It's hard to keep your footing in a steep tunnel made of loose dirt while others are scrambling around and over your body. Harder still in pitch blackness. That's why fire ants build tunnels that will catch them when they fall—a strategy human engineers might want to steal.
"Slips and missteps are likely a constant, recurring feature of life underground," says Nick Gravish, a graduate student in Daniel Goldman's rheology and biomechanics lab at Georgia Tech. Yet ants have to traverse their........ Read more »
Gravish, N., Monaenkova, D., Goodisman, M., & Goldman, D. (2013) Climbing, falling, and jamming during ant locomotion in confined environments. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1302428110
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers have developed a cradle and app for the iPhone that uses the phone’s built-in camera and processing power as a biosensor to detect toxins, proteins, bacteria, viruses and other molecules. Having such sensitive biosensing capabilities in the field could enable on-the-spot tracking of groundwater contamination, combine the phone’s GPS … Read More →... Read more »
Duke University engineers have developed a new safer method for catalytic hydrogen production. According to the authors of the study, it does not require high temperatures and produces smaller amounts of toxic chemicals than other industrial hydrogen production technologies.... Read more »
Shodiya, T., Schmidt, O., Peng, W., & Hotz, N. (2013) Novel nano-scale Au/α-Fe2O3 catalyst for the preferential oxidation of CO in biofuel reformate gas. Journal of Catalysis, 63-69. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcat.2012.12.027
A Science publications is one of the best ways to launch your career, especially if it is based on your undergraduate work, part of which you carried out with makeshift equipment in your dorm! That is the story of Thomas M.S. Chang, who in 1956 started experiments (partially carried out in his residence room in […]... Read more »
Pais, D., & Leonard, N. (2013) Adaptive network dynamics and evolution of leadership in collective migration. Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena. DOI: 10.1016/j.physd.2013.04.014
Today, I am passing through New York City on my way to Princeton’s Center for Computational Intractability for a workshop on Natural Algorithms and the Sciences (NA&S). The two day meeting will cover everything from molecular algorithms for learning and experiments on artificial cells to bounded rationality in decision-making and the effects of network topology […]... Read more »
Randy Olson reviews a research paper that shows us how bigger groups can make more accurate decisions.... Read more »
Wolf, M., Kurvers, R., Ward, A., Krause, S., & Krause, J. (2013) Accurate decisions in an uncertain world: collective cognition increases true positives while decreasing false positives. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 280(1756), 20122777-20122777. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2012.2777
The breakthrough technique that allowed scientists to obtain one-of-a-kind, colorful images of the myriad connections in the brain and nervous system is about to get a significant upgrade.... Read more »
Peter Reuell. (2013) ‘Brainbow,’ version 2.0. Harvard Gazette. info:/
For over twenty-three hundred years, at least since the publication of Euclid’s Elements, the conjecture and proof of new theorems has been the sine qua non of mathematics. The method of proof is at “the heart of mathematics, the royal road to creating analytical tools and catalyzing growth” (Rav, 1999; pg 6). Proofs are not […]... Read more »
Speculative fiction is the home of countless machines that fly in space, yet resemble humanoid lifeforms. Scientists are now working on the next generation of robots that will blaze a trail in space by going where humans simply can’t maneuver on their own. Like so many things in the field of space exploration, the descendents … Read More →... Read more »
Toralf Boge, & Ou Ma. (2011) Using Advanced Industrial Robotics for Spacecraft Rendezvous and Docking simulation. Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 1-4. DOI: 10.1109/ICRA.2011.5980583
A team of computer scientists in Spain applied a quantum PageRank algorithm to a network with 7 webpages. They found that the quantum PageRank sometimes ordered the webpages differently in terms of importance, but averaging the quantum PageRank score over time recovered the classical ordering.... Read more »
I spent last week at Web Science 2013 in Paris. And what a well spent time that was. Web Science was for sure the most diverse conference I have ever attended. One of the reasons for this diversity is that Webscience was collocated with CHI (Human-Computer-Interaction) and Hypertext. But most importantly, the community of Webscience …Read More... Read more »
Peter Kraker, Kris Jack, Christian Schlögl, Christoph Trattner, & Stefanie Lindstaedt. (2013) Head Start: Improving Academic Literature Search with Overview Visualizations based on Readership Statistics. Web Science 2013. info:/
A robot can struggle to discover objects in its surroundings when it relies on computer vision alone. But by taking advantage of all of the information available to it – an object’s location, size, shape and even whether it can be lifted – a robot can continually discover and refine its understanding of objects, say researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute.... Read more »
Byron Spice. (2013) More Than a Good Eye: Carnegie Mellon Robot Uses Arms, Location and More To Discover Objects. Carnegie Mellon University News. info:/
‘Superlattice’ structure could give a huge boost to oxygen reaction in fuel cells, increasing their power potential.
New research at MIT could dramatically improve the efficiency of fuel cells, which are considered a promising alternative to batteries for powering everything from electronic devices to cars and homes.... Read more »
David L. Chandler. (2013) Unleashing oxygen. MIT News. info:/
University of Utah metallurgists created a “recipe” to produce solar cell material in a microwave oven. Using this kitchen appliance, a nanocrystal semiconductor suitable for photovoltaic applications can be manufactured rapidly from cheap abundant and less toxic metals than other semiconductors.... Read more »
Sarswat, P., & Free, M. (2013) An investigation of rapidly synthesized Cu2ZnSnS4 nanocrystals. Journal of Crystal Growth, 87-94. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcrysgro.2013.03.022
A little over a year ago, a research team started to develop a vital part of a Finnish invention – an electric solar wind sail for interplanetary journeys. Now, a prototype has been successfully manufactured and tested.... Read more »
Anneli Waara. (2013) One step closer to solar wind-powered spacecraft. Uppsala University. info:/
A combination of graphene with other similar 2D crystals will allow to significantly increase the efficiency of solar cells and create the next generation of optoelectronic devices, scientists have revealed.... Read more »
Britnell, L., Ribeiro, R., Eckmann, A., Jalil, R., Belle, B., Mishchenko, A., Kim, Y., Gorbachev, R., Georgiou, T., Morozov, S.... (2013) Strong Light-Matter Interactions in Heterostructures of Atomically Thin Films. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1235547
Last week, my father sent me a link to the 100 top-ranked specialties in the sciences and social sciences. The Web of Knowledge report considered 10 broad areas of natural and social science, and for each one listed 10 research fronts that they consider as the key fields to watch in 2013 and are “hot [...]... Read more »
Rendell L, Boyd R, Cownden D, Enquist M, Eriksson K, Feldman MW, Fogarty L, Ghirlanda S, Lillicrap T, & Laland KN. (2010) Why copy others? Insights from the social learning strategies tournament. Science, 328(5975), 208-213. PMID: 20378813
Scientists from the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have developed a relatively cheap, long-life “flow” battery that can be used to mitigate power fluctuations from solar and wind energy plants, therefore enabling them to become major suppliers to the electrical grid.... Read more »
Yang, Y., Zheng, G., & Cui, Y. (2013) A membrane-free lithium/polysulfide semi-liquid battery for large-scale energy storage. Energy , 6(5), 1552. DOI: 10.1039/C3EE00072A
It took them more than 10 years, but Harvard engineers and scientists developed a tiny, bee-size robot that can fly on command. ... Read more »
Ma, K., Chirarattananon, P., Fuller, S., & Wood, R. (2013) Controlled Flight of a Biologically Inspired, Insect-Scale Robot. Science, 340(6132), 603-607. DOI: 10.1126/science.1231806
When we hear the word microwave, we immediately think about the heating device we have in our kitchen. But the word microwave just means waves with wavelengths from ranging from 1 meter to 1 millimeter (corresponding frequencies are 300MHz to 300 GHz). Microwave technology has been used in several engineering fields, and biomedical engineering is no exception. Microwave technology is used in the Radio Frequency components for MRI, but it also can be used as an imaging modality of its own. Microw........ Read more »
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