A team of researchers from the University of Notre Dame has successfully identified the species of a spider from a sample collected from the arachnid's web. The team was also able to pinpoint the species of the prey using the method, which could have a range of practical applications.
Thanks to the Zika virus, mosquitoes are back in the news and as feared as ever. While getting a dedicated bug-zapping light could help keep the little beasts at bay, not everyone wants to bother buying such a device. Well, that's why the ZappLight was created. It's an LED light bulb that goes into a regular socket, and it reportedly kills mozzies.
Despite the fact that locusts are held in fairly low regard by us humans, there's a chance that you may one day be rescued by one … or at least, by a robotic locust. Working with colleagues at Israel's Ort Braude College, researchers from Tel Aviv University have created a tiny locust-inspired robot that can reportedly jump over twice as high as other similarly-sized devices. They say that it could ultimately find use in search-and-rescue operations at disaster sites.
For most people, opening a drawer in their kitchen to find it writhing with creepy crawlies would be the stuff of nightmares. For the team at Livin Farms, however, it means dinner. The outfit has created a kitchen-top hive in which users can breed mealworms for eating.
As some parents will already know, head lice infestations can be very difficult to treat. Typically a toxic shampoo or lotion has to first be applied to the sufferer's scalp, after which the lice are removed by pulling a specialized comb through their hair. Louse eggs aren't harmed by such shampoos, however, so the treatment needs to be repeated once they've hatched. This means more nasty chemicals, and more discomfort for the child (or adult). That's why researchers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films have developed an alternative, in the form of a comb that zaps the pests with cold plasma.
King's College London (KCL) researchers have identified a gene that regulates nerve function, and could be switched off as part of a new Parkinson's treatment. The breakthrough was made by studying the disease in fruit flies, and significantly furthers our understanding of the degenerative condition.
If you've ever used tick medicine on your dog, then you're probably
aware of how toxic the stuff is. Well, it's used on cows too, and it can
end up in their meat, milk, or the surrounding environment.
Fortunately, however, scientists at the National University of Mexico
have developed a new type of tick treatment for cattle that is
reportedly much less toxic than what's currently used.
Despite what our science fiction-fueled imaginations love to be
entertained with, there is more to the field of modern robotics than colossal combat machines or bionic baristas.
Some projects may seem mundane by comparison, yet the results are no
less impressive, especially the ones that enlighten through the process.
Although it took a few trial and error attempts, scientists have
finally created an insect-inspired robot that can jump off of water's
Portable test kits represent an advance in disease diagnosis, as their
ready availability increases chances of earlier detection and treatment.
This type of technology is constantly evolving, and sometimes
inspiration can come from surprising sources. Such is the case with
research carried out by a Swiss team, which has borrowed from the
mechanics behind the firefly's glow to develop a sensitive molecule
Besides simply being fascinating to watch, insect-inspired robots may
someday find use as scouts in search-and-rescue operations. In order
for them to function in such scenarios, however, they'll have to be able
to move through fields of debris. While some scientists have looked at
using sensors and algorithms that let the bots scan their surroundings
and then plot paths around obstacles, researchers at UC Berkley have
developed a much less complex but still effective approach – they've
outfitted a robotic cockroach with a streamlined shell, that lets it
just push its way through.