Top 10 Most-Read Science and Technology News of 2017


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As the year ends, the editors at I-Connect007 have compiled a list of the top 10 most-read news from the pages of EIN007. Join us for a look back at the most popular science and technology news of 2017.

1. Laser-Boron Fusion Now ‘Leading Contender’ for Energy

A laser-driven technique for creating fusion that dispenses with the need for radioactive fuel elements and leaves no toxic radioactive waste is now within reach, says a UNSW physicist.

2. Electronic Circuits Reveal When a Plant Begins to Experience Drought Conditions

Forgot to water that plant on your desk again? It may soon be able to send out an SOS. MIT engineers have created sensors that can be printed onto plant leaves and reveal when the plants are experiencing a water shortage.

3. Insect Eyes Inspire New Solar Cell Design

Packing tiny solar cells together, like micro-lenses in the compound eye of an insect, could pave the way to a new generation of advanced photovoltaics, say Stanford University scientists.

4. Opinion: Robots and AI Could Soon Have Feelings, Hopes and Rights … We Must Prepare for the Reckoning

Is artificial intelligence a benign and liberating influence on our lives – or should we fear an impending rise of the machines? And what rights should robots share with humans? Christopher Markou, a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Law, suggests an urgent need to start considering the answers.

5. Berkeley Startup to Train Robots Like Puppets

Robots today must be programmed by writing computer code, but imagine donning a VR headset and virtually guiding a robot through a task, like you would move the arms of a puppet, and then letting the robot take it from there.

6. Graphene Able to Transport Huge Currents on the Nano Scale

New experiments have shown that it is possible for extremely high currents to pass through graphene, a form of carbon. This allows imbalances in electric charge to be rapidly rectified.

7. The Internet of Things—and Machines: Linking Machines to Machines

Linking industrial machinery, robots, and systems together holds considerable potential. However, it also requires a high level of security to avoid both breakdowns and break-ins.

8. New Fast-Charging Flow Battery Aims to Advance the State-of-the-Art in Energy Storage

Masdar Institute researchers have engineered a novel non-aqueous low-cost flow battery equipped with fast-charging that is able to charge itself in half the time it would normally take, which they believe may enable cheaper and more efficient large-scale renewable energy storage.

9. Cloudy with a Chance of Radiation: NASA Studies Simulated Radiation

In each life a little rain must fall, but in space, one of the biggest risks to astronauts’ health is radiation “rain". NASA’s Human Research Program (HRP) is simulating space radiation on Earth following upgrades to the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory.

10. Industrie 4.0: Virtual twin controls production

With an innovative new concept, researchers of the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology IPK want to turn the vision of Industrie 4.0 into reality. A digital twin models the entire production process and permits direct intervention into manufacturing at all times. Real and virtual production merge into an intelligent overall system.

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