More cool news for the week of October 6, 2014

 Science for imagination  Comments Off on More cool news for the week of October 6, 2014
Oct 112014

(Edited to add more cool science-fiction-turned-science-fact!)

There is always so much going on in the world of science (and in the science of the world!) This week, you get an extra helping of cool science. This time, I’m going to focus on science that can turn science fiction into science fact.

Batman’s rebreather

Ever wonder how Batman could put a gadget he developed in his mouth and breathe through it, even under water? Well, a scientist in Denmark has developed a way this could work – a crystal that can absorb oxygen from the air or even the water, then release it as needed.

The Flintstones’ can opener

Okay, so the Flintstones weren’t exactly science fiction – but a scientist has developed a model for the bite of a sabre-toothed cat, and found that it would actually work like an old-time can-opener, the kind that would pierce the lid of the can with a small triangular hole to let liquid out.

3D Printing

I think 3D printing is the coolest and most important scientific development of the century so far (I know, we’re only 14 years into the century, but they’ve been a busy 14 years.) Scientists are able to create just about anything by ‘printing’ layers of substances on top of each other.

Using 3D printing technology and MRI, surgeons were able to create a model of a newborn’s defective heart so they could see what they were up against before delving into that teeny chest.

Also cool? Using 3D printing technology to create a gun that fires paper airplanes.

Luke Skywalker’s hand and the Six Million Dollar Man’s limbs

Or, really, just about any limb that has been chopped off and replaced in a science fiction environment. The replacements are always at least as good – if not better – than the original.

Scientists are a step closer to that quality of prosthetic limbs, having developed prosthetics that can actually feel what they’re touching.

And also: Steve Austin’s bionic eye!

Men In Black’s Neuralyzer

You know that cool gadget that gave off the red light that erased people’s memories? They’ve done it in mice now.

Ancient machines/computers discovered millenia later

One trope of science fiction includes the finding of an ancient mechanism of some sort that the finders don’t understand. As they study the object, they somehow turn it on, and havoc is wreaked. Best case scenario: someone destroys it. Worst case scenario: The world explodes.

Well, guess what scientists have found in an ancient shipwreck over 2000 years old?