2014 Paris Motor Show highlights

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The prize-winning techniques have removed the theoretical limits of optical microscopes (P...

Ever since Antonie van Leeuwenhoek turned his simple microscope on a bit of pond water in the 17th century, optical microscopes have been a key tool for biologists. Unfortunately, they’re rather limited as to the smallness of what they can see – or at least, they were. This year's winners of the Nobel Laureates in Chemistry, Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell and William E. Moerner, changed all that. Their discovery of two methods to bypass the physical limits of optical microscopes led to the creation of the field of nanomicroscopy.  Read More

Like a scene out of Star Wars, French drone enthusiasts raced their vehicles through the f...

Here's one for Star Wars diehards. A group of drone pilots have taken their vehicles to a dense forest in the French Alps, weaving in and out of trees in a spectacle that paid homage to the high-stakes pod races of Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.  Read More

The Divine DS made its debut in September, before hitting the Paris Motor Show floor

Among all of the exciting cars on the floor at the Paris Motor Show, some of the best came from French manufacturers making the most of their home-ground advantage. Citroën used its stand to display a luxurious concept of what its future flagship could look like. Safe to say, the future looks bright.  Read More

The Droppi dispenses treats and toys to pets, at preset times

Going to work is always a little hard when you have a furry friend at home, who will spend hours on their own. You leave them toys but they may go ignored. Treats are wolfed down before you pass through the front door. For the rest of the time until you come back home, all your friend can do is sleep their loneliness away. But … what if you could keep them busy and entertained during your absence? That's what inspired the design of the Droppi, a new treat- and toy-dispensing gadget for pet owners who worry about their best friends' emotional well-being.  Read More

A USAF F-16D banking over NASA's Dryden facility during testing in 2009 (Photo: NASA, Jim ...

The United States Air Force (USAF) has announced that it is in the process of fitting out its fleet of F-16 fighters with a NASA-developed system that has the potential to save hundreds of lives and billions of dollars by preventing aircraft crashes due to pilot error. The Automatic Ground-Collision Avoidance System (Auto-GCAS) will essentially work by detecting incoming terrain and triggering an autopilot maneuver, safely diverting the plane and its pilot out of harm's way.  Read More

The ZestDesk is a portable desktop computer and keyboard stand

Standing desks are all the rage at the moment. Hot on the heels of Refold's portable cardboard standing desk is the ZestDesk. Like the Refold desk, the ZestDesk responds to workforce health and mobility trends. Unlike the Refold desk, though, the ZestDesk isn't actually a desk.  Read More

Omron has unveiled a ping-pong playing robot

Earlier in the year, Kuka Robotics made a big fuss about its ping-pong playing robot facing up against professional player Timo Boll. Sadly, the promised match turned out to be just an advert and the robot wasn't as capable as had been made out. While Japanese firm Omron has been quick to point out that its new robot ping-pong-player is by no means capable of taking on and beating even a semi-skilled human opponent, it is capable of entering into long rallies with human players.  Read More

Tianjin's new Riverside 66 building is 350 m (1,150 ft) long and has a huge curved glass f...

When undertaking any major project, it's important to have the courage of your convictions. Judging by its part in the redevelopment plan for China's Tianjin river banks, this is something of which architects firm Kohn Pedersen Fox is not short. Riverside 66 is a breathtaking glazed megastructure.  Read More

Research conducted at the East Tennessee Sate University suggests that brain-computer inte...

By enabling users to communicate and control devices with their thoughts, brain-computer interfaces (BCI) hold almost a scary amount of potential. While they have achieved feats such as directing the flight of a quadcopter and helping victims of paralysis to communicate, sufferers of brainstem stroke with "locked-in" syndrome have so far been beyond reach. But now, a researcher at East Tennessee Sate University (ETSU) has demonstrated BCIs may in fact give brainstem stroke patients a voice again, with very specific brainwaves serving as a typing finger for a virtual keyboard.  Read More

Carnegie Mellon's snake robot – now better able to ascend sandy slopes (Photo: CMU)

If a robot is looking for victims at a disaster site, or even exploring another planet, then it certainly better not get stuck in the sand. That may now be a little less likely to happen, as scientists recently studied one of the best sand-travelers in the animal kingdom – the sidewinder rattlesnake. After they analyzed its movement patterns and applied them to an existing snake-inspired robot, that robot was better able climb up sandy inclines.  Read More

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