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Research

— Science

First fundamentally new lubricant in decades created from liquid crystals

By - May 22, 2014 1 Picture
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
— Electronics

World's smallest nanomotor could power cell-sized nanobots for drug delivery

By - May 20, 2014 3 Pictures
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
— Science

Can crowdfunding give us safe fusion power by 2020?

By - May 18, 2014 7 Pictures
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
— Science

Prime candidate crossed off list in search for dark matter particle

By - May 14, 2014 1 Picture
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
— Robotics

Scientists try to teach robots morality

By - May 13, 2014 1 Picture
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
— Space

Sun's "sibling" could help us understand how life got started

By - May 12, 2014 2 Pictures
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
— Electronics

"Neurogrid" circuit modeled on the human brain is the fastest, most energy efficient of its kind

By - May 2, 2014 4 Pictures
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
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