After a half-century of relative inactivity in the U.S., bedbugs returned in the late 1990s. Nationwide, 95 percent of pest-control companies have treated an infestation in the past year. A decade ago, it was just 22 percent.
Plenty of people are designing robots inspired by nature’s designs, but most of them are rigid machines made of metal, plastic or polyester film. Fleet-footed robots or hoverbots are unable to bend and squish into tight spaces, but squirmy, agile ones like snakebots can’t move very fast.
A new soft-bodied silicone robot aims to change that, squirming into tight spaces with ease and covering great distances quickly, flipping out like a caterpillar under siege.
Fire ants might be infuriating little beasts, an invasive species we'd all be pleased to see banished to its native Brazil, but it turns out a fire ant colony has some pretty amazing properties. In groups, they knit together, more like a fabric than anything else, and are waterproof, totally flexible, and nearly indestructible. A mechanical engineer describes these groups as behaving like a thick liquid.
Flight researchers and computer scientists get all sorts of cool tools to study honeybees, hoping the insects can help point the way to better UAV flight patterns, solutions to computing problems and even environmental monitoring. But what about the bees?
Clean drinking water is arguably the most basic human necessity, yet in developing countries it’s a rare and precious resource — nearly 900 million people worldwide live without it, according to the World Health Organization. One MIT researcher has a solution: Drink the fog.
We pay close attention to the modifications scientists are making to goats, moths and worms so they can harvest their silk. Now researchers in Singapore are reporting a new advancement: dyed-in-the-worm silks, which look pretty and could have interesting medical applications.
In a prime example of trickle-down cyborg robotics, the remote-controlled rhinoceros beetle created (modified, really) by DARPA may soon be available in a DIY kit, using cockroaches instead of giant beetles. It could help you realize your dream of turning your cockroach friends into remote-controlled errand-roaches.
To combat malaria, why not skip the step of genetically altering mosquitoes and try some transgenic fungus instead? In a new study, researchers sprayed mosquitoes with a fungus that had been modified to deliver compounds that target the malaria parasite. They found the treatment could reduce disease transmission to humans by at least five-fold.
Over the last four years, 20 to 40 percent of the honeybee colonies in the U.S. have mysteriously collapsed. The killer has remained unknown--until now. A team of entomologists, along with military scientists from the Department of Homeland Security, have a new prime suspect (or rather, suspects), as shown in a new report on the science website PLoS One. A tag-team of a virus and a fungus show every sign of being the culprit. Now it's just a matter of eradicating that dastardly partnership.
The raising of livestock consumes two-thirds of the planet's farmland, and is a major source of greenhouse gases. Meanwhile, tons of edible, sustainable protein swarms all around us, free for the taking. In a new policy paper being considered by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Belgian entomologist Arnold van Huis makes the sensible recommendation that the western world eat more insects.
Scientists at the University of Arizona have successfully bred genetically modified mosquitoes that are 100 percent resistant to the malaria parasite, rendering the mosquito incapable of infecting humans with malaria.
Most architects design structures with the hope that bugs won't take up residence inside, but design house ARUP (the same architects who dreamed up Beijing's CCTV tower) is hoping all kinds of insects and spiders will check into its Bug Hotel, a special habitat designed to bring helpful insects into London parks.
Environmental monitoring has come a long way since the proverbial canary in the coal mine. Now we use bees.
Airports in Germany are using honeybees as "biodetectives," regularly testing their honey for a suite of pollutants, the New York Timesreports. This year's first tests were conducted in early June at Düsseldorf International Airport, and the bees got a clean bill of health. That means the air was clean, too.
The brain is a difficult place to wander around without a map. But while the human brain, with its billions of neurons, is far too vast a frontier for us to map using current means, researchers have been building a cell-by-cell detailed map of the neural pathways in the brains of fruit flies, shedding light on how the neurons in our own brains connect and function.
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.