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Ultrasonic

Will the F1 be among the last of McLaren's cars to have windshield wipers? (Photo: McLaren...

Windshield wipers are life-savers, but also can drive one to distraction with their incessant streaking and chattering. Well, the tyranny of the wipers may soon be over. McLaren Automotive’s chief designer Frank Stephenson told The Sunday Times that the performance motoring company is investigating the use of "ultrasonic force fields" to replace windshield wipers in automobiles. While Stephenson referred to a military source for McLaren's tech, there appears to be very little public information on how such force fields might clean a windshield during a storm, so I'm taking a look at the patent history to see how this might be accomplished.  Read More

The Budgee Bot concept

With its Budgee Bot robot, Five Elements Robotics has created a machine that embodies what was presumably in Karel Čapek's mind when he originally applied the word robot to an artificial automaton. First brought to public attention in his 1920 play R.U.R. (short for Rossum's Universal Robots), the word robot was adapted from robota, meaning something akin to a slave laborer in his native Czech. And though Budgee Bot is not designed for a life confined to a factory (and appears unlikely to overthrow human society), it is designed to obediently follow you around, carrying your stuff.  Read More

The BIG UltraHaptics system hardware, showing the phased array ultrasonic emitter and its ...

Holodeck, anyone? Researchers at Bristol University are developing a system known as UltraHaptics that uses ultrasonic force fields to project the tactile sensations of objects in midair. Currently used for a haptic computer interface, the system might eventually enable touchable holograms.  Read More

Ultrasonic sensors could help detect air leaks on the ISS (Photo: NASA)

In space, no one can hear you scream, but you can hear an air leak. In old science fiction movies, air leaks on spaceships and stations reveal themselves as convenient holes to slap a patch on, but on the complex International Space Station (ISS), it isn't that simple. NASA is working on a new system for detecting the ultrasonic noise of an air leak quickly before it turns into a dangerous race against time.  Read More

A confetti-sized artificial kidney stone, with a sub-150-micrometer hole bored into it usi...

First of all, how can non-invasive surgery even be possible? After all, even in the case of minimally-invasive laparoscopic surgery, small incisions are still made in the skin. Nonetheless, that’s just what scientists from the University of Michigan are proposing. They believe that it could be achieved by using a beam of sound, which would be emitted through the skin to a highly-focused point within the body – and they’ve already created such a beam and used it.  Read More

LG's 'Anti-Mosquito' air conditioner uses ultrasonic waves to repel malaria-transmitting m...

While promising vaccines and genetically-engineered mosquitoes are providing hope in the fight against malaria, it currently remains a major and potentially life-threatening problem in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. These regions are also hot and sticky, making LG's introduction of an air conditioner that it claims actively repels mosquitoes as it keeps the house cool a seemingly obvious blending of technologies.  Read More

An Israeli zoologist plans on studying bat behavior by equipping captive-raised bats with ...

Given that most bats hang out (literally) in caves and other secretive places, and only fly at night, they’re not the easiest of creatures to study. Tel Aviv University zoologist Dr. Yossi Yovel, however, has a plan. He is currently establishing the world’s first bat colony to be born and raised in captivity. Although the resulting “roost” will be based out of a research facility, the bats will be free to come and go to hunt for insects in the surrounding environment. As they do so, some of them will be equipped with high-tech sensors designed to gather information on their behavior.  Read More

Dundee researchers have developed a device akin to Dr. Who's 'sonic screwdriver' (Image: O...

A University of Dundee research team led by Prof. Mike MacDonald has demonstrated that both levitation and twisting forces can be applied to an object by application of ultrasonic beams. This latest breakthrough is part of a wide-ranging U.K. research effort to develop a device not unlike the "sonic screwdriver" made famous by the TV series Doctor Who.  Read More

A new type of endoscope is said to be able to remove gallstones (pictured), reducing the n...

When someone has gallstones, treatment typically involves the removal of their gallbladder. This is usually done laparoscopically, in a procedure known as a cholecystectomy. A group of scientists from the Second People's Hospital of Panyu District and Central South University in China, however, have created an endoscope that they say is able to locate and remove gallstones while leaving the gallbladder intact.  Read More

Prof. Tim Leighton and Dr. Peter Birkin with their ultrasonic nozzle

In many industries, such as health care, food preparation and electronics manufacturing, cleanliness is of the utmost importance. It’s important enough that huge quantities of water are used – and left tainted – in order to remove contaminants. While some groups have concentrated on creating better cleansers, a team of scientists from the University of Southampton have taken a different approach. They’ve created an ultrasonic tap nozzle, that allows the water itself do a better job at cleaning. The better that a given amount of water is able to clean, the less of it that needs to be used.  Read More

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