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E.g., 12/10/2017
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  • Science Ticker

    Nobel Prize–winning technique illuminates the fibers that set off battery fires

    Cryo-electron microscopy, an imaging technique that netted three scientists the 2017 Nobel Prize in chemistry, has provided the first atomic-level views of dendrites — whiskery lithium fibers that can spread through lithium-ion batteries, making them short-circuit and catch fire. Until now, scientists couldn’t examine dendrites so closely because the only technique for imaging battery...

    10/26/2017 - 14:00 Materials, Technology
  • News in Brief

    This is the lightest robot that can fly, swim and take off from water

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    A new insect-inspired tiny robot that can move between air and water is a lightweight.

    Weighing the same as about six grains of rice, it is the lightest robot that can fly, swim and launch itself from water, an international team of researchers reports October 25 in Science Robotics. The bot is about 1,000 times lighter than other previously developed aerial-aquatic...

    10/25/2017 - 16:05 Robotics, Technology, Physics
  • News

    Robotic docs can boost surgery time and cost

    When it comes to some operations, surgical robots may not be worth the extra time or money.

    Researchers compared patients who underwent traditional laparoscopy to have a kidney removed — surgery involving several small incisions rather than one large cut — with patients who received robot-assisted laparoscopies. Although the two groups had similar complication rates and hospital stay...

    10/24/2017 - 11:01 Health, Robotics, Technology
  • 50 years ago, engineers tried catching commercial planes in nets

    Net to halt runaway airliners

    A gigantic emergency arresting gear system, capable of stopping the largest four-engined jet aircraft without discomfort to passengers, is being developed for the French Ministry of Transportation. The system consists of a nylon net … which engages the aircraft for the full width of its wingspan. Net and airplane are brought to a slow stop by energy...

    10/19/2017 - 07:00 Technology
  • News

    The newest AlphaGo mastered the game with no human input

    AlphaGo just leveled up.

    The latest version of the computer program, dubbed AlphaGo Zero, is the first to master Go, a notoriously complex Chinese board game, without human guidance. Its predecessor — dubbed AlphaGo Lee when it became the first computer program with artificial intelligence, or AI, to defeat a human world champion Go player (SN Online: 3/15/16) — had to study millions of...

    10/18/2017 - 13:00 Computing, Technology
  • Editor's Note

    Conspiring with engineers helps make science great

    From what I can tell, there’s a fair amount of friendly rivalry between folks who call themselves “scientists” and those who call themselves “engineers.” Bill Nye, educated as a mechanical engineer, had to defend himself as the “Science Guy” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert earlier this year: “It’s physics, for four years, it’s physics,” he said. Dean of the Boston University College of...

    10/18/2017 - 12:30 Science & Society, Physics, Technology
  • News

    This stretchy implant could help kids avoid repeated open-heart surgeries

    A new stretchy prosthetic could reduce the number of surgeries that children with leaking heart valves must undergo.

    The device, a horseshoe-shaped implant that wraps around the base of a heart valve to keep it from leaking, is described online October 10 in Nature Biomedical Engineering. In adults, a rigid ring is used, but it can’t be implanted in children because it would constrict...

    10/17/2017 - 11:58 Technology, Biomedicine, Health
  • News in Brief

    Watch this cuttlefish-inspired ‘skin’ morph into a 3-D shape

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    Now you see it, now you don’t.

    Inspired by cephalopods like octopuses and cuttlefish, which change their skin textures for camouflage, researchers fabricated a stretchy material that inflates into various 3-D shapes and flattens back out. These shape-shifting “skins,” described in the Oct. 13 Science, could someday help robots don quick disguises.

    Scientists...

    10/12/2017 - 14:05 Technology, Materials
  • News

    Superbugs may meet their match in these nanoparticles

    Antibiotics may have a new teammate in the fight against drug-resistant infections.

    Researchers have engineered nanoparticles to produce chemicals that render bacteria more vulnerable to antibiotics. These quantum dots, described online October 4 in Science Advances, could help combat pathogens that have developed resistance to antibiotics (SN: 10/15/16, p. 11).

    “Various superbugs...

    10/09/2017 - 07:00 Technology, Biophysics
  • Teaser

    The rise of respectful robots

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    A new robot has the mobility of R2-D2 and the manners of C-3PO.

    This knee-high, self-driving bot abides by social protocols as it weaves through foot traffic: keep right, pass left, respect others’ personal space. The machine, presented at the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems in Vancouver on September 25, paves the way for robots...

    10/06/2017 - 07:00 Robotics, Technology