The brightest pinning pulsar has been found

ESA’s XMM-Newton has found the spinning remains of a once-massive star – a pulsar – that is a thousand times brighter than previously thought possible. The pulsar is also the most distant of its kind ever detected, with its light travelling 50 million light-years before being detected by XMM-Newton. Pulsars are spinning, magnetised neutron stars that sweep regular pulses of radiation in two symmetrical beams across the cosmos. If suitably…


Single flexible fiber delivers signals in the brain

A single flexible fiber no bigger than a human hair has successfully delivered a combination of optical, electrical, and chemical signals back and forth into the brain for the first time ever, putting into practice an idea first proposed two years ago. With some tweaking to further improve its biocompatibility, the new approach could provide a dramatically improved way to learn about the functions and interconnections of different brain regions….


Solar energy collecting windows in sight

The dream of windows that can efficiently collect solar energy has been brought one step closer to reality thanks to high tech silicon nanoparticles and the researchers at the University of Minnesota and University of Milano-Bicocca. The researchers developed technology to embed the silicon nanoparticles into what they call efficient luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs). These LSCs are the key element of windows that can efficiently collect solar energy. When light…


Mission Impossible self-destructing gadgets not so impossible

A new self-destruct mechanism can destroy electronics within 10 seconds through wireless commands or the triggering of certain sensors. Many government agencies and corporations would value such an extra layer of security for computing devices that might get lost or stolen. But past experiments with self-destructing electronics have either relied on new specialized chip designs or have taken far longer than 10 seconds. By comparison, the new self-destruct mechanism proposed…


UPS truck delivers drones into the sky

UPS has revealed that their plan for delivery drones is to build them right into trucks, and launch them at various points along their route. The delivery company ran an initial test on Monday, when it claims to have successfully launched a drone from the top of a truck, let it autonomously deliver a package, and then return to the truck at a different location. While that test might have been…


Surreal robo-artist soars over his canvas

When the artist Dragan Ilić realised he was no longer agile enough to create exactly what he wanted at the ages of 68, he wasn’t deterred. The Serbian artist makes massive abstract works using pencil and paint, filling whole rooms. “When I noticed I had got old and less able, I knew I needed a helper,” explains Ilić. “That helper turned out to be a robot.” By using an industrial…


Plan Bee for farmers with a pollination calculator app

If a farmer wanted to plant wildflowers to nurture the bumble bees that pollinate her crops, currently, she would have to walk through her fields, assess possible locations, take measurements, spend hours crunching costs and still only guess at the amount of bees and pollination the effort will generate. Soon, the farmer can do it all on her phone or computer with a mobile app that will calculate the crop productivity…


NASA discover possible dark matter tie in neighbor galaxy Andromeda

A signal at the center of the neighboring Andromeda galaxy that could indicate the presence of the mysterious stuff known as dark matter has been found by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. The gamma-ray signal is similar to one seen by Fermi at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy. Gamma rays are the highest-energy form of light, produced by the universe’s most energetic phenomena. They’re common in galaxies…


2017 to bring Microsoft’s second big Windows update

Back in August 2016 Microsoft first revealed it was planning two big Windows 10 updates in 2017, but the company never shared timing details for its second unnamed update. While the Creators Update, which is currently being tested by Windows Insiders, is expected to debut in April, it’s not clear when the second big Windows 10 update will be made available. During a recent session at Microsoft’s Ignite conference in…


Metamaterial achieves performance predicted by theoretical bounds

In 2015 Jonathan Berger, UC Santa Barbara mechanical engineer and materials scientist, developed an idea that could change the way people think about high-performance structural materials. Two years later, his concept is paying research dividends. In a letter published in the journal Nature, Berger, with UCSB materials and mechanical engineering professor Robert McMeeking and materials scientist Haydn N. G. Wadley from the University of Virginia, prove that the three-dimensional pyramid-and-cross…