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The LCLS Atomic, Molecular and Optical instrument hutch where the experiments were perform...

An international team of scientists has obtained the world’s first single-shot images of intact viruses – a technology that could ultimately lead to moving video of molecules, viruses and live microbes. The team was also able to successfully utilize a new shortcut for determining the 3D structures of proteins. Both advances were achieved using the world’s first hard X-ray free-electron laser – the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) – which scientists hope could revolutionize the study of life.  Read More

According to a new study, 100 percent of the world's energy needs can be met by renewable ...

Here at Gizmag we cover a seemingly endless stream of renewable energy technologies designed to wean us off our reliance on fossil fuels and improve the health of the planet. As important as such developments are, for these technologies to have an impact they must of course be implemented – and on a large scale. What has been sorely lacking is a plan to accomplish such a Herculean feat. Now researchers from the University of California-Davis and Stanford University have published a study that details one scenario to completely convert the world to clean, renewable energy sources – and they say it could be done in 20 to 40 years using technology available today at costs comparable to fossil fuel-based energy.  Read More

The first computer mouse was made of wood and featured two wheels to control X and Y movem...

Dr. Douglas Engelbart is perhaps best known as the inventor of the computer mouse, but when he unveiled that device at a computer conference in 1968 he also introduced additional technology that would profoundly affect computer-human interaction as much as the mouse has. During the "mother of all demos" at the Fall Joint Computer Conference held at the Convention Center in San Francisco, Engelbart and his team of researchers from the Augmentation Research Center at Stanford Research Institute gave a live demonstration of hyperlinks, remote collaboration software, on-screen windows, and even video conferencing.  Read More

The Autonomous Audi TTS Pikes Peak research Vehicle

Not long ago, there was informed debate on whether a purpose-built computer would ever beat a chess master. Now mobile phones have achieved Grand Master status. Computers continue to get exponentially faster, not to mention considerably smarter through improved software, whereas humans are effectively nearing their limits. Hence, it’s arguably only a matter of time and R&D focus before computers (plus improved sensors and software) surpass any specific human capability. This week Audi revealed that its Autonomous TTS research car had completed the 12.42-mile Pike’s Peak mountain course in 27 minutes. An expert driver in the same car would take around 17 minutes – now we have a benchmark, the race is on, and it's almost inevitable that a computer will one day outdrive the best of our species, and it may be sooner than you think.  Read More

Stanford's simple-to-disassemble Bloom laptop concept is designed for easy recycling

It’s a given that we will one day be discarding our present laptop computers. It’s also a given that e-waste is currently a huge problem, that looks like it’s only going to get worse. While most of the materials in a laptop can be recycled, all of those pieces of glass, metal, plastic and circuitry are stuck together pretty tight, and require a lot of time and effort to separate. What is needed are laptops that are designed to be taken apart, for easy recycling – that’s why a group of graduate students from Stanford University made one.  Read More

The filter being treated with silver and CNTs (B,C), and SEM images of the cotton, silver ...

Yi Cui, an Assistant Professor of Material Science and Engineering at Stanford University, has invented quite the water filter. It’s inexpensive, is very resistant to clogging, and uses much less electricity than systems that require the water to be pumped through them. It also kills bacteria, as opposed to just trapping them, which is all that many existing systems do.  Read More

Schematic diagram of a thin film organic solar cell shows the top layer, a patterned, roug...

Research has already shown that at the nanoscale, chemistry is different and the same is apparently true for light, which Engineers at Stanford University say behaves differently at scales of around a nanometer. By creating solar cells thinner than the wavelengths of light the engineers say it is possible to trap the photons inside the solar cell for longer, increasing the chance they can get absorbed, thereby increasing the efficiency of the solar cell. In this way, they calculate that by properly configuring the thicknesses of several thin layers of films, an organic polymer thin film could absorb as much as 10 times more energy from sunlight than predicted by conventional theory.  Read More

'Optical cuffs' been used to stimulate muscle movements in mice (Photo: Rama)

In a study that could eventually restore movement to humans’ paralyzed limbs, researchers at California’s Stanford University have used light to induce muscle contractions in mice. A gene derived from algae was inserted into the mice, encoding a light-sensitive protein which adhered to their nerve cell surfaces. Scientists then placed an “optical cuff” lined with tiny, inwards-facing LEDs around the mice’s sciatic nerves. By penetrating those nerves with brief, high-intensity bursts of blue light, they were able to produce muscle contractions similar to those that would occur naturally. The technology is called “optogenetics.”  Read More

Stanford University's touch-sensitive artificial skin can detect the weight of a butterfly

It’s truly touching news... no sooner do we hear about the pressure-sensitive artificial skin created at UC Berkeley, than fellow Californians at Stanford University announce that they have also created such a material. While Berkeley’s skin relies on carbon nanotubes to detect pressure, however, Stanford’s skin utilizes a thin rubber sheet made up of tiny pyramids. It is reportedly so sensitive that it can “feel” the weight of a butterfly.  Read More

Paul Day and Alan Asbeck worked on adhesives for the feet of the gecko-like Stickybot (Ima...

The biology of a gecko’s foot that gives the lizard its remarkable climbing ability has been used by engineers at Stanford University to create a robot that can climb smooth surfaces including a wall of slick glass. With feet modeled on the intricate design of gecko toes, the Stickybot could lead to the development of robots that can scale vertical surfaces to access dangerous or hard to reach places.  Read More

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