Technological innovation

  • World's first flying car debuts

    Massachusetts-based Terrafugia flight-tests its Terrafugia Transition, the world’s first proper flying car (or “roadable aircraft” as the company prefers to call it)

  • Killing mosquitoes dead with laser

    They used to tell us that rather than kill mosquitoes, we should dry up the swamp; forget that: a new handheld laser can locate individual mosquitoes and kill them one by one

  • New method for detecting explosives

    American and Danish researchers discover method to detect explosives based on physical properties of vapors

  • European Commission calls for single EU patent

    EC says that the absence of a single Europe-wide patent law is hindering the growth of technology companies in the European Union

  • Inventors: Reforming U.S. patent bill will have a chilling effect on innovation

    There are those who argue that the current U.S. patent and copyright laws have a chilling effect on innovation and creativity; then there are those who argue that effort to reform these laws and limit damages U.S. inventors can claim from infringing companies will stifle innovation and creativity; the debate continues

  • Dedicated band for medical devices

    Making medical records digital, and transmitting medical information among doctors, pharmacies, and insurance companies, would save a lot of money and avoid many medical mistakes; the same with allowing patients to stay at home and have the medical equipment they rely upon monitored and activated from afar; trouble is, such digital system is susceptible to network congestion and hacking

  • Regulate armed robots before it's too late

    Unmanned machines now carry out more and more military and police missions; soon these robots will be allowed to make autonomous life-and-death decisions: when to shoot — and at whom; a philosopher argues that we should be more mindful of the ethical implications of this trend

  • New design allows for using less steel in concrete beams

    NC State researchers discover how to use 30 percent less reinforcing steel in the manufacture of the concrete beams; the success of the project is already drawing interest from the concrete industry

  • New anti-crime approach: vigilant windows

    Windows are coated with special polymer which contains nanoparticles that convert light into fluorescent radiation; this radiation is channeled to the edges of the window where it is detected by sensors; when a person approaches the window, the sensors wirelessly relay this currency information to a computer program, which alerts security officials of the potential intruder

  • Beads behavior may help in avalanche prediction

    Scientists blame the seeming impossibility of predicting the next big avalanche or earthquake on the inherent unpredictability of complex systems; a unique experiment, however, suggests that this idea may be wrong

  • New reactor design solves waste, weapon proliferation problems

    A new nuclear reactor design — called Traveling-Wave reactor — is noteworthy for three things: it comes from a privately funded research company, not the government; it would run on what is now waste, thus reducing dramatically the nuclear waste and weapon proliferation problems; and it could theoretically run for a couple of hundred years without refueling

  • Economists: copyright and patent laws killing innovation, hurting economy

    Two Washington University researchers argue that innovation is key to reviving the economy; trouble is, the current patent/copyright system discourages and prevents inventions from entering the marketplace

  • Economists: Markets outperform patents in promoting intellectual discovery

    Researchers say that the problem with patents is that they give the prize to the winner only; whoever comes in second or third walks away empty-handed; allowing people to benefit even if they only tackle a part of a problem might well lead to more collaboration, and to the faster development of an ultimate solution to the whole problem

  • DARPA, U.S. Army looking for social computing technology

    Here is the Pentagonese for social network technology: “new technologies to rapidly create theoretically-informed, data-driven models of complex human, social, cultural, and behavioral dynamics that are instantiated in near-realtime simulations”

  • Researchers develop plutonium which is good for power but not for weapons

    Israeli researcher finds that adding the rare-earth isotope Americium-241 in due proportion during reprocessing “declaws” plutonium, making suitable for power generation but not for weapons