2015 Detroit NAIAS Auto Show

EPFL

The DALER prototype drone

Robot drones that can both fly and move about on land would vastly improve their usefulness by increasing the areas in which they could operate. Adding wheels of sufficient size to handle most terrains, however, would adversely increase both the weight and size of such a drone. Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), building on their earlier developments, have created a drone that uses wings incorporating movable tips, allowing it to both walk and fly.  Read More

EPFL's soft-and-stretchy e-Dura implant (Photo: EPFL/Alain Herzog)

Three years ago, scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) reported success in getting rats with severed spinal cords to walk again. They did so by suspending the animals in a harness, then using implants to electrically stimulate neurons in their lower spinal cord. Although this ultimately resulted in the rats being able to run on their previously-paralyzed hind legs, the technology still wasn't practical for long-term use in humans. Thanks to new research conducted at EPFL, however, that may no longer be the case.  Read More

The EPFL sensor is capable of detecting movements made by microscopic living things, such ...

People often state that certain planets are too hot, cold or toxic to support life. The catch, however, is that those people are really just talking about life as we know it here on Earth. By that same token, when rovers exploring other planets seek out chemical signatures associated with life forms, they're only able to identify chemicals that we know to look for. That's why Swiss scientists from the EPFL research center have created a device that identifies microscopic life, based on nanoscale movements instead of chemistry.  Read More

Researchers have achieved a solar energy to hydrogen conversion efficiency of 12.3% using ...

Using solar energy to split water into its component parts, thereby allowing the solar energy to be stored as hydrogen fuel, generally involves one of two methods: using photoelectrochemical cells to directly split the water, or using solar cells to produce electricity to power an electrolyzer that separates the water molecules. One problem associated with the latter method is that it currently relies on rare metals. But now scientists from Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have managed to do so using common materials, and have achieved a record solar energy to hydrogen conversion efficiency in the process.  Read More

EPFL researchers succeeded in recreating the feeling of a 'ghostly presence' in the labora...

Mountain climbers facing extreme climatic conditions, patients affected by schizophrenia or neurological disorders and athletes facing severe exhaustion have all reported experiencing feeling an invisible and yet persistent "presence" that is often felt just outside their field of view. Researchers at EPFL have now recreated the same sensations in perfectly healthy subjects, inducing ghostly hallucinations in a matter of minutes.  Read More

A mock-up of what the finished Intelligent Blinker may look like

As any serious bicycle commuter will tell you, it's important to let drivers know what you're doing by signaling your intention to turn. Needless to say, the more visible your hand signals are, the safer you should be. That's why a group of doctoral students at Switzerland's EPFL research institute created the Intelligent Blinker. It's a wrist bracelet that automatically starts flashing when the wearer raises their arm to signal.  Read More

Jonathan Cheseaux with the drone that uses a Wi-Fi antenna to locate mobile phones (Photo:...

These days, most people are inseparable from their mobile phone, with the device being one of the essentials along with keys and cash or cards that people don't leave home without. A project at EPFL's Mobile Communications Laboratory is looking to take advantage of this fact by developing a drone that would help rescuers search for victims of natural disasters by locating their phones.  Read More

The TOSA buses charge as they stand at a bus stop

It’s one thing to invent an electric bus, a hydrogen car, or other green transportation technology, but quite another for it to work in the real world. For example, the Trolleybus Optimisation Système Alimentation (TOSA) flash-charging electric bus system may be the most brilliant idea ever, but if it can’t stay in the black, then might as well be drawn by diesel-powered horses. Scientists at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) are hoping to avoid that scenario by developing a computer model that helps engineers integrate the buses into existing transport systems while keeping costs down.  Read More

Reconfigurable Roombot modules can attach to existing furniture, or rearrange themselves t...

Envision small robotic modules, lifting the lid of a storage box, spilling out, rearranging themselves to be the box's legs and transporting it to where you might be seated. That's exactly what Swiss researchers are aiming to create with Roombots, reconfigurable robotic modules that connect to each other to transform themselves into any type of furniture and change shape when needed (from a chair to a table, for example). Designed to help the disabled or elderly, by morphing to suit their needs, the adaptive robotic furniture modules can even be attached to existing furniture to give greater flexibility and the power to move.  Read More

The robotic arm is capable of calculating the path of moving objects, moving to intercept ...

Researchers at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have developed a robotic arm capable of processing and catching moving objects in just a fraction of a second. The team, that works at the institute’s Learning Algorithms and Systems Laboratory (LASA), was able to teach the robot to understand the path of the object and intercept it at blistering speed. As well as being extremely cool to watch, it’s possible that the technology might find safety-oriented applications in the future.  Read More

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