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University of Michigan

Military vehicles that change color to be dark at night, and camo-green in the daylight ... could such a thing be possible? Well, it's certainly closer to reality, thanks to research being conducted at the University of Michigan. Scientists there have created a solution that changes color when exposed to light, then changes back when the light is removed. If incorporated into a thin film coating, the result could be chameleon-like surfaces. Read More
Thermal imaging has already found its way onto smartphones, but a team of researchers from the University of Michigan (U-M) have gone even further with the creation of an ultrathin graphene-based light detector. Being only slightly thicker than two sheets of graphene, the approach has the potential to put infrared heat detecting technology into a contact lens. Read More
Turn on any old science fiction film and odds are that you'll see someone listening to the ominous chirping of a Geiger counter. It's very dramatic, but not very precise and, unfortunately, nuclear scientists and engineers of today are stuck with the same problem. Now, researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a faster, cheaper way for nuclear power plants to detect and map dangerous hot spots and leaky fuel rods using a camera that maps radiation in real time. Read More
A beautiful stained glass installation, a colorful billboard, or rows of windows on an office building ... all as electricity-generating solar cells? New research at the University of Michigan gives a method for creating such transparent and colorful solar cells using a hybrid silicon/organic composition, and furthermore avoids some of the problems of previous colored and transparent solar cells. Read More
Ford took the next step in its "Blueprint for Mobility" this month, revealing an automated research vehicle based on the Fusion Hybrid. Working in cooperation with the University of Michigan and State Farm, Ford will use the car to test next-generation sensor systems that enhance automated awareness. Read More
Here's a term almost all motorcyclists run across in their first couple of years on the road: SMIDSY. It stands for "sorry mate, I didn't see you" and it's the standard apology we get when we're sprawled across the bonnet of a car after its driver has pulled out in front of us. Bikes are tougher to see on the road for a number of reasons, so Honda is looking into the idea of using Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) to give drivers advance warning when a SMIDSY situation could be coming up. Read More
CubeSats are one of the wonders of our day. They allow projects with small budgets and smaller equipment to access low Earth orbit (LEO) at achievable costs. Seeing greater potential for these miniaturized modular satellites, Professor Benjamin Longmire of the University of Michigan is heading a team to install a miniature plasma thruster system into a 3U CubeSat, enabling the vehicle to leave LEO and cruise much of the Solar System. Funding for the project is being sought through Kickstarter. Read More
Three DARPA-funded research teams have completed a foundational study of chip-scale vacuum pumps by inventing three very different approaches to removing air from a sample chamber with a volume of one cubic millimeter, which is about one-tenth the volume of a grain of rice. These new technologies will enable many micro-scale devices which require a vacuum or a controlled flow of gas, such as Lab-on-a-Chip sensors, radio frequency MEMS switches and microscopic vacuum tubes. Read More
Six week-old Kaiba Gionfriddo was out at a restaurant with his family, when he stopped breathing and started turning blue. It turned out that he had a severe form of tracheobronchomalacia, a rare condition in which the trachea collapses due to flaccid supporting cartilage. Although he survived that incident, he proceeded to stop breathing on a regular basis, requiring daily resuscitation. Given the seriousness of the situation, his doctors decided to go for broke and try something new – an implanted 3D-printed tracheal support splint. Read More
The Global Positioning System (GPS) has proved a boon for those with a bad sense of direction, but the satellite-based system isn’t without its shortcomings. Something as simple as going indoors or entering a tunnel can render the system useless. That might be inconvenient for civilians, but it's potentially disastrous for military users for whom the system was originally built. DARPA is addressing such concerns with the development of a self-sufficient navigation system that can aid navigation when GPS is temporarily unavailable. Read More
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