Highlights from Interbike 2014

Research

Cornell researchers have developed a robot that follows spoken instructions to learn new t...

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

Fiber made from cellulose claimed to be as strong as steel

A team of researchers working at Stockholm's KTH Royal Institute of Technology claim to have developed a way to make cellulose fibers stronger than steel on a strength-to-weight basis. In what is touted as a world first, the team from the institute's Wallenberg Wood Science Center claim that the new fiber could be used as a biodegradable replacement for many filament materials made today from imperishable substances such as fiberglass, plastic, and metal. And all this from a substance that requires only water, wood cellulose, and common table salt to create it.  Read More

A link has been discovered between a molecular scaffold and degenerative diseases such as ...

Researchers from King's College London (KCL) claim to have uncovered a link between a molecular scaffold, that allows for interaction between key components of a cell, and the debilitating effects of neurodegenerative diseases. It is possible in the long term that this line of research will yield a new target for tailored treatment in the fight against devastating afflictions such as dementia and motor neuron disease.  Read More

The parallel ordering of liquid crystals make them near-frictionless lubricants (Image: Mi...

The world uses tens of millions of tons of lubricant every year, from the smallest part of a micro-precision instrument to the expansion rollers on the largest bridges. Most are oil based, though others use powders, and even metals, and it’s been that way for decades. That could be changing as the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials, Nematel GmbH, and Dr. Tillwich GmbH have developed a new class of lubricants that are based on liquid crystals instead of oil. According to Fraunhofer, this is the first fundamentally new lubricant developed in twenty years.  Read More

Scientists at the University of Texas have built and tested what appears to be the world's...

Scientists at the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas have built and tested what appears to be the world's smallest, fastest, and longest-running nanomotor yet – so small that it could fit inside a single cell. The advance could be used to power nanobots that would deliver specific drugs to individual living cells inside the human body.  Read More

A Japanese company has announced the development and planned mass-production of a disrupti...

Japanese company Power Japan Plus has announced the development and planned mass-production of "Ryden," a disruptive carbon battery that can be charged 20 times faster than an ordinary lithium-ion cell. The battery, which is cheap to manufacture, safe and environmentally friendly, could be ideal to improve the range and charging times of electric cars.  Read More

A group of scientists are turning to Indiegogo to fund fusion power research (Image: LPP F...

A group of researchers at New Jersey-based LPP Fusion is turning to crowdfunding to demonstrate net power gain from a nuclear fusion reactor. The scientists plan to do this using a technique which is relatively little-known, but which they claim is scientifically sound and only relies on well-established science. Given enough funding, the researchers say they could design a US$500,000, 5 MW reactor that would produce energy for as little as 0.06 cents per kWh, all by the end of the decade.  Read More

HADES at the GSI in Darmstadt/Germany searches for dark matter candidates (Image: A. Schma...

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) in Dresden, Germany have analyzed data from the HADES particle detector and concluded that the so-called "dark photons" are not the constituents of dark matter. Dark photons, or U bosons, are hypothetical particles that had thus far been the main candidate for that role, and this new result could make the search for the dark matter particle even more challenging than before.  Read More

Researchers are exploring how they might create robots endowed with their own sense of mor...

A group of researchers from Tufts University, Brown University and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are collaborating with the US Navy in a multi-year effort to explore how they might create robots endowed with their own sense of morality. If they are successful, they will create an artificial intelligence able to autonomously assess a difficult situation and then make complex ethical decisions that can override the rigid instructions it was given.  Read More

Researchers at the University of Texas have identified the Sun's long lost sibling (Image:...

Researchers at the University of Texas have identified a star that formed in the same star cluster as our Sun. Dubbed HD 162826, the star is 15 percent more massive than the Sun and resides 110 light-years away. It's hoped the discovery of this "sibling" will help us understand more about where and how the solar system originated, and might also point us to the best candidates for finding extraterrestrial life.  Read More

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