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Miniature backup for when your GPS fails

July 11, 2013 8:10 am | News | Comments

In an apple seed-sized pellet of glass, Univ. of Michigan engineering researchers have packed seven devices that together could potentially provide navigation in the absence of the satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS.) Space-based GPS is far from fail-proof. It doesn't work indoors, near tall buildings or in heavy cloud cover; and it's relatively easy to jam, researchers say.

The story behind the 3-D-printed splint that saved an infant’s life

July 11, 2013 7:57 am | News | Comments

Half a millennium after Johannes Gutenberg printed the Bible, researchers printed a 3-D splint that saved the life of an infant born with severe tracheobronchomalacia, a birth defect that causes the airway to collapse. While similar surgeries have been performed using tissue donations and windpipes created from stem cells, this is the first time 3-D printing has been used to treat tracheobronchomalacia—at least in a human.

Nuke test radiation can fight poachers

July 2, 2013 11:04 am | News | Comments

A Univ. of Michigan researcher worked with Univ. of Utah colleagues to develop a new weapon to fight poachers who kill elephants, hippos, rhinos and other wildlife. By measuring radioactive carbon-14 deposited in tusks and teeth following open-air nuclear bomb tests, the method reveals the year an animal died, and thus whether the ivory was taken illegally.

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New laser shows what substances are made of

June 25, 2013 10:03 am | News | Comments

A new laser that can show what objects are made of could help military aircraft identify hidden dangers such as weapons arsenals far below. The system, which is made of off-the-shelf telecommunications technology, emits a broadband beam of infrared light. While most lasers emit light of one wavelength, or color, super-continuum lasers like this one give off a tight beam packed with columns of light covering a range of wavelengths.

Nanothermometer enables first atomic-scale heat dissipation measurements

June 13, 2013 7:27 am | News | Comments

In findings that could help overcome a major technological hurdle in the road toward smaller and more powerful electronics, an international research team involving Univ. of Michigan engineering researchers, has shown the unique ways in which heat dissipates at the tiniest scales.

Alternative-fuel cars are no carbon cure-all

June 12, 2013 8:31 am | News | Comments

Making cars more fuel-efficient is great for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but rather than promoting sales of electric and other alternative-fuel vehicles, policymakers should turn their focus to cutting emissions in other energy sectors—from oil wells and power plants to farms and forests affected by biofuels production—says a Univ. of Michigan researcher.

Whispering light hears liquids talk

June 7, 2013 12:02 pm | News | Comments

Ever been to a whispering gallery—a quiet, circular space underneath an old cathedral dome that captures and amplifies sounds as quiet as a whisper? Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Michigan are applying similar principles in the development optomechanical sensors that will help unlock vibrational secrets of chemical and biological samples at the nanoscale.

Military vehicle seating: Keeping American soldiers safe

June 6, 2013 3:07 pm | News | Comments

Transportation crashes have accounted for two-thirds of U.S. noncombat military deaths since 2000—a trend Univ. of Michigan researchers are hoping to help reverse. Research Prof. Matthew Reed and colleagues at the U-M Transportation Research Institute and U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) aim to make seating in military vehicles safer, more effective and more comfortable for soldiers.

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Zebrafish help identify mutant gene in rare muscle disease

June 4, 2013 1:17 pm | News | Comments

Zebrafish with very weak muscles helped scientists decode the elusive genetic mutation responsible for Native American myopathy, a rare, hereditary muscle disease that afflicts Native Americans in North Carolina. Scientists originally identified the gene in mutant zebrafish that exhibited severe muscle weakness. The responsible gene encodes for a muscle protein called Stac3.

Nanoengineering boosts efficiency of materials

May 30, 2013 12:51 pm | News | Comments

High-performance thermoelectric materials that convert waste heat to electricity could one day be a source of more sustainable power. But they need to be a lot more efficient before they could be effective on a broad scale in places like power plants or military bases, researchers say. A University of Michigan researcher has taken a step toward that goal.

U.S. health care: Does more spending yield better health?

May 23, 2013 8:20 am | News | Comments

Health care spending is much higher for older Americans than for younger adults and children, on average, and analysts have said that increasing spending leads to longer life expectancy. But new research from the University of Michigan indicates that aging populations could view things differently.

Researchers find potential brain switch for new behavior

May 21, 2013 12:49 pm | News | Comments

You're standing near an airport luggage carousel and your bag emerges on the conveyor belt, prompting you to spring into action. How does your brain make the shift from passively waiting to taking action when your bag appears? A new study from investigators at the University of Michigan and Eli Lilly may reveal the brain's "switch" for new behavior.

A new laser paradigm: An electrically injected polariton laser

May 16, 2013 9:45 am | News | Comments

Engineering researchers at the University of Michigan have demonstrated a paradigm-shifting "polariton" laser that's fueled not by light, but by electricity. Polaritons are particles that are part light, and part matter. The new device requires at least 1,000 times less energy to operate, compared with a conventional laser.

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Fracking brings economic boost, but risks raise concerns

May 14, 2013 2:42 pm | News | Comments

Most Michigan and Pennsylvania residents say fracking is good for the economy, but have concerns about chemicals used and other environmental risks, according to a University of Michigan survey. Fracking is the common term for hydraulic fracturing, which involves injecting a mixture of water, sand, and chemicals deep into the ground through encased wells at high pressure to create and expand fractures in the shale rock.

Nano-breakthrough: Solving the case of the herringbone crystal

May 13, 2013 7:54 am | News | Comments

Leading nanoscientists created beautiful, tiled patterns with flat nanocrystals, but they were left with a mystery: Why did some sets of crystals arrange themselves in an alternating, herringbone style? To find out, they turned to experts in computer simulation at the University of Michigan and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Exotic atoms hold clues to unsolved physics puzzle

May 9, 2013 7:47 am | News | Comments

An international team of physicists has found the first direct evidence of pear-shaped nuclei in exotic atoms. The findings could advance the search for a new fundamental force in nature that could explain why the Big Bang created more matter than antimatter—a pivotal imbalance in the history of everything.

Divide and define: Clues to understanding how stem cells produce different cells

May 6, 2013 3:46 pm | News | Comments

The human body contains trillions of cells, all derived from a single cell. That single cell contains all the genetic information needed to develop into a human, and passes identical copies of that information to each new cell as it divides into the many diverse types of cells. If each cell is genetically identical, however, how does it grow to be a skin, blood, nerve, bone, or other type of cell?

Improving materials that convert heat to electricity and vice-versa

May 6, 2013 7:50 am | News | Comments

Thermoelectric materials can be used to turn waste heat into electricity or to provide refrigeration without any liquid coolants, and a research team from the University of Michigan has found a way to nearly double the efficiency of a particular class of them that's made with organic semiconductors.

Decoded: Molecular messages that tell cancer to spread

May 2, 2013 7:53 am | News | Comments

Cancer cells are wily, well-traveled adversaries, constantly side-stepping treatments to stop their spread. But, for the first time, scientists at the University of Michigan have decoded the molecular chatter that ramps certain cancer cells into overdrive and can cause tumors to metastasize throughout the body.

Air pollution linked to hardening of arteries

April 25, 2013 11:03 am | News | Comments

Long-term exposure to air pollution may be linked to heart attacks and strokes by speeding up atherosclerosis, or "hardening of the arteries," according to a University of Michigan public health researcher and colleagues from across the U.S.

Fossil shells, new geochemical technique provide clues to ancient climate cooling

April 23, 2013 9:41 am | News | Comments

Using a new laboratory geochemical technique to analyze heavy isotopes of carbon and oxygen in fossil snail shells, scientists have gained insights into an abrupt climate shift that transformed the planet nearly 34 million years ago. At that time, the Earth switched from a warm and high-carbon dioxide "greenhouse" state to the lower-carbon dioxide, variable climate of the modern "icehouse" world.

New software could alleviate wireless traffic

April 12, 2013 7:53 am | News | Comments

The explosive popularity of wireless devices is increasingly clogging the airwaves, resulting in dropped calls, wasted bandwidth, and botched connections. New software, called GapSense, being developed at the University of Michigan works like a stoplight to control the traffic and dramatically reduce interference.

Spring cleaning in your brain: Stem cell research shows how important it is

April 11, 2013 2:30 am | News | Comments

Deep inside your brain, a legion of stem cells lies ready to turn into new brain and nerve cells whenever and wherever you need them most. But what happens to the garbage within cells that keeps them in a stem-cell state. Years of mouse research has allowed researchers at the University of Michigan to discover how autophagy keeps neural stem cells ready to replace damaged brain and nerve cells.

Researchers invent better single-photon emitter for quantum cryptography

April 9, 2013 6:31 pm | News | Comments

In a development that could make the advanced form of secure communications known as quantum cryptography more practical, University of Michigan researchers have demonstrated a simpler, more efficient single-photon emitter that can be made using traditional semiconductor processing techniques.

Building better blood vessels could advance tissue engineering

April 5, 2013 8:00 am | News | Comments

One of the major obstacles to growing new organs—replacement hearts, lungs, and kidneys—is the difficulty researchers face in building blood vessels that keep the tissues alive, but new findings from the University of Michigan could help overcome this roadblock.

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