It's Almost Impossible To Tell This Butterfly Is Actually a Robot

The butterfly is one of nature's most graceful creations, but with upgrades from Festo, this robotic doppleganger is better equipped to navigate large spaces. It might flap and flutter like the real thing, but this butterfly is 100 percent artificial—although the branding on the wings probably gave that away. » 3/27/15 4:10pm Friday 4:10pm

A Re-Introduced Bill May Unlock Published Scientific Knowledge

Promising public access legislation FASTR (Fair Access to Science & Technology Research Act) has been re-introduced by a bipartisan coalition in Congress. Lawmakers now have an important opportunity to strengthen and expand rules that allow taxpayers to freely read articles resulting from research their tax dollars… » 3/26/15 5:30am 3/26/15 5:30am

GM Is Developing Smarter Headlights That Will Follow a Driver's Gaze

There are already cars on the road with intelligent headlights that can sweep left or right to improve visibility as a vehicle steers into a turn. But Opel/Vauxhall, a European subsidiary of GM, are developing next-generation headlight systems that can keep track of where a driver's looking, and automatically… » 3/25/15 2:30pm 3/25/15 2:30pm

Swallowing This Capsule Lets Doctors Keep Tabs On Gas in Your Gut

A build up of intestinal gases isn't just an etiquette problem — it's also linked to conditions like irritable bowl syndrome. So researchers have created a swallowable capsule packed with sensors that's able to measure the concentration of gases inside a patient, and wirelessly relay that info back to a smartphone app. » 3/18/15 5:25pm 3/18/15 5:25pm

Most Americans Aren't Protecting Themselves Against Surveillance

As we inch up on the two-year anniversary of the Snowden leaks, it's important to think about how the Earth-shattering revelations about America's intelligence-gathering have affected Americans. We're all using Tor and DuckDuckGo and PGP and protecting ourselves against surveillance now, right? LOL, no. » 3/16/15 3:30pm 3/16/15 3:30pm

Americans Fear a Biblical Apocalypse far More than Brits

Market research company YouGov wanted to know how people in the U.S. and the U.K. expected the world to end. What they found revealed a profound difference between the two countries. » 3/11/15 2:20pm 3/11/15 2:20pm

Google Researchers Are Ranking Web Pages By Facts Not Links

Internet searches may be based on algorithmic rigour—but that doesn't necessarily guarantee the quality of a suggested page. Now, a team of Google researchers has developed a method that sorts results by factual content rather than how well linked a page is. » 3/02/15 7:00am 3/02/15 7:00am

Tiny Robot Grippers Dissolve Away in Your Body Once Their Job Is Done

As robots get small enough to easily swim around inside the human body, they'll soon be used to perform medical procedures all from within a patient. And researchers at Johns Hopkins University are making such an idea even more plausible with the development of tiny robotic grippers that will actually dissolve away… » 2/24/15 11:35am 2/24/15 11:35am

Electron Microscopes Can Reveal Filed-Off Serial Numbers

To make it difficult for law enforcement to trace stolen cars or weapons, thieves will usually grind off their metal vehicle identification numbers or serial numbers. And while techniques for trying to recover those numbers do exist, they're not as accurate as a new method developed by researchers at the National… » 2/23/15 2:30pm 2/23/15 2:30pm

A (Mostly) Scientific Guide to Pot and the Munchies

Everybody knows it: Weed makes you hungry. Smoking a bowl sends you searching for snacks. Hitting a spliff leaves you craving all kinds of candy. Ripping a bong gives you the munchies. We don't know why. Science is getting close though, especially after this week. » 2/20/15 4:20pm 2/20/15 4:20pm

Pinchable Headphone Cords That Control Your Music Are a Brilliant Idea

The limits of battery life means that dealing with cords and cables—instead of going completely wireless—is still our reality for at least a few more years. So researchers at MIT figure we should just start using them to our advantage as smart remotes and controllers, instead of just a means to transfer power and data. » 2/20/15 9:47am 2/20/15 9:47am

Color-Changing Rubber Sheets Show Areas of Extreme Stress When Stretched

Researchers at Japan's National Institute for Materials Science—or NIMS for short—have taken some inspiration from insects like beetles and butterflies to create a stretchable rubber-like material that changes color under stress. As the material is stretched, it moves through a spectrum of shimmering colors that can… » 2/12/15 11:25am 2/12/15 11:25am

"Spot" Is a Smaller (More Kickable) Version of Boston Dynamic's Big Dog

We haven't seen much of Boston Dynamic's four-legged self-balancing Big Dog robot since it was last spotted hurling cinder blocks in a lab. And that's maybe because the company's robotic geniuses have been hard at work building a smaller more agile version called Spot that weighs just 160 pounds so it can safely… » 2/09/15 3:30pm 2/09/15 3:30pm

Deep Web Search Engine Memex Fights Crime a Bit Like Minority Report

Exactly one year ago, DARPA announced a characteristically scifi-inspired mission: to create a search engine that could find things on the deep web that Google's crawlers would miss. The so-called Memex project is now well underway, and for the first time we're getting a look at the crime-fighting search engine in… » 2/09/15 12:40pm 2/09/15 12:40pm

Even Our Balloon Animals Will Soon Be Made By Robots

DARPA's ATLAS is an impressive feat of robotics engineering, but despite representing the bleeding edge of automatons, it's slow and clumsy when it comes to doing anything on its own. A better way to make a robot as skilled as a human is to simply put a human in complete control of it, manipulating it remotely like a… » 2/06/15 6:15pm 2/06/15 6:15pm

MIT's Well On Its Way To Perfecting Auto-Zipping Zippers

Sneaker freaks have their fingers crossed that Nike will be able to deliver power laces in time for when Back to the Future II predicted we'd all be wearing them. But what about the rest of our clothing? Who wants to be bothered zipping up a jacket when your shoes automatically lace themselves? So Adam Whiton and… » 2/06/15 4:21pm 2/06/15 4:21pm

Obama's Precision Medicine Plan Sounds Great—Unless It's an IT Nightmare

After teasing a "Precision Medicine Initiative" in his State of the Union address, President Obama today released the details of his $215 million plan: A massive database containing the genetic profiles and health records of at least a million volunteers. Genetics sequencing! Big data! These all sound like good… » 1/30/15 3:25pm 1/30/15 3:25pm

How Research Scientists Get Free Illegal Drugs from the Government 

On an obscure webpage that looks like it's been barely updated in the last decade there's a link to download a PDF with the unassuming name of "NDSP Catalog." Click it and you'll find pretty much every drug you can dream up: meth, cocaine, heroin, MDMA—nearly 800 compounds in all. Welcome to the scientist's stash of… » 1/28/15 1:05pm 1/28/15 1:05pm

Inflatable Stickies Make Building Robots as Easy as Arts and Crafts

In recent years, taking a simpler approach to science and engineering has paid off handsomely in certain fields. It's part of the reason there are now rovers exploring Mars, and many feel it will be the easiest way to make robots more commonplace. After all, what could be a simpler way to build an automaton than with… » 1/28/15 9:25am 1/28/15 9:25am

Batteries Made With Bulletproof Kevlar Fibers May Never Explode

One of the most common reasons that batteries explode and catch fire—like on Boeing's 787 Dreamliner—is because over time small conductive pathways grow inside the battery's inner structure that eventually cause it to short out with disastrous results. But Nicholas Kotov, a professor at the University of Michigan, and… » 1/27/15 8:15am 1/27/15 8:15am