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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


— Medical

Scientists reduce blood sugar levels in mice by remote control

By - December 16, 2014 1 Picture
Sufferers of type 1 diabetes regularly need to inject themselves with insulin in order to regulate levels of sugar in their blood, a process that is invasive and requires particular care. But a new study conducted at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute suggests that more comfortable treatment methods may not be all that far away, with scientists remotely manipulating insulin production in mice using electromagnetic waves. Read More
— Robotics

Scientists try to teach robots morality

By - May 13, 2014 1 Picture
A group of researchers from Tufts University, Brown University and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are collaborating with the US Navy in a multi-year effort to explore how they might create robots endowed with their own sense of morality. If they are successful, they will create an artificial intelligence able to autonomously assess a difficult situation and then make complex ethical decisions that can override the rigid instructions it was given. Read More
— Science

IBM's Watson supercomputer goes to university

By - January 30, 2013 1 Picture
IBM has announced that it will provide a Watson supercomputer system to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) for a three year period, the first time that a complete Watson system has been provided to a university. Faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates will have opportunities to work directly with the Watson system. Not only will Watson be the object of Artificial Intelligence (AI) research, but it will also (virtually) attend courses in English and math to hone its analytic skills. Read More
— Science

Graphene paper anodes pave way for faster charging Li-ion batteries

By - August 27, 2012 1 Picture
While the lithium-ion batteries commonly used in electric cars are capable of storing a fairly large amount of energy, they’re not able to accept or discharge that energy very quickly. That’s why electric vehicles require supercapacitors, to speedily deliver energy when accelerating, or to store it when braking. Recently, however, researchers from New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute created a new anode material, that allows Li-ion batteries to charge and discharge ten times faster than those using regular graphite anodes. It could make EV supercapacitors unnecessary, and vastly shorten the charging time required by electronic devices. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Software designed to minimize radiation for obese CT scan patients

By - April 9, 2012 1 Picture
X-ray computed tomography – or CT – scanners are designed with people of an average build in mind. When obese patients require a CT scan, the additional layers of body fat will produce blurry images if the scanner’s regular settings are used. Clinicians typically address this problem by turning up the power of the scanner. Unfortunately, doing so results in overweight patients receiving higher-than-normal doses of radiation. A new computer modeling system developed at New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, however, could help bring those levels down. Read More

Tiny sensor transmits data from orthopedic implants

In order to determine how a patient is recovering from orthopedic surgery, doctors must presently rely on technologies such as X-rays or MRIs. Before too long, however, they may instead simply be able to read the output from tiny sensors, implanted in the patient's body. A team of scientists from New York's Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have already created prototypes of just such a device, that measure a mere four millimeters across and are 500 microns thick. Read More
— Science

Graphene foam outperforms traditional sensors at sniffing out explosives

By - November 26, 2011 1 Picture
For some time now, scientists have known that certain nanostructures are very sensitive to the presence of various chemicals and gases, making them good candidates for use in explosives-detecting devices. Unfortunately, because they're so small, mounting a single nanostructure within such a device would be an extremely fiddly and costly process. They would also be quite fragile, plus it would be difficult to clean the detected gas from them, so they could be reused. Recently, however, scientists from New York's Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have figured out a solution to those problems. They have created a postage stamp-sized piece of foam made from one continuous piece of graphene, that is easy to manipulate, flexible, rugged, simple to neutralize after each use ... and is ten times more sensitive than traditional polymer sensors. Read More
— Science

New heat-harvesting material made in $40 microwave oven

By - September 30, 2011 1 Picture
Virtually all electrical devices and industrial processes create heat as they operate, which is typically wasted. In the past several years, various thermoelectric technologies have been developed to address that situation, by converting such heat into electricity. The ideal material for the purpose would be one that has a high electrical conductivity, but a low thermal conductivity – that way, it could carry plenty of electricity without losing efficiency through overheating. Unfortunately, electrical and thermal conductivity usually seem to go hand in hand. With some help from an ordinary microwave oven, however, researchers from New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have created a nanomaterial that appears to fit the bill. Read More
— Electronics

Graphene coating harvests energy from flowing water

By - July 19, 2011 1 Picture
Hydroelectricity is the most widely used form of renewable energy, supplying around 20 percent of the world’s electricity in 2006, which accounted for about 88 percent of electricity from renewable sources. Now researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new method to harvest energy from flowing water using a nanoengineered graphene coating. The new technology only produces small amounts of electricity so isn’t aimed at large scale electricity production, but rather at self-powered microsensors to be used in oil exploration. Read More
— Good Thinking

Student-designed system could transmit data and power through submarine hulls

By - March 9, 2011 3 Pictures
Given the deepwater working conditions endured by submarines, one of the last things most people would want to do is drill holes through their hulls. That’s exactly what is necessary, however, to allow power and data to flow to and from audio and other sensors mounted on the exterior of the vessels. Not only do these holes present a leakage risk, but they also diminish the hull’s structural integrity, and the submarine must be hoisted into drydock in order for any new sensors to be added. Now, a doctoral student at New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) has come up with a method of using ultrasound to transmit power and data wirelessly through a sub’s thick metal hull – no holes required. Read More
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