2014 Paris Motor Show highlights

Science

Top half of 3D printed Thomas Jefferson statue (Photo: RedEye on Demand/Smithsonian/Studio...

What do you do when you're the world's largest museum but can display only 2 percent of the 137 million items in your collection (a mere 2.75 million) at any given time? In an effort to get more of their treasures into the public eye, specialists at the Smithsonian Institution's nineteen collective museums and galleries hit upon the solution of digitizing their collection and 3D printing key models and displays suitable for traveling exhibitions. It's a tall order, but one that's sure to give the rapidly blooming business of additive manufacturing a huge boost.  Read More

Koji Usami holding the semiconductor nanomembrane inside its holder

Researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute have succeeded in using a new form of laser cooling method to cool a two and a half square millimeter semiconducting gallium arsenide (GaAs) membrane with a thickness of 160 nm from room temperature to four degrees above absolute zero - the temperature of liquid helium.  Read More

Streptococcus pyogenes has inspired a super-strong and selective instant adhesive (Image: ...

A strong and highly selective instant adhesive inspired by the bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes has been developed by Oxford University researchers. S. pyogenes is a common resident of human throats that is normally kept in check by the body's defenses, but when it gets out of control it can cause diseases ranging from strep throat to toxic shock syndrome or flesh-eating disease. By engineering a protein that is central to S. pyogenes' infectious arsenal, the researchers have developed a new superglue that can't be matched for sticking molecules together and not letting go.  Read More

After the laser beam hits the sample, the scattered light is collected by a telescope and ...

Contrary to what some cartoons might have led you to believe, explosives aren’t always emblazoned with the letters TNT making them easy to identify. Some people will actually go to the trouble of disguising explosives by placing them in nondescript containers. This means that to analyze them, some close quarter examination that puts someone at risk is usually required. Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna) have developed a detection method using laser light that allows explosives to be detected not only from distances of over 100 meters (328 ft), but works even when the explosives are hidden inside an opaque container.  Read More

Piezoelectric devices are able to convert mechanical stress caused by movement (such as wa...

Of all the energy-harvesting technologies presently in development, piezoelectric devices offer some of the most intriguing possibilities. They work by converting mechanical stress, which can take the form of movement-caused vibrations, into an electrical charge. This means that things such as shoes, roads, keyboards – or anything else that moves or is subjected to movement – could be outfitted with piezoelectrics, which would produce power. Unfortunately, the range of vibrations that any one device can harness is presently quite limited. Research being conducted at North Carolina’s Duke University, however, could change that.  Read More

Scientists have determined that graphene could be put to use as the world's thinnest anti-...

It seems like the uses for graphene just won’t stop coming. The ultra-strong sheet material, made from bonded carbon atoms, has so far shown promise for use in transistors, computer chips, DNA sequencing, and batteries ... just to name a few possibilities. Now, scientists have discovered that it can also be used as a very effective anti-corrosion coating – and at just one atom in thickness, it’s thinner than any of the alternatives.  Read More

Artist's view of GJ1214b (Image credit: NASA, ESA, and D. Aguilar (Harvard-Smithsonian Cen...

Planets orbiting two stars, giant super-Earths and worlds racked with boiling rock storms - these are just some of the galactic oddities among the more than 700 exoplanets discovered in the past 20 years. Now there's another new class of extrasolar planet to add to the list - the waterworld.  Read More

Copper negative of an October 1881 phonograph (Photo: Patrick Feaster/National Museum of A...

Recently, and for the first time in living memory, sound recordings made in 1881 at Alexander Graham Bell's Volta Laboratory Association have been heard aloud. The experimental phonographs made by the association where Bell worked alongside instrument-maker Charles Sumner Tainter and chemist Chichester A. Bell are thought to be the oldest preserved sound recordings intended for playback.  Read More

Georgia Institute of Technology's new intraoral Tongue Drive system

For those unfortunate enough to suffer from severe spinal cord injuries, the tongue is often the only extremity still under their control. To take advantage of this fact, engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed what they call the Tongue Drive System (TDS), a wireless, wearable device that allows the user to operate computers and control electric wheelchairs with movements of the tongue. The latest iteration, which resembles a sensor-studded dental retainer, is controlled by a tongue-mounted magnet and promises its users a welcome new level of autonomy with both communication and transportation.  Read More

The Google PageRank algorithm has been used to determine bonds between molecules

Aurora Clark from Washington State University has found an unlikely application for Google's link ranking technology - harnessing it to analyze hydrogen bonds in water. Connecting the fields of computer engineering and chemistry, her project aims to predict chemical reactivity between differently shaped particles while bypassing the hassle and expense of carrying out actual lab-based experiments.  Read More

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