In order to conduct electrical signals from the skin, the electrodes
on heart rate monitors need to be slightly moist. That's why gel is
first applied to patients' skin. Unfortunately, that gel dries up within
24 hours. Now, however, scientists from Switzerland's Empa research
institute are developing a solution – a self-moistening heart
rate-monitoring chest strap, for use in situations where
electrocardiograms (ECGs) need to be recorded over a period of several days.
A Swiss joint venture has developed a hybrid-electric powertrain for road sweepers that's said to consume half the energy of diesel-hydraulic vehicles and reduce emissions by more than 60 percent. The modular system can also be adapted to cleaner fuel types such as hydrogen.
If you’re going out for pizza in Budapest, which would you choose to get you there; a smartphone with GPS or a drop of gel on a little maze? A team of scientists from Switzerland, Hungary, Japan and Scotland under the leadership of Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, thinks that the gel might be your better bet because that little bit of plastic and goo is a chemical computer capable of navigating a maze faster than a satnav.
When it comes to making cars more energy-efficient – whether they're battery- or gas-powered – getting their weight down is one of the best things you can do. Unfortunately, the cast iron brake rotors currently used in most vehicles are quite heavy. Lighter ceramic rotors certainly do exist, although their high price mostly limits their application to expensive sports cars. Soon, however, ceramic-coated
aluminum rotors may be a cost-effective lightweight alternative for economy cars.
As nocturnal creatures, moths need to maximize how well they can see in the dark whilst remaining less visible to avoid predators. This ability to collect as much of the available light as possible and at the same time reflect as little as possible, has inspired Researchers at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) to design a new type of photoelectrochemical cell using relatively low cost materials.
Shape memory alloys (SMAs), which when heated are able to return to their original shape after being severely deformed, have found their way into everything from spectacle frames to cars
. Now researchers at Empa in Switzerland have developed a new type of SMA that could allow the material to find applications in the building and construction industries.
As the Deepwater Horizon
incident showed us, oil spills can be huge environmental disasters. That said, there are also considerable challenges in dealing with the waste products generated by the forestry and agriculture industries. Now, scientists from Switzerland's Empa research group have come up with a method of addressing the one problem with the other – they've developed sponges made from cellulose waste, that can soak up 50 times their own weight in oil.
Blood pressure is one of the main vital signs, measuring the pressure of the blood upon the walls of blood vessels as it is pumped around the body by the heart. High blood pressure, or hypertension, places increased stress on the heart and can be an indicator of other potentially fatal health problems, such as stroke, heart attack, and heart failure. Most people will have had their blood pressure tested using a sphygmomanometer on a visit to the doctor, but a new wristband device is set to provide a more convenient and continuous way to keep a watch for signs of trouble.
Scientists based at Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, have set a new efficiency record for thin-film copper indium gallium (di)selenid (or CIGS) based solar cells on flexible polymer foils, reaching an efficiency of 20.4 percent. This is an increase from a previous record of 18.7 percent set by the team back in 2011