It’s amazing what you can learn with a high-frame-rate X-ray camera, a cup of beef broth, and a Portuguese water dog. For instance, we knew that dogs are obnoxious drinkers, but we didn’t realize that rather than scooping liquids into their mouths with the undersides of their tongues, they actually tap a trick of fluid mechanics--just as cats do--to pull columns of water from the water bowl into their mouths.
Dogs are smart, and they possess both instinctual and physical abilities to recognize and negotiate obstacles that in many cases surpass the abilities of humans. They are also easily distracted and not always the best at evaluating a situation and making decisions based on shifting circumstances. So researchers at Auburn University have created a new system that lets handlers to guide dogs remotely through a software system that translates commands into auditory and tactile stimuli.
For every 300 Muscovites, there's a stray dog wandering the streets of Russia's capital. And according to Andrei Poyarkov, a researcher at the A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, the fierce pressure of urban living has driven the dogs to evolve wolf-like traits, increased intelligence, and even the ability to navigate the subway.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.