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Rice University


— Science

How to boost lithium battery performance – just add crushed silicon

By - November 6, 2012 2 Pictures
Researchers at Rice University and Lockheed Martin may have developed a low-cost method of creating longer-lasting, high-capacity lithium-ion batteries. Currently graphite is used as the anode in commercial li-ion products, despite the fact that a silicon anode could potentially store ten times more lithium ions. The team says it has solved one of the problems associated with silicon, which nearly triples the energy density of current li-ion batteries. Read More
— Science

Graphene coating makes copper almost 100 times more corrosion-resistant

By - October 4, 2012 2 Pictures
Following on from news out of the University at Buffalo earlier this year that a graphene varnish could significantly slow the corrosion of steel, researchers from Monash and Rice Universities have used a graphene coating to improve copper’s resistance to corrosion by nearly 100 times. The researchers say such a dramatic extension of the metal’s useful life could result in significant cost savings for a wide range of industries. Read More
— Science

Mind-reading exoskeleton could help rehabilitate stroke victims

By - September 5, 2012 1 Picture
A collaboration between Rice University, the University of Houston and TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital has led to MAHI-EXO II, a sophisticated exoskeleton that could help stroke victims regain movement in the arms by reading the patients' intended actions and nudging them along when needed. The robot wraps the arm from the fingertips to the elbow and uses a non-invasive EEG interface to anticipate gestures and help patients build up strength and accuracy over time. Read More
— Mobile Technology

Spray-on lithium-ion batteries could shape the next generation of portable electronics

By - June 30, 2012 6 Pictures
While battery technology has come a long way in recent years, it still places constraints on the size and shape of cellphones and other personal electronic devices. Researchers at Rice University are looking to solve this problem by developing a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can be painted on virtually any surface ... and early results are promising. Read More
— Science

Strain-detecting, carbon nanotube-infused "strain paint"

By - June 22, 2012 4 Pictures
While wireless sensors for detecting the strain placed on bridges and buildings, such as the SenSpot, are easier and cheaper to install than embedded wired networks of sensors, they still need to be in physical contact with the structure being monitored. Researchers at Rice University have now developed a new type of paint, infused with carbon nanotubes, that could make strain detection of materials in buildings, bridges and aircraft possible without actually touching the material. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Students develop mousetrap IV drip to tackle dehydration in developing world

By - May 18, 2012 3 Pictures
In the most economically excluded regions of the world about 1.5 million children die of dehydration every year. When patients get to hospital for IV therapy, there may not be enough staff to monitor the drip, and the child may die from receiving the wrong amount of fluid, which is also potentially fatal in cases of over-hydration. In order to help health care workers in those places, engineering students at Rice University have developed a prototype of a technically simple yet ingenuous IV drip system that adds an element of automation to the process. Read More
— Science

"Inexact" computer chip makes mistakes, but is 15x more efficient

By - May 17, 2012 2 Pictures
Last year, a team of U.S. researchers applied the pruning shears to computer chips to trim away rarely used portions of digital circuits. The result was chips that made the occasional mistake, but were twice as fast, used half as much energy, and were half the size of the original. Now, building on the same “less is more” idea, the researchers have built an “inexact” prototype silicon chip they claim is at least 15 times more efficient than current technology in terms of speed, energy consumption and size. Read More
— Medical

Prototype device could take a load off of obese patients during surgery

By - May 11, 2012 4 Pictures
When an anesthetized obese patient is lying on their back on an operating table, the weight of their abdominal fat can make it difficult for them to breathe. It can also press down on and displace their organs, making certain procedures more challenging. Mehdi Razavi, director of electrophysiology clinical research at the Texas Heart Institute, had encountered such problems first-hand, with patients of his own. He decided to turn to Houston’s Rice University, to see if its students could come up with a solution. In response, a group of bioengineering seniors created something called the R-Aide, which uses vacuum-powered suction cups to lift up patients’ bellies. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Students create automated bone-lengthening device

By - April 25, 2012 4 Pictures
Whether it's from injury, infection or malfunctioning genes, millions of children suffer from bone deformities at any given time. To help remedy the situation, doctors often resort to the painful practice of breaking the target bone and then repeatedly moving the ends apart as they attempt to grow together – a procedure known as distraction osteogenesis (DO), that has its share of risks and problems. Now, a team of undergrad students from Rice University (RU) in Texas has come up with a device they hope will make the lengthy process of bone-stretching both easier and safer for the young patients who have to endure it. Read More
— Good Thinking

Simple Babalung device could save babies in the developing world

By - April 19, 2012 3 Pictures
Although it’s normal for infants to have some disruptions in their breathing while sleeping, prolonged periods of sleep apnea can cause their blood oxygen levels to fall dangerously low, sometimes even resulting in death – this is a particular risk for babies born prematurely. Usually, when an infant does stop breathing while asleep, all that’s required to get them started again is a gentle nudge or some other kind of disturbance. Unfortunately, however, neonatal wards in developing nations are often understaffed, so nurses might not notice a non-breathing infant until it’s too late. That’s why a group of five bioengineering students from Houston’s Rice University invented the Babalung Apnea Monitor. Read More
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