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Scientists create artificial catalysts inspired by living enzymes

Molecular models (stock image). Credit: © shotsstudio / Adobe Stock All living organisms depend on enzymes -- molecules that speed up biochemical reactions that are essential for life. Scientists have spent decades trying to create artificial enzymes capable of cranking out important chemicals and fuels at an industrial scale with performance rivaling their natural counterparts.…

How can robots land like birds?

Parrot on hand (stock image). Credit: © prakhob_khonchen / Adobe Stock Under the watchful eyes of five high-speed cameras, a small, pale-blue bird named Gary waits for the signal to fly. Diana Chin, a graduate student at Stanford University and Gary's trainer, points her finger to a perch about 20 inches away. The catch here…

Researchers develop improved method for studying tsunami risk to bridges, buildings,...

Tsunami Hazard Zone sign (stock image). Credit: © ssmalomuzh / Adobe Stock Researchers at Oregon State University are paving the way toward greater safety for coastal residents and infrastructure by developing a better means of modeling the destructive force of tsunami waves. Rare but potentially devastating, tsunamis can cause huge damage to coastal infrastructure, with…

Scurrying roaches help researchers steady staggering robots

Cockroach (stock image). Credit: © vitali_chesnokov / Adobe Stock Ew, a cockroach! But it zips off before the swatter appears. Now, researchers have leveraged the bug's superb scurrying skills to create a cleverly simple method to assess and improve locomotion in robots. Normally, tedious modeling of mechanics, electronics, and information science is required to understand…

Robots need a new philosophy to get a grip

Robotic arm (stock image). Credit: © Nay / Adobe Stock Robots need to know the reason why they are doing a job if they are to effectively and safely work alongside people in the near future. In simple terms, this means machines need to understand motivethe way humans do, and not just perform tasks blindly,…

First-ever successful mind-controlled robotic arm without brain implants

Cursor on computer screen (stock image). Credit: © Mihai Simonia / Adobe Stock A team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, in collaboration with the University of Minnesota, has made a breakthrough in the field of noninvasive robotic device control. Using a noninvasive brain-computer interface (BCI), researchers have developed the first-ever successful mind-controlled robotic arm…

Beyond 1 and 0: Engineers boost potential for creating successor to...

Binary data concept. Credit: © gonin / Adobe Stock Computers and similar electronic devices have gotten faster and smaller over the decades as computer-chip makers have learned how to shrink individual transistors, the tiny electrical switches that convey digital information. Scientists' pursuit of the smallest possible transistor has allowed more of them to be packed…

Why are gels elastic?

Toothpaste on brush. Credit: © cristovao31 / Adobe Stock From the toothpaste you squeeze on your brush first thing in the morning to the yogurt you slurp down to the fabric softener that keeps your pajamas cozy and soft, gels are ubiquitous in consumer products, foods, and in industrial applications, too. However, until now, scientists…

Smallest pixels ever created could light up color-changing buildings

Pixels (stock illustration). Credit: © kinako / Adobe Stock The smallest pixels yet created -- a million times smaller than those in smartphones, made by trapping particles of light under tiny rocks of gold -- could be used for new types of large-scale flexible displays, big enough to cover entire buildings. The colour pixels, developed…

New state of matter: Elements can be solid and liquid at...

Potassium chemical symbol (stock image). Credit: © Aleksander / Adobe Stock Scientists have discovered a new state of physical matter in which atoms can exist as both solid and liquid simultaneously. Applying high pressures and temperatures to potassium -- a simple metal -- creates a state in which most of the element's atoms form a…

Fracking: Earthquakes are triggered well beyond fluid injection zones

USGS map highlights earthquake risk zones. Blue boxes indicate areas of high activity of human-caused earthquake due to deep bore fluid injection. Credit: USGS Using data from field experiments and modeling of ground faults, researchers at Tufts University have discovered that the practice of subsurface fluid injection used in 'fracking' and wastewater disposal for oil…

New technique could pave the way for simple color tuning of...

The top row is a GaN:Eu LED, which can be tuned from red-yellow due to red and green light mixing from different Eu states. The middle and bottom rows are of a GaN:Eu LED with additionally added Si/Mg, which adds blue emission. Each picture is under a different current injection/filtering condition. Credit: West Chester University…

Unmanned aircraft delivered kidney for transplant

In a first-ever advancement in human medicine and aviation technology, a University of Maryland unmanned aircraft delivered a donor kidney to surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore for successful transplantation into a patient with kidney failure. Credit: University of Maryland Medical Center/University of Maryland School of Medicine In a first-ever advancement…

Unmanned aircraft delivered kidney for transplant

In a first-ever advancement in human medicine and aviation technology, a University of Maryland unmanned aircraft delivered a donor kidney to surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore for successful transplantation into a patient with kidney failure. Credit: University of Maryland Medical Center/University of Maryland School of Medicine In a first-ever advancement…

Chemical engineers replicate feed, fight and flight responses in catalytic chemical...

The enzyme-coated sheet generates an inward flow which pulls in fleeing, self-propelled particles (yellow spheres). Within the sheet or crab, the catalase-coated nodes are marked in green, and the heavier nodes at the apexes are indicated in black. Credit: Abhrajit Laskar/Anna Balazs Collaboration and competition are basic instincts among biological species, from the simplest single-celled…

Artificial mother-of-pearl created using bacteria

This abalone shell is a natural form of nacre -- also known as mother-of-pearl -- an exceptionally tough material found in shells and pearls. Rochester biologists have developed an innovative method for creating nacre in the lab -- and maybe on the moon. Credit: University of Rochester photo / J. Adam Fenster The strongest synthetic…

Engineers make injectable tissues a reality

Doctoral student Mohamed Gamal uses a newly developed cell encapsulation device. Credit: Nathan Skolski, UBC Okanagan A simple injection that can help regrow damaged tissue has long been the dream of physicians and patients alike. A new study from researchers at UBC Okanagan moves that dream closer to reality with a device that makes encapsulating…

Snake-inspired robot slithers even better than predecessor

The robot is made using kirigami -- a Japanese paper craft that relies on cuts to change the properties of a material. As the robot stretches, the kirigami surface "pops up" into a 3D-textured surface, which grips the ground just like snake skin. Credit: Harvard SEAS Bad news for ophiophobes: Researchers from the Harvard John…

Photonics: The curious case of the disappearing cylinders

(a) Light with a wavelength of 700 nm traveling from bottom to top is distorted when the radius of the cylinder (in the middle) is 175 nm. (b) There is hardly any distortion when the cylinder has a radius of 195 nm. These images correspond to the conditions for invisibility predicted by the theoretical calculation.…

Using the physics of airflows to locate gaseous leaks more quickly...

This robot can out the source of an ethanol leak in a clever way. Rather than just following the strongest scent, the robot plugs measurements of concentration and airflow into a complex partial differential equation and then decides where the most useful position to take another measurement is. By repeating this process, it can find…

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