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Oregon State University

— Science

Energy storage advance readies concentrated solar power for the smart grid

The intermittent nature of renewable energy sources is a huge burden on the power grid, making flexible and economical energy storage an essential step to a greener future. Researchers at Oregon State University (OSU) and the University of Florida have now devised a way to conveniently store and release energy harvested through concentrated solar power (CSP) plants, improving on the cost and energy density of previous systems and preparing this technology for the smart grid.

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— Electronics

New invention expands Wi-Fi bandwidth tenfold

The vast range of Wi-Fi-enabled devices available today means that anyone could have several personal electronic devices all trying to connect to a network simultaneously. Multiply this by many hundreds of people in a busy public place with Wi-Fi connectivity and this often means that available bandwidth is greatly reduced. To help address this problem, researchers at Oregon State University claim to have invented a new system called WiFO that incorporates infrared LEDs to boost the available Wi-Fi bandwidth by as much as ten times. Read More
— Robotics

Snake robot learns to climb sand hills better, by moving like a sidewinder

If a robot is looking for victims at a disaster site, or even exploring another planet, then it certainly better not get stuck in the sand. That may now be a little less likely to happen, as scientists recently studied one of the best sand-travelers in the animal kingdom – the sidewinder rattlesnake. After they analyzed its movement patterns and applied them to an existing snake-inspired robot, that robot was better able climb up sandy inclines. Read More
— Medical

Pulley mechanism implant to better restore hand function

We've seen a number of robotic prosthetic hands intended for amputees, but what about those that still have their hands but have lost function through nerve damage? Researchers at Oregon State University (OSU) have tackled the problem and come up with an implant consisting of a simple pulley system that would more effectively transfer mechanical forces and allow more natural grasping function with less effort. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Small, portable and cheap radiation detector is being designed for the public

Ever since the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster, there has understandably been an upsurge in the sale of consumer radiation-detecting devices. Most of these gadgets are variations on the Geiger counter, in that they alert the user to the presence and level of radiation, but not the type of radiation – which is very important to know. Researchers at Oregon State University are hoping to address that situation by developing a handheld device that will additionally tell its users what type of radionuclide is creating the radiation, and whether it poses a risk. Read More
— Medical

Inhalable drug delivery provides new approach to lung cancer treatment

According to American Cancer Society estimates, lung cancer will account for 27 percent of all US cancer deaths in 2013, making it by far the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women. Part of the problem is getting the toxic chemotherapeutic drugs used to treat the cancer into the lungs. A new drug delivery system aims to overcome this problem by allowing the drugs to be inhaled, thereby delivering the drug where it is needed while reducing the harmful effects to other organs. Read More