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Lifts of the Future Will Move Sideways Without a Single Cable

One of the biggest engineering challenges of building a towering skyscraper isn’t keeping the structure from falling over, it’s moving all the people around inside of it. To improve efficiency, and facilitate the construction of even taller buildings, Germany’s ThyssenKrupp has completely redesigned lifts so that they can move sideways now, too. Read More >>

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Guy Builds a Self-Powered Driving Potato That Turns Out to Be a Better Pet Than a Cat

We’ve all seen the grade school science experiment where sticking a couple of electrodes into a potato produces enough current to power a small light bulb. But engineer Marek Baczynski took that experiment several steps further, building what could be the world’s first autonomous potato—and the ultimate housepet. Read More >>

robots
Rock-Balancing Robots Could Build Our Future Habitats On Mars

Like maintaining a zen garden, or pruning a bonsai tree, some people stack and balance rocks as a way to relax. But robots don’t really experience emotional stress, so why bother teaching a bot to balance rocks? One day, this robot’s skills could prove invaluable when it comes to building structures on distant worlds we’re trying to colonise. Read More >>

science
Lunar Colonists May Make Bricks From Moon Dust and Sunlight

Scientists with the European Space Agency have shown that it’s possible to make durable bricks using simulated Moon dust and concentrated sunlight. A similar approach may eventually allow lunar colonists to 3D-print their own habitats and structures using materials found on the Moon. Read More >>

3d printing
3D-Printing Tools from Martian Dust Will One Day Help Us Colonise Mars

One of the many challenges of colonising Mars is that the planet is lacking many of the natural resources we rely on here on Earth. We’ll need to bring as much of what we need to survive as possible, but you can only pack so much into a spaceship. So scientists are developing ways to utilise at least one of the red planet’s most abundant resources: dust. Read More >>

science
The Reason Trains Have Angled Wheels Is Incredibly Clever

The next time a subway car or commuter train rolls into the station, try to sneak a quick peek at its large metal wheels. You’ll notice that instead of being perfect cylinders, they’re actually angled. It’s a deliberate and clever design choice that allows your train to roll around corners without flying off the tracks. Read More >>

science
Drones Built Like Squishy Bugs Won’t Break When They Crash

Like death and taxes, drone crashes are basically inevitable. Even experienced pilots aren’t immune to hardware failures or software problems. But instead of building drones stronger, or wrapping them in awkward safety cages, Swiss researchers have designed a flexible quadcopter that squishes when it crashes, minimising the damage it takes. Read More >>

smartphones
Smartphone Notifications Should Consider Your Mood, Says Study

Engineers looking into better ways to deliver smartphone notifications have established that people's attitudes to notifications change depending on where they are, what they're doing, and how they're feeling – suggesting smartphones should be, well, smarter at delivering the right pings at the right time. Read More >>

science
Your Teeth Are Helping Scientists Build Better Airplanes

You might not think that the teeth in your mouth have much in common with the massive fangs you’ll find in a T-rex skull. But at the microscopic level, the core structure of tooth enamel hasn’t changed much over the ages. So, scientists are once again copying a tried-and-true Mother Nature design to potentially improve the strength and safety of airplanes. Read More >>

vending machines
Clever Teen Turns His Locker Into a Soda Machine

Most high school students struggle to write a passable essay on Catcher in the Rye, but Blake Hawkins has more than earned his high school diploma — and some spending money on the side — by turning an unused locker into a fully-functional soda can vending machine. Read More >>

science
This UV-Light Controlled Adhesive Could Help Ordinary Humans Become Spiderman

In the future, we’re all going to be Spiderman. At least, those of us who can afford super-sticky light-controlled wall-climbing spider boots. Read More >>

medicine
This Human-Powered Paper Centrifuge Is Pure Genius

Inspired by an ancient toy, researchers from Stanford University have developed an ingenious hand-spun paper centrifuge. Incredibly, the device costs just 20 cents (17 pence)—and it can be used to detect malaria in blood in just 15 minutes. Read More >>

animals
Bizarrely Hacked Animals to Star in Warped Nature Exhibition

A rat specially bred in Finland to display a preference for alcohol is one of the stars of a science and nature exhibition that's just got under way in London today, with the Making Nature show wanting to encourage us to see animals as something more than disease spreaders or potential sausages. Read More >>

science
Chernobyl’s Gigantic Radiation Shield Is Now Being Moved Into Place

A giant metal shield designed to contain radioactive waste at Chernobyl’s damaged nuclear reactor is being moved into place. Read More >>