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Imperial College

— Science

Good vibrations lead to efficient excitations in hybrid solar cells

Increasing the efficiency of a hybrid solar cell simply by placing it near a source of ambient noise or vibration would be a boon for photovoltaics in urban areas, in the military, or on machinery or transportation. Hybrid organic/inorganic solar cells are already a tempting option over silicon because of their lower cost, but they suffer from their own drawbacks of efficiency. However, new research demonstrates that the piezoelectric qualities of the cells' inorganic layer can be used to boost the overall efficiency of hybrid systems, which is promising for wherever sound and sun are together. Read More
— Medical

Imperial College develops cancer-sniffing Intelligent Knife

Dr. Zoltan Takats of the Imperial College London has developed one very sharp knife – and we're not referring to its keen edge. The Intelligent Knife (iKnife) is equipped with a nose and a brain that can sniff out cancer as it cuts. Using a mass spectrometer to detect chemical profiles associated with tumors, it enables instant identification of cancerous tissue and helps surgeons to make sure that all of a tumor has been removed. Read More
— Science

Vibrating armband used to help athletes develop muscle memory

“Muscle memory” is the process in which a certain motor task is repeated to such an extent that it can eventually be performed without conscious effort. It comes in handy for all sorts of activities, but is particularly important to athletes – a tennis player can hardly concentrate on the game, for instance, if they’re constantly thinking about how to move their arm every time they return the ball. Now, engineers from Imperial College London have created an armband device known as Ghost, designed to assist athletes in forming optimum muscle memories. Read More
— Science

Room-temperature solid state maser may be the laser of tomorrow

Everyone has heard of lasers, but hardly anyone outside of a physics lab or a science fiction novel has heard of a maser. Despite the fact that it was the precursor of the laser, the maser has been something of a technological backwater because masers are difficult to build and expensive to operate. That, however, may be changing. In the August 16 issue of Nature, a team of scientists from Britain’s National Physics Laboratory and Imperial College, London led by Dr. Mark Oxborrow report that they have created the first solid state maser that operates at room temperature, paving the way toward the widespread practical application of the technology. Read More
— Wearable Electronics

Inexpensive device could allow the disabled to control computers with their eyes

Bioengineers at Imperial College, London have developed a new computer controller for paraplegics that is not only more accurate and easier to use than current methods, but also uses inexpensive, off-the-shelf components. The GT3D device uses a pair of eyeglass frames with two fast video game console cameras costing less than UKP20 (US$30) each, which scan the wearer’s eyes from outside the field of vision and provide “3D” control at much lower costs and without invasive surgery. Read More
— 3D Printing

Athlete-specific sprint spikes created using 3D printing technology

With sprinting events at the elite level decided by fractions of a second, athletes are always on the lookout for anything that can provide even the smallest advantage over their rivals. We recently looked at Nike’s Pro TurboSpeed suit that is claimed to cut down a runner’s wind resistance by using golf ball-like dimples, but footwear plays an equally, if not more, important role in an athlete’s performance. Now French engineer and designer Luc Fusaro has employed 3D printing technology to create lightweight sprint shoes that are customized for individual athletes that could prove the difference between winning and losing. Read More