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Artist's impression of stellar-mass black hole IGR J17091 (Image: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss)

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has recorded ultra-fast 20 million-mph (32 million km/h) winds roaring from a gas disk around the stellar-mass black hole IGR J17091-3624. The wind speeds are a record, a factor of ten greater than any previously recorded, for a black hole of this kind. It is hoped the surprise discovery will shed new light on the behavior of stellar-mass black holes.  Read More

A prototype pacemaker created by engineers from the University of Michigan could someday d...

A heart-powered pacemaker may sound counter-intuitive, but in essence this is precisely what aerospace engineers from the University of Michigan are proposing. The engineers have come up with a prototype powered by vibrations in the chest cavity - vibrations which are caused mainly by the beating of the heart.  Read More

An insect fitted with a piezoelectric generator to harness energy from the insect's wings ...

Insects have served as the inspiration for a number of Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) that could be deployed to monitor hazardous situations without putting humans in harm’s way. Now researchers at the University of Michigan College of Engineering are proposing using actual live insects enhanced with electronic sensors to achieve the same result. The insect cyborgs would use biological energy harvested from their body heat or movements to potentially power small sensors implanted on their bodies in order to gather vital information from hazardous environments.  Read More

Scientists have discovered that objects coated with a forest of carbon nanotubes can be ma...

Although Klingon-style disappearing spaceships may not be in our neighborhood any time soon, the technology that could allow a spaceship to vanish from sight may be here now. Scientists from the University of Michigan have successfully made a three-dimensional etched silicon image of a tank appear as a featureless black void, that completely blended in with the backdrop surrounding it. The secret: good ol’ carbon nanotubes.  Read More

A new system that puts smartphones into 'subconscious mode' could boost battery run times ...

University of Michigan researchers have proposed a new power management system for smartphones that could dramatically improve battery life. Working with doctoral student Xinyu Zhang, computer science and engineering professor Kang Shin has created a proof-of-concept system known as E-MiLi, or Energy-Minimizing Idle Listening, that addresses the energy waste that occurs when "sleeping" phones are looking for incoming messages and clear communication channels. For users on the busiest networks, it could extend battery life by up to 54 percent.  Read More

MABEL the robot can run with a human-like gait at speeds of up to 10.9 km/h

Although Honda’s ASIMO has been running around at speeds of up to 6 km/h (3.7 mph) since 2004, his style is more of a fast sneak than a true running action. Getting bipedal robot like ASIMO to run like a human is no easy feat - as C-3PO is sure to attest – but researchers in a University of Michigan (U-M) lab have done just that with a bipedal robot called MABEL. The researchers believe that MABEL, which can reach a peak pace of 10.9 km/h (6.8 mph), is the world’s fastest bipedal robot with knees.  Read More

Telex could allow blocked sites such as YouTube to be accessed in censoring countries like...

Chinese citizens could once again enjoy LOL Cats on YouTube - as well as content critical of the communist government - if a new system developed by researchers at the University of Michigan (U-M) and the University of Waterloo (UW) in Canada were implemented. The researchers claim the system, called Telex, would thwart Internet censorship and make it virtually impossible for a censoring government to block individual sites by essentially turning the entire web into a proxy server.  Read More

The BioBolt (seen here on a primate skull) is a prototype implant that could be used to wi...

For a great number of people with paralyzed limbs, the reason that they can’t move the arm or leg in question is because the “move” command isn’t able to reach from their brain to the limb. This is often due to damage to the nervous system, or to the brain, although the limb itself is still perfectly functional ... so it could still move, if only there was a way of getting the signal to it. Well, one might be on its way. Scientists at the University of Michigan have developed an implant known as the BioBolt, that wirelessly transmits neural signals from the brain to a computer. In the future, that computer could hopefully then relay them onto a formerly-paralyzed limb.  Read More

Biodegradable nanofiber microspheres show promise as a means of transporting cells to cart...

Cartilage wounds can be very difficult to treat. While they may eventually heal on their own, the resulting tissue often won't take the same form – or allow for the same function – as the original. Cartilage injuries are often treated with a process known as ACI (autologous chondrocyte implantation), in which a patient's own cells are injected at the wound site to form new tissue. The procedure doesn't always work, as the cells are just injected loosely, with no carrier to transport them or help them get established. Now, however, a scientist from the University of Michigan has developed a technique in which cells are delivered to wounds via injectable nanofiber spheres, and the results are said to be very promising.  Read More

A new discovery by U-M researchers could see energy from the sun harnessed without solar c...

It has long been thought that, even though light has electric and magnetic components, the effects of the magnetic field are so weak that they could effectively be ignored. Now researchers at the University of Michigan (U-M) have discovered that under the right conditions, a light field can generate magnetic effects that are 100 million times stronger than previously expected. The researchers say the discovery paves the way for the creation of an "optical battery" that could harness power from the sun without the use of solar cells.  Read More

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