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University of Bristol

— Science

Streaming media: New fuel cell powers a mobile phone with pee

If asked what would be a great power source for mobile phones, it’s a fair bet that most people wouldn't make urine their first choice. But that's exactly what a group of scientists at Bristol Robotics Laboratory in the UK have done. As part of a project to find new ways to provide electricity for small devices in emergency situations and developing countries they have created a new fuel cell system powered by pee. Read More
— Mobile Technology

Researchers propose new shape resolution metric for shape-shifting mobile devices

There may soon be another technical specification to consider when buying a mobile device. Researchers from the University of Bristol and the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI Saarbrücken) have coined the term “shape resolution” to indicate the self-actuated shape-shifting abilities they believe will be featured in the next generation of mobile devices. To demonstrate this new metric, the researchers have developed a number of prototype shape-shifting devices they have dubbed “Morphees,” which have the potential to change their shape on demand, depending on the desired use. Read More
— Electronics

Multi-faceted "Tilt Display" moves (and tilts) with the times

There are a number of different display technologies that provide the illusion of 3D images on a 2D screen. A team of researchers led by the University of Bristol has offered a new take on things by creating “Tilt Display” – a prototype screen that's split in a 3x3 configuration with the nine individual sub-screens physically moving and tilting up and down to physically represent the three dimensional content being displayed. Read More

Curved glasses make people drink lager faster

Are you getting blotto on lager more often than you should? If the University of Bristol’s School of Experimental Psychology is to be believed, then you can (try to) blame your glass. According to Dr. Angela Atwood, drinking out of a curved glass makes you drink lager faster. Read More
— Science

Squid-inspired tech could lead to color-changing smart materials

If you’ve ever watched a cephalopod such as a squid changing color, then you’ll know that it’s a pretty amazing process – they can instantly change the appearance of their skin from dark to light and back again, or even create pulsating bands of color that travel across it. They are able to do this thanks to muscles that manipulate the pigmentation of their skin. Now, scientists from the University of Bristol have succeeded in creating artificial muscles and cells, that might someday allow for the same sort of color changes in smart clothing that can camouflage itself against different backgrounds. Read More
— Environment

New magnetic soap could be used to clean up oil spills

When oil gets spilled in a waterway, clean-up crews will often introduce a solution known as a surfactant. This is a detergent that lessens the surface tension between the water and the overlaying oil slick, causing the oil to form into individual droplets which then sink or get dispersed by wave action. Unfortunately, such detergents aren’t entirely environmentally-friendly themselves, so the use of them on oil spills has been criticized as simply replacing one pollutant with another. Now, however, scientists from the University of Bristol have created a magnetic soap, that could be removed from the water once it had done its job. Read More
— Science

Newly discovered molecule has potential to offset climate change and cool the planet

Researchers claim a newly discovered molecule found in the Earth’s atmosphere holds the potential to help offset global warming by actually cooling the planet. The molecule is a Criegee biradical or Criegee intermediate, which are chemical intermediaries that are powerful oxidizers of pollutants produced by combustion, such as nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide. They have the ability to naturally clean up the atmosphere by helping break down nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide to form sulfate and nitrate, which ultimately leads to cloud formation that could help cool the planet. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Meniscus-healing stem cell bandage approved for clinical trials

Every year, approximately 1.7 million people in the U.S. and Europe tear a meniscus – children and athletes are especially prone to such injuries. But first, just what is a meniscus? It’s one of two pieces of cartilage located inside each knee, that provide a cushion between the tibia and the femur. While smaller tears can heal on their own, larger tears often require a partial or complete removal of the meniscus. Within several years, this can result in the early onset of osteoarthritis. Recently, a new type of stem cell-seeded bandage, developed at the University of Bristol, has been approved for a clinical trial on meniscal tears. It may greatly reduce the need for menisectomies. Read More
— Science

Two-photon walk a giant stride for quantum computing

Research conducted at the University of Bristol means a number of quantum computing algorithms may soon be able to execute calculations of a complexity far beyond what today's computers allow us to do. The breakthrough involves the use of a specially designed optical chip to perform what's known as a "quantum walk" with two particles ... and it suggests the era of quantum computing may be approaching faster than the scientific establishment had predicted. Read More