In the future, we won't need rare-earth elements to make powerful computers. We can use poplar trees. Engineers in Israel have figured out how to use protein molecules from poplars to improve computer memory. The technique uses silica nanoparticles combined with poplar proteins, according to researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Carbon nanotubes could provide better stealth technology for submarines, helping them to "see" other undersea objects while remaining invisible to enemy subs. A report in ACS Nano Letters details a new application of a previously-known property of sheets of carbon nanotubes just a fraction of the width of a human hair that nonetheless can generate sound and cancel out noise far better than current sound-generating tech.
Some innovations in flight are huge; for instance, this week we've already seen concepts for a flying car and caught wind of the first fully-autonomous helicopter flight.
But other aviation innovations are as simple as a fresh coat of paint. An Israeli nanotech company is claiming that it has created a special paint that makes planes, missiles, drones, and other aircraft invisible to radar.
Researchers in Buffalo are bringing us a step closer to being controlled by machines. Or magnetized nanoparticles, at least: Heated magnetic nanoparticles targeted to cell membranes could control your behavior, according to a new paper in Nature Nanotechnology.
The researchers, led by University of Buffalo physics professor Arnd Pralle, used magnetic fields to activate neurons in a cell culture and steer the movement of nematode worms.
Whether wielded by Egyptian sun gods, Luke Skywalker, or your run of the mill solar-thermal power plant, light has the potential to do big things. Thanks to a breakthrough by UC Berkeley and the DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, we can now make light do very small things as well. Researchers there have created the first nano-sized light mill motor that can be manipulated in both speed and direction by tuning the frequency of the light waves that serve as its power source.
Scientists must really dread the dentist -- they're always coming up with new solutions to help people avoid that cursed drill. The latest: a hormone gel that regenerates tooth cells in as little as a month.
The gel, the first of its kind, could eliminate the need to fill cavities or drill into the root canal of an infected tooth, Discovery News reports. It is reported in the journal ACS Nano.
Scientists at MIT and Harvard have invented self-folding smart fiberglass sheets that can crease themselves into origami airplanes and boats.
It's a far cry from previous programmable matter research we've seen, which works at the nanoscale to create scaffolds and gears.
The world's tiniest chess board and a pea-sized barber shop are the winners of a microelectromechanical systems design contest at Sandia National Laboratories. The microbarbershop can cut a single hair, and the chess board -- about the diameter of four human hairs -- comes with a full set of minuscule chess pieces.
We use plastics to make everything from our computers to our toothbrushes, but a collaboration of researchers from the University of California at Irvine and the University of Shizuoka in Japan has made a big breakthrough by taking plastics to microscopic levels. Using plastic nanoparticles just 1/50,000th the width of a human hair, the team has created plastic antibodies that successfully function in the bloodstream of living animals to identify and fight a variety of antigens.
Nanowires inside a rat can convert the power of breathing and heartbeats into electricity, according to researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The nano-generator could conceivably lead to nano-scale medical implants and sensors powered by the body, Technology Review reports.