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A prototype “inexact” computer chip that is around 15 times more efficient than current mi...

Last year, a team of U.S. researchers applied the pruning shears to computer chips to trim away rarely used portions of digital circuits. The result was chips that made the occasional mistake, but were twice as fast, used half as much energy, and were half the size of the original. Now, building on the same “less is more” idea, the researchers have built an “inexact” prototype silicon chip they claim is at least 15 times more efficient than current technology in terms of speed, energy consumption and size.  Read More

Map of Life is a new Google Maps-based website, which indicates the distribution of almost...

Ever wondered if a certain species of animal can be found where you live? The Map of Life website aims to answer this question. A Yale University-led project built on a Google Maps platform, it lists virtually all of the vertebrate animals that can be found at any one point in the world.  Read More

Wayne Daley (left), a Georgia Tech Research Institute principal research scientist, and Ca...

Any experienced chicken farmer will tell you, the relative contentment of the birds can be gauged by the sounds they’re making. While this has generally been accepted as anecdotal folk wisdom, a team of scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Georgia are now trying to scientifically verify it. They’re hoping that their research could lead to better living conditions for the animals, lower costs to farmers, and higher productivity.  Read More

Scientists have created an underwater speaker for use in studying dolphin communication (P...

While there’s little doubt that dolphins are saying something to one another with all their clicks, squeals and whistles, we’re still not entirely sure just what it is that they’re communicating. We may be getting closer to figuring it out, however, as Japanese scientists have created an underwater speaker that’s capable of playing back the creatures’ entire acoustic range. The next step - see how they respond.  Read More

Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed a means of converti...

Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed a means of converting mechanical energy into electrical energy using a harmless, specially engineered virus. By simply tapping a finger on a virus-coated electrode the size of a postage stamp, the scientists were able to produce enough current to drive a liquid crystal display, albeit a very small one. The scientists claim that this is the first time that the piezoelectrical properties of a biological material have been harnessed.  Read More

A drop of liquid sits on the textured silicon surface that has arced rungs to guide the dr...

Lately we’re hearing more and more about tiny medical and environmental diagnostic devices, that can perform a variety of tests using very small fluid samples. Working with such small samples does present a challenge, however – how do you thoroughly mix tiny amounts of different fluids, or wrangle individual drops for analysis? According to a team of scientists from the University of Washington, the answer lies in the lotus leaf.  Read More

A depiction of Blue Origin's Space Vehicle

When it comes to spacecraft that may take the place of the now-defunct space shuttle, it would probably be fair to say that most people probably think of the SpaceX Dragon. It’s sometimes easy to forget, however, that SpaceX is a private company, competing against others for NASA’s business. One of those competitors is Washington state-based Blue Origin, established by founder Jeff Bezos (SpaceX was co-founded by Elon Musk, of PayPal fame). Although the company has been rather secretive about the space vehicle that it’s developing, it recently announced that the design has done well in a series of wind tunnel tests.  Read More

Researchers at MIT and Georgia Tech have created a robotic arm that automates whole-cell p...

A group of researchers at MIT and Georgia Tech has built a robotic arm that can automate whole-cell patch clamping, a complicated technique that normally requires great manual dexterity and takes researchers months to master. Once streamlined, this technology will monitor and record the electrical signals generated by the neurons in a living brain, to help uncover the secret inner workings of the human mind - or at least, in the not-so-distant future, of a lab rat's.  Read More

NIST's quantum simulator illuminated by fluorescing ions (Photo: Britten/NIST)

Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have built a quantum simulator that contains hundreds of qubits - quite a jump from the the 2-8 qubits found in state-of-the-art digital quantum computers. The simulator has passed a series of important benchmarking tests and scientists are poised to study problems in material science that are impossible to model using classical computers.  Read More

A sample of the biomimetic film, and a morpho butterfly

Butterfly wing material is somewhat like spider silk, in that they’re both animal-produced substances which scientists are very interested in copying. In the case of butterfly wings, it’s their ability to brilliantly reflect light in a variety of iridescent colors that could prove particularly useful to humans. Researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) are reporting success in replicating the reflective properties of the insects’ wings, using tiny glass beads.  Read More

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