Tiny, fully biocompatible electronic devices that are able to dissolve harmlessly into their surroundings after functioning for a precise amount of time have been created by a research team led by biomedical engineers. Dubbed "transient electronics," the new class of silk-silicon devices promises a generation of medical implants that never need surgical removal, as well as environmental monitors and consumer electronics that can become compost rather than trash.
A prototype sensor array built by Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineers can be worn on the chest and automatically maps the wearer’s environment, recognizing movement between floors. The prototype system is envisioned as a tool to help emergency responders coordinate disaster response.
It’s a bit like Twitter, only instead of 140 words or less, the electronic tags needed by ornithologists researching the behavior of small birds had to 1 gram or less. This type of miniaturization for a rugged, mobile tag was previously unavailable until a biologist teamed up with an electrical engineer at Scotland’s University of St. Andrews.
Belgium-based semiconductor manufacturing firm imec announced Tuesday that it has integrated an ultra-thin, flexible chip with bendable and stretchable interconnects into a package that adapts dynamically to curving and bending surfaces. The resulting circuitry can be embedded in medical and lifestyle applications where user comfort and unobtrusiveness is key, such as wearable health monitors or smart clothing.
Developed by a company in San Diego, a new automated system that lets consumers trade in cell phones and mobile devices for reimbursement or recycling relies artificial intelliigence and sophisticated machine vision diagnostics. The building blocks for the ecoATM have existed for many years, but none, until now, have been applied to the particular problem of consumer recycling.
The transparent electronics that were pioneered at Oregon State University may find one of their newest applications as a next-generation replacement for some uses of non-volatile flash memory, a multi-billion dollar technology nearing its limit of small size and information storage capacity.
According to data from a 2008 Business R&D and Innovation Survey by the National Science Foundation, businesses perform the lion's share of their R&D activity in just a small number of geographic areas, particularly the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland area and the New York-Newark-Bridgeport area.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have developed a new technique for magnetically separating oil and water that could be used to clean up oil spills. They believe that, with their technique, the oil could be recovered for use, offsetting much of the cleanup cost.
In spin-based electronics, the spin of the electron is used as a carrier of information. To meet the need for faster electronics, the speed must be increased as far as possible. Uppsala University physicists have shown how spin information can be transmitted using spin currents at terahertz speeds, a thousand times faster than today.
A "magic carpet" which can immediately detect when someone has fallen and can help to predict mobility problems has been demonstrated by University of Manchester scientists. Plastic optical fibers, laid on the underlay of a carpet, can bend when anyone treads on it and map, in real time, their walking patterns.
A critical element in any microchip is an inverter—an electronic component that spits out zeros when it is given ones, and vice versa. Complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor, or CMOS, is the industry standard for this type of component, but still requires billions of dollars to achieve production scale. Researchers have recently pioneered a room-temperature additive process that creates a nanoscale inverter quickly and at low cost.
During the next four years, research teams who have been the recipients of 15 innovation grants totalling $30 million from the National Science Foundation will pursue transformative, fundamental research in three emerging areas: flexible electronic systems that can interface with the body; self-folding materials and structures; and large-scale chemical production from photosynthesis.
To control the 3D shape of engineered tissue, researchers grow cells on tiny, sponge-like scaffolds. These devices can be implanted into patients or used in the laboratory to study tissue responses to potential drugs. A team of researchers has now added a new element to tissue scaffolds: electronic sensors. These sensors could be used to monitor electrical activity in the tissue surrounding the scaffold, control drug release, or screen drug candidates for their effects on the beating of heart tissue.
To create modern 3D effects, movie theaters use linearly or circularly polarized light sourced from two projectors that simultaneously display two similar, slightly offset, images. This approach is cumbersome and still needs the help of glasses, so a team of South Korean investigators have refined a parallax barrier method that can be used to create a 3D effect with a single screen.
At outdoor athletic competitions?at the Olympic Games, for example?athletes pushed themselves to the limit. But it’s hard to depict this in pictures alone. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany have created an intelligent camera that instantly delivers more complete picture of the action, supplying additional metadata acceleration, temperature, or heart rate.
Research by Nosang Myung, a professor at the University of California, Riverside has enabled Riverside, Calif.-based Nano Engineered Applications Inc. to develop an "electronic nose" prototype that can detect small quantities of harmful airborne substances.
A team of researchers at in Japan has demonstrated a new material that promises to eliminate loss in electrical power transmission. Their methodology for solving this classic energy problem is based on a highly exotic type of magnetic semiconductor first theorized less than a decade ago—a magnetic topological insulator.
On August 1, 2007, without warning, the roadway suddenly disappeared beneath drivers on Minneapolis' I-35W Bridge, killing 13. In the five years since, advances in wireless sensor technology are making warning systems to prevent such tragedies affordable and practical. Both startups and federally initiatives are close to releasing systems that will be suitable for commercial use.
More and more companies are turning to simplified procedures to help tackle complex product design tasks. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, work on Design Structure Matrix analysis is helping heavyweight companies improve their products, production lines and organizations by transforming product design into a productive routine.
In theory, quantum computers should be able to perform certain kinds of complex calculations much faster than conventional computers, and quantum-based communication could be invulnerable to eavesdropping. But producing quantum components for real-world devices has proved to be fraught with daunting challenges. Now, a team of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University has achieved a crucial long-term goal of such efforts.
Researchers in National Physical Laboratory's Quantum Detection Group have demonstrated, for the first time, a monolithic 3D ion microtrap array which could be scaled up to handle several tens of ion-based quantum bits. The research shows how it is possible to realize this device embedded in a semiconductor chip, and demonstrates the device's ability to confine individual ions at the nanoscale.
Carnegie Mellon University's new Pedo-Biometrics Lab is working to perfect special shoe insoles that can help monitor access to high-security areas, like nuclear power plants or special military bases. The concept is based on research that shows each person has unique feet, and ways of walking. Sensors check on the pressure of feet and the gait, using a computer to compare patterns.
In conventional field effect transistors, the current through the device can be switched on and off by an electric field. A research team in Poland, however, has developed a new way to control electron current in a transistor-like structure by using the electrons’ spin. The new method can not only tune the electrical current in the device but also the spin-polarization of the electron current.
3DIcon Corporation and Dimension Technologies Inc. announced that they have signed a non-binding Letter of Intent outlining the terms and conditions for 3DIcon to acquire Dimension Technologies.
Males of the Japanese tree frog have learned not to use their calls at the same time so that the females can distinguish between them. Scientists at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia have used this form of calling behavior to create an algorithm that assigns colors to network nodes—an operation that can be applied to developing efficient wireless networks.