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ETH Zurich

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

Electronics

A new type of glass could double your smartphone's battery life

The batteries inside our smartphones and laptops are fighting a losing battle when it comes to keeping these devices juiced up, but researchers from ETH Zurich have discovered a new type of glass material that could make a major difference: vanadate-borate glass. The glass can be used as an electrode material in lithium-ion batteries to almost double the amount of time they last between charges.Read More

Robotics

Omnidirectional underwater robot inspired by the cuttlefish

Cuttlefish are fascinating animals, in that they use a pair of undulating fins to move forward and backward, turn on the spot, or hover in place. If you wanted to make an underwater robot that was highly maneuverable yet quiet and immune to tangled propellers, then the cuttlefish would be a good creature to copy. Well, a group of mechanical engineering students from Switzerland's ETH Zurich have done just that – plus they gave it an extra set of fins, allowing it to also move straight up and down.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Thought-controlled implant creates proteins on demand

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

Mobile Technology

App promises gesture control for unmodified mobile devices

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

Drones

Cirque du Soleil and ETH Zurich collaborate on human/drone performance

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

Health & Wellbeing

Chairless Chair is the chair that you wear

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

3D Printing

Disney algorithm has asymmetrical objects in a spin

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

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