Biology, News, Science, Technology

Building houses with bacteria

Image via Eco-Cement.

Houses of the future might be built with bacteria – at least partially. It may sound like science fiction, but a Spanish company located in Madrid is working to make that a concrete reality. It all starts with a common type of soil bacterium being. Put it in some soil, provide it with nutrients, and keep the temperature steady at about 30…

Feature Post, Materials

At MIT’s self-assembly lab, materials turn to life

carbon_fiber

A highly fascinating and, surprisingly for some, practical new line of research is concerned with programmable materials; composites designed to become highly dynamic in form and function. When subjected to certain environmental ques, like temperature or pressure, these smart materials can morph and adapt to new conditions. MIT, for instance, is working with self-transforming carbon fiber, printed wood grain, custom textile…

News, Physics, Technology

Magnetic Mirror reflects Light like No Other. Opens new suit of Optical Applications

In Lewis Caroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871), the sequel to the classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice again enters a fantastical world, this time by climbing through a mirror into the world that she can see beyond it. Though far from Alice’s spectacular feat, scientists at the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico demonstrated a new…

Design, News, Technology

Developing smart cities: In the Spanish city of Santander, the walls will have ears

Image via Ear-It

Urban noise can be quite a nuisance, but it can also provide a lot of valuable information about the city’s needs. A first of its kind project in the city of Santander will check if this data can actually be used to improve the lives of citizens and develop a better, smarter city. “The EAR-IT project is an EU FP7 co-funded project…

Space, Technology

This App Turns Your Phone Into A Cosmic Ray Detector

This is an artist's conception showing cosmic rays hitting the Earth. When they reach the Earth's atmosphere, the rays trigger showers of particles called air showers. In this illustration, the air showers are the branching, broom-tail portion of the rays. Simon Swordy, U. Chicago, NASA.

With a simple phone app you can donate your idle phone time to science; and if researchers decide to use this data in a paper, you’ll also be credited as an author. The app is called Cosmic Rays Found in Smartphones, or CRAYFIS – and all you have to do is download it, it takes care of the rest. What it does…

Materials, News

New crystal might allow us to breathe Underwater

Professor Christine McKenzie (center in photo) and postdoc Jonas Sundberg. Credit: Image courtesy of University of Southern Denmark

Researchers from Denmark have synthesized crystalline materials that can bind and store oxygen in high concentrations, releasing them when needed. A single crystal about the size of a sponge can suck all the oxygen from a room. Naturally, there are many potential applications for this type of technology. The most obvious one would be breathing underwater or in outer space. We…

News, Renewable Energy, Technology

Near Perfect Solar absorbing Material developed at MIT

Cross section of the metallic dielectric photonic crystal. Image: MIT

Researchers at MIT report they’ve developed a novel material that can absorb almost all incoming wavelengths of light and convert the energy into heat. The radiated heat emitted by the material can then be collected by photovoltaics for later conversion into electricity. The material is cheap to make using currently available manufacturing processes, can absorb light indifferent of the incident…

Animals, Inventions, News

Mantis Shrimp Can See Cancer. Researchers have Invented a Camera that Does the Same

A mantis shrimp's compound eyes are 'superbly tuned' to detect polarised light. Image: Roy Caldwell

The Mantis Shrimp has some of the most amazing eyes in the animal kingdom. Researchers have shown that among others, it is able to detect a variety of cancers and visualize brain activity. Now, scientists from Queensland University have studied how the mantis shrimp’s eyes are superbly tuned to detect polarized light, and literally see cancers. Professor Justin Marshall, from the Queensland Brain…

News, Technology

Virgin Galactic wants to fly you from L.A. to Tokyo in one hour, through space

Branson at last night's event. Image: Vice.

We’ve written a lot about Richard Branson’s company, Virgin Galactic. After working on the first commercial spaceport and helping NASA fly into orbit, now, they want to revolutionize commercial air flights. Namely, they want to fly people from L.A. to Tokyo in no more than one hour, through space. The shuttle concept would be pretty similar to the company’s SpaceShipTwo. A large plane…

News, Technology

This 3D printed system can turn your iPhone in a 1,000x microscope

microscope_smartphone

Physicists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory used 3D printed materials and a simple glass bead to create a magnifying system that works with your smartphone’s or tablet’s built-in camera to magnify matter 100x, 350x or 1,000x. The whole system costs only 1$ to manufacture….