Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

ETH Zurich

The prototype implant, with its near-infrared LED

Wouldn't it be great if there were implants that detected the brainwaves associated with conditions such as chronic headaches or epilepsy, and then responded by triggering genes in the patient's body to produce a protein that treated the condition? Well, scientists at the ETH Zurich research institute are on their way to making it happen. They've developed an implant that causes genetically-modified cells to express a specific protein, and the device is indeed activated by brain waves.  Read More

Grimsel has claimed a new world record for acceleration in electric cars: 0 to 100 km/h (6...

Students from ETH Zurich and Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts have claimed a new world record for electric car acceleration. Piloting their EV dubbed "Grimsel" from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 1.785 seconds in less than 30 meters, the students smashed the previous record of 2.134 seconds set by the Delft University of Technology in 2013.  Read More

Researchers have developed an app that lets gesture controls be used on existing mobile de...

While touch screens have enabled smartphone manufacturers to increase screen real estate by ditching physical keyboards and other buttons, they do have a downside, with fingers often obscuring the display. Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a new app that overcomes this problem by bringing gesture control to mobile devices using their existing built-in camera.  Read More

Illuminated lampshades take to the air (with a little help from a drone inside each one), ...

Fans of the Disney classic Fantasia will no doubt remember the Sorcerer's Apprentice segment of that film, in which a hapless Mickey Mouse accidentally brings an army of mops to life. Well, Cirque du Soleil has teamed up with ETH Zurich and spinoff group Verity Studios to create a somewhat similar video entitled Sparked – instead of mops, however, it features a fleet of lampshade-clad quadcopters.  Read More

noonee's senior partners model the Chairless Chair

If you work somewhere such as a factory, warehouse, or restaurant kitchen, then you'll know how tiring it can be to stand for several hours at a time. Unfortunately, however, it isn't always practical or safe to carry a stool around with you wherever you go. That's why Swiss start-up noonee has created the Chairless Chair. Worn as an exoskeleton on the back of the legs, it lets you walk or even run as needed, but can be locked into a supporting structure when you go into a sitting position.  Read More

An asymmetrical elephant top that balance thanks to an algorithm created at Disney Researc...

Tops, yo-yos, and other spinning toys are amongst the oldest playthings created by man, with the earliest examples dating back to 3,500 BC. Paradoxically, they’re not very easy to make with their design requiring a lot of trial and error. One mistake and, instead of a pirouetting plaything, you get a clattering paperweight. That’s why spinning toys tend to be symmetrical – until now. In a blow for symmetry, Disney Research Zurich and ETH Zurich have developed a computer algorithm that can take any shape, no matter how cock-eyed, and make it spin like a top.  Read More

A new fusion molecule, when combined with an anti-inflammatory drug, has been shown to cur...

While advances have been made in treating rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease causing inflammation of joints in the body, scientists are yet to develop a cure for the disease. But researchers from ETH Zurich, Switzerland have developed a new therapy that has shown to fully cure the condition in mice, leaving the team hopeful of commencing human trials as early as 2015.  Read More

Jeremy Nussbaumer with the DrinkPure filter

It's no secret that hundreds of millions of people around the world have little or no access to drinkable water. While a number of projects are aimed at getting filtration systems to those people, many of those systems require electricity, contain costly materials such as silver, or treat the water at a slow rate. The low-cost DrinkPure filter, by contrast, is simply screwed onto the top of an existing bottle, and can purify approximately one liter (34 fl oz) of water per minute.  Read More

3D animation software joystick 'input puppet' (Image: Interactive Geometry Lab / ETH Zuric...

Until recently, computer software animation developers had to manipulate characters by using their computer mouse to drag virtual limbs into poses one tedious, time-consuming key frame at a time. Now researchers at the Interactive Geometry Lab (IGL) at ETH Zurich have developed a whole new way of creating movement in virtual characters using 3D model "joysticks" that directly create shape and movement inputs.  Read More

The defense mechanism of the bombardier beetle has inspired a film that could be used to d...

Taking inspiration from the defense mechanism of the bombardier beetle, researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a film that, when damaged, instantly releases a hot foam to discourage malicious actions. The technology could be used as a simple, yet elegant and reliable way of discouraging theft and vandalism on ATM machines.  Read More

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