Computational creativity and the future of AI

Hydrophobic

One of the box-patterned geckos used in the study (Photo: James Cook University)

Usually when we hear about the properties of geckos being applied to human technology, it's the reptiles' sticky feet that are in question. Now, however, scientists in Australia are looking at the manner in which a particular type of gecko is able to stay clean. Their findings could pave the way for things like water-repelling electronics, or clothes that never need washing.  Read More

Dyed-water droplets sit on the surface of treated cotton wool (Photo: Oli Usher/UCL)

How would you like to be able to wash your car by just hosing it off – no soap, scrubbing or drying? You may be able to in the not-too-distant future, thanks to research being led by a team at University College London. Drawing on earlier research, they've developed an ultra-hydrophobic (water-repelling) paint that can be applied to a variety of surfaces, and that stays on once applied.  Read More

Walls in St. Pauli use technology to deter public urination

Hamburg's St. Pauli is one of the world's most famous red light districts. It attracts around 20 million visitors a year, but it's also a bit smelly because, after a night on the tiles, a good number of those visitors urinate in public places. Now, in a fit of poetic justice, the walls of St. Pauli are being upgraded so they retaliate on micturators in kind.  Read More

A new laser-based technique renders metal super-hydrophobic without the need for a chemica...

With the help of very high-power laser beams, researchers at the University of Rochester have created micro and nanostructures that turn metals black and make their surfaces very easy to keep clean and dry. The advance could help prevent icing and rust, collect heat more effectively and perhaps even translate to other materials, leading to water-repelling electronics.  Read More

Milkweed seeds and fibers ready for propagating (Photo: Pollinator, CC BY-SA 3.0)

The humble milkweed may be a weed to most, but a company out of Granby, Quebec, is milking the plant for all it’s worth by developing a product for cleaning up oil slicks on land and water from milkweed fibers. Due to the fibers’ hollow shape – a unique feature in nature – and its naturally hydrophobic tendency, they repel water while absorbing more than four times more oil than the same amount of polypropylene materials currently used for spills.  Read More

Glass slides dipped in blood to demonstrate the effectiveness of the TLP coating. with blo...

Our bodies have evolved to be pretty good at dealing with incursions by foreign objects and bacteria. Usually, that's a positive thing, but it can spell trouble for medical devices, such as replacement joints, cardiac implants and dialysis machines, which increase the risk of blood clots and bacterial infection. Now researchers at Harvard University have developed a surface coating that smooths the way for medical devices to do their job inside the human body.  Read More

A microscope cross-sectional view of the material, in which the microhairs are standing st...

What if your house's windows could automatically reduce the amount of hot sunlight passing through them, or your car's windshield could cause rain droplets to bead off to its edges? These things and more could soon be possible, thanks to a new animal hair-inspired material developed at MIT.  Read More

Harvesting electricity from condensation could take renewable power to remote areas (Photo...

MIT researchers have found a way to generate small amounts of electricity from condensation, by having electrically-charged droplets jump between superhydrophobic (water-repelling) and hydrophilic (water-attracting) metal plates. The advance could be especially useful in remote areas or developing countries, not least because it produces clean water as a side product.  Read More

Researchers at ORNL have created an air- stable water droplet network (Photo: Kyle Kuykend...

Harvesting water out of thin air, might seem like a pipe dream, but the air-stable water droplet networks, currently being developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researchers could prove to be a step in the right direction. Created with the aid of a new technique, these water droplet networks could also potentially find use in membrane research and biological sensing applications.  Read More

Nissan tests its 'self-cleaning' Note

Nissan is currently testing out a prototype that it says could make car washes a relic of the past. The test car benefits from a new nano-paint treatment that repels dirt and grime. The automaker is putting the car through the dirty wringer to see how well it holds up in the real world.  Read More

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