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Empa

Illustration of the 'moth eye' solar cell (Illustration: Empa)

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.  Read More

The underside of the reinforced concrete beam has been fitted with two iron-based SMA stri...

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.  Read More

One of the modified nanocellulose sponges soaks up oil (red) while repelling water (blue)

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.  Read More

The Diamond armor suit boasts level II bulletproof protection

If you're looking to extend your bulletproof wardrobe with something that won't be out of place alongside other garments, such as the Miguel Caballero bullet-proof polo shirt, the Bullet-Proof Gentleman’s Square and Garrison Bespoke's bulletproof three-piece suit, then the Diamond Armor could be a good fit. Developed by SuitArt, the Diamond Armor is a diamond-studded, bullet-proof, air-conditioned, bespoke-tailored suit costing US$3.2 million, making it the most expensive custom-tailored suit in the world.  Read More

Initial prototypes of the 'blood pressure watch' with the strap made from piezo-resistive ...

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.  Read More

New research could result in cheaper, more efficient thin solar cell production (Photo: Em...

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.  Read More

Might better linen be the answer to the problem of bedsores? (Photo: John Tyler)

A team of Swiss researchers has developed a new kind of bed linen with the intention of reducing the occurrence of bedsores among bedridden patients. The new "dot matrix" linen is designed to reduce the contact surface against the skin while allowing for greater absorption of problem moisture that can otherwise exacerbate the problem.  Read More

Empa's air-conditioned bulletproof vest

When most of us realize that we’re overdressed for the weather, we can simply take off that extra jacket or whatnot that’s causing us to overheat. Police officers, however, don’t have the option of taking off their bulletproof vests ... and those vests aren’t exactly known for being lightweight and breathable. Fortunately, a team from Swiss research institution Empa has developed just the thing for those hot cops – an air-conditioned ballistic vest.  Read More

A back view of the ribs and joints incorporated into the seat's backrest

As anyone who spends a lot of time seated at a desk will know, it's important to change your position every now and then. For wheelchair users, who spend almost every waking moment seated, it is crucial that they do so - if they don't, they can develop deformities or bedsores, or at least end up in considerable pain. Now, the Swiss research group Empa is working with the ergonomics company r going, to develop a new type of wheelchair seat that periodically causes users to change the way they're sitting.  Read More

Hematite nanoparticle film (red) with functional phycocyanin network (green) attached

Recently, scientists from the Swiss research institute EMPA, along with colleagues from the University of Basel and the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois took a cue from photosynthesis and discovered that by coupling a light-harvesting plant protein with their specially designed electrode, they could substantially boost the efficiency of photo-electrochemical cells used to split water and produce hydrogen - a huge step forward in the search for clean, truly green power.  Read More

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