more top stories »


— Electronics

Tower of Pisa 3D-scanned in 20 mins with spring-mounted Zebedee

Researchers at Australia's national science agency, the CSIRO, have developed Zebedee, a spring-mounted 3D laser scanner and mapper capable of scanning complicated interiors in double-quick time. The researchers were able to scan the "cramped and complex" interior of the Leaning Tower of Pisa which, the CSIRO claims, has not been possible with previous 3D scanning technology. But more significantly, the researchers were able to complete the scan in under 20 minutes. Read More
— Science

Unlocking the sunscreen code of marine life may offer complete UV protection

The next generation of powerful sunscreens may have their roots in some unlikely sources – corals from the Great Barrier Reef and bacteria found in the Trondheim Fjord in Norway. When developed, these new sunscreens could offer protection across a wider band of ultraviolet (UV) radiation suspected to cause deadly forms of skin cancer, which current sunscreens don't protect against. The discoveries represent huge breakthroughs, made possible by harnessing the natural sunscreen abilities that these life forms have developed over millions of years to survive the harsh UV radiation in their respective environments. Read More
— Science

Eureka! X-rays detect gold faster and more accurately

Every year, Australian mining companies discard hundred of millions of dollars worth of gold. They're not doing it on purpose, it’s just that the standard industry technique of scanning mineral samples isn’t sensitive enough to detect small traces of the precious metal. Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Canadian company Mevex have tested a new technique using powerful X-rays that can detect these small trace amounts quickly and accurately. Read More
— Science

New "fishless" feeds could make aquaculture more sustainable

When it comes to commercial aquaculture, a lot of people have some legitimate concerns – fish farms can introduce antibiotics, anti-algal chemicals and concentrated fish waste into the ocean; escaped fish can upset the local ecological balance; and wild fish still need to be caught in large numbers, as a food source for some species of farmed fish. While there have been recent efforts to address the first two concerns, the fish-in-the-fish-food problem is now being taken on in two different research projects. These are aimed at replacing the fish content in fish feed with more sustainable ingredients. Read More
— 3D Printing

New technique would allow a petabyte of data on a single disc

Data storage and preservation are no longer restricted to the needs of individual users, or even of companies or governments large and small. Instead they are the only remaining approach to preserving the history associated with the evolution of the digital age, and possibly the post-human era to follow. A research team headed by Prof. Min Gu of Swinburne University of Technology has developed a new data storage method that may be of considerable use for such civilization-sized concerns by putting a petabyte of information on a DVD-sized polymer disk. Read More
— Environment

Oxijet air shower reduces water use by 50 percent

Low-flow shower heads are a good way to save water, but using one can be a bit like showering with a spray bottle. New Zealand company Felton, in collaboration with Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), has developed the Oxijet – an “air shower” head that injects tiny air bubbles into the water droplets to make the shower feel like it’s at full pressure, yet while using 50 percent less water. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Understanding bat evolution could lead to new treatments for viruses and aging

Scientists believe the genes of virus-resistant and long-living wild bats might hold clues to treating cancer and infectious diseases in humans. The theory is that when bats started flying millions of years ago, something changed in their DNA that provides resistance to viruses and helps give them a relatively long life. The researchers hope a better understanding of bat evolution could lead to new treatments for disease and aging in humans. Read More
— Marine

CSIRO sensor detects explosives at sea

Clearing explosives is a major operation and removing the deadly residue of over a century of warfare is a never ending task. The problem is that before you can remove explosives you have to find them. That isn’t always easy – especially underwater, so Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has developed a new sensor that uses high-temperature planar gradiometers to seek out explosives in the sea. Read More
— Science

Genetically engineered safflower plant improves oil output for industry

The safflower plant is one of the oldest crops known to man. Used by the ancient Egyptians in dyes, oils derived from safflower seeds are today used as a sustainable replacement for fossil-fuel-derived oil in a wide variety of products and industrial processes. Researchers at Australia’s CSIRO have now developed a new “super-high” oleic safflower that could make the crop even more attractive to growers and industry. Read More
— Science

International team discovers planet made of diamond

A girl's best friend may have just gotten a whole lot bigger with the news that an international research team has discovered a small planet they think may be made of diamond. Although the planet is calculated to have a diameter of less than 60,000 km - which is about five times the diameter of Earth - it has slightly more mass than Jupiter. With the planet likely to be made largely of oxygen and carbon, its high density means it is almost certainly crystalline, meaning that a large part of the planet may be similar to a diamond. Read More