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Imperial College


— Automotive

The pros and cons of a driverless future

It may seem as if the only arguments against self-driving cars come from two kinds of people – those fearful of any scenario where they might have to forgo control behind the wheel and those who distrust all technology out of hand. Lolling about while a computer gets you through traffic has its attractions for many of us and there has been little discussion about the potential downsides of a driverless future, but a new study has pointed out some potential flaws in this looming auto utopia. Read More
— Medical

Zinc blood test could lead to early diagnosis of breast cancer

Early diagnosis of breast cancer could one day be possible via a simple blood test that detects changes in zinc in the body. Scientists have taken techniques normally used for studying climate change and planetary formation and shown that changes in the isotopic composition of zinc, which is detectable in breast tissue, may help identify a "biomarker" (a measurable indicator) of early breast cancer. Read More
— Space

Why didn't the universe collapse after the Big Bang? It's a question of gravity

Not only does gravity keep us safely on the ground and hold the planets in alignment, but now it may soon get the credit for saving the whole universe. Physicists at the Imperial College London and the Universities of Copenhagen and Helsinki believe that the interaction between Higgs boson particles and gravity had a stabilizing effect on the very early universe, thereby preventing the Big Crunch – a catastrophic collapse into nothing – from occurring shortly after the Big Bang. Read More
— Good Thinking

2014 James Dyson Award international winners announced

James Roberts, a 23 year-old design grad from Britain's Loughborough University, has won this year's international James Dyson Award for his portable inflatable incubator. Called MOM, the device is intended to be a low-cost alternative to traditional incubators, allowing premature babies in places such as refugee camps to survive when they might otherwise perish. Read on for more details on it, along with the three runners-up. Read More
— Medical

Xenon could provide protection for the brain after a blow to the head

Injuries from a blow to the head are a two-stage affair, with the primary injury caused by the initial impact being followed by a secondary injury that develops in the subsequent hours and days. We have seen the development of devices like the Jolt Sensor that are designed to detect the severity of the initial impact, but there is currently no drug treatment for the secondary injury, which is largely responsible for a patient sustaining mental and physical disabilities. Now scientists at Imperial College London have found that xenon gas shows promise as such a treatment. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

"Bruise trousers" are designed to let disabled athletes know when they're hurt

Along with the obvious mobility issues faced by athletes who are unable to walk, they also face another challenge – if they're unable to feel their legs, that means they can't always tell when they've been hurt. Severe bruises or broken bones can simply go unnoticed, until they develop into even more of a problem. That's why a group of students at Imperial College London have invented a set of "bruise trousers" that show such athletes when and where they've received a serious impact below the waist. Read More
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