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Science

GE has found a way to extend wind turbine rotor blades without replacing them

Sometimes progress can be its own worst enemy, with early adopters being stuck with obsolete equipment that leaves them with the choice of living with out-dated technology or an expensive replacement. The green energy field isn’t immune to this, and as part of a US$2 million renewable energy project, GE has developed a way to make smaller, less efficient wind turbines into bigger more efficient ones with a bit of plastic (or carbon composite) surgery.  Read More

The giant exoplanet GU Psc b has an orbital period of 80,000 years (Image: Lucas Granito/G...

Using an infrared camera, astronomers at the University of Montreal have discovered and directly imaged GU Psc b, a planet with a mass 10 times greater than Jupiter's and orbiting its star at 2,000 times the distance between Earth and our sun. This very rare find will encourage scientists to start looking for exoplanets in places where, thus far, they hadn't even thought to look.  Read More

The 3D fruit printer uses spherification to create hybrid fruits, or to recreate existing ...

By now we're all quite used to seeing blended fruit juices such as banana-strawberry or apple-lime, but what about solid three-dimensional hybrid fruits that are made to order? Well, that's just what Cambridge, UK-based design company Dovetailed is promising, with its 3D fruit printer.  Read More

One of the three Lutra airboats used in the study

Although hippos may look slow and docile, they're actually very aggressive, killing more people every year than any other large African animal. So, it would follow that you wouldn't want to swim anywhere near them. That's why when researchers from Yale University and the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies wanted to study the effects of hippo dung on water quality in Kenya's Mara River, they sent in three autonomous air boats instead of people. To help those boats blend in, they were dressed up as crocodiles.  Read More

Waste heat could be harnessed more effectively, using the thermogalvanic effect (Photo: Sh...

Researchers at MIT and Stanford have found a new way to transform waste heat into electricity, particularly in situations where the temperature gradient is small, below 100º C (180° F). The technology uses widely available materials, and could be used to recycle the large amounts of wasted heat generated in industrial processes and electric power plants.  Read More

The parallel ordering of liquid crystals make them near-frictionless lubricants (Image: Mi...

The world uses tens of millions of tons of lubricant every year, from the smallest part of a micro-precision instrument to the expansion rollers on the largest bridges. Most are oil based, though others use powders, and even metals, and it’s been that way for decades. That could be changing as the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials, Nematel GmbH, and Dr. Tillwich GmbH have developed a new class of lubricants that are based on liquid crystals instead of oil. According to Fraunhofer, this is the first fundamentally new lubricant developed in twenty years.  Read More

The new technique pioneered by researchers from MIT and the University of Vienna has the p...

A team of researchers from the University of Vienna and MIT have developed a novel way of observing the behavior of neurons on a brain-wide scale. The discovery has potential applications in the medical field, allowing scientists to pinpoint the specific cells involved in a brain disorder, thus aiding them in tailoring a focused course of treatment.  Read More

Methanogens prepared to be exposed to Martian conditions

Since the first Mariner probes reached the Red Planet in the 1960s, it’s become clear just how very alien Mars is and how hard it is to find parallel examples of possible Martian life on Earth. However, it’s not impossible. Rebecca Mickol, a doctoral student in space and planetary sciences at the University of Arkansas, has discovered that two species of methane-producing bacteria can live in the harsh conditions on Mars, and may aid in the search for life there.  Read More

The adhesive fibers in one of the man-made attachment discs, holding down a nylon thread

In recent years we've seen a number of attempts at artificially replicating the strong-yet-light characteristics of spider silk. It turns out that the silk itself isn't the only thing that's inspiring scientists, however. Researchers from the University of Akron have recently created their own version of the "attachment discs" that spiders use to secure their silk fibers to surfaces, when building webs. These man-made discs could conceivably prove superior to conventional glues as a form of adhesive.  Read More

Nathan Han, 15, has developed a machine learning software tool to study mutations of a gen...

Intel has announced the winners of its 2014 International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). According to Intel, the contest is the world's largest high school science research competition. The top prize went to 15-year-old Nathan Han for his software that studies the mutations of a gene linked to breast cancer.  Read More

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