarked" image when breathed upon by the consumer. The labels are scalable and durable, and can be applied to many surfaces, yet are beyond the hands of those who might try to mimic them to fool consumers.  Read More

The visual microphone can reconstruct sounds from video images, such as subtly-vibrating p...

If you've ever had the feeling that you’re being listened to by chip bags, spied on by your houseplants, and eavesdropped by chocolate bar wrappers, then you may not be paranoid; you may just be up on the latest technology. That’s because a team of scientists led by MIT that includes participants from Microsoft, and Adobe has created a "visual microphone" that uses a computer algorithm to analyze and reconstruct audio signals from objects in a video image.  Read More

The sound energy forms a 3D acoustic bottle of high-pressure walls and a null region in th...

Using a technique that has possible applications in acoustic cloaking, sonic levitation, ultrasonic imaging, and particle manipulation, scientists at the University of California Berkeley claim to have produced a "bottle" beam of acoustic energy in open air that can precisely redirect sound waves. Able to bend these waves along set trajectories without the need for waveguides or other mechanical assistance, the bottle beam is also able to flow around objects in its path while maintaining its shape.  Read More

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