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EPFL

Science

First bionic fingertip implant delivers sensational results

Dennis Aabo Sørensen may be missing a hand, but he nonetheless recently felt rough and smooth textures using a fingertip on that arm. The fingertip was electronic, and was surgically hard-wired to nerves in his upper arm. He is reportedly the first person in the world to recognize texture using a bionic fingertip connected to electrodes that were surgically implanted above his stump.Read More

Liquid metal runs through new flexible circuits

Before things like touch-sensitive robot skin or prosthetics skin can become commonplace, we first need to develop robust and reliable flexible electronics. Researchers from Switzerland's EPFL research institute have taken a big step toward that goal, by developing circuits that remain functioning while being stretched by up to four times their original length.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Infection-fighting bandages may help treat serious burns

When a burn wound is healing, it's usually highly susceptible to infection, and bandages often make the situation worse, acting as breeding grounds for harmful microbes. A new bandage developed by researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Luassane (EPFL) could improve the healing process considerably, accelerating the healing process, while stopping bacteria multiplying.Read More

Environment

Cheaper, longer-lasting perovskite solar cells could be on the way

Perovskite solar cells are one of the most exciting green energy technologies to emerge in recent years, combining low cost with high energy conversion rates. Now, researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) have found a way to cut their cost even further by developing a charge-carrying material that is much cheaper, highly efficient, and could even help address the technology's current major weakness by significantly lengthening the lifespan of the panels.Read More

Robotics

Soft robotic gripper gets a grasp on fragile objects using electroadhesion

Building machines that replicate the delicate touch of a human hand is a complex undertaking that has seen the development of all kinds of soft robotic grippers, from squishy green blobs to boa constrictor-inspired claws. Scientists are now claiming an important advance in this area, demonstrating a robotic device that can better grasp fragile objects through the help of electroadhesion, the very same phenomenon that sees balloons cling to ceilings after being rubbed on your hair.Read More

Medical

Firefly enzyme inspires Swiss team to create portable disease test kit

Portable test kits represent an advance in disease diagnosis, as their ready availability increases chances of earlier detection and treatment. This type of technology is constantly evolving, and sometimes inspiration can come from surprising sources. Such is the case with research carried out by a Swiss team, which has borrowed from the mechanics behind the firefly's glow to develop a sensitive molecule detector.Read More

Space

EPFL's CleanSpace One satellite will "eat" space junk

Three years ago, Swiss research institute EPFL announced its plans to build a spacecraft that could grab orbital debris and then carry it back towards Earth, burning up in the atmosphere with it on its way down. Called CleanSpace One, the satellite was depicted at the time as using a claw-like grasping tool. Now, however, EPFL has announced that it will utilize a folding conical net to essentially gobble up bits of space garbage.Read More

Robotics

Mind-controlled telepresence robot to get paralyzed people out and about

A telepresence robot developed at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) that can be controlled by thought may give people with severe motor disabilities a greater level of independence. Successfully put through its paces by 19 people scattered around Central Europe – nine of whom are quadriplegic and all of whom were hooked up to a brain-machine interface – the robot handled obstacle detection and avoidance on its own while the person controlling it gave general navigation instructions.Read More

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