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Michigan State University

The tailbot, a running, jumping mobile sensor that can maneuver in mid-air with its tail (...

Imagine mobile sensor networks that run around, jump and maneuver in the air to get the job done. That's what Jianguo Zhao is working towards; his design for such networks involves biologically-inspired sensors in the form of robots with little tails. These "tailbots" are expected to have applications in areas ranging from search and rescue to surveillance and environmental monitoring.  Read More

The new water-saving membranes developed at MSU (Photo: MSU)

With climate change predicted to increase the severity and frequency of drought events in many part of the world, water conservation is a growing concern. New water retention technology developed at Michigan State University (MSU) could help quench the thirst of parched crops while using less water, not only enabling crops to better deal with drought, but also improving crop yields in marginal areas.  Read More

Grace may look more like a '50s space ship than a fish, but that's by design (Photo: Xiaob...

A new species of robot fish has been spotted in the Kalamazoo River in the state of Michigan, where more than a million gallons of oil spilled in July 2010. Developed primarily by Xiaobo Tan, an associate professor at Michigan State University (MSU), the robot's sensors detected crude oil at various sites along the river.  Read More

A test of the new material, being conducted at Michigan State University's Center for Revo...

Wherever there’s enough of a temperature gradient between two surfaces, thermoelectric materials can be used to generate an electric current. If a coat were made with thermoelectric felt, for instance, a current could be generated by exploiting the difference between the wearer’s body heat and the cold outdoor air. Now, scientists have developed an inexpensive new type of thermoelectric material, that could make the technology more commercially viable.  Read More

The Great Work of the Metal Lover forces extremophilic bacteria to metabolize high concent...

For centuries, the world's great thinkers were consumed by the search for the mythical Philosopher's Stone. Franciscan friar Roger Bacon is said to have penned a formula for its creation in the 13th century, legend would have us believe that German friar Albertus Magnus actually found a substance capable of transmuting base metals into gold or silver, and English scientist and mathematician Isaac Newton was a known devotee of the magnum opus. Researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) have put a microbial spin on the ancient quest by creating a bioreactor that forces bacteria to transform a toxic liquid that, as team member Kazem Kashefi says, "has no value into a solid, precious metal that’s valuable."  Read More

Thermoelectrics can be used to convert energy currently lost as heat wasted from industry ...

Approximately 90 percent of the world’s electricity is generated by heat energy. Unfortunately, electricity generation systems operate at around 30 to 40 percent efficiency, meaning around two thirds of the energy input is lost as waste heat. Despite this, the inefficiency of current thermoelectric materials that can convert waste heat to electricity has meant their commercial use has been limited. Now researchers have developed a thermoelectric material they claim is the best in the world at converting waste heat into electricity, potentially providing a practical way to capture some of the energy that is currently lost.  Read More

Research from Michigan State University has linked video game playing with creativity (Pho...

Despite the bad press that gaming often gets, there is increasing evidence that it can have positive effects. We've already seen studies suggesting that video games improve decision making and put players in a more relaxed frame of mind, now there's more good news for parents whose offspring are video game junkies. Research out of Michigan State University suggests that 12 year olds who play video games tend to be more creative ... and the more they play the more creative they are.  Read More

A new system that utilizes laser light to detect the presence of explosive compounds could...

Approximately sixty percent of coalition soldier deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are due to improvised explosive devices (IEDs), placed along the roads. Because these bombs are often planted in public areas, it is important to detect them in a way that doesn’t harm the surrounding infrastructure, or unnecessarily require civilians to evacuate nearby buildings. Researchers from Michigan State University believe that a laser-based system that they developed could fit the bill.  Read More

The heart of the wave generator motor

The mid-term future for fuel efficient vehicles with useful range is likely a hybrid solution of electric motors powered by batteries, topped up by a fuel-burning generator. Prof. Norbert Müller at Michigan State, backed by $2.5 million from the US Government, aims to make that last part of the equation a much more compact and efficient proposition with a revolutionary new form of combustion engine.  Read More

A team of scientists have discovered why wearing precision-tinted glasses helps reduce mig...

In order to lessen the frequency and severity of their headaches, migraine sufferers are sometimes instructed to wear eyeglasses with precision-tinted lenses. These are known as prescribed precision ophthalmic tints, or POTs. Up until recently, however, the science behind the POTs/headache relationship wasn’t clearly understood. Now, a team of scientists have used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to gain an understanding of just what is taking place.  Read More

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