Scientists at the University of Michigan have created an air-powered microprocessor that is able to function without an electrical power source. It runs with just pneumatic valves and a handpump that pushes air through the system. The end result is a CPU that could eventually be used in a lab-on-a-chip device aimed at developing countries where electricity is scarce.
Scientists have developed a gel that helps brains recover from traumatic injuries. It has the potential to treat head injuries suffered in combat, car accidents, falls, or gunshot wounds. Developed by Dr. Ning Zhang at Clemson University in South Carolina, the gel is injected in liquid form at the site of injury and stimulates the growth of stem cells there.
Physics nerds and sci-fi geeks just about everywhere agree: lasers are cool. But cool enough to drop the temperature of a gas by 119 degrees in a matter of seconds? German researchers say so, having made advances on ideas reaching back 30 years but never successfully executed. Bombarding high-pressure gas with a laser, the scientists were able to create a significant cooling effect, shaving the aforementioned 119 degrees from the gas almost instantly by pushing electrons into higher orbit.
How exactly does one build an earthquake-proof building? If you answered "make sure the structure rocks completely off its foundation," you're actually in good company. A research team led by Stanford and the University of Illinois successfully tested a structural system that holds a building together through a magnitude-seven earthquake, and even pulls it back upright on its foundation when the quaking stops. The key: embracing the shaking, by limiting the damage to a few flexible, replaceable areas within the building's frame.
Most people don't think too much about bovine hurt when they chow down on a Big Mac or Whopper. But for those with moral pangs, scientists say genetic engineering might provide a solution, by creating pain-free animals that can satiate the human appetite without suffering.
Those chemical handwarmers you stuff in your gloves during ski season usually solve just one problem: frosty digits. But the sodium acetate used to generate that heat is a far better problem solver than you might think; researchers in Bristol, U.K., have created a "hot ice" computer that utilizes the chemical compound to solve mazes and tackle various other computing problems.
This simulator goes far beyond the olden days of the board game "Operation." Last month, for the first time, neurosurgeons rehearsed on a 3-D model of a patient's brain just hours before removing a brain tumor for real.
Los Angelenos have recently watched billowing clouds from a nearby wildfire hover overhead, in scenes reminiscent of "Volcano." NASA's Terra satellite took the opportunity to snap a photo of the smoke monster on the night of August 30. Red outlines in the photo indicate wildfire hotspots.