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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Researchers are exploring how they might create robots endowed with their own sense of mor...

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

One of IBM's Watson natural language Big Data supercomputer systems (Photo: IBM)

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

A scanning electron microscope image of the treated graphene oxide paper

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

VirtualDose utilizes computer models of different body types to advise physicians on which...

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

Scientists have developed a tiny sensor that could wirelessly transmit data on the status ...

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

The graphene foam is macroscopic in total size (left), yet has nanoscopic internal structu...

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

Researchers have created an efficient new thermoelectric nanomaterial, that could be used ...

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

The graphene coating, seen above as a dark blue patch connected to gold contacts, generate...

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

Tristan Lawry's ultrasonic system is theoretically able to transmit data and power through...

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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