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Technology and applied sciences

Carnivorous plants can be a source of inspiration for new materials

Drosera capensis. Wikimedia.

Carnivorous plants can be a source of inspiration for new materials with specific mechanical properties, according to researchers from the Centre for Complexity and Biosystems (CC&B) of the University of Milan. In a paper recently published on PNAS– and selected for the journal’s cover –they analysed the mechanics by which one of these plants, Drosera capensis, folds its leaves around insects trapped on their sticky surface in order to digest them.

Molecular machines, an already written future

In a world in which chemists assemble devices and machines billion times smaller than the usual ones, it is possible to develop systems similar to those created by nature within cells. The intricate arrangement of cellular organelles and enzymatic systems, muscle contraction, intracellular transport and ATP synthesis are examples of biological motors. For chemists this is a real challenge; to design active nanostructures that can operate as molecular machines, to increase our understanding of biological nanomotors and to construct a new generation of devices capable, for

Why the US Navy has chosen CNR

The US Navy has been funding for many years a collaboration with CNR scientific research in the field of marine industry. On July 23, at the Marine Technology Research Institute (INSEAN) in Rome, the Admiral Matthew L. Klunder of the US Navy delegation has visited the Italian Institute in order to further strengthen this scientific collaboration.

To understand the reasons behind such cooperation, we have talked with Emilio Campana, the INSEAN director.

Are we ready to benefit from new technologies?

Filling the gap in digital infrastructures might not be enough to put Italy in line with countries that are more mature in taking advantage from new information and communication technologies (ICTs). The real restraint for the country’s ability to develop and exploit its digital ecosystem is the political and regulatory environment, unable to keep up with the opportunities offered by new technologies.

Digital media standards for improved user experience

Standards are a vital component of communication. In 1984, while working for CSELT, the research center of what is today Telecom Italia, I submitted RACE IVICO (Integrated Video Codec), a project aimed at developing a European microelectronic technology for digital video in partnership with representatives of most relevant European industries. The project was approved but two years later was terminated because of the jarring differences with the European audio-visual policy of that time (digital audio-video planned to play a role in the first decade of the 21st century),

EU funding for robotics research

Nowadays, over two-thirds of European workers in manufacturing are employed in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This is a considerable percentage that UE must consider in its decision concerning funding for Research and Development. One of the most significant aim of SMEs is to offer a valid answer to changing production needs that are developing more and more quickly in our contemporary society, and robotics represents in this sense one of the major challenges.

Are we safe online? Looking for answers with Horizon 2020

In a world of 1s and 0s... are you a zero, or The One? Every year, as reported by the European Commissioner for Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes, 200 million of Europeans buy things online. Furthermore, the web economy generates a fifth of the growth in the European Union. Therefore, it is now important to apply the fundamental rights online as well as offline. Presently, the European Commission is seeking to develop