Applied Physics

My wife bought me a “selfie-stick” (sometimes called Wand of Narcissus), which is ironic since I so rarely actually take selfies. But, once I took a look at its simplicity of design, I couldn’t leave well enough alone and decided to create the “Super Selfie-Stick.”

At first I tried attaching a camera mount on the end of a golf ball retriever.

Spider-Man's breakfasts must be unreal levels of eggs. warriorpoet

By Mark Lorch, University of Hull

While stuck in a hotel room I got sucked into watching the 2002 "Spider-Man" movie. And it struck me that Peter Parker must have an enormously high-protein diet to generate all that spider silk he goes through. So being the geek that I am, I wondered what his protein consumption has to be to sustain his villain-beating lifestyle.

Glass looks like it is solid but telling a materials engineer that glass is a solid is like telling an aerospace engineer Bernoulli is why planes fly (or Newton, for that matter - whichever you say, they will argue the opposite).

Glass flows - but slowly. The question is does it ever really stop flowing? Researchers at the University of Bristol and Kyoto University used computer simulation and information theory to try and settle this long-standing bar bet in the physics community.

First, the premise: We know glass flows at high heat because we have all seen glass blowers shape swans and such. Once the glass has cooled down to room temperature though, it has become solid and we can pour wine in it or make window panes out of it.
Splash form tektites are tiny shards of natural glass created from spinning drops of molten rock flung from the earth during an extra-terrestrial impact, such as when the earth is hit by asteroids or comets.

They come in many shapes, from dumbbells to doughnuts, and how the shapes are formed has been the subject of scientific investigation for centuries.  Until now, the shapes of rapidly spinning, highly deformed droplets have been derived entirely from numerical simulations.

Using magnetic levitation to imitate weightlessness, researchers have manufactured solid wax models of these shapes.  It is hoped this new experimental technique can be used to better reproduce and understand tektite formation.

Acoustic levitation has been done in the past but it required a precise setup where the sound source and reflector were at fixed "resonant" distances. This made controlling the levitating objects difficult and isn't really proof-of-concept for anything practical.

Now a team of researchers have developed a new device that can levitate polystyrene particles by reflecting sound waves from a source above off a concave reflector below  - with more control than any instrument created before. Changing the orientation of the reflector allows the hovering particle to be moved around. 

We don't often think of snakes as flying creatures - a lack of wings does not lend itself to flying imagery - but some snakes can glide as far as 100 feet through the air, jumping off tree branches and rotating their ribs to flatten their bodies and move from side to side.

New research from a George Washington University professor investigates the workings behind the flight and whether they can be applied to mechanical issues.

Asteroidea Electrica, first prize winner by Adrianus Indrat Aria. Cambridge University, CC BY

By Allan McRobie, University of Cambridge

Researchers at the University of Guanajuato (UGTO), in middle Mexico, developed an extraction column which recovers metals companies use in their production processes; and thus avoid environmental pollution and lessen economic losses.

Using the principles of liquid-liquid technology, researchers have developed an extraction column which recovers metals companies use in their production processes and avoids both environmental pollution and lessen economic losses.

The technology is already at laboratory prototype stage and the creators are in the process of obtaining a patent. 

Credit: University of Guanajuato/Investigación y Desarrollo  
Metamaterials have long held promise for extraordinary properties when it comes to diverting and controlling waves, especially sound and light: for instance, at the right optical frequency, they can make an object invisible, or increase the resolving power of a lens.

A new project has created three-dimensional metamaterials by combining physico-chemical formulation and microfluidics technology, making soft metamaterials that are easier to shape. In their experiment, the researchers got ultrasonic oscillations to move backwards while the energy carried by the wave moved forwards.

Computers don't really boot up any faster than they have in decades and that is due to limitations in electric currents (and ignoring the bloated software rolled out after every new chip), which are also a significant power drain.

The solution may be on the horizon. A team has created a room-temperature magnetoelectric memory device, equivalent to one computer bit, that could lead to next-generation nonvolatile memory: magnetic switchability, in two steps, with nothing but an electric field. When data can be encoded without current - for example, by an electric field applied across an insulator - it requires much less energy and that means low-power, instant-on computing is a reality.