Email
Password
Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageDigital Journal’s top science articles of the year

By Tim Sandle     Dec 11, 2018 in Science
Digital Journal continues to provide cutting-edge science and technology features. We present the pick of 2018. From developments in AI to advances in cancer treatment, we present the latest innovative research.
Every year around this time, Digital Journal takes a look back at the most interesting science and science related technology news that we’ve reported on (2017’s selections can be viewed here). This year Digital Journal’s science editor has selected one article of interest from each month of 2018.
Pulses of light to protect cryptocurrencies
Light dispersion of a mercury-vapor lamp with a prism made of flint glass.
Light dispersion of a mercury-vapor lamp with a prism made of flint glass.
D-Kuru (CC BY-SA 3.0 AT)
Our first pick of the year, from January, was about the continuing rise of digital currency. We reported that technologists have successfully used pulses of light to encrypt data, based on quantum cryptography. This technology, once established, could be used to protect the security of cryptocurrencies.
Vaccine to protect football players from concussion
File photo from Madden NFL 25
File photo from Madden NFL 25
Courtesy EA Sports
To coincide with February’s Superbowl, we ran a science-meets-sport news story. This concerned United Neuroscience, a spinout of vaccine-maker United Bioscience. The company is developing a drug designed to inoculate the brain against chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This is much needed given research shows a connection between repeated blows to the head and the neurodegeneration of chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
Artificial intelligence diagnoses eye diseases
Human eye  close up
Human eye, close up
Che (CC BY-SA 2.5)
In March we looked at an application of artificial intelligence in the medical field. Studies have demonstrated how artificial intelligence can quickly and accurately diagnose a range of eye diseases and other medical conditions like the bacterial infection pneumonia.
Has invisibility material been created?
Thermal infrared (left) and visible (right) images of a road with light and dark segments. The infra...
Thermal infrared (left) and visible (right) images of a road with light and dark segments. The infrared image shows that the light segment (bottom) is about 17°C (30°F) cooler than the dark segment (top). CC License: Attrition, no deriv.
Heat Island Group
Technology now allows certain objects to be rendered invisible, as we learnt in April. A new material, can alter the way heat is reflected and render objects invisible from infrared. Such technology could be used to protect soldiers and structures.
Laser eyes
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have fully 3D printed an image sensing array on a hemisph...
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have fully 3D printed an image sensing array on a hemisphere, which is a first-of-its-kind prototype for a "bionic eye."
University of Minnesota, McAlpine Group
In May it was revealed that laser eyes are edging close to reality, at least according to researchers based in Scotland. With this, ocular lasers, based on an ultra-thin membrane laser using organic semiconductors, have been tested out. Future uses could extend into displays, photovoltaics, and wearable sensors, once the technology becomes commercialized.
AI-based method speeds up development of nanoparticles
Part of the creation of nanoparticles involves rendering nanocrystals.
Part of the creation of nanoparticles involves rendering nanocrystals.
Marc Achermann
We return to the subject for artificial intelligence for June’s pick. The application here is with a computational neural network which is capable of learning how the structure of a nanoparticle influences the way the particle scatters light. This could assist with nanoparticles as used for the delivery of medicines, for example.
Bacteria-powered solar cell works under dark skies
A photovoltaic (PV) module is a packaged  connect assembly of typically 6×10 solar cells. Solar Pho...
A photovoltaic (PV) module is a packaged, connect assembly of typically 6×10 solar cells. Solar Photovoltaic panels constitute the solar array of a photovoltaic system that generates and supplies solar electricity in commercial and residential applications.
AleSpa (CC BY-SA 3.0)
For July, the month with the greatest sunshine in the northern hemisphere, we looked at solar cells that can work under darker skies. This was a bacteria-powered, the biological-based solar cell that works equally as efficiently under dim light as under bright light. This device could aid the bigger adoption of solar power in regions of the world where overcast skies are far more common.
Environmental warning for the tropics: biodiversity collapse
Bora Bora (French Polynesia)- aerial view  a region of the Tropics.
Bora Bora (French Polynesia)- aerial view, a region of the Tropics.
Julius Silver (CC BY-SA 4.0)
With August’s choice we turn to more serious issues affecting the planet. This was based on a study from Lancaster University, which took the form of a survey into the state of the world's most diverse tropical ecosystems: tropical forests, savannas, lakes and rivers, and coral reefs. The outcome does not look good, unless urgent and joined-up action is taken.
New drug developed to treat pancreatic cancer
File photo: Scientist working in a laboratory
File photo: Scientist working in a laboratory
CDC Photo Credit: James Gathany
For September, we posted news about a new drug for pancreatic cancer. The drug product could lead to the formation of a new strategy to fight cancer. The medicine targets two genes at the same time. The drug also holds the promise for being the framework for developing drugs to treat other forms of cancer or other diseases.
Robotic insects could pollinate plants should bees collapse
Untitled
Maggi_94
A world without bees will adversely affect global agriculture and bee populations are collapsing. In October we asked “Could robot bees step in as pollinators?” Possible, however developing bee-like robots is not straightforward, given the complexities of bee wing motion patterns and aerodynamics.
New technology to generate energy from windows
The Ritz-Carlton is located in Hong Kong's highest skyscraper
The Ritz-Carlton is located in Hong Kong's highest skyscraper
ISAAC LAWRENCE, AFP
For November, we took in an environmental technology theme, considering a new coating for windows that has the potential to capture light and generate electricity. The novel technology is a way of drawing upon thermoelectric power factor while, at the same time, decreasing thermal conductivity, which generates energy.
Treating depression with brain implants
The Brainprint system creates  unhackable  brain scans to replace passwords
The Brainprint system creates 'unhackable' brain scans to replace passwords
Jonathan Cohen / Binghamton University
Reaching the end of the year, we looked at a way of treating certain forms of depression through the use of brain implants. This is based on deep brain stimulation, which is a technique which some neurosurgeons think can be used to adjust the neural activity in specific brain regions.
Digital Journal will continue to report on science and technology news. Please continue to visit our science and technology page.
More about Science, Journalism, science articles, articles of the year
 
Latest News
Top News