Monday, February 25, 2013 - 10:05
While the phenomenon of superconductivity — in which some materials lose all resistance to electric currents at extremely low temperatures — has been known for more than a century, the temperature at which it occurs has remained too low for any practical applications. The discovery of “high-temperature” superconductors in the 1980s — materials that could lose resistance at temperatures of up to negative 140 degrees Celsius — led to speculation that a surge of new discoveries might quickly lead to room-temperature superconductors. Despite intense research, these materials have remained poorly understood.
Monday, February 25, 2013 - 09:56
Many commercial robotic arms perform what roboticists call “pick and place” tasks: The arm picks up an object in one location and places it in another. Usually, the objects — say, automobile components along an assembly line — are positioned so that the arm can easily grasp them; the appendage that does the grasping may even be tailored to the objects’ shape.
Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 15:45
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a way to melt or “weld” specific portions of polymers by embedding aligned nanoparticles within the materials. Their technique, which melts fibers along a chosen direction within a material, may lead to stronger, more resilient nanofibers and materials.
Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 13:37
Researchers at Brown University have developed a robotic bat wing that is providing valuable new information about dynamics of flapping flight in real bats.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - 12:35
It took only a few years for high-definition televisions to make the transition from high-priced novelty to ubiquitous commodity — and they now seem to be heading for obsolescence just as quickly. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, several manufacturers debuted new ultrahigh-definition, or UHD, models (also known as 4K or Quad HD) with four times the resolution of today’s HD TVs.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 14:46
Understanding exactly how droplets and bubbles stick to surfaces — everything from dew on blades of grass to the water droplets that form on condensing coils after steam drives a turbine in a power plant — is a “100-year-old problem” that has eluded experimental answers, says MIT’s Kripa Varanasi. Furthermore, it’s a question with implications for everything from how to improve power-plant efficiency to how to reduce fogging on windshields.