research

Invention reuses radio signals to charge phones

Invention reuses radio signals to charge phones

Our mobile devices have indeed become faster and more powerful but their batteries are having a hard time catching up. The usual solutions involve bigger batteries or power banks or cases, both of which tack on bulk, weight, or inconvenience to otherwise slim smartphones. While we're still a far away from being able to almost magically charge our devices over the air, engineering researchers from Ohio State University have invented what could probably be the next best thing: a way to charge phones using otherwise wasted energy from radio signals.

Continue Reading

Disney turns 3D animation into a walking robot

Disney turns 3D animation into a walking robot

In the future, when you see your favorite characters walking around Disney World, they might not be actors inside thick, stuffy character suits, but could be automated robots, instead. The scientific arm of Disney has just created a new method of bringing its animated characters to life. A team of engineers from Disney Research in Pittsburgh and the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University have developed a bipedal, walking robot that moves just like specified 3D animation.

Continue Reading

A scientist’s mission: LED bulbs that don’t attract bugs

A scientist’s mission: LED bulbs that don’t attract bugs

You turn on the porch light to complement your relaxing evening outdoors, only to have the light serve as a beacon for every insect in the region. The same happens in the middle of the night when you've one light on and the window screen fills with bugs hoping to get inside because of it. That can be bothersome, but in the case of mosquitos and some other insects, it could also potentially be deadly if the little bugs bring diseases with them.

Continue Reading

Galapagos Islands’ Wolf Volcano erupts for first time in 33 years

Galapagos Islands’ Wolf Volcano erupts for first time in 33 years

Wolf Volcano erupts on one of the Galapagos Islands for the first time in 33 years, threatening very little life in the process. While you'll see quite a few headlines today suggesting that "Darwin's Island animals are about to die," in fact this particular eruption on Isla Isabela is doing more good than harm. As with all eruptions in recent decades, this entirely natural process will destroy vegetation and very few animals - and no humans - as molten lava runs down the edge of Wolf Volcano.

Continue Reading

This is the tech NASA will take to Jupiter’s ice moon

This is the tech NASA will take to Jupiter’s ice moon

NASA has announced the tech toys its Europa mission will be equipped with, a battery of gadgets to do scientific study with around Jupiter's moon. Nine instruments have been selected after NASA threw open its inbox to suggestions from the research community, in preparation for the $30m study that will hopefully see a solar-powered craft orbit Europa's icy surface for three years. Among the hardware will be instrumentation to figure out if the moon does indeed have huge underground oceans.

Continue Reading

11 chameleon species newly split from one

11 chameleon species newly split from one

Fooled in the past by color variations, scientists discover the truth about this one panther chameleon: it's actually 11 different species. Using high-resolution color photographs and blood samples from a cool 324 Furcifer pardalis (panther chameleon) individuals along Madagascar's Northern coast, a team of scientists lead by Djordje Grbic from the Laboratory of Artificial and Natural Evolution in the Department of Genetics and Evolution, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland, found that variations were such that one species must split into 11. Upon questioning, these chameleon brethren had no comment on their likely shared ancestry.

Continue Reading

Did stowaway gas foul Curiosity’s Mars methane findings?

Did stowaway gas foul Curiosity’s Mars methane findings?

NASA's Curiosity rover has sparked an unexpected argument over methane on Mars, as operators attempt to figure out whether the gas is local or imported. The existence of methane on the red planet could be a strong indicator either of biological life or even just lingering geological activity, hence scientists' collective interest in whether it's present or not. However, while Curiosity seems to have spotted the gas, there are some who think it itself is responsible for it.

Continue Reading

Tiny VelociRoACH robot smashes speed record

Tiny VelociRoACH robot smashes speed record

Odds are you had no idea that there was a speed record for tiny robots, but there is. A group of robotics researchers from UC Berkley recently smashed that speed record with their tiny robot dubbed the X2-VelociRoACH. This little robot is so fast that if you aren’t careful you will miss the little machine as it tears by you. X2 is able to run at 4.9 meters per second and weighs in at 54 grams.

Continue Reading

Mind-controlled bionic prosthetic legs unveiled by Ossur

Mind-controlled bionic prosthetic legs unveiled by Ossur

A company called Ossur based in Iceland creates some of the most advanced bionic lower limb prosthetic devices available. The lower leg prosthetic devices that the company builds have the ability to sense the phase of the gait of the user and smoothly power the artificial ankle joint to get the foot in the proper alignment for a natural stride. Recently the company announced a new breakthrough in prosthetics that make the lower limb even more natural and lifelike when walking.

Continue Reading

Audi makes synthetic diesel again, this time from plants

Audi makes synthetic diesel again, this time from plants

Car makers are on a quest to develop more sustainable and more environment friendly sources of power for the cars of the future. Some have, at least for the time being, resorted to using electricity instead of conventional fuel. However, even electricity has its own eco footprint. And some car makers haven't entirely given up on the advantages of fuel. That is why companies like Audi are also investing in research and development that will produce fuel using nothing but carbon dioxide or, in this case, plants.

Continue Reading