Hospital staffed by robot orderlies

In HG Wells' The Time Machine, the brutish Morlocks live underground, appearing only to service the needs of the beautiful but weedy Eloi.

Team turns to eBay to build low-cost land mine detector

US Army-sponsored researchers have built a land mine detection system for a hundredth of the cost of traditional systems - using parts they bought in online auctions.

Chance observation solves mystery of 'hole-punch' clouds

Strange circular holes in clouds which have frequently led to speculation about UFOs are caused by nothing more mysterious than aircraft, a study has shown - and they can cause several inches of snow or rain too.   

NASA prototype successfully predicts tsunami

In the wake of February's earthquake in Chile, a NASA-led team successfully tested elements of a prototype tsunami prediction system.

Dark matter and dark energy may not exist at all

Everything we know about the composition of the universe may be wrong, according to physicists.

Team cracks secret of suspended animation

Scientists believe they may be able to explain how some people who apparently freeze to death can be revived after a form of suspended animation.

World's most powerful microscope starts work

The world’s most powerful microscope is now peering away at tiny things at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Laser sniffs out hidden explosives from a distance

A British team has developed a low-cost laser that can detect hidden explosives from a much greater distance than existing devices.

Obama looks for an "ass to kick" over BP spill

US President Barack Obama is apparently looking for an "ass to kick" over BP's embarrassing failure to halt a catastrophic oil leak off the Louisiana coast.

Costa Rica clamps down on dodgy stem cell treatments

Costa Rica has put an end to stem cell tourism, saying there's no evidence that the treatments work or are even safe.

US rules out nuclear option against BP oil spill

US officials have ruled out the use of a nuclear blast to halt the seemingly uncontrollable BP oil leak off the Gulf of Mexico.

Seventeenth-century scientific wish-list comes true

Scientist and alchemist Robert Boyle would have approved of the present day. We've finally got round to inventing most of the things on his wish-list of technological developments.

Copper nanowires promise cheap, flexible screens

Imagine a foldable iPad: it's perfectly possible, say Duke University scientists, who have found a simple way to make tiny copper nanowires in quantity.

Collapse in bee populations could be caused by cellphones

Cellphones could be to blame for the sharp decline in honeybee populations, according to Indian scientists.

Butterflies' wings could cut bank fraud

Banknotes could get a lot prettier, thanks to a new nanotechnology technique which mimics the iridescent colors found on butterflies' wings.

Acupuncture works - and scientists now understand how

Scientists have established that the molecule adenosine is critical to explaining how acupuncture works, and have been able to triple acupuncture's effectiveness as a result.

Ardi wasn't human ancestor, says team

A team of scientists says that habitat evidence shows that Ardipithecus ramidus - claimed last year as the earliest human ancestor - was nothing of the sort.

Team grows retina from stem cells

UC Irvine researchers have created a retina from human embryonic stem cells, the first time they've been used to create a three-dimensional tissue structure.

Modified fruit flies can smell light

Scientists have genetically modified fruitflies to let them smell blue light - it smells of bananas to them, apparently.

Scientist says he's infected with a computer virus

A scientist at the University of Reading says he's become the first person in the world to be infected by a computer virus.