3 in 10 think future tech will make life ‘worse,’ survey finds
A recent survey in the US found that most people are optimistic that coming technology and science advances will improve their lives, but a significant number believe such changes will make their lives worse. That’s one of the findings from a national survey by the Pew Research Center and... Read more
Five ‘out-there’ energy technologies
Modern society would grind to a very unpleasant halt without energy … we all know that. Outside of the “usual suspects,” though — oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear, solar, wind and hydro — are there any other energy sources we can turn to? It turns out there are options.... Read more
Imagine all the things you could do with a smartphone app that lets you peek inside objects without opening them. Security guards could find weapons hidden in pillows or stuffed toys. Health-conscious shoppers could see how much fat is in that chicken breast that’s on sale. And curious kids... Read more
Could your smartphone one day soothe you after detecting that you, say, had a bad day at the office? Smartphones with emotional intelligence might not be as far-fetched as they sound, according to engineers at the University of Rochester. They’ve developed a computer program that is able to gauge... Read more
Researchers in the UK hope to use common flowers to not only remove poisons from soil but produce perfectly sized nanoparticles for catalytic converters, cancer treatments and other uses. The £3 million project, “Cleaning Land for Wealth,” will test the ability of plants like Alyssum to remove arsenic, platinum... Read more
What familiar product that you probably have in a drawer at home could enable a new, high-tech way to collect water samples for environmental testing? The humble but useful and sticky cellophane tape. (Technically, it’s cellulose-acetate tape and is sometimes called “Scotch” tape, though that’s a trademarked name that... Read more
A new Smarter Energy Research Institute aims to help energy and utility companies improve their services through faster innovation, predictive analytics and better integration of renewables into the power grid. IBM, the company behind the institute, says the organization is meant to offer a “new industrial research collaboration model”... Read more
Breakthrough research on materials that are “invisible” to electrons could lead better thermoelectric devices that can generate electricity from temperature differences. Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) began with a look at recent advances in visual “cloaking,” which can make light beams bend around an object and... Read more
Sensors made with carbon nanotubes — ultra-small sheets of carbon atoms rolled into cylinders — are great for detecting harmful gases in the atmosphere. The problem, though, is that making such sensors requires using a solvent like dichlorobenzene, in a process that can be both hazardous and unreliable. Chemists... Read more
It’s strong, versatile and — after water — the world’s most widely used material. But concrete also comes with two major downsides: it’s a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions (anywhere from 8 to 15 percent of carbon dioxide emissions) and it’s near-impossible to efficiently recycle. Solve the... Read more