Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Research

US researchers have engineered a bacterium whose genetic material includes DNA or bases  n...

Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in California have produced a living bacterium that has a strand of artificial DNA made with chemical “letters” not found in nature or any other organism.  Read More

IBM's Watson can now debate (Image: IBM)

Watson, IBM's supercomputer made famous three years ago for beating the very best human opponents at a game of Jeopardy, now comes with an impressive new feature. When asked to discuss any topic, it can autonomously scan its knowledge database for relevant content, "understand" the data, and argue both for and against that topic.  Read More

A group of engineers at Stanford have developed an iPad-sized, highly power-efficient way ...

A group of engineers at Stanford have developed an iPad-sized, highly power-efficient way of simulating a million neurons and billions of synapses for as low as US$400. The advancement could both help our understanding of the brain and help develop a new generation of bionic limbs that are controlled by the patient's brain in real time with no effort at all.  Read More

The researchers say that the injected stem cells regenerated 40 percent of the damaged hea...

In what could mark a significant breakthrough in the treatment of heart disease, researchers at the University of Washington (UW) have successfully repaired damaged tissue in monkey hearts using cells created from human embryonic stem cells. The findings demonstrate an ability to produce these cells on an unprecedented scale and hold great potential for restoring functionally of damaged human hearts.  Read More

The solar reactor that was used to turn water and CO2 into jet fuel

In a move that could help address our insatiable thirst for fuel while at the same time help cut CO2 emissions, scientists with the SOLAR-JET (Solar chemical reactor demonstration and Optimization for Long-term Availability of Renewable Jet fuel) project have recently shown that through a multi-step process, concentrated sunlight can be used to convert carbon dioxide into kerosene, which can then be used as jet fuel.  Read More

Early design concept of the new polar research ship

What’s big and red and costs £200 million? The answer is the new flagship of Britain’s polar research fleet complete with helideck and robot submarines. On Friday at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne announced that the British government had authorized the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to go ahead with the design and construction of a new state-of-the-art vessel for polar research and to maintain the British presence in Antarctica and the South Atlantic.  Read More

Artist's concept of a ship equipped with a railgun turret (Image: US Navy)

Watching old war movies, we expect firing a navy gun to be accompanied by a deafening bang and a dramatic cloud of burnt powder. This being the 21st century, the US Navy has other ideas as it prepares to install and test a prototype electromagnetic railgun on a Spearhead-class joint high speed vessel in 2016 as part of a program to develop the naval artillery of the future.  Read More

Google reCAPTCHA helps to verify humans on the Web and digitize old texts

Do you get frustrated filling out those online forms with jumbled letters to prove that you're human, only to get them wrong? They're called CAPTCHA puzzles and are designed to be difficult for computers to crack. Google's Street View technology, however, can decipher them with 99 percent accuracy.  Read More

Paint scratches like this could be healed using KIT's new technology   (Photo: Shutterstoc...

Researchers at Germany's Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have developed a self-healing polymer that can mend itself and fully restore its mechanical properties in just a few minutes when heated at low temperatures. The material could be used to create self-repairing sealants, scratch-resistant paints, and more reliable fiber-reinforced plastic components.  Read More

KAIST's device can generate electricity from bodily heat (Image: KAIST)

Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have developed a lightweight, flexible and high-efficiency thermoelectric generator that can harness your body heat to generate a small amount of electricity. The device could be used to extend the battery life of low-power wearable devices.  Read More

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