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EPFL


— Health and Wellbeing

Scientists replace amputee's hand ... along with its sense of touch

A man who lost his left hand in an accident nine years ago has had his sense of touch restored using a prosthetic hand surgically wired to nerves in his upper arm. During the trial Dennis Aabo Sørensen was able to grasp objects, detect the strength of grip, distinguish shape and identify objects by touch while blindfolded. The work was carried out by scientists from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (SSSA). Read More
— Telecommunications

Pointy pulses improve optical fiber throughput by a factor of 10

As the volume of data carried around the world via optical fibers continues to increase, researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) have found a way to increase data throughput capacity by ten times. Because it is based on changing the shape of light pulses to reduce the space between, the breakthrough would work on existing optical fiber infrastructure. Read More
— Robotics

Gimball flying spherical robot takes collisions in its stride

The Japanese Ministry of Defense got the ball rolling, as it were, in 2011 when it unveiled its spherical air vehicle, which was followed by the Kyosho Space Ball and Puzzlebox Orbit in 2012. Now researchers at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have got in on the act with Gimball, a flying robot that takes crashing into obstacles in its stride. Read More
— Space

Rubbish removal satellite to be launched from an A300 jetliner

Back in the 1970s, there was a short-lived sitcom called Quark about an outer space rubbish collector. What was played for laughs back then may soon be a reality with the announcement that Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Swiss Space Systems (S3) have formed a partnership to launch the CleanSpace One satellite into orbit to collect space debris using a launch system that promises to be cheaper than using conventional techniques. Read More
— Virtual Reality

Synchronized virtual reality heartbeat triggers out-of-body experiences

New research demonstrates that triggering an out-of-body experience (OBE) could be as simple as getting a person to watch a video of themselves with their heartbeat projected onto it. According to the study, it's easy to trick the mind into thinking it belongs to an external body and manipulate a person's self-consciousness by externalizing the body's internal rhythms. The findings could lead to new treatments for people with perceptual disorders such as anorexia and could also help dieters too. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Telescopic contact lens with switchable magnification to help AMD patients

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness among older adults in the western world. Unfortunately, conventional optical aids provide little help for a retina which has lost the acuity of its central area. Now a team of multinational researchers led by University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Professor Joseph Ford has created a telescopic contact lens that can switch between normal and magnified vision to offer AMD patients a relatively unobtrusive way to enhance their vision. Read More
— Aircraft

Clip-Air project envisages modular aircraft you can board at a railway station

Air travel today is a nightmare of long drives to crowded airports, long queues that move at a snail's pace, and long, boring waits in identical lobbies drinking overpriced coffee. It would be so much easier and less frustrating if catching a plane were like catching a train. If Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) has its way, its Clip-Air project will one day produce modular aircraft that will allow you to board a plane at a London railway station and disembark in the middle of Rome without ever setting foot in an air terminal. Read More
— Robotics

Salamandra robotica II moves swiftly on both land and water

Scientists have often taken inspiration from the animal world in robotic designs, with bots modeled after fish, sandfish lizards, and even sea turtles. Such biomimicry makes sense – if you want a robot to move a certain way, why not look to creatures that already can? With the Salamandra robotica II, researchers have tried to replicate the movement of a salamander in designing a robot that can walk or crawl on land as easily as it swims in the water. Read More
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