2014 Paris Motor Show highlights


Researchers have created a microreactor that purifies water utilizing sunlight and microfl...

It has been known for some time now that sunlight can be used to purify drinking water. The practice of Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS) basically involves just leaving water sitting in direct sunlight, where a combination of heat and UV rays kill off waterborne pathogens – the process is called photocatalysis, and it’s what’s at work behind both the Solaqua water purification device, and a system recently created by students from the University of Washington. Now, researchers from Hong Kong Polytechnic University have taken things a step further, by combining photocatalysis with microfluidics in a microreactor.  Read More

A team of biomedical engineers at Taiwan's National Cheng Kung University has created a ne...

A team of biomedical engineers at Taiwan’s National Cheng Kung University has created a new “on-chip” method to identify bacteria. By creating microchannels between two roughened glass slides containing gold electrodes, the researchers are able to sort and concentrate bacteria. A form of spectroscopy is then applied to identify them, providing a portable device that can be used for tasks like food monitoring and blood-screening.  Read More

The MGH microfluidic neutrophil-capturing device

Recently, researchers have come to realize that neutrophils – the most abundant type of white blood cell – play a key role in both chronic and acute inflammation, and in the activation of the immune system in response to injury. Of course, the best way to study neutrophils is to get a hold of some, but traditional methods have required relatively large blood samples, and take up to two hours. Because neutrophils are sensitive to handling, it is also possible to inadvertently activate them, which alters their molecular patterns. A microfluidic device developed at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), however, allows for neutrophils to be collected from a relatively small blood sample, unactivated, in just minutes.  Read More

Two of the microchannel hot water heat sinks, on a server blade from IBM/ETH's Aquasar sup...

It’s easy to think of the Internet as something that’s just “out there” in cyberspace, that doesn’t effect the physical world in any tangible way. In 2009, however, it was estimated that Internet data centers worldwide consumed about 2% of global electricity production. Not only did most of that electricity undoubtedly come from non-green sources, but it also cost the global economy approximately 30 billion US dollars. Much of the electricity was needed to power the data centers’ forced air cooling systems, that keep the servers from overheating. Now, researchers from IBM Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH) have devised a much more efficient method for cooling the steamy Internet - they use hot water.  Read More

The flexible silicon technology used to create a new type of implantable device (Image: Da...

Sure, LED tattoos might look cool, but now scientists have found an even better use for flexible silicon technology. In what represents the first use of such technology for a medical application a team of cardiologists, materials scientists, and bioengineers has created and tested a new type of implantable device for measuring the heart’s electrical output that the team says is a vast improvement over current devices and could also mark the beginning of a new wave of surgical electronics.  Read More

A software-controlled system devised by an international team of researchers can transport...

A collaboration between MIT, Boston University and German researchers has produced a new system that could soon be used to move tiny objects inside a microchip. The system is self-assembling, can be controlled via software and can transport particles up to 100 times the size of the beads carrying them. The objective is to give scientists new insights as to how cells and other objects are transported by tiny cilia throughout our bodies.  Read More

A glass lab-on-a-chip.

Researchers at the University of Michigan have succeeded in developing a chip used to conduct experiments on fluids which is driven by sound rather than electromechanical valves. This approach to controlling "lab-on-a-chip" devices could be a big step forward in reducing costs and complexity in areas ranging from chemical analysis to environmental monitoring, potentially leading to innovations like handheld devices you could sneeze onto to find out if you have the flu.  Read More

Silicon pyramid structures etched for two minutes using hydrogen fluoride/hydrogen peroxid...

Solar power from photovoltaic cells are widely recognized as an integral part of a clean green future, and any development that can make these cells more efficient, no matter how small, assists in making this future a reality. A team of researchers at Georgia Tech have developed a surface treatment that boosts the light absorption of silicon photovoltaic cells by trapping light in three-dimensional structures and by making the surfaces self cleaning.  Read More

The fabrication set-up used for two-photon polymerization of proteins.

April 12, 2007 VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Tampere University of Technology and Nanofoot Finland Oy have developed a direct-write three-dimensional forming method of biomaterials. The methodology enables fabrication of nano and micrometer scale structures that can be used as parts of tissue engineering scaffolds. The project is funded by the BioneXt Tampere Research Programme.  Read More

Autonomous miniature smart lens mimics human eye

August 5, 2006 Scientists at UW-Madison have developed a “smart” miniature man-made lens that can alter its shape and focal length in much the same way as the eye of an insect. There are no mechanical or electrical components in the liquid microlenses which incorporate hydrogels that respond to physical, chemical or biological stimuli and actuate lens function akin to the way muscles control the eye. The lens is a breakthrough and could lead to low cost microsystems for many applications.  Read More

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