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University of Warwick

— Space

VLT dead star observations provide a glimpse at the fate of our Solar System

A team of researchers from the UK's University of Warwick has used data collected by the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) to study a distant white dwarf. The data, which was collected over a period of 12 years, provides a rare, detailed look at the star remnant interacting with a disk of material – thought to be the remains of an asteroid. The research has the potential to answer questions about the eventual fate of our own Solar System.

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— Medical

Biomarker discovery points to blood test for osteoarthritis

While blood tests are used to rule out other forms of arthritis, the diagnosis of osteoarthritis (OA) generally relies on physical symptoms, with X-rays or MRI scans used for conformation if required. But researchers at the University of Warwick in the UK have identified a biomarker for OA that could lead to a blood test that could diagnose it, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), years before physical symptoms present themselves. Read More
— Science

Cod inspire potentially life-saving cold storage tech for human blood

How is it possible that cold-blooded fish such as cod can live in Arctic waters without just freezing solid? As it turns out, they've got proteins in their bloodstream that act as a sort of antifreeze. British scientists have now copied the fashion in which those proteins work, to create a process by which donated human blood could be frozen for storage, then quickly made available for transfusion. Read More
— Science

Modifier protein could increase crop yields, even in poor conditions

Researchers have discovered a new way to increase plant growth by suppressing the natural response to environmental stress. The scientists have found a modifier protein that can be used to interfere with the plant's growth repression proteins independently of the previously identified hormone Gibberellin. They believe this will lead to higher crop yields, even in unfavorable conditions. Read More
— Science

First vodka-powered text message sent

A molecular messaging system capable of transmitting data over several meters has been built using off-the-shelf materials costing around US$100 and some vodka. The system mimics chemical signalling seen in nature and has potential applications for communications in environments not compatible with conventional wireless technologies, such as underwater, in tunnels and pipelines, as well as at the nano scale and within the body. Read More
— Inventors and Remarkable People Feature

"For Special Services" – on James Bond's creator, his closeness to the CIA, and the real spy gadgets he inspired

It's one of the most memorable moments in perhaps the best James Bond film, From Russia with Love: SPECTRE agent Rosa Klebb, posing as a hotel maid, drops her gun, and appears to be at a disadvantage as she goes toe to toe with Sean Connery's imposing Bond. That is until she deploys her iconic poison-tipped dagger shoes, which have gone on to be copied in other notable action films … and Wild Wild West. But as kitsch as Klebb's cleaver clogs might seem, the CIA attempted to replicate them, and another classic Bond gadget, in real life, according to research by Dr. Christopher Moran of Warwick University. At the heart of the story is the close friendship of Bond author and Ian Fleming and former CIA Director Allen Dulles. Gizmag spoke to Moran about 20th century Intelligence, and its peculiar relationship with the fictional British spy … Read More
— Marine

Students set sights on human-powered submarine speed record

Students at the University of Warwick have announced their intention to build a human-powered submarine to compete at that highlight of the human-powered submarine events calendar, the European International Submarine Races in 2014. The team of engineering students hopes that their vessel, already named HPS Shakespeare, will beat the current speed record for a single-seat human-powered sub. Read More

New research explains why Facebook posts are so memorable

The success of social networks such as Facebook may provide clues to the type of information the human mind tends to favor. New research suggests human memory prefers spontaneous writing favored by users communicating online to grammatically polished text found in edited material. This the gist of the findings presented in a paper called Major Memory for Microblogs, which details the results of a research comparing memory retention of Facebook updates to book excerpts and faces. Read More
— 3D Printing

“Carbomorph” material to enable 3D printing of custom personal electronics

Researchers at the University of Warwick have created a cheap plastic composite that can be used even with low-end 3D printers, to produce custom-made electronic devices. The material, nicknamed "carbomorph," is both conductive and piezoresistive, meaning that both electronic tracks and touch-sensitive areas can now be easily embedded in 3D-printed objects without the need for complex procedures or expensive materials. Read More