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Ian Burkhart moves his paralysed hand using the thought-controlled Neurobridge brain implant. Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Nanotechnology to outer space: ten top tech innovations of 2014

Don’t be mesmerised by cool apps and flashy new gizmos – the top technology inventions of the year are ones that will have a lasting effect. Most are advances in fields that are already changing us. Some…
Plants use photosynthesis to build molecules and energy they can use. By copying plants, humans can make cleaner fuels. Ranjit Bhatnagar/Flickr

To shift away from fossil fuels, we need to copy plants

Most of the energy that fuels our lives comes from plants. Whether it is a fossil fuel that was formed hundreds of millions of years ago or the food we eat, all carbon-borne energy has its ultimate origins…
They have cancer in their sights. StephenMitchell/Flickr

New cancer-huntingnano-robots’ to seek and destroy tumours

It sounds like a scene from a science fiction novel – an army of tiny weaponised robots travelling around a human body, hunting down malignant tumours and destroying them from within. But research in Nature…

Microchip diabetes test

US researchers have invented a microchip-based test for type 1 diabetes. The test is carried out by a handheld microchip…
Diamonds are the first material to have single atoms removed by a laser. Africa Studio

Using lasers to cut a diamond apart atom by atom

One of great challenges of the 21st century has been to develop ways to manipulate matter on smaller and smaller dimensions. As the great physicist Richard Feynman noted in his famous 1959 lecture, “There’s…
Out of the lab and into real life. Mike Blyth

Africa should test smartphone microscope in the field

As a virologist working in the Gambia, the idea of a portable microscope that uses fluorescent imaging and can be attached to your smartphone to detect viruses and bacteria in the field sounds amazing…
Many of the colours in medieval stained glass are produced by nanoparticles. Quinn Anya

Nanotechnology in medicine isn’t just about size

While scientists develop new drugs to treat a multitude of conditions, nanotechnology is pushing the boundaries of how we deliver them to patients - targeting delivery to cancer cells and giving a drug…
Nanostructures on wings of Green Hairstreak butterflies inspired the design of polarised light beamsplitters. nutmeg66

The butterfly effect: optical nanotechnology takes flight

When scientists look for keys to unlock problems such as quantum teleportation or faster internet speeds, answers can sometimes be found in the natural world. Controlling light at the nanoscale is necessary…
Gilded patches can now aid the growth of heart tissue. Findingthenow

Using nano gold to patch up broken hearts

Gold is one of our most valuable commodities but its use extends far beyond jewellery and gold bars. It’s a conductive material and is helping us to develop new medical innovations such as specialised…

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