Articles

Swarm of Tiny 'Minibuilder' Robots Can 3D Print Giant Buildings On-Site

Although the advent of 3D printing is blazing trails in the world of design, the requirement for 3D printers to be larger than the objects they produce presents a major constraint - particularly in architecture. However an innovative new project called Minibuilders is poised to push past that limitation and revolutionize the construction industry. Developed by researchers at the Institute for...

3D-printed composite is lighter than wood and stiffer than concrete

In wind farms across North America and Europe, sleek turbines equipped with state-of-the-art technology convert wind energy into electric power. But tucked inside the blades of these feats of modern engineering is a decidedly low-tech core material: balsa wood. Like other manufactured products that use sandwich panel construction to achieve a combination of light weight and strength, turbine...

USC Scientists Create New Battery That’s Cheap, Clean, Rechargeable… and Organic

Scientists at USC have developed a water-based organic battery that is long lasting, built from cheap, eco-friendly components. The new battery – which uses no metals or toxic materials – is intended for use in power plants, where it can make the energy grid more resilient and efficient by creating a large-scale means to store energy for use as needed. “The batteries last for...

New Device Allows Brain To Bypass Spinal Cord, Move Paralyzed Limbs

For the first time ever, a paralyzed man can move his fingers and hand with his own thoughts thanks to an innovative partnership between The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Battelle. Ian Burkhart, a 23-year-old quadriplegic from Dublin, Ohio, is the first patient to use Neurobridge, an electronic neural bypass for spinal cord injuries that reconnects the brain directly to...

NASA Aeronautics Makes Strides to Bring Back Supersonic Passenger Travel

The return of supersonic passenger travel may be coming closer to reality thanks to NASA’s efforts to define a new standard for low sonic booms. Several NASA aeronautics researchers will present their work in Atlanta this week at Aviation 2014, an annual event of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. They will share with the global aviation community the progress they are...

New ultrastiff, ultralight material developed

What’s the difference between the Eiffel Tower and the Washington Monument? Both structures soar to impressive heights, and each was the world’s tallest building when completed. But the Washington Monument is a massive stone structure, while the Eiffel Tower achieves similar strength using a lattice of steel beams and struts that is mostly open air, gaining its strength from the...

Mobile Solar Filter System Removes Microorganisms and Pollutants

Hydraulic engineer Andrea Schäfer and photovoltaics expert Bryce Richards have developed a solar filtration system to produce high-quality drinking water from polluted brackish water and tested it successfully in Tanzania. The test results are currently being analyzed at the KIT. The filter effectively separates undesired substances, bacteria, and viruses. Fluoride concentration that often...

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...