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Purdue University

Science

New system detects touch and hand gestures on any surface

The world may not be your oyster, but thanks to technology being developed at Indiana’s Purdue University, it may soon be your multi-touch screen. Researchers at that institution have created an “extended multitouch” system, that consists of a computer, video projector, and Kinect camera – the technology allows any surface to be transformed into a touchscreen interface, that can track multiple hands simultaneously.Read More

3D Printing

Software makes 3D-printed objects more structurally sound

One of the great things about 3D printers is the fact that they allow anyone to become a manufacturer of small items. Unfortunately, however, they don't allow anyone to become a competent structural engineer – just because you can whip up a three-dimensional design on your computer doesn’t mean that it will translate into a sturdy physical object. That’s why researchers from Purdue University and Adobe's Advanced Technology Labs teamed up to create a program that automatically alters such designs, adding strengthening features to them before they get printed.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Body-heat-activated patch could pump medication through the skin

Transdermal patches are currently used for the controlled release of medication, as long as that medication is made up of molecules that are small enough to be absorbed through the wearer’s skin. For solutions with larger molecules, scientists are looking into the use of patches incorporating arrays of skin-piercing microneedles. In many of these cases, however, the patches would require some sort of tiny battery-operated pump, to push the medication through the needles. Now, researchers from Indiana’s Purdue University have developed what could be an alternative – microneedle patches that use the wearer’s own body heat to deliver the drugs.Read More

Science

Advance warning system for solar flares hinges on surprising hypotheses

Scientists may have hit upon a new means of predicting solar flares more than a day in advance, which hinges on a hypothesis dating back to 2006 that solar activity affects the rate of decay of radioactive materials on Earth. Study of the phenomenon could lead to a new system which monitors changes in gamma radiation emitted from radioactive materials, and if the underlying hypothesis proves correct, this could lead to solar flare advance warning systems that would assist in the protection of satellites, power systems and astronauts.Read More

Environment

Dwarf plants could reduce demands for water, fertilizer, nutrients and pesticides

Aside from arable land, most farm crops require significant amounts of water, fertilizer, nutrients and pesticides to grow. While specialized breeding is often used to help produce plants that require less of these inputs, Purdue University researcher Burkhard Schulz has found a way to create tiny versions of plants that suffer no reduction in yield through the addition of a cheap and widely available chemical. Read More

Science

Nanocrystal-coated fibers show promise for harvesting waste heat

Researchers at Purdue University in the U.S. have developed a new method of harvesting vast amounts of energy from waste heat. Using glass fibers dipped in a solution containing nanocrystals of lead telluride, the team led by Dr. Yue Wu is engineering a highly flexible thermoelectric system that generates electricity by gathering heat from water pipes and engine components.Read More

Music

Ghost Pedal lets guitarists wander the stage and wah

No matter the size of the stage, most gigging guitar players are likely to have to return to the same spot from time to time to change the tone, increase the volume, check tuning or to operate the wah effect. Thanks to a team of students from Purdue University's School of Mechanical Engineering, the last of those has now been liberated from the pedal board and strapped to the player's ankle. But this doesn't involve attaching a large brick-shaped wah pedal to one leg, as one's imagination might suggest, but wearing a small wireless transmitter and a couple of sensors instead. Players operate the Ghost Pedal in much the same fashion as a physical pedal, the sensors registering the rocking motion of the foot and feeding data to a base station connected to the amplifier.Read More

Motorcycles

Purdue University students develop high performance electric motorbike

It doesn't seem too long ago when we were reporting on breakthroughs in battery technology that would allow electric motorbikes like the Brammo Enertia to travel as much as 45 miles (72 km) on a single charge. These days, we're seeing most of the recent arrivals (such as the 2012 Zero S range, for instance, or the gorgeous custom-built Brutus 2.0) flying past the 100 miles (160 km) barrier with relative ease, a range long enough to quieten even the most fervent of petrol-heads. Two Purdue University engineering students have recently completed the conversion of a Yamaha YZF600r to electric power that further pushes the envelope to more than 120 miles (193 km), using batteries cooled by phase change material.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Bass-thumpin’ rap music used to power implantable medical sensor

We've been following the evolution of patient-embedded medical sensors for some time - miniature devices that run on batteries, transcutaneous (through-the-skin) induced current, even sugar and provide constant monitoring of various metabolic parameters. Now, a team from Purdue University's Birck Nanotechnology Center has developed a prototype pressure sensor which promises to address the shortcomings of previous designs and utilizes a novel power supply: the acoustic energy from bass-heavy riffs of rap music.Read More

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