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Rice University

Electronics

Nanotube circuits self-assembled and powered at a distance via "Teslaphoresis"

Using a powerful electric force emitted by a Tesla coil, scientists at Rice University have made carbon nanotubes self-assemble to form a circuit linking two LEDs and then used the energy from that same field to power them. According to the researchers, the manipulation of matter on this scale has never before been observed and they've dubbed this phenomenon of remotely moving and assembling the nanotubes "Teslaphoresis."Read More

Good Thinking

Solar-powered "Sterile Box" targets hospital infections in developing countries

One of the risks of undergoing a surgical procedure is getting an on-site infection, which leads to longer periods in hospital and even death, especially when bacteria is resistant to current drugs. In developing countries the problem is bigger as hospitals often lack staple sterilization instruments such as an autoclave. In order to tackle this issue, a team of Rice University students and their mentors are developing a solar-powered sterilization unit that could be a life-saver in regions with little or no access to this type of equipment.Read More

Aircraft

A pinch of graphene could keep airplane wings ice-free

Both airplane wings and helicopter rotor blades are subject to one problem – they can both ice up. Although de-icing solutions can be applied when aircraft are on the ground, that doesn't stop ice from eventually forming once they're in the air. That's why scientists at Texas' Rice University have developed a new graphene-based coating that continuously melts ice by conducting an electrical current.Read More

Materials

Self-adaptive composite heals itself and returns to its original shape

Self-healing materials that can repair cracks and other damage automatically have been the dream of scientists and engineers for decades, but a team of scientists at Rice University have come up with a new twist. It's a Self-Adaptive Composite (SAC) that is not only self healing, but also has reversible self-stiffening properties that allow it to spring back into shape like a sponge.Read More

Materials

New material is super water-resistant, cheap and safe

Scientists at Rice University, the University of Swansea, the University of Bristol and the University of Nice - Sophia Antipolis have developed a new class of hydrocarbon-based material that they say could be "greener" substitute for fluorocarbon-based materials currently used to repel water. Read More

Digital Cameras

Ditching the lens enables superslim FlatCam that's thinner than a dime

Much has changed in camera design over the years, but snapping photos and shooting video still invariably requires a lens to capture light and focus on a subject. But if a camera could somehow replicate this process digitally, making relatively chunky lens attachments completely unnecessary, what would be left to look at? Well, going by new research underway at Rice University, not really much at all. Engineers have produced a functional camera that is thinner than a dime, raising the possibility of tiny, flexible versions that could one day be embedded in everything from your wallpaper to your credit card.Read More

Physics

Speedy single-molecule nanosubs powered by UV light

For some time now, we've been hearing about the attempts by various groups to develop so-called nanosubmarines. Among other things, these microscopic "molecular machines" could conceivably be used for applications such as targeted drug delivery within the human body. Recently, scientists at Houston's Rice University created nanosubs that move at a "breakneck pace" when exposed to ultraviolet light. Read More

Medical

Hydrogel infused with snake venom stops bleeding within seconds

Major, uncontrolled blood loss can have major ramifications everywhere from the battlefield to the operating theatre. While blood-clotting medications can be used to stem the flow, often their purpose is thwarted by conflicting anti-coagulating drugs that thin the blood instead. But now scientists have developed a promising new hydrogel infused with snake venom that is drawn to the wound and shuts down bleeding in a matter of seconds.Read More

Medical

Whale protein puts researchers on path to developing synthetic blood

Researchers at Rice University have discovered that a protein found in whale meat may hold the key to developing synthetic blood. The protein, called myoglobin, allows marine mammals to remain submerged at great depths for up to two hours and has an ultra-stable structure that could one day allow for the manufacturing of a blood substitute using bacteria as biofactories.Read More

Student-designed furniture is out of this world

A team of five mechanical engineering seniors has been tasked by NASA to design furniture suitable for use in future habitats on Mars, the Moon, or in space itself. The Lunar Lounger project aims to address the lack of available space and the low-gravity in such conditions, while ensuring the comfort of astronauts. Read More

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