Washington State University

  • ​Commonly used to make a wide variety of items, low-density polyethylene can be recycled into new plastic, but there's much more waste than recycling facilities can currently handle. With that in mind, scientists have now devised a method of converting the material into something else – jet fuel.
  • Science
    ​If you worked as a taste-tester of spicy foods, you'd only be able to try a few samples at a time – after that, your taste buds would become desensitized and need a rest. A newly-developed "electronic tongue," however, can accurately measure the spiciness of multiple foods for hours at a time.
  • ​Styrofoam isn't eco-friendly stuff. It's made from petroleum, it can't be efficiently recycled, it's non-biodegradable, and it creates pollution when burned. A new plant-based foam reportedly has none of those drawbacks, however, plus it's claimed to actually insulate better than regular Styrofoam.
  • ​We've already seen assistive robots for seniors, which sit in one place in the user's home. A team at Washington State University, however, has developed one that figures out where its user is, then goes to them and offers its assistance when needed.
  • ​Daily finger-prick blood glucose tests are an unpleasant part of life for diabetics, which is why various groups have developed non-invasive glucose-monitoring sensors. Such devices may be becoming more effective and affordable, thanks to a project presently underway at Washington State University.
  • Science
    A team of researchers has traced back the origins of the cocoa tree to a single domestication event thousands of years ago, and uncovered other clues hiding in its genome that could help make future chocolate even better.
  • ​In Greek myth, Icarus was the high-flying son of Daedalus who, due to his own arrogance, flew too close to the sun. Now his name has been given to a newly-discovered moth, Admetovis icarus, thanks to its fiery markings and partiality to high altitudes.
  • Today, the Moon is as dead as you can get, but scientists contend that this might not have been the case billions of years ago. There were two periods shortly after the Moon formed when it could have been possible for life to have existed on the lunar surface.
  • Science
    ​Smartphone-based diagnostic devices allow doctors in resource-poor regions to perform tests that would otherwise involve sending samples away. Most such devices, however, can only analyze individual samples. By contrast, a new one can check 96 samples for diseases, all at one time.
  • ​Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is a deadly skin fungus that threatens populations of frogs and salamanders around the world. There may be new hope for catching it early enough to limit amphibian fatalities, however, thanks to the analysis of what's known as environmental DNA.
  • ​Although the production of carbon fiber goods may be steadily increasing, recycling the material still remains challenging. It may soon be possible, however, to grind up carbon fiber waste and use it in new-and-improved pervious concrete.
  • Researchers have found that areas of the hyperarid Atacama Desert, once thought lacking even microbes, is showing blooms of specialized bacteria after rainfall, providing hope that similar dormant colonies may exist on the Mars.