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Cornell University

— Science

Add salt to significantly extend the life of lithium-based batteries

Salt has long been used to preserve meat, and now researchers at Cornell University have found that adding certain salts to the anodes of lithium-based batteries can also increase their useful life by a very large factor, solving long-standing problems associated with cell degradation. The advance can be adapted to other metal-based chemistries, including the lighter and more energy dense lithium-sulfur cells and, according to the researchers, might see commercial applications in as little as three years. Read More
— Drones

Aerial drones may find use as smart photographic light sources

As any professional photographer knows, setting up lights can be a hassle. This is often the case in the studio, but especially when shooting on location. Before too long, however, it may be possible to use hovering autonomous drones as light sources. In fact, that's just what a team from MIT and Cornell University has already done. Their system not only does away with light stands, but the light-equipped aircraft automatically moves to compensate for movements of the model or photographer. Read More
— Robotics

"Tell me Dave" robot learns simply by people talking to it

Many robots today are able to follow verbal instructions. However, the robot first has to be programmed with software code that allows it to respond to those instructions in some predetermined way, and that software must be added to every time the robot's task list is enhanced. Wouldn’t it be easier if we could just avoid all that messy fiddling about with software and talk to a machine as we would a human and explain what we wanted it to do? Researchers at Cornell University thought so, that’s why they designed and built a learning robot as part of their "Tell me Dave" project. Read More
— Science

The Milky Way may host over 100 million planets supporting complex life

A survey conducted by astronomers at Cornell University has taken into account the characteristics of 637 known exoplanets and elaborated a Biological Complexity Index (BCI) to assess the relative probability of finding complex life on them. Their data supports the view that as many as one hundred million planets scattered around the Milky Way, and perhaps more, could support life beyond the microbial stage. Read More
— Music

Aura turns hand gestures into music

Some take their air guitar playing more seriously than others, but even for those exerting the most energy, those perfectly struck imaginary chords are heard by nobody's ears except their own. Aura, an electronic instrument that translates hand gestures into music, could be just what these highly animated faux musicians need to get a little more reward for their efforts. Read More
— 3D Printing

Researchers 3D print a working loudspeaker

Rather than buy a replacement part from a local hardware store, 3D printing offers up the opportunity to produce what you need at home, when you need it. But what if you have to replace a whole unit? If a project from Cornell University's Creative Machines Lab is any indication, such things may soon be possible. A research team has managed to 3D print the cone, coil and magnet of a loudspeaker, and then use it to throw out sounds from a digital audio player. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

smartCARD lets users check their cholesterol via an iPhone

Although a lot of people are concerned about monitoring their cholesterol levels, probably not many of those people want to head off to a clinic or use an expensive, complicated device to get those levels tested every few days. Soon, however, they may not have to. Scientists from Cornell University have developed a gadget called the smartCARD, that allows users to easily check their own cholesterol using their iPhone. Read More