Highlights from the 2015 Geneva Motor Show

Science

Duke University researchers claim to be the first to grow contracting human muscle tissue ...

Researchers working at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering claim to have produced a laboratory first by having grown human muscle tissue that contracts and reacts to stimuli. Electrical pulses, biochemical signals and pharmaceuticals have all been used to produce reactions in the tissue that show it behaves in the same way that natural human muscles does. As a result, laboratory grown tissue may soon provide researchers with the ability to study diseases and assess drugs without invasive procedures on human subjects.  Read More

The Autosub6000 returns from the deep

Curious about what's living on the deep sea floor? Well, the Autosub6000 AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle) is helping us find out. Led by Dr. Kirsty Morris, a team at the UK's National Oceanography Centre (NOC) has equipped one of the unmanned submarines with a high-resolution photographic system. As a result, it's claimed to be far more effective at identifying deep-sea life than the usual approach of scientific trawling.  Read More

Based on nothing but Facebook 'likes,' a computer is able to judge a person's personality ...

New research has found that computers can "judge" personality traits far more precisely than previously thought. The study found that it is possible for computers to draw inferences about a person as accurately as their spouse can. Even then, the judgements were based only on Facebook "likes."  Read More

Quantum information has been written onto europium atoms and stored for up to six hours in...

Researchers from the Australian National University (ANU) and the University of Otago in New Zealand have created a prototype quantum hard drive that may fundamentally alter the realm of secure, long-distance data encryption. Using atoms of the rare-earth element europium embedded in yttrium orthosilicate (YSO) crystals, the scientists have shattered previous records for quantum information retention by creating a storage device capable of holding quantum state information for up to six hours at a time.  Read More

These self-folded origami structures created using a technique developed at UMass Amhurst ...

Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have appropriated a less-common technique of origami known as "collapse"-type, in which all folds are carried out more or less simultaneously, to create complex reversibly self-folded 3D structures around a millimeter in size. The new technique is expected to have applications in soft robotics, mechanical metamaterials, and biomimetic systems (synthetic systems that mimic systems from nature).  Read More

LLNL physical chemist George Farquar, who led the team that invented DNATrax, demonstrates...

According to the US Center for Disease Control (CDC), 129,000 Americans are sent to hospital and 3,000 die each year from food poisoning. Currently, tracing contaminated food is largely a matter of record keeping and detective work, but Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers, in partnership with DNATrek, have developed DNATrax, a DNA-based additive for directly tracking food from producer to consumer.  Read More

MIT researchers have used a superthin film of niobium and nitrogen atoms to aid their disc...

The immutable laws that govern our universe – such as those that reign over the observable world in classical mechanics and those that rule the atomic physics world – are at the core of all of our scientific principles. They not only provide consistent, repeatable, and accurate rules that allow calculations and experiments to be tested or verified, they also help us make sense of the workings of the cosmos. MIT researchers claim to have discovered a new universal law for superconductors that, if proved accurate, would bring the physics of superconductors in line with other universal laws and advance the likes of superconducting circuits for quantum and super low-power computing.  Read More

At the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research in Potsdam, scientists are workin...

There's nothing quite as refreshing as a glass of beer on a hot day and nothing more disgusting than discovering that the beer has gone off in the bottle, leaving a sour, cloudy mess. To save innocent palates and Sunday barbecues, the Fraunhofer Institute is developing a new polymer powder that can quickly detect pathogens in beer before they can ruin the brew.  Read More

EPFL's soft-and-stretchy e-Dura implant (Photo: EPFL/Alain Herzog)

Three years ago, scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) reported success in getting rats with severed spinal cords to walk again. They did so by suspending the animals in a harness, then using implants to electrically stimulate neurons in their lower spinal cord. Although this ultimately resulted in the rats being able to run on their previously-paralyzed hind legs, the technology still wasn't practical for long-term use in humans. Thanks to new research conducted at EPFL, however, that may no longer be the case.  Read More

Scientists work around a seal, while launching the AUV through a hole cut in the ice (Phot...

Early every spring in Antarctica, mats of algae form on the underside of the sea ice. These mats – along with bacteria that live in them – serve as a food source for zooplankton, essentially kickstarting the food chain for the year. Given that the ice algae plays such an important ecological role, scientists from Denmark's Aarhus University have set out to better understand its distribution. In order to do so, they're using a high-tech underwater drone.  Read More

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