1. illustration of microneedle patch
    Health & Medicine

    A patch studded with tiny needles may help heart attack survivors recover

    A bandage that sticks to the surface of the heart exudes proteins and other molecules that help muscle cells grow.

  2. an aerial image of a volcanic ash cloud from Sarychev Peak in Russia

    A new algorithm could help protect planes from damaging volcanic ash

    A computer program that tracks the temperature and height of clouds in the atmosphere could keep planes away from volcanic ash.

  3. an illustration of the new aircraft

    A new airplane uses charged molecules, not propellers or turbines, to fly

    A small aircraft prototype is powered by ionic wind flowing in one direction and pushing the plane in the other.

  4. person holding phone illustrated with twitter notifications

    How Twitter bots get people to spread fake news

    Automated bot accounts on Twitter help spread misinformation by strategically encouraging people to make it go viral.

  5. yeast cell

    Mini ‘solar panels’ help yeast shine at churning out drug ingredients

    Microbes equipped with light-harvesting semiconductor particles generate useful chemicals much more efficiently than ordinary microbes.

  6. Environment

    Car tires and brake pads produce harmful microplastics

    Scientists surveyed tiny airborne plastics near German highways and found that bits of tires, brake pads and asphalt make up most of the particles.

  7. aluminum-air battery

    These fragile, futuristic batteries run longer with a little oil

    A redesign for batteries that use aluminum and oxygen could help these inexpensive, lightweight power cells last longer.

  8. cartwheel videoframes

    Virtual avatars learned cartwheels and other stunts from videos of people

    A new computer system that lets animated characters learn acrobatic skills from videos could be a cheaper alternative to traditional motion capture.

  9. Science & Society

    Screen time to heal, and perhaps to harm

    Editor in Chief Nancy Shute reflects on the advances in virtual reality technology and how much time we spend on our computers and smartphones.

  10. vanadium atoms

    Vanadium dioxide’s weird phase transition just got weirder

    When shifting from one crystalline structure to another, the atoms inside vanadium dioxide bumble around a lot more than expected.

  11. illustration of virtual reality fears

    Virtual reality therapy has real-life benefits for some mental disorders

    Cheap, user-friendly virtual reality hardware could help VR therapy go mainstream. Some treatments are ready for primetime, while others are still in early testing.

  12. shapeshifting robot

    A new robot decides how and when to transform to get the job done

    A bot made of smaller robotic pieces autonomously changes its shape to trundle across flat ground, squeeze into tight spaces or climb stairs.