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Research


— Environment

Buddhist singing bowls could inspire highly efficient solar cells

By - September 14, 2014
While the unique shape of Buddhist singing bowls is vital to the creation of their signature sound, a researcher from Australia National University (ANU) has used their design as the inspiration for a new breed of solar cells. In completing his PhD at the University of Cambridge, Dr Niraj Lal found that just as the bowls cause sound to resonate, miniaturized versions can be made to interact with light in much the same way, inspiring solar cells better able to capture sunlight. Read More
— Medical

Antibacterial gel uses natural proteins to kill off hospital superbugs

By - August 19, 2014
Drug-resistant bacteria, or so-called superbugs, pose a very real threat to public health. The over prescription and consumption of antibiotics has contributed to a resilient new breed of germs that could see minor infections once again evolve into life-threatening conditions. The latest development in the fight against this threat comes from scientists at Queens University in Belfast, who have produced an antibacterial gel capable of breaking through a protective casing and killing off certain types of drug-resistant bacteria. Read More
— 3D Printing

Disney algorithm has asymmetrical objects in a spin

By - August 10, 2014 7 Pictures
Tops, yo-yos, and other spinning toys are amongst the oldest playthings created by man, with the earliest examples dating back to 3,500 BC. Paradoxically, they’re not very easy to make with their design requiring a lot of trial and error. One mistake and, instead of a pirouetting plaything, you get a clattering paperweight. That’s why spinning toys tend to be symmetrical – until now. In a blow for symmetry, Disney Research Zurich and ETH Zurich have developed a computer algorithm that can take any shape, no matter how cock-eyed, and make it spin like a top. Read More
— Drones

Future aircraft could come with advanced 3D printers for specialized drone production

By - July 7, 2014 4 Pictures
Requests for backup might usually trigger a halt in a military operations, but two fast-moving technologies could one day combine to deliver much-needed reinforcements exactly where they're needed. Such is the vision of defense firm BAE Systems, which sees aircraft having advanced onboard 3D printers that are capable of producing UAVs for wide-ranging military purposes. Read More
— Robotics

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

By - June 24, 2014 2 Pictures
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
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