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Stanford University

— 3D Printing

SCI-Arc students take 3D printing to the robots

Since it launched in 2011, the Robot House at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) has challenged students to create material forms of digital models by orchestrating complex robotic movements in space. But aided by the 3D printer they are breaking even newer ground. Students have begun concocting their own materials, which they can then fit with sensors to follow changes in the material as it is manipulated and, they hope, produce an appropriate response. Read More
— Science

First laser-driven electron accelerator demonstrated

If Angus MacGyver was a particle physicist, he might face a challenge like this: Take a femtosecond laser and a fused quartz grating and make the world's most powerful particle accelerator. Despite the apparent incongruity of the resources and the goal, researchers at the US Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have fabricated a proof-of-principle electron accelerator using just such equipment. In the demonstration, electrons from a 60 MeV beam saw a force of acceleration about ten times greater than possible in a conventional accelerator. Read More
— Computers

Stanford scientists build first carbon nanotube computer

In a technological tour de force, researchers at Stanford University have constructed a one-bit, one-instruction programmable computer on a chip using carbon nanotube-based electronics for all logic elements. Containing 178 carbon nanotube field-effect transistors, the computer is only able to carry out only one instruction, called SUBNEG. However, SUBNEG is Turing-complete, allowing the computer to run, albeit with an extraordinary level of inefficiency, any program, given enough memory, time, and programming ingenuity. Read More
— Science

Metamaterials breakthrough could lead to the first wide-spectrum optical invisibility cloak

To make a Harry Potter-style invisibility cloak requires that the materials from which it is made have a negative refractive index over all optical wavelengths, from red to violet. However, the artificially-structured optical materials from which cloaks are made thus far have been restricted to a very narrow range of optical wavelengths, limiting their ability to cloak over a range of colors. That obstacle to progress ends now, as a group of Stanford optical engineers at Stanford has succeeded in designing a broadband metamaterial that exhibits a negative refractive index over nearly the entire rainbow. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Flexible, wearable sensor promises new era in heart monitoring

Researchers have developed a new type of wearable sensor that could greatly improve the accuracy and practicality of heart monitoring. Developed by Zhenan Bao, a professor of chemical engineering at Stanford University, the paper-thin, stamp-sized sensor is made with flexible organic materials and can be worn under an adhesive bandage on the wrist to monitor the pulse. Read More
— Environment

Nanoscavengers could be the next-gen water purifiers

According to a joint World Health Organization/UNICEF report issued this week, an estimated 768 million people relied on unimproved drinking-water sources in 2011, with 185 million of these relying on surface water to meet their daily drinking-water needs. WHO and UNICEF have set a 2030 target for everyone to have access to a safe drinking-water supply and new water-purifying “nanoscavengers” developed by researchers at Stanford University could help achieve this goal. Read More
— Drones

Sticky spy UAV turns things upside down with ability to land on walls and ceilings

Micro UAVs that have the ability to slip into tight spaces, including inside buildings, have wide ranging military and search and rescue applications. To reach their full potential, however, these UAVs are going to need to learn how to land in rougher areas that don't always have a horizontal surface to touch down on. One team of scientists has begun taking a huge step towards accomplishing just that by developing a quadcopter with a mechanism that allows it to land on walls or ceilings, stay for a while, and then take off again. Read More