2014 Paris Motor Show highlights

Science

A ptychographic reconstruction of gold particles showing the atomic fringes (Image: Univer...

Researchers at the University of Sheffield have created what sounds impossible - even nonsensical: an experimental electron microscope without lenses that not only works, but is orders of magnitude more powerful than current models. By means of a new form of mathematical analysis, scientists can take the meaningless patterns of dots and circles created by the lens-less microscope and create images that are of high resolution and contrast and, potentially, up to 100 times greater magnification.  Read More

UCF Professor Sergey Stolbov who has created cheaper, more efficient hydrogen fuel cells u...

For the predicted hydrogen economy to become a reality, fuel cells must become more efficient and cost effective. Researchers from the University of Central Florida (UCF) claim to have addressed both these problems by creating a sandwich-like structure that allows more abundant materials to be used as catalysts in hydrogen fuel cells.  Read More

Silk treated with chlorine has been shown to kill anthrax-like bacteria within minutes of ...

When anthrax spores go dormant, they develop a tough outer coating that can withstand heat, radiation and antibiotics, in one case even allowing them to come back to life after 250 million years. It seems that such spores could be no match, however, for a special pair of silk curtains.  Read More

Researchers at Fermilab have succeeded in demonstrating that communication via neutrino be...

Neutrinos have been in the news recently, and although it appears that they probably do not travel faster than light, they still hold court as three of the strangest of the known subatomic particles. Undeterred by these arcane particles, Fermilab scientists have succeeded in communicating with neutrino pulses through 240 meters (262 yards) of rock at a rate of 0.1 bits per second.  Read More

The cyborg snail with a biofuel cell implant that generates electrical power from glucose ...

Earlier this year we reported that researchers had implanted a cockroach with an enzyme-based biofuel cell that could potentially be used to power various sensors, recording devices, or electronics used to control an insect cyborg. While it may not be the most dynamic of creatures, a team from Clarkson University has now performed a similar feat with a living snail.  Read More

The process can dynamically switch the texture of plastics between patterns ranging from d...

Imagine a pair of rubber gloves whose surface texture could be altered on demand to provide more grip for climbing. Or maybe gloves with "fingerprints" that can be changed in the blink of an eye. They are just a couple of the many potential applications envisioned by researchers at Duke University for a process they have developed that allows the texture of plastics to be changed at will.  Read More

The Weltzeituhr (World Clock) at Alexanderplatz, Berlin, Germany isn't anywhere near as ac...

The NIST-F1 atomic clock that currently serves as primary time and frequency standard for the U.S. is expected to neither gain nor lose a second in more than 100 million years. That might sound pretty accurate, but a proposed nuclear clock could make it look like a cheap digital wristwatch. It is claimed that the proposed clock would neither gain nor lose 1/20th of a second in 14 billion years. To put that in context, that’s the estimated age of the universe.  Read More

The hypoallergenic egg team: Tim Doran (left), Cenk Suphioglu and Pathum Dhanapala

Of all the childhood allergies, an allergic reaction to eggs is one of the most common. Typically, reactions can include wheezing, nausea, headache, stomach ache, and hives. In extreme cases, however, anaphylactic shock can result, which can itself sometimes lead to death. Eggs are difficult to avoid, too - they find their way into many foods that might not seem particularly "eggy," and are even used in flu vaccines. Needless to say, for some time now, scientists have been working on making eggs safe for everyone. A team from Australia's Deakin University is now claiming that they're well on the way to producing not just hypoallergenic eggs, but the chickens that lay them.  Read More

New software developed by Microsoft is able to reproduce the user's speech in another lang...

For some time now, speech-recognition programs have existed that attempt to reproduce the user’s spoken words in another language. Such “speech-to-speech” apps, however, provide their translations using a very flat, synthetic voice. Now, experimental new software developed by Microsoft is able not only to translate between 26 different languages, but it plays the translated speech back in the user’s own voice – complete with the inflections they used when speaking in their own language. It looks like a real-life version of Star Trek’s universal translator could soon be here.  Read More

Using a photolithography process, scientists have created flat polymer sheets that bend th...

When the petal of a flower is being formed, its shape is achieved by cells in one area expanding more than cells in an adjacent area. This uneven expansion causes the material to buckle, creating the desired curves and creases. Scientists from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst have taken that same principle, and applied it to flat polymer gel sheets that fold themselves into three-dimensional shapes when exposed to water. Some day, such sheets could serve a number of useful purposes.  Read More

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