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ETH Zurich

Medical

Looking to love handles to treat diabetes

If a patient has Type 1 diabetes, then their ability to produce insulin is inhibited, usually by a loss of beta cells in the pancreas. Researchers have been looking at ways to replace the lost population of cells, but the process is difficult, often requiring the patient's immune system to be suppressed in order to be effective. Now, researchers at ETH Zurich have made a big breakthrough, successfully creating functional beta cells using stem cells extracted from the fatty tissue of a 50 year-old patient.Read More

Science

Scientists can now make their own molecules

Sometimes, if you want something made right, you've just got to make it yourself. That could certainly be the case when using molecules to construct microscopic devices such as medication-delivering nano-robots. It was with such applications in mind that scientists from ETH Zurich and IBM recently developed a process for building custom molecules from mix-n-match components.Read More

Electronics

World's smallest optical switch uses a single atom

The rapid and on-going development of micro-miniature optical electronic devices is helping to usher in a new era of photonic computers and light-based memories that promise super-fast processor speeds and ultra-secure communications. However, as these components are shrunk ever further, fundamental limits to their dimensions are dictated by the wavelength of light itself. Now researchers at ETH Zurich claim to have overcome this limitation by creating both the world's smallest optical switch using a single atom, and accompanying circuitry that appears to break the rules by being smaller than the wavelength of the light that passes through it.Read More

Drones

Drones autonomously build a walkable rope bridge

As we learned earlier this year, researchers at ETH Zürich's institute for Dynamic Systems and Control are looking at ways in which flying construction robots can be programmed to autonomously build tensile structures. Now it appears they've taken a significant step forward. Literally. The team has demonstrated a rope bridge built by drones that can support the weight of an adult human as they walk across it.Read More

Science

Slaughterhouse waste could be made into yarn

Ever since the late 19th century, people have experimented with making textiles from natural-source-based gelatine, as a cheaper and less allergenic alternative to wool. Although the emergence of synthetic fibers largely put an end to that, a new technique may yet allow gel-based yarn to see the spotlight. The fiber is said to have an insulation quality similar to that of Merino wool, and the collagen used to produce it can be obtained from waste at animal-processing facilities.Read More

Medical

Nanorobots wade through blood to deliver drugs

Nanorobots hold great potential in the field of medicine. This is largely due to the possibility of highly-targeted delivery of medical payloads, an outcome that could lessen side effects and negate the need for invasive procedures. But how these microscopic particles can best navigate the body's fluids is a huge area of focus for scientists. Researchers are now reporting a new technique whereby nanorobots are made to swim swiftly through the fluids like blood to reach their destination. Read More

Hybrid road sweeper keeps air cleaner, too

A Swiss joint venture has developed a hybrid-electric powertrain for road sweepers that's said to consume half the energy of diesel-hydraulic vehicles and reduce emissions by more than 60 percent. The modular system can also be adapted to cleaner fuel types such as hydrogen. Read More

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