engineering

The Sounds Around You Could Soon Charge Your Phone's Battery

Sitting in a noisy bar, caring for screaming children, or watching the ball game — all awful locations to make a phone call, but soon these scenarios could actually help charge the battery of your cell.


Why The Military Is Pinning Its Hopes On Google's Modular Phone

In its small red brick headquarters, Vanderbilt’s Institute for Software Integration Systems (ISIS) is working on a revolution in smartphone technology. It’s not better screens, or battery life, or anything for a major carrier. It’s a puzzle-piece phone that will (hopefully) change the way the military communicates.


Cheap Solid-State Batteries That Last Twice As Long As Li-Ion Are Coming

Most of our devices run (not for long enough) on lithium ion batteries. But there could be a new, old kid on the block — in the shape of a solid-state battery that can hold twice the charge as li-ion.


The World's Fastest Camera Can Capture Chemical Reactions In Action

If you thought high-speed photography was already advanced, think again: two universities in Japan have unveiled a new camera that’s 1000 times faster than the previous best — and it captures chemical reactions in a single shot.


These Smart, Bendable Bricks Could Build Truly Flexible Robots

These may look like Lego pieces, but don’t be deceived: the smart building blocks are made of flexible plastic and stuffed with fluidics channels and electronics, designed to build simple, adaptable robots in double-quick time.


New Li-On Material Survives 30 Times The Charges Of Current Batteries

Aside from capacity, the worst thing about batteries is that they degrade with time, holding less power with every charge. But now scientists have developed a lithium ion material that can endure 30 times as many charge cycles as current cells.


How Five Of The World's Coolest New Bridges Stay Upright

Last week, we looked at the Institution of Structural Engineers’ picks for the best structures of the year. But its annual Structural Awards also has a bridge-only category, the shortlist of which is a great survey of the state of the art in bridge design.


These Microshutters Will Power NASA's Telescopes Of The Future

You’re looking at the bleeding edge of space imaging. The wonderful pictures of our Universe, that we all love, are made possible by the likes of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope — and in the future, such devices will be driven by arrays of microshutters like these.


A New Pure Lithium Battery Could Double Your Phone's Life

Virtually all of your gadgets tote lithium ion batteries — but while they’re the best you can hope for at the moment, new engineering means that pure lithium batteries are now a possibility, and they could double the life of your phone.


Three Problems That Computers Will Never Be Able To Solve

Computers have advanced terrifically over the decades — but they’re not perfect. Here are three problems that, no matter how good they get, they will never be able to figure out.