Columbia University

  • Science
    One of the most important transitions in human history was when we stopped hunting and gathering for food and settled down to become farmers. Now, to reconstruct the history of one particular archaeological site in Turkey, scientists have examined the salts left behind from human and animal pee.
  • Most robots are usually made to do one particular job, so they’re not very adaptable to new situations. But researchers at MIT, Harvard, Columbia and Cornell Universities have developed particle robots – simple circular devices that can connect to each other magnetically to move and work as a swarm.
  • Scientists at Columbia University have developed flexible, functional, waterproof transistors. These could find use in building miniaturized medical sensors, brain-machine interfaces, or long-term implants.
  • Researchers from Columbia Engineering have gone and done it, giving a robot arm some form of self-awareness – at least in a rudimentary sense, which allows it to better adapt to changing conditions.
  • Although it’s basically a sure thing that exomoons are out there, astronomers haven’t been able to spot any – until now. Scientists using NASA’s Hubble and Kepler space telescopes have found evidence of a large moon orbiting a gas giant planet some 8,000 light-years away.
  • Science
    In many parts of the world, particularly developing nations, people paint buildings' roofs white in order to reflect sunlight and thus keep those buildings cooler. A new paint-like polymer could make that approach more effective than ever.
  • ​Medical devices such as catheters extend from within a patient's body out through an opening in their skin, and unfortunately those openings often become infected. Thanks to new research, however, ultraviolet optical fibers may eventually keep such infections from occurring.
  • Converting bad fat to good could help us lose weight and avoid obesity-related illness. Now researchers at Columbia Engineering have developed a transplant method, where white fat is removed from the body, cultivated in a lab for a few weeks, then reinserted into the body as brown fat.
  • ​While it's already possible to relay information via barcodes or QR codes, those codes are entirely visible when included in a document. Using Columbia University's FontCode system, however, users can hide messages within unrelated text via virtually-invisible changes to the displayed letters.
  • Models have long suggested that Earth's orbit shifts from circular to elliptical and back again over hundreds of thousands of years, which plays a part in natural climate swings. Now, scientists have found the first physical evidence for the cycle, and traced it back to before the dinosaurs.
  • ​​Scientists have long searched for proof of the decades-old theory that black holes surround the supermassive black hole at the heart of our galaxy. By tweaking their approach just a little, astronomers have now turned up the first direct evidence that they do in fact exist.
  • ​Although you may not realize it, there are car-racing video games that blind people can play. Brian A. Smith, however, thinks they leave something to be desired. That's why he created the RAD, an audio-based interface that he claims can be integrated into almost any racing game.