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FlipperBot makes its way through a bed of poppy seeds (Video still: Institute of Physics)

US researches have developed a robot that gets about with a pair of flipper-like arms. By recording FlipperBot's adventures using a high-speed camera, the researchers are gaining understanding about the mechanics of traversing "complex surfaces" such as sand.  Read More

Scientists have developed a stretchable lithium-ion battery, that could be used to power s...

Thanks to the advent of stretchable electronics, we’re currently witnessing the development of things like smart fabrics, bendable displays, and even pressure-sensitive skin for robots. In many potential applications, however, the usefulness of such electronics would be limited if they still had to be hooked up to a rigid battery. In response to that problem, a team of scientists have recently created – you guessed it – a stretchable lithium-ion battery.  Read More

A 750x view of the Poly(lactide-co-glycolide) nanoparticles used in the study (Image: Lonn...

Good news may be on the way for sufferers of multiple sclerosis – a team of scientists from Illinois-based Northwestern University, the University of Sydney, and the Myelin Repair Foundation in California have succeeded in halting the effects of the disease in lab mice. It all comes down to using nanoparticles to trick the immune system.  Read More

A rather larger laser (Photo: Andrea Pacelli)

Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a laser the size of a virus particle that can operate at room temperature. The "nanolaser," which uses gold nanoparticles instead of mirrors, is claimed to be the first demonstration to make use of a so-called bowtie arrangement of metal nanoparticles, though nano-scale lasers have been previously demonstrated.  Read More

A biodegradable integrated circuit during dissolution in water (Photo: Beckman Institute, ...

We’ve certainly been hearing a lot lately about tiny electronic devices that can do things such as delivering medication after being implanted in the body, measuring structural stress upon being attached to a bridge, or monitoring pollution after being placed in the environment. In all of these cases, the device has to be retrieved once it’s served its purpose, or just left in place indefinitely. Now, however, an interdisciplinary team of researchers have demonstrated “transient electronics,” which dissolve into nothing after a pre-determined amount of time.  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

Violent bubbling in boiling water may just be a thing of the past (Image: Northwestern Uni...

You know that thing that water does when it boils? The thing with the bubbles? Turns out, it doesn't really need to do that at all, with scientists finding a way to make boiling water a completely bubble-free zone. Researchers from Northwestern University, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia and Melbourne University in Australia teamed up to prevent water from bubbling when it boils by using tiny spheres coated with a hydrophobic material.  Read More

The tiny hairs on the 'nano-velcro' particles trap heavy metal ions in their grasp allowin...

While progress has been made in reducing the amount of heavy metal pollution, the very nature of heavy metal contamination means it continues to be a problem in waterways around the world. Conventional heavy metal contamination detection methods require sending samples off to a lab for analysis on expensive equipment. Now a Swiss-American team has developed a cheap way to immediately ascertain the levels of heavy metals in lakes and rivers and the fish pulled out of them.  Read More

MOFs are composed of organic linkers held together by metal atoms, and this results in a m...

Researchers at Northwestern University, Illinois, have broken a world record in the creation of two synthetic materials, named NU-109 and NU-110, which have the greatest amount of surface areas of any material to date. To put this into perspective: if one were able to take a crystal of NU-110 the size of a grain of salt, and somehow unfold it, the surface area would cover a desktop. Additionally, the internal surface area of just one gram of the new material would cover one-and-a-half football fields.  Read More

A newly-developed electronic finger cuff could lead to smarter surgical gloves that make p...

Using industry-standard manufacturing technology, researchers have integrated ultrathin and stretchable silicon-based electronics, sensors and actuators on an artificial skin that can be worn on the tip of your fingers. The result is an artificial finger cuff that could be used to produce the ultimate hi-tech surgeon's glove, capable of sensing the electrical properties of tissue, removing it locally, or even performing ultrasound imaging with a simple touch.  Read More

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