Technology & Engineering

Technology and Engineering bridge the gap between what the mind can imagine and what the laws of nature allow. While scientists seek to discover what is not yet known, engineers apply fundamental science to design and develop new devices and systems—technology—to solve societal problems. Technological and engineering innovations then return the favor by affecting human—as well as other animal species'—the ability to control and adapt to their natural environments.

Image modeling for biomedical organs

Professor Jessica Zhang discusses the interdisciplinary nature of the Bioengineered Organs Imitative and how her research in mechanical engineering can contribute to the initiative.

Cracked particles in lithium-ion batteries

A multi-institute team of researchers has developed the most comprehensive view yet of lithium-ion battery electrodes, where most damage typically occurs from charging them repeatedly

New ice-shedding coating for large surfaces

A spray-on coating developed by University of Michigan researchers causes ice to fall away from large surfaces with just the force of a light breeze, or often from the weight of the ice itself

A new periodic table classifies droplet motions

Scientists have created a periodic table of droplet motions, inspired in part by parallels between the symmetries of atomic orbitals, which determine elements' positions on the classic periodic table, and the energies that determine droplet shapes

Delaying ice-frost formation using phase-switching liquids

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Engineering have described for the first time several unique properties of materials known as phase-switching liquids, or PSLs, that hold promise as next-generation anti-icing materials

ROV Jason dives deep

ROV Jason is Woods Hole's state of the art Remotely Operated Vehicle. Supported by the National Science Foundation and equipped with sonars, video and still imaging systems and sampling capabilities, Jason can investigate the deep ocean and seafloor.

First smartphone app that can hear ear infections in children

With funding from the National Science Foundation's Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), researchers at the University of Washington have created a new smartphone app that can detect fluid behind the eardrum by simply using a piece of paper

NSF Science Now: Episode 64

In this week's episode, we examine barnacles and the wealth of information they hold; explore our brains and perception; and, finally, we test pseudo-LiDAR for self-driving cars. Check it out!

How to test for fake drugs

A new product, developed at the University of California, Riverside, could make access to detection technology a viable and inexpensive reality for these areas

Developable mechanisms bring science fiction to life

National Science Foundation-funded mechanical engineers at Brigham Young University have brought science fiction to life with a new technology, called developable mechanisms, that allows them to build complex mechanisms into the exterior of a structure without sacrificing space

NSF Science Now: Episode 63

In this week's episode, we learn about developable mechanisms that reside in curved surfaces of structures; explore wrist bone motion using 3D technology; and, finally, examine Adelie penguins' past and future. Check it out!

Using frequency combs to search for planets

The hunt for Earth-like planets, and perhaps extraterrestrial life, just got more precise, thanks to record-setting starlight measurements made possible by a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) "astrocomb"

Women's History Makers: Carmiña Londoño

Women are making history today and every day at the National Science Foundation. NSF proudly recognizes its very own women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, advancing science and providing a beacon of light for youth and adults alike.

Women's History Makers: Talitha Washington

Women are making history today and every day at the National Science Foundation. NSF proudly recognizes its very own women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, advancing science and providing a beacon of light for youth and adults alike.

A new kind of thinking cap

A team led by Worcester Polytechnic Institute, with a $1-million grant from the National Science Foundation, is working to develop a system to help researchers better understand brain activity in an online tutoring environment that supports mathematics learning

NSF Science Now: Episode 62

In this week's episode, we explore 3D technology to look inside capillaries; learn about a new species of dinosaur with a heart-shaped tail; and, finally, we examine a new kind of thinking cap for online learning

Maine tends growing STEM collaborative

The Maine Center for Research in STEM Education, or RiSE Center, at the University of Maine connects with educators statewide, at all levels, to advance innovative and engaging hands-on teaching and learning

Streamlining ocean rescue

Using drones and dummies, an interdisciplinary team of National Science Foundation-funded mathematicians and engineers is tracking how objects move in real-world water environments

What is neuroethics?

What is neuroethics? Tim Brown, doctoral candidate and research assistant at University of Washington's Center for Neurotechnology, answers the question on this edition of "Ask a Scientist."

3D printed objects that can track and store information

Vikram Iyer, doctoral student in the University of Washington's Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, demonstrates 3D printed devices that can track and store information about their use without using batteries or electronics

3D Bioprinting

National Science Foundation-funded researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder recently developed a 3D printing technique that could one day lead to the creation of blood vessels, artificial arteries and even organ tissues

Polymer coating cools down buildings

Columbia engineers have made white paint whiter -- and cooler -- by removing white pigment and inventing a polymer coating, with nano- to microscale air voids, that acts as a spontaneous air cooler and can be fabricated, dyed and applied like paint

Factory of the future shaped by augmented reality

Professor Karthik Ramani of Purdue University is joining forces with manufacturers to build virtual factories using augmented reality, so that they can test new labor-saving technologies in the virtual world before installing them in the real world

Mechanical adaptations of bee swarms

A team of Harvard University researchers spent months shaking and rattling swarms of thousands of honeybees to better understand how bees collectively collaborate to stabilize structures in the presence of external loads such as wind and rain

3D printed cement-based materials with bioinspired design

Purdue University researchers have 3D-printed cement paste, a key ingredient of the concrete and mortar used to build various elements of infrastructure, that gets tougher under pressure like the shells of arthropods such as lobsters and beetles

Printing with sound

Harvard University researchers have developed a new printing method that uses soundwaves to generate droplets from liquids with an unprecedented range of composition and viscosity. This technique could finally enable the manufacturing of many new biopharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and food and expand the possibilities of optical and conductive materials.

Smart prosthetic ankle takes fear out of rough terrain

A new prosthetic ankle, developed by a team at Vanderbilt University, has a tiny motor, actuator, sensors and chip that work together to either conform to the surface that the foot is contacting or remain stationary, depending on what the user needs

Can scientists sequence DNA in 100 seconds?

Researchers are developing new methods for sequencing entire strands of DNA from humans or bacteria in just 100 seconds, which could lead to transformative advances in biology and medicine

This device can turn desert air into water

Last October, a University of California, Berkeley, team headed down to the Arizona desert, plopped their newest prototype water harvester into the backyard of a tract home and started sucking water out of the air without any power other than sunlight

What will food production look like in the future?

Adam Wolf, founder and CEO of Arable Labs, describes the future of food production. Arable Labs, a National Science Foundation-funded small business, has developed a crop and weather sensor that delivers real-time, precision weather information straight to the hands of farmers in the field

Butterfly cam catches cancer

National Science Foundation-funded researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Washington University in St. Louis have developed a surgical camera inspired by the eye of the Morpho butterfly to more accurately find lurking cancer

How does an LED light work?

Shuji Nakamura, an electrical engineer at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who won The Nobel Prize in Physics in 2014, gave a 2018 Engineering Directorate Distinguished Lecture at the National Science Foundation

A cheaper, easier way to test for Malaria

For many in sub-saharan Africa, finding out if a fever is due to Malaria often means trekking long miles to a clinic for a relatively pricey blood test, and anxious hours of waiting before the results come in -- the Urine Malaria Test kit developed by Fyodor Biotechnologies has begun to change all that

A robotic fish swims in the ocean

A team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has unveiled "SoFi," a soft robotic fish that can independently swim alongside real fish in the ocean

Robots that can go anywhere in the world

The Robomechanics Lab at Carnegie Mellon University is working to take robots out of the lab and factory and into challenging real world environments, such as rocky hills and cluttered houses

Understanding the gut microbiome

Larry Smarr and Rob Knight hope to help make the three P's of modern medicine - precision, predictive and personalized -- a reality with the aid of advanced computers to create high-resolution mapping and simulations like never before

Advancing the science of electron microscopy

Carnegie Mellon University professor Yoosuf Picard's research group develops and applies methods for using energetic beams -- electron, ion and photon beams -- in order to process and characterize materials at small length scales

Marilyn Minus: From slime to super fiber

Northeastern Professor Marilyn Minus wants to make the strongest fibers the world has ever known -- at low cost -- for light-weight bullet-proof armor, wide-body jets, sports gear and more.

ScienCast: Learning to trust robots

Yue Wang at Clemson University is building robots that people can trust by teaching them how to learn and interpret human behaviors and react accordingly

Understanding the human brain

By applying a novel computer algorithm to mimic how the brain learns, a team of researchers -- with the aid of San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego's Comet supercomputer and the center's Neuroscience Gateway -- has identified and replicated neural circuitry that resembles how an unimpaired brain controls limb movement

3-D printing wirelessly connected objects

With computer-aided design models that a team of researchers is making available to the public, 3-D printing enthusiasts will be able to create objects out of commercially available plastics that can wirelessly communicate with other smart devices

Holostream: Real-time 3-D streaming on your cellphone

By compressing the data at its source, researchers at Purdue University have developed a technology that allows real-time holographic image transmission, small enough to be streamed over existing consumer data networks and received by any cellphone or web browser

Engineering for Humanity: HEALTHY

The Robotics And Rehabilitation (RoAR) Lab develops innovative robots and methods to help humans relearn, restore, or improve functional movements.

Lights out!

Our cities are very congested, much of which stems from traffic lights. If we can reduce that congestion and harmonize traffic with lights, we can contribute to more efficient, cleaner cities.

A close-up look at a rare underwater eruption

In 2015, scientists from the University of Tasmania, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the University of California Berkeley, the University of Otago in New Zealand and others traveled to the site of an underwater volcanic eruption, the Havre Volcano in the Southwest Pacific Ocean

Can tiny medical implants treat disease?

Tiny electronic devices, sometimes called electroceuticals, could be placed alongside vital organs in the human body to take sensor readings, deliver tiny amounts of drugs, provide remedial jolts of electricity or combinations of the above

STUDIO: Build Our World

STUDIO is an afterschool program for low income and immigrant youth that offers programming to build interest, motivation and identification with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and to learn more about STEM college and career pathways

Building a quantum computer with atomic ions

Two independent teams of scientists, including one from the Joint Quantum Institute, have used more than 50 interacting atomic qubits to mimic magnetic quantum matter, surpassing the complexity of previous demonstrations

Secrets of butterfly wings revealed!

George Washington University evolutionary geneticist Arnaud Martin is using CRISPR Cas9, a gene editing technique, to determine how changes in the "painting gene" WntA result in different wing shapes and patterns in butterflies

Oil mixes with water

The reluctance of oil and water to mix together and stay that way is so well-known that it has become a cliché for describing any two things that do not go together well

NSF Science Now: Episode 54

In this week's episode, we discover why some bumblebees are in peril and that some of the earliest primates were adept leapers. We also explore a new technique that can print drugs, and learn about a new app capable of detecting concussions right on the sideline

The robots are coming

In this interview, director of Georgia Tech's Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines (IRIM) Magnus Egerstedt outlines IRIM's strengths, the global future of robotics and his new project: the robotarium.

Walk this way!

National Science Foundation-funded researchers at Carnegie Mellon University developed a technique that can dramatically improve mobility for millions of people who currently use prosthetic limbs and exoskeletons to walk

Can a supercomputer design a super material?

Howard University professor Steven Richardson tells the story of how he earned a scholarship to Columbia University and soon found deeper truths in the mathematical universe of quantum physics.

Electromagnets unwire the framework of small, foldable robots

A team of researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) at Harvard University has created battery-free folding robots that are capable of complex, repeatable movements powered and controlled through a wireless magnetic field

Mobile city science: counter-mapping the neighborhood

This project is studying how two groups of urban youth collect data about and map their communities using mobile and location-aware technologies, and how these data support educators to better understand the places in which students live

The glass is greener

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, Bourns College of Engineering have used waste glass bottles and a low-cost chemical process to create nanosilicon anodes for high-performance lithium-ion batteries

Digital eye in the sky

David Johnson, assistant professor of the practice of marine conservation ecology at Duke University, has found that drone technology allows his research team to collect huge volumes of data from remote or extreme locations

Sonic cyberattacks on MEMS accelerometers

New research at the University of Michigan calls into question the longstanding computer science tenet that software can automatically trust hardware sensors, which feed autonomous systems with fundamental data they need to make decisions

Creating safer, smarter homes

The University of Washington School of Nursing is harnessing the power of everyday items to turn houses into smart homes--and allowing older adults to live independently, thanks to modern technology

Why is Texas shaking?

The new TexNet Seismic Monitoring Network is helping to locate and determine the origins of earthquakes in Texas

Every last drop

Each year 12 competitively selected undergraduates fly to Australia to work alongside PIRE researchers as they conduct field work to look at engineering, ecological, and social science aspects of Melbourne's green storm water infrastructure

Humanexus

This multiple award-winning semi-documentary animation visualizes human communication from the Stone Age to today and beyond

Semiconductors for an energy efficient future

Lisa Porter, professor of materials science and engineering at Carnegie-Mellon University, discusses her research on semiconductor materials and devices, especially those that enable new technologies for a more energy-efficient future.

Researchers tackle tornadoes!

An NSF-funded research team at the University of Oklahoma's Advanced Radar Research Center hopes that their radar simulator can assist researchers and meteorologists in better understanding how debris interacts with deadly tornadoes.

Tiny solutions to big water problems

How do you take dirty water and make it clean? With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), this team is hard at work designing nanometer-scale water filters that could soon make clean drinking water available and affordable for even the poorest of the poor around the world

Pulling drinkable water out of dry air

Imagine a future in which every home has an appliance that pulls all the water the household needs out of the air, even in dry or desert climates, using only the power of the sun

Generation Robot

Robots are about to transform how we live. Decades of science and engineering research (and lab time) are behind it.

NSF Science Now: Episode 51

In this week's episode, we learn about marine mammals' need for speed, magnify a new tool combating mosquito-borne disease, break down new materials inspired by kirigami, and finally, discover new hydrothermal vents. Check it out!

Dive Deeper: Donna Blackman looks at the future of Alvin

Marine geophysicist Donna Blackman from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography remembers Alvin's discovery of the Lost City hydrothermal vent field in 2000 and looks ahead to the people and tools that will take Alvin to even greater depths of discovery

NSF Science Now: Episode 50

In this week's episode, we learn how AI uncovers insights into cancer, how loops give toughness to spider silk, a newly released database of stars and finally, we investigate a novel water testing technique. Check it out!

Women’s History Month: Engineer Erin Bell is designing ‘living’ bridges

Engineers at the University of New Hampshire are raising the bar on what 21st century infrastructure systems can do. With support from the National Science Foundation, they're outfitting the Memorial Bridge, which links Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Kittery, Maine, with sensors to monitor everything from structural stability to traffic to environmental health. It will even be powered by tidal energy, a renewable energy source. They call it a 'living bridge,' and it exemplifies the future of smart, sustainable, user-centered transportation infrastructure.

Reconfigurable materials

What if a material could contain within its structure, multiple functions and easily and autonomously switch between them?

Vehicle electrification

Jeremy Michalek, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, discusses several aspects of vehicle electrification: technology, life cycle, consumer behavior and public policy.

Rapid analysis of disaster damage

Researchers are harnessing "deep learning" algorithms and powerful computer vision technology to dramatically reduce the time it takes for engineers to assess damage to buildings after disasters.

The Flint water crisis: Engineering researchers find answers for alarmed residents

In 2015, engineering researchers funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) helped to uncover the dangerously high lead levels in Flint water, and listened to a community in distress. Through a NSF Rapid Response grant awarded to Virginia Tech civil engineering professor Marc Edwards, researchers received federal funding to collect data on the chemical content of residents' drinking water, providing vital insight into one of the worst human-made, engineering disasters in recent U.S. history.

Making dreams come true

Northern Illinois University (NIU) engineering and technology student Oluseun Taiwo spent the summer printing prosthetics on a 3-D printer at NIU to help Sarah Valentiner, an eighth-grader born with one hand, have more range of motion while she plays the violin.

Drinking water

Safe, clean drinking water is a fundamental human need. Orlando Coronell at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is developing improved membrane technology to purify drinking water more effectively and efficiently.

Fuel cells for electric vehicles

Associate professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, Shawn Litster, discusses his research on fuel cells and how they may be used for electric vehicles in the future.

The electroadhesive clutch

Associate professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon, Steve Collins, discusses the electroadhesive clutch: a slim, lightweight, and energy-efficient alternative to conventional clutches in robotics.

Computing for sustainability

Electrical and computer engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Diana Marculescu, talks about computing for sustainability

Nuclear CSI

In episode 73, Jordan and Charlie investigate a new procedure for identifying individuals exposed to uranium within the past year. Scientists and homeland security experts believe these procedures could identify individuals who may be smuggling nuclear materials for criminal purposes.

Online security and privacy

Lorrie Cranor, Engineering & public policy and computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, discusses her work in human factors and public policy issues related to computer security and privacy.

SALTO: Berkeley's leaping robot

Roboticists at the University of California, Berkeley have designed a small robot that can leap into the air and then spring off a wall, or perform multiple vertical jumps in a row, resulting in the highest robotic vertical jumping agility ever recorded.

NSF Science Now: Episode 48

In this week's episode, we learn about a new wall-jumping robot, using sensor-integrated blocks to better identify developmental disabilities, creatures with camouflage, a new procedure to detect exposure to dangerous nuclear materials and, finally, the discovery of the oldest known fossil tumor.

A color-based, disposable anemia test

Two billion people worldwide have iron deficiency anemia, a condition in which blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells needed to carry oxygen to tissues. Left untreated, anemia can lead to severe health problems. To help people monitor their blood-iron levels more easily, Sanguina LLC, a small business funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), has developed a color-based anemia test.

An augmented view

Researchers are applying augmented reality to improve ultrasounds for both patient and physician

Shark acceleration research

Students in the Small Hall maker space at William & Mary create devices for Virginia Institute of Marine Science professor Kevin Weng to use in his shark research at the Eastern Shore Lab.

NSF Science Now: Episode 47

In this week's episode, we learn about new tools to protect against malicious websites, restoring the sense of touch to amputees and those with paralysis and examine how older adults really hear.

Big ideas for future NSF investments

Six research "big ideas" that will drive important aspects of the National Science Foundation's long-term research agenda, push forward the frontiers of US science and engineering research, and lead to new discoveries and innovations.

NSF-funded biofuel research at Kansas State

Meng "Peter" Zhang, visiting assistant professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering at Kansas State University, describes his National Science Foundation-funded biofuel manufacturing research.

Turn your eyes to the skies for the latest explorers

In episode 68, Charlie and Jordan head outdoors to show how National Science Foundation-supported researchers are finding new ways to use small, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)--also known as drones--to gather data, improve communication and explore environments where humans and larger aircraft dare not go.

Energy harvesting computers: extracting energy from the environment

Brandon Lucia, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, designs the basic technology to support "energy harvesting computers," or devices that can perform computations, sense their environments and communicate using energy that they extract from their environments.

Introducing the octobot

Developed by Harvard researchers, the first autonomous, untethered, entirely soft robot--nicknamed the octobot--could revolutionize how humans interact with machines.

Generating 3-D models using simple interaction techniques

Levent Burak Kara, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, is developing computational technologies that will enable ordinary people to generate 3-D models using natural, simple-to-use interaction techniques.

A demonstration of a 3-D bioprinting process

Adam Feinberg, associate professor of biomedical engineering and materials science and engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, describes and demonstrates his work in 3-D printing soft materials.

R&D 100 finalist for enhanced jet impingement

A team of researchers from Purdue University and the Toyota Research Institute of North America developing a new cooling technology for hybrid and electric vehicles is a finalist for the 2016 R&D 100 award.

Meeting water demand in an energy-constrained world

Meagan Mauter, assistant professor in the Departments of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Engineering & Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University, discusses how to use waste heat at power facilities to reduce energy usage in water desalination.

Women in STEM: Caroline -- software engineer

The project seeks to enhance the teaching and coaching practices of CTE-STEM educators, guidance counselors and role models with gender equitable and culturally responsive strategies; research the impacts of strategies and role model experiences on girls' interest in STEM careers and evaluate the effectiveness of the training in these strategies.

Flow battery

Flow batteries store energy from renewable sources in liquid tanks filled with non toxic organic chemicals

Lens of time: Bumper bees

See how scientists use high-speed videography to investigate--and learn from--the clumsy flight of the bumblebee.

Sustainable energy access in the developing world

Assistant professor of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University Paulina Jaramillo discusses her research in how to provide energy access in a sustainable way to people in the developing world.

New 'Neural Dust' sensor could be implanted in the body

University of California, Berkeley engineers have built the first dust-sized, wireless sensors that can be implanted in the body, bringing closer the day when a Fitbit-like device could monitor internal nerves, muscles or organs in real time.

NSF Science Now: Episode 45

In this episode, we tested out a computational design tool that transforms flat materials into 3-D shapes, a virtual reality environment that is helping autistic teens learn to drive, a new novel underwater microscope and, finally, "smart thread" for wirelessly monitoring the health of a wound.

Research to improve flash flood warnings

A new cell phone app and a network of ultrasound sensors could lead to more accurate warnings about flash flooding. Seo works closely with cities across North Texas and the National Weather Service.

Taking Legos to the lab

Researchers and students at the University of California, Riverside, have used 3-D printing to create a system of Lego-like blocks that can be used to quickly and affordably build new lab instruments.

A brief intro to quantum computing

Harvard professor Amir Yacoby explains the emergence of quantum computing as an outcome of two 20th century innovations -- quantum mechanics and computer science -- and shows why it has the potential to tackle hard problems that would take today's computers billions of years to solve.

NSF Science360 Super Science Rewind: Snapology

In this Super Science Rewind, Charlie and Jordan talk about a new type of foldable material that is versatile, tunable and self actuated. It's a 4x4x4 cube -- inspired by an origami technique called snapology-- that could have a variety of uses, from surgical stents to pop-up domes for disaster relief.

To purify a virus

A new theory about virus surfaces--that they're hydrophobic--has opened up new processes to improve vaccine production, potentially making them more affordable around the world.

How can mussels improve fetal surgery?

University of California, Berkeley, engineer Phillip Messersmith is happy to be learning lessons from a lowly mollusk, with the expectation that the knowledge gained will enable him and fellow physicians to prevent deaths among their youngest patients -- those who haven't been born yet.

Science360 Super Science Rewind: Detecting danger

In this Super Science Rewind, Jordan and Charlie explore a new nuclear reaction imaging technique designed to detect the presence of "special nuclear materials" concealed in cargo containers. This method relies on a combination of neutrons and high-energy photons to detect shielded radioactive materials inside the containers.

NSF Science Now: Episode 44

In this week's episode we examine electric eels, test out a new at home screening test for people on blood thinner, learn about a new app for reporting floods and finally examine how RoboBee uses static electricity to stick to surfaces.

Putting graphene to the test

Graphene has the potential to improve electronics, solar cells and other devices. University of Nebraska, Lincoln, chemist Alexander Sinitskii is testing this promising nanomaterial with a National Science Foundation CAREER award.

Clouds are the clue to climate predictions

Neil Donahue, professor of chemical engineering, chemistry, and engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon, discusses how organic compounds emitted by trees make particles that affect climate change.

Every dog has its day

In episode 58, Jordan and Charlie talk about a customized suite of technologies that allow a computer to train a dog autonomously, with the computer effectively responding to the dog based on the dog's body language.

Generation robot

The global market for robotics, long dominated by industrial uses, is beginning to see a shift toward new consumer and workplace applications as robots are increasingly used in homes, hospitals, on farms and even in space.

The bee's knees

In episode 56, Jordan and Charlie see what the buzz is about with RoboBees, and how researchers at Harvard have found a way to "stick" their landings. Their flying microrobots, or RoboBees for short, can perch by using electrostatic adhesion, allowing the robots to save more energy.

Making mobile technology available to everyone

University of Maryland Assistant Professor Leah Findlater works to lower the barriers associated with using mobile technology and accessing information. In this video, Findlater discusses her accessibility research, the future of wearable technology and the benefits of working in academia.

Detecting danger

In episode 54, Jordan and Charlie explore a new nuclear reaction imaging technique designed to detect the presence of "special nuclear materials" concealed in cargo containers. This method relies on a combination of neutrons and high-energy photons to detect shielded radioactive materials inside the containers.

Happy B-day NSF!

For more than six decades, the National Science Foundation has funded science and engineering research that has led to discoveries and innovations that transformed our world.

NSF Science Now: Episode 43

In this week's episode, we follow a construction site drone, examine tunable window technology, learn how words are represented in the brain and, finally, we examine 240 million-year-old fossils.

Pumping oil from plants

An enzyme responsible for making hydrocarbons has been discovered by Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists studying a common green microalga called Botryococcus braunii.

Nifty 50

Jordan and Charlie celebrate 50 episodes with 50 National Science Foundation-funded breakthroughs, discoveries, achievements and generally amazing contributions to science.

Converting atmospheric carbon dioxide into batteries

Scientists have worked out a way to make electric vehicles not just carbon neutral but carbon negative by demonstrating how the graphite electrodes used in the lithium-ion batteries can be replaced with carbon recovered from the atmosphere.

World's smallest robots: Rise of the nanomachines

Nanomachines -- including nano-sized motors, rockets and even cars -- are many orders of magnitude smaller than a human cell, but they have huge promise. In the future, they could deliver drugs anywhere in the body, clean up oil spills and might even be used as artificial muscle cells.

NSF Science Now: Episode 42

In this week's episode, we explore origami-inspired devices, examine family technology rules and, finally, we examine how changing ocean chemistry may threaten the Antarctic food chain.

'Go Baby Go!' Mobility for kids with disabilities

The exploration experiences that children have at an early age play an important role in cognitive development. A research team from the University of Delaware, led by physical therapy professor Cole Galloway, is working on ways to help infants with walking and crawling issues have those kinds of experiences.

Micro-fabrication for cochlear implants

Angelique Johnson is the CEO of MEMStim, a company that is innovating how electrode arrays in cochlear implants are manufactured. Using automated micro-fabrication, instead of costly hand-made manufacturing, Johnson is able to lower the cost of production, allowing more people in need of implants to afford them.

What makes diamondback terrapins tick?

Mihai Pop, an associate professor of computer science in the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at the University of Maryland (UMD), is working with UMD freshmen to sequence the genome of the diamondback terrapin.

Fishy business

In episode 47, Jordan and Charlie explore how scientists at the University of Texas at Austin have solved the longstanding mystery about how some fish "disappear" from their predators. A fish's ability to go invisible in polarized light may one day help the US Navy hide in open water.

Motion controller for virtual reality

William Provancher of Tactical Haptics has developed a device that combines the sense of touch with technology. Called the "reactive grip," it allows the user to experience the virtual world in a whole new way.

Snapology

In episode 46, Jordan and Charlie talk about a new type of foldable material that is versatile, tunable and self actuated.

Friction-stir welding

At the University of North Texas, Rajiv Mishra is using a form of welding in a new technology that can improve metal's strength, toughness, and other properties and could bring new opportunities to the automotive and aircraft industries.

Network connectivity

In episode 45, Charlie and fill-in co-host Tommy Taylor Jr. explore Passive Wi-Fi. Engineers and computer scientists at the University of Washington have demonstrated that it's possible to generate Wi-Fi transmissions using 10,000 times less power than conventional methods.

Paying attention to neglected diseases

Najib El-Sayed, an associate professor of cell biology and molecular genetics at the University of Maryland, fuses wet bench experimentation with sophisticated computer analysis to gather and interpret large amounts of genetic data.

Making solar energy more affordable

Solar energy remains tantalizingly out of reach as a widely used power source, but UNL engineer Jinsong Huang and his team is making big strides in their quest to harness the sun.

Science of Innovation: Origami structures

Origami is the ancient Japanese art of paper folding. But to engineer Mary Frecker of Pennsylvania State University, it is the future for designing tools that could be used in fields such as medicine and space exploration.

NSF Science Now: Episode 41

In this week's episode, we test out a wearable robotic limb, follow beluga whales in the Arctic and, finally, examine how warming temperatures have caused an increase in forest droughts across much of the U.S.

No bones about it

In episode 44, Charlie and Jordan explore how engineers are studying the way bones heal in order to make materials last longer.

Sensoring our sleep

This video profiles the project "Research to Quantify the Health and Development of Children with Disabilities Around the Clock"

Science of Innovation: 3-D bioprinting

Adam Feinberg at Carnegie Mellon University has come up with a technique that expands the use of 3-D printing technology and could one day allow researchers to print heart tissue.

What is engineering?

Today's students have big dreams for the future: flying cars, Earth-sized atmospheric filters, quick access to clean water, phones with holograms, and more. Who can make these things happen? Engineers.

Artificial organs go for a spin

In episode 42, Jordan and fill-in co-host Laurie talk about cotton candy machines that have been repurposed to make artificial capillary networks. The artificial capillary system the researchers were able to produce using this method kept living cells viable and functional for more than a week, a huge improvement over current methods.

Nanotechnology: powerful solutions

Paul Alivisatos' team at the University of California, Berkeley, is working to develop a new type of solar cell using nano-sized crystals called quantum dots.

Engineering tissues to rebuild bodies

Tissue engineering - a rapidly growing field revolutionizing how physicians treat injury and recovery, thanks to game-changing advances in engineering, materials science and biology

Are invisibility cloaks possible?

Have you ever wished you could hide under an invisibility cloak like Harry Potter or conceal your car with a Klingon cloaking device like in "Star Trek"?

How do you feel? Video of your face may tell all

Researchers are developing a highly accurate, touch-free system that uses a video camera to monitor patients' vital signs just by looking at their faces. The technique isn't new, but engineering researchers are making it work under conditions that have so far stumped earlier systems.

Bite-sized robots

In episode 35, Charlie and Jordan explore new open-source medical capsule robots' hardware and software. Researchers around the globe who want to customize medical capsule robots won't have to start from scratch anymore.

Large scale graphene production

Draw a line with a pencil and it's likely that somewhere along that black smudge is a material that earned two scientists the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Automony in robots

Researchers are investigating autonomy in robotics that includes action recognition. At the heart of this technique lies a novel active tracking and segmentation method that monitors the changes in appearance and topological structure of manipulated objects.

Biotech's future: 3-D printed human cells

Nano3D Biosciences Inc., a small business funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, is using a magnetic 3-D bioprinting technology to re-imagine cell culture models and tissue printing engineering.

Animal sounds

In episode 33, Charlie and Jordan explore the zoolophone--a 3-D printed metallophone with playful animal shapes--and how it was created by optimizing shapes to control sound.

Cloud chamber research

Clouds play a crucial part in regulating climate, but precious little is actually known about clouds' inner workings and their role on Earth.

NSF Science Now: Episode 37

In this week's episode, we examine tunable prosthetics, explore origami engineering and duck-billed dinosaurs, and discover how king crabs are migrating to the warming seas off the Antarctic Peninsula. Check it out!

A better tool for minimally invasive surgery

University of Michigan (UM) engineers, in collaboration with the UM Medical School, have developed a new affordable tool technology which will make performing minimally invasive surgery easier for surgeons.

Data driven green design

The PlanIT Impact app ties together open data with 3D modeling tools to give designers a clearer picture of the resources their project will use--things like storm-water impact, water and energy usage, and greenhouse gas emissions--while they are in the design phase.

Nerd stuff

In episode 25, Charlie and Jordan examine a rare nautiluses (not seen in 30 years), how to fold a shell and enrolling more girls in computer science classes.

Coral behavior

In episode 23, Charlie and Jordan explore coral offspring's inherent traits, how invasive marine species become invasive and take a peek inside turtle shells.

NSF Science Now: Episode 36

In this week's episode, we discover a protein that could someday eliminate malaria, learn about microbes battling it out in Antarctica, explore super Wi-Fi that uses UHF channels and virtually unwrap a 1500-year-old scroll.

Life in a puddle

In episode 21, Jordan and Charlie chat about the origins of life, polar bears in the summer time and what it takes to limit energy consumption at home.

ApneApp

ApneaApp is a solution for detecting sleep apnea events on a smartphone.

Woolly mammoth

In episode 19, Charlie and Jordan delve into a study of mammoth proportions, chat about a new 3-D printed soft robot and an advance in breast cancer research.

An in-mouth wafer to treat oral cancer

To treat oral cancer, NSF-funded small business Privo Technologies has created a platform that delivers treatments directly to the affected area. Privo develops new classes of targeted treatments, such as chemotherapy drugs, designed to be delivered through the mouth's mucous membranes.

Research makes a difference

This video highlights three Princeton University researchers who are striving to improve people's lives through innovations in science and engineering. Their research topics include blood sugar monitoring, computer interaction and genes related to cancer.

NSF Science Now: Episode 35

Hosted by NSF's Dena Headlee, Science Now is a weekly newscast covering some of the latest in NSF-funded innovation and advances across all areas and disciplines, from astronomy to zoology. This fast paced, news round-up reports many of the week's top stories.

Revolutionizing prosthesis prescription

Steve Collins of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Carnegie Mellon University discusses his lab's work in creating robots that are worn on the leg to help people get around.

Internet insecurity

Sharon Goldberg, a Boston University College of Arts & Sciences assistant professor of computer science, breaks down Border Gateway Protocol, which she describes as "the glue that holds the Internet together."

Mysteries of the brain: thinking brain

Through neural connections, called synapses, the brain can process and store enormous amounts of information. Neuroscientist Gary Lynch at the University of California-Irvine explains how this incredibly complex communication process allows animals to learn and remember.

Mysteries of the brain: brain-computer interface

Neuroengineer Rajesh Rao of the University of Washington is developing brain-computer interfaces or devices that can monitor and extract brain activity to enable a machine or computer to accomplish tasks, from playing video games to controlling a prosthetic arm.

Mysteries of the brain: perceiving brain

Sabine Kastner, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at Princeton University, is studying how the brain weeds out important information from everyday scenes. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, Kastner is able to peek inside the brain and see what areas are active when a person sees a face, place or object.

Mysteries of the brain: Building a brain

Carlos Aizenman, a neuroscientist at Brown University, is studying the brains of tadpoles to understand how neural circuits develop and absorb information from the surrounding environment.

Mysteries of the brain: brain states and consciousness

Neurobiologist Orie Shafer at the University of Michigan is trying to understand how the brain's cells communicate in order to control sleep patterns. To help solve this mystery, Shafer is teaming up with mathematician Victoria Booth to study a tiny and unlikely specimen: the fruit fly.

Mysteries of the brain: emotional brain

For years, researchers have struggled to understand how emotions are formed and processed by the brain. Now, neuroscientist Kevin LaBar and his graduate students at Duke University are using a virtual reality room to study how the brain reacts to both negative and positive emotions.

Mysteries of the brain: evolving brain

Using amazing new technologies, evolutionary neuroscientist Melina Hale and her graduate students at the University of Chicago are discovering that the basic movements in one tiny fish can teach us big ideas about how the brain's circuitry works.

Mysteries of the brain

For centuries, scientists and engineers have studied the brain and yet, how it works largely remains a mystery. Understanding the brain means knowing the fundamental principles underlying brain structure and function. Explore the mysteries of the brain with investigators who span the spectrum of scientific and engineering disciplines. "Mysteries of the Brain" is produced by NBC Learn in partnership with the National Science Foundation. For more information, please visit: http://www.nsf.gov/brain/.

3-D tele-rehabilitation

At the Beyond Today's Internet Summit, researchers from The University of Texas at Dallas showed a working prototype of a next generation communication system that uses 3D video and force feedback devices to virtually recreate a physical therapy session between a patient and a therapist.

What is a semiconductor?

Semiconductors are in everything from your cell phone to rockets. But what exactly are they, and what makes them so special? Find out from Jamie, a Ph.D. student in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT.

SMART Shoes

It may look like an insole, but this Smart Shoe system developed at the Mechanical Systems Control Lab at the University of California, Berkeley, could help physical therapists get their patients walking better, faster.

Assembling water-free DNA

In episode14, Charlie and Jordan search underground caves for clues to prehistoric climate changes, explore the difference between mental maps and compasses, and look at water-free DNA assembly.

Walking assist clutch

Assistant professor for mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University: Steve Collins, discusses his research published in Nature in which he and his colleague have developed an unpowered, untethered exoskeleton (the walking assist clutch) to help people walk with 7 percent less effort. This can be of tremendous help to people who walk for hours a day or who have disabilities.

Viral nanostructures for enhanced boiling

Scientists have found a way to harness droves of viruses, found on tobacco plants, as the building blocks for a new super-absorbent coating for use on a variety of materials. These nano-coatings are helping us better understand things like boiling and condensation.

Leaky graphene

In Episode 12, Charlie and Jordan chat about 3-D bioprinting, plugging up leaky graphene and a new approach to learning for the pre-k crowd called Connect4Learning.

NSF Science Now: Episode 34

Hosted by NSF's Dena Headlee, Science Now is a weekly newscast covering some of the latest in NSF-funded innovation and advances across all areas and disciplines, from astronomy to zoology. This fast paced, news round-up reports many of the week's top stories.

Gigabit-networked microscopy used to create a cross-country learning environment

The University of Southern California is partnering with a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) high school in Chattanooga, Tenn., and using gigabit networks to send high-definition 4K images of microorganisms directly into a biology class. This gives students live access to researchers and microscopic images, observations and knowledge, while also enabling them to manipulate the microscope from 1,800 miles away.

The Earth Day special

In episode 9, Jordan and Charlie celebrate Earth Day by: Chatting about hydraulic fracturing, taking a closer look at batteries and exploring biodiversity.

A day in the life of Robotina

Robotina is a sophisticated research robot. Specifically, it's a Willow Garage PR2, designed to work with people. But around the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, it is most-often called Robotina.

How computers compute

Even though we think of computers as super high-tech machines with tiny parts, they can also be huge, wooden, and mechanical. It's what they have in common that makes them computers: switches!

Robot visits NSF

DARwIn-OP, which stands for Dynamic Anthropomorphic Robot with Intelligence-Open Platform, recently visited the National Science Foundation to participate in a video interview while he was in town for a National Robotics Week event.

Barobo robots teach children algebra

At the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, Barobo, Inc. showed the National Science Foundation their robot that helps teach children algebra in a completely new way. By taking algebra off the page and into the physical world, Barobo aims to inspire a new generation of mathematicians.

The LHC: A stronger machine

Watch CERN engineers explain the work during the laboratory's long shutdown to prepare the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to run at a higher collision energy of 13 TeV. Teams are working hard for the upcoming restart. The first circulating beams of protons in the LHC are planned for the week beginning 23 March, and first 13 TeV collisions are expected in late May to early June.

The computational biology of cancer

Endometrial cancer affects 48,000 women per year in the United States. For patients with tumors greater than two centimeters in diameter, the effected organ(s) and lymph nodes may be surgically removed. Yet post-surgery analysis shows that only 22 percent of patients had metastasis, meaning 78 percent of these surgeries may have been unnecessary. How can doctors predict which patients need surgery?

Magnetic organ retractor

A team of engineers are using magnetic force to design new and improved instruments for minimally invasive surgery. The use of magnetic actuation allows them to create tools that are more flexible and more powerful than conventional designs, which place the instruments on the end of long sticks. The first device of this type that they have designed is an organ retractor that repositions organs like the liver when required for an operation. They are also applying this approach to create new laser and radio-frequency scalpels.

NSF Science Now: Episode 30

Hosted by NSF's Dena Headlee, Science Now is a weekly newscast covering some of the latest in NSF-funded innovation and advances across all areas and disciplines, from astronomy to zoology. This fast paced, news round-up reports many of the week's top stories.

Making it break

Before a new material can succeed as a structural component, it must fail.

New technology makes tissues, someday organs

A new device for assembling large tissues from living components could someday be used to build replacement human organs the way electronics are assembled today: with precise picking and placing of parts.

Self-powered device measures lung function - CES 2015

A portable device powered by a simple breath can measure lung function and transmit results to your phone. The 3-D printed device is designed to enable people with lung conditions, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), to gauge their lung function without having to visit a clinic.

Expansion Microscopy brings the brain in 3-D into focus

Illuminating the brain and nervous system is one of today's greatest engineering challenges. A new technique called expansion microscopy uses chemicals commonly found in baby diapers to swell mouse brain tissue samples with water to nearly five times the usual size, with little distortion.

'Hour of Code' at the National Science Foundation

Aimed at getting students excited about computer science, the "Hour of Code" is a global movement that engages millions of young kids. The National Science Foundation discusses involvement in computer science and the "Hour of Code."

Organs on a chip

Organs on a chip systems could transform the medical drug pipeline as we know it. Biomedical engineer Ali Khademhosseini explains how he and his team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are engineering tissues outside of the human body and connecting different "organs" to solve some pressing challenges.

Jetpack helps soldiers run faster

What if every soldier could run a four-minute mile? That's the goal behind 4MM, or 4 Minute Mile, a student project to create a wearable jetpack that enhances speed and agility.

Engineering a smart Band-Aid

What does it take to engineer a smart Band-Aid? Biomedical engineer Ali Khademhosseini walks us through the future of Band-Aids, and how he and his team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are testing them.

Nanolobes

In designs that mimic the texture of starfish shells, engineers have made curved ordered crystals. Such shapes are found readily in nature, but not in a lab. Crystals engineers typically make crystals that either have facets with flat surfaces and hard angles, or are smooth but lack a repeating molecular order. The researchers call them "nanolobes."

Robots in a human world

From disaster recovery to caring for the elderly in the home, NSF-funded scientists and engineers are developing robots that can handle critical tasks in close proximity to humans, safely and with greater resilience than previous generations of intelligent machines.

Highly conductive MXene clay

Highly conductive MXene clay, created by researchers at Drexel University, is a new material that shows great potential for use in energy storage. It can be made quickly and safely and the clay can be formed into any shape or rolled to any thickness while retaining is conductive properties.

A day in the life of Robotina

Robotina is a sophisticated research robot. Specifically, it's a Willow Garage PR2, designed to work with people. But around the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, it is most-often called Robotina.

Stampede: A virtual tour

Supported by the National Science Foundation, Stampede is one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world. This petascale system enables researchers to solve larger and more diverse science and engineering problems than ever before.

Stent research

The cure for a serious heart condition could be found with the help of research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln