Vein Printer

On-demand replacement body parts inched closer to reality with the announcement from San Diego biotech company Organovo that its organ “printer” had created the first artificial blood vessel made entirely from human cells, with no synthetic scaffolding. Instead of dispensing ink,...

Like Clockwork

In January 2012, the International Telecommunications Union will meet in Geneva, Switzerland, for a historic vote: Should the time of day be independent of the earth’s rotation? Since humans started keeping time, we’ve been doing it by the daily rotation and yearly revolution of...

Blood Substitutes

Earlier this month, a blood substitute called HBOC-201 made headlines when it saved an Australian woman’s life after a car crash. However, Jonathan Jahr, a professor of clinical anesthesiology at University of California, Los Angeles, says that synthetic blood has a long history: ...

Eye Chip

In the future, that twinkle in your loved one’s eye might be an implanted solar-powered pressure monitor. At the 2011 IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference in February, engineers from the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, described their work on a cubic-millimeter-size...

The Tide Turns

Capricious air currents and passing clouds may thwart wind and solar power, but the tides, governed by the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun, might prove a more dependable energy source. In certain spots, the tides have already proved a good source of electricity. La Rance Tidal...

CFL Costs

You buy a compact fluorescent lamp. The packaging says it will last for 6000 hours—about five years, if used for three hours a day. A year later, it burns out. Last year, IEEE Spectrum reported that some Europeans opposed legislation to phase out incandescent lighting. Rather than replace...

Smart Blocks

Wii-motes, Kinects, and multi-touch screens–the number of ways that gamers can control their games has certainly grown. Now, a set of smart blocks created by San Francisco start-up Sifteo, Inc., offers another way to play: by hand-arranging physical tiles, each with its own video...

Dead People Science ...

Some celebrities can’t escape the limelight, even when they’re six feet under. Whether it’s extracting their DNA, carbon dating their remains, or bombarding their hair with subatomic particles, scientists have pulled out all the stops to find and examine these historic...

Particle Accelerator...

Forget for a moment about the quest to build bigger high-energy particle accelerators. Last week, at the MEMS 2011 conference, in Cancun, Mexico, researchers instead explained their efforts to create a smaller one. Their chip-size cyclotron can guide argon ions with around 1.5 ...

Plastic Processor

Europeans announce the first organic microprocessor Take a bow, flexible chip. This week at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference, in San Francisco, European researchers will introduce the world’s first microprocessor made with organic semiconductors. The 4000-transistor, 8-bit...

Street Canyons

Cities may feel like the antithesis of the natural world, but they obey the same rules as do the most pristine patches of wilderness. Just like mountains and valleys, buildings and pavement create their own distinctive environments—and none so distinctive as urban street canyons, the...

Magnetic Logic Attra...

DARPA funds spintronic and nanomagnet research teams to create low-power nonvolatile logic The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants a new type of computer logic. It will rely on magnetism instead of electricity to do its job, and its developers say this difference...

Next-to-the-Best Tec...

These innovations just barely missed the cut for our Top 11 list DVDs Time to Eject The rise and fall of the optical disc This year Star Wars fans will have the chance to buy yet another version of the films, this time on high-definition Blu-ray. Although the new disc may shoulder aside...

Leaving the Lights o...

A tour through a center that tests CFLs, LEDs, and human health Jeremy Snyder: “You used to go into the hardware store or grocery store, your lightbulb at home is burnt out, so you just reach on the shelf and grab another one. And now the choices are getting slightly more...

Solar Sailing

Several solar sails are set for launch John F. Kennedy called space “this new ocean.” This year, we’re finally starting to sail on it. In May, Japan’s space agency launched a craft that steals momentum from energetic photons blowing off the sun for a free ride...

Engineers to Implant...

Vestibular prosthesis is a pacemaker for the inner ear Tomorrow, 21 October, a surgeon will attempt to fight debilitating vertigo by rewiring the body’s balance center. Jay Rubinstein, a surgeon and biomedical engineer at the University of Washington, in Seattle, will insert a...

Brain Beauty Contest

Computer modelers compete to show neurosurgeons the best path to the tumor Plotting the path to a brain tumor first requires a map. As part of next week’s VisWeek conference, the 2010 IEEE Visualization Contest pitted graphics teams from both industry and academia against one another to see...

Finding Subatomic Pa...

Using the world’s most powerful particle accelerators and sophisticated detectors, physicists are searching for traces of the Higgs boson, the particle that could help us understand how the universe got its mass. Fermilab’s Tevatron and CERN’s Large Hadron Collider are...

80beats: Did Earth’s...

Had compass-toting Boy Scouts existed around fifteen million years ago, they may have had a fun time making it through the forest. New geological research questions if the Earth’s magnetic field changed, at that time, at the remarkable pace of one degree per week, leading to a ...

80beats: How a Massi...

Our sun and a much bigger star that resides 10,000 light years away have something in common: the way they were born. Though scientists had previously wondered if stars 10 to 20 times the sun’s size required a different setup to grow, new observations show that both our sun and ...

Slow Burn

Since 1962, a coal fire has been raging beneath Centralia, Pennsylvania, and it may continue burning for centuries. When the very ground beneath your feet catches fire, how can you extinguish the blaze? Tourists drive for hours to Columbia County, hoping to find in a former mining town...

Reinventing the Whee...

Can MIT’s Green Wheel or Copenhagen Wheel reinvent the bicycle? Can they reinvent the city? Find out in a short documentary by Joe Calamia, Josh Feblowitz, Nidhi Subbaraman and Morgan Sherburne.  See...

You Are Not A Gadget

If you bought a Windows computer in the late 1990s, perhaps you remember the system’s preloaded music. Beethoven’s “Fifth Symphony,” Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto Number Three,” Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies”—Windows Media Player included them all, along...

Streetcars and Corpu...

In 1705, light was a particle. In 1805, light was a wave. In 1905, light was a particle. “I no longer doubt the reality of light quanta,” Albert Einstein wrote in a July 1918 letter to friend Michele Besso, “although I still stand quite alone in this conviction.” Given light’s...