Articles

Australian researchers simulate a time-traveling photon

Lead author and PhD student Martin Ringbauer, from UQ’s School of Mathematics and Physics, said the study used photons – single particles of light – to simulate quantum particles travelling through time and study their behaviour, possibly revealing bizarre aspects of modern physics. “The question of time travel features at the interface between two of our most successful...

Study shows greater potential for solar power

Concentrating solar power (CSP) could supply a substantial amount of current energy demand, according to the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. In the Mediterranean region, for example, the study shows that a connected CSP system could provide 70-80% of current electricity demand, at no extra cost compared to gas-fired power plants. That percentage is similar to what a standard...

"Tell me Dave" robot learns simply by people talking to it

Many robots today are able to follow verbal instructions. However, the robot first has to be programmed with software code that allows it to respond to those instructions in some predetermined way, and that software must be added to every time the robot's task list is enhanced. Wouldn’t it be easier if we could just avoid all that messy fiddling about with software and talk to a...

Robots Get Flexible and Torqued Up With Origami Wheels

Origami, the art of folding pieces of paper to create shapes, is an appealing concept for robotics because you can transform two dimensional materials into three dimensional structures that are inherently flexible, or, as a roboticist would say, "deformable." What's more, structures that fold and unfold enable all kinds of interesting functionality that would otherwise only be...

New class of nanoparticle brings cheaper, lighter solar cells outdoors

Think those flat, glassy solar panels on your neighbour’s roof are the pinnacle of solar technology? Think again. Researchers in the University of Toronto’s Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering have designed and tested a new class of solar-sensitive nanoparticle that outshines the current state of the art employing this new class of technology. This...

Researchers Use Human Stem Cells to Create Light-Sensitive Retina in a Dish

Using a type of human stem cell, Johns Hopkins researchers say they have created a three-dimensional complement of human retinal tissue in the laboratory, which notably includes functioning photoreceptor cells capable of responding to light, the first step in the process of converting it into visual images. “We have basically created a miniature human retina in a dish that not only has the...

19-Year-Old's Ocean Cleanup Array Could Clean Half the Pacific Garbage Patch in 10 Years, Study Shows

Last year we reported on teenage inventor Boyan Slat’s plans to create an Ocean Cleanup Array that could remove 7,250,000 tons of plastic waste from the world’s oceans. His proposal for an anchored network of floating booms and processing platforms received a lot of criticism – but now, just over a year later, Boyan is back with the results of a year-long investigation that...

New computer program aims to teach itself everything about anything

In today’s digitally driven world, access to information appears limitless. But when you have something specific in mind that you don’t know, like the name of that niche kitchen tool you saw at a friend’s house, it can be surprisingly hard to sift through the volume of information online and know how to search for it. Or, the opposite problem can occur – we can look up...

Cut the Cord: Mobile Robots Deliver Electricity to Your Appliances

Having to plug things into wall outlets is a recurring irritation of modern life. There are never enough of them, they're never where you need them to be, and when you do plug into one, you end up with tangles of cords strewn all over the floor. Now Japanese researchers might have a solution, and it involves robots (of course). Their idea is to use autonomous mobile robots that deliver...

What would a warp-drive ship actually look like?

Artist Mark Rademaker has unveiled a set of concept images imagining what a spaceship capable of traveling to other stars in a matter of months would really look like. Although it may look like something from the next science fiction epic and is unlikely to lift off anytime soon, his IXS Enterprise design is actually based on some hard science. Interstellar travel is one of the most frustrating...

Turning mining wastewater into rainwater

The technology, called Virtual Curtain, was used to remove metal contaminants from wastewater at a Queensland mine and the equivalent of around 20 Olympic swimming pools of rainwater-quality water was safely discharged. Sludge is a semi-solid by-product of wastewater treatment and reducing the amount produced has huge environmental and economic benefits. “Our treatment produced only a...

Elon Musk takes Tesla Motors into open-source territory

From Tesla Motors: Yesterday, there was a wall of Tesla patents in the lobby of our Palo Alto headquarters. That is no longer the case. They have been removed, in the spirit of the open source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology. Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport. If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles,...

Power-storing wires could take the place of ordinary batteries in gadgets, electric cars

Imagine being able to carry all the juice you needed to power your MP3 player, smartphone and electric car in the fabric of your jacket? Sounds like science fiction, but it may become a reality thanks to breakthrough technology developed at a University of Central Florida research lab. So far electrical cables are used only to transmit electricity.  However, nanotechnology scientist and...