architecture
MIT Confirms a Bridge Leonardo da Vinci Designed 500 Years Ago Was an Ancient Engineering Marvel

Some 500 years after his death, researchers are still discovering just how talented and brilliant Leonardo da Vinci was. Architects and civil engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology used a 3D printer to create a replica of a bridge da Vinci designed, but never built. To their surprise, not only did it work, but it would have also revolutionized bridge design five centuries ago. Read More >>

wildfires
A New Spray-On Gel Could Help Stop Wildfires Before They Start, Researchers Say

Every year around 10 million acres of the U.S. is seared by wildfires. The country spends more than $2 billion trying to fight them – a total that doesn’t even include the cost of lost property. Fighting wildfires is still mostly a reactive effort, something that happens after the fires have already ignited. But researchers at Stanford University have created a gel-like fluid that can make it much harder for fires to start or spread. Read More >>

drones
Flying Replacement Batteries Could Massively Boost a Drone’s Flight Time

Borrowing a trick from the Air Force, whose planes can complete long-range missions thanks to in-flight refueling from tanker aircraft, researchers at UC Berkeley showed off a novel way to keep small drones in the air almost indefinitely: flying replacement batteries that can be swapped without landing. Read More >>

batteries
New Research Promises Electric Car Batteries That Last For a Million Miles

Electric motors guzzle electricity, which can be especially hard on a rechargeable battery. The power cells used in electric vehicles, like Teslas, have an expected lifespan of around 300,000 to 500,000 miles, but a team of battery researchers believes it has come up with a recipe that can double that, leading to batteries that could potentially outlast the electric car itself. Read More >>

security
Researchers Think It’s a Good Idea to Secure Your Phone Using the One Thing You Perpetually Lose

Apple’s FaceID authentication system started moving smartphone users away from relying on fingerprints to secure their mobile devices, which are arguably less secure. But researchers think they’ve come up with an even better biometric tool for protecting a device that uses a part of the body that’s nearly impossible to spoof: a user’s ear canals. Read More >>

research
A New Approach to Electronic Fabrics Can Turn Your Clothing Into a Remote You’ll Never Lose

Losing the remote is less of a catastrophe these days with TVs that can be controlled using your phone or your voice, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement: Researchers at Purdue University have developed a way to turn any fabric into a simple electronic device, so your favourite sweatpants for binge-watching Netflix could also double as a wearable remote. Read More >>

science
Contact Lenses That Can Change Focus and Zoom When You Blink Move Closer to Reality

Believe it or not, contact lenses are still an option for those who wear glasses that accommodate multiple prescriptions, but because of the unique approach they take to remedying vision problems, it can sometimes take over a month to get used to using them. Researchers at the University of California San Diego have created a better alternative with a prototype contact lens that can automatically switch between focusing on near or far objects by detecting the wearer’s eye movements. Read More >>

drones
Watch This Flying Drone Shrink Like Ant-Man to Squeeze Through Small Spaces

We’ve come up with lots of unique ways to use drones – from scorching the earth to delivering food – but one of the most common is for reconnaissance or search and rescue missions where it’s unsafe for humans to venture. That can include the occasional cramped space where drones normally can’t fit, but a new design lets them temporarily shrink to squeeze through tight spaces. Read More >>

dogs
Remote Control Dogs Are Now a Reality Thanks to This Haptic Vest

You know how you instinctively reach for your pocket every time you feel your phone vibrating with a notification? Researchers at Ben-Gurion University in Israel have harnessed that same reflex to create what is essentially a remote control dog that receives silent commands and signals through a vibrating vest. Read More >>

robots
This Sad Robot Made From Random Twigs Has to Teach Itself to Get Around

Watching Boston Dynamics’ ATLAS robot backflip its way through a parkour course is impressive, but those seemingly effortless manoeuvres actually represent thousands of hours of unseen development and testing to perfect. While this robot made from random branches struggling to crawl across the floor is comparatively sad to watch, it represents the future of robotics as the bot learned those moves all by itself. Read More >>

research
A New Way to Erase Ink Lets You Reuse Printouts Without Recycling

Yes, it’s great that your office put a blue bin next to the copy machine so unwanted print outs don’t end up in the trash. But recycling paper still takes its toll on the environment, so researchers at Rutgers have come up with a new way to erase ink off a printed page, allowing it to be run through a printer again and again. Read More >>

gaming
Researchers Designed a Video Game That Changes on the Fly to Compensate For Lag

Be it from a bad controller, an over-taxed computer, or troubles with a network connection, lag – also known as latency – has been plaguing gamers for decades. Responsive controls are crucial for victory in any kind of game requiring quick reflexes, but researchers have come up with a novel way to eliminate lag. Instead of tweaking endless settings or upgrading hardware, the game itself automatically adjusts to give players a fair chance when increased latency reduces their odds of winning. Read More >>

phones
Without Wires or Bluetooth, This Case Lets You Add Buttons and Scroll Wheels to Your Smartphone

It won’t be long before smartphones ditch every last physical button, but is that necessarily a good thing? Fewer components in a device means more profit for manufacturers, but users are left having to learn awkward touchscreen gestures to compensate. Researchers at Columbia University are bringing back the button with a customizable smartphone case that works without the need for batteries, wires, or even a Bluetooth connection. Read More >>

photography
This Software Can Unwarp Your Friends’ Distorted Faces in Wide Angle Smartphone Photos

The wide-angle camera lenses that have become more prevalent in smartphones are great for capturing shots of large groups of people – assuming you’re not one of the people near the edges or corners of the photo whose face ends up getting unflatteringly warped. Computational photography researchers have come up with a solution that can automatically fix distorted faces, without affecting the rest of the photo. Read More >>

science
A New Hearing Aid Promises to Tune Out Distracting Voices By Reading the Wearer’s Brain Waves

You don’t notice it happening, but in a crowded, noisy room, your brain has the remarkable ability to effectively tune out all but the people you’re talking to. Trying to replicate this behaviour in gadgets like hearing aids has proven to be very difficult, but researchers might have finally found a solution by listening to not only sounds but also the wearer’s brain waves. Read More >>