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Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

— Electronics

Light bulb set to be graphene's first commercial consumer application

In two claimed firsts, researchers at the University of Manchester have produced both the first commercial application of graphene and the world's first graphene light-bulb. It is expected that this new device will have lower energy emissions, cheaper manufacturing costs, and a longer running life than even LED lights. And this isn't just a pie-in-the-sky prototype, either. The team who developed it believes that the graphene light-bulb will be available for retail sale within months. Read More
— Robotics

Future firefighters may be guided by "robots on reins"

When firefighters need to enter smoke-filled buildings to conduct search or rescue, they frequently suffer from low visibility and often need to feel their way along walls or follow ropes reeled out by the lead firefighter. With a limited supply of oxygen carried by each firefighter, being slowed by the inability to see can severely limit their capacity to carry out duties in these environments. Now researchers from King’s College London and Sheffield Hallam University have developed a robot assistant for firefighters that can help guide them through even the thickest smoke. Read More
— Electronics

First flexible graphene-based display created

Flexible displays are the new must-have element in the race for the next generation of high-tech electronic devices. A new prototype display created with graphene promises to provide a more efficient, printable alternative to current construction methods with the added benefit of perhaps one day creating a true, fully-folding display. Read More
— Science

Levitated lab-grown cartilage could result in more effective implants

Although it's now possible to create lab-grown cartilage, there's still at least one big challenge in doing so – cartilage grown in a flat Petri dish may not be optimally-shaped for replacing the body's own natural cartilage parts. Scientists from a consortium of UK universities, however, are developing a possible solution. They're using "ultrasonic tweezers" to grow cartilage in mid-air. Read More
— Science

Acoustic tractor beam pulls in macroscopic objects

The tractor beam is a staple of science fiction. Aliens use them to haul up unwilling earthlings onto flying saucers, and spacecraft use them to seize enemy ships or tow captured objects around in space. Now a group of researchers working at the University of Dundee actually claim to have built one. But instead of lasers, it uses ultrasonic waves to pull macroscopic objects in. Read More
— Music

Wooden cube converts touch into music

The aim of the Hackable Instruments project is to create instruments that can be easily tweaked by the player to find interesting new directions for producing flavorsome tones, without any specialist knowledge of electronics or engineering, while also aiding in the development of distinctive playing styles. Project members Andrew McPherson and Victor Zappi have designed and built a deliberately simple instrument that produces sounds when a player's fingers touch, slide or tap a capacitive sensing strip on one of the wooden cube's faces. Read More
— Environment

Recycling system developed for old shoes

Of all the things that we regularly dispose of, you would think that shoes would be one of the most difficult to recycle. Not only are well-used shoes kind of ... gross, but they're also made of a variety of different materials, all of which are joined together. Nonetheless, scientists at Loughborough University in the UK announced last week that they have created and trialled "the world’s first comprehensive system for separating and recovering useful materials from old footwear." Read More