Cars are one of mankind's most revolutionary creations. But just like with the iPhone, space travel or Wi-Fi, there's always room for improvement. In the eyes of a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers, one of the more promising ways automotive technology might be improved upon lies in the energy wastage caused by friction as tires roll across the road. Armed with special nanogenerator and a toy Jeep, the researchers have demonstrated that this power can be captured and turned into electricity, a development that could bring about better fuel efficiency in the full-sized cars of the future.
A herd of cattle or a flock of chickens may appear very bucolic, but they're actually ground zero for an ongoing arms race between scientists and disease-causing bacteria. Antibiotics have been a major weapon in the fight against animal infection, but they've also sparked evolutionary forces that create drug-resistant bacteria that render those very antibiotics ineffective, posing a major risk to animals and humans alike. Now a University of Wisconsin-Madison team is developing a method of fighting a major group of animal infections without antibiotics.
As electronic devices are becoming outdated at an increasingly fast pace, e-waste continues to be a huge problem.
That's why scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have
started producing "wooden" semiconductor chips that could almost
entirely biodegrade once left in a landfill. As an added bonus, the
chips are also flexible, making them prime candidates for use in
Though the pain they cause is minor and fleeting, a lot of people still find something pretty unsettling about needles. When it comes to conducting a routine blood test, US-based company Tasso Inc. believes that these unpleasant pricks can be removed from the equation completely. Its ping pong ball-sized HemoLink blood sampler can be operated by the patient at home, and needs only to be placed against the skin of the arm or abdomen for two minutes to do its job.
Claimed to be the greatest lack of evolution ever discovered, a deep-sea microorganism – sulfur bacteria – recently uncovered by an international group of scientists is reported not to have evolved for more than 2 billion years. Despite it appearing to be an aberration in nature, researchers say that the microscopic creature’s unchanging nature actually supports Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
There are all sorts of apps available for smartphones to show atmospheric phenomena like wind speed, temperature, and rainfall along with other observations for tides and phases of the moon. But how about something really cool like an app for measuring the amount of interstellar cosmic radiation hitting the earth? A professor of physics from the University of Wisconsin thought that would be cool as well, and created an app to turn your smartphone into a cosmic ray detector that works in a similar way to those instruments found in high-tech observatories and mega-expensive laboratories.
Five years ago we first heard about a Caterpillar diesel engine located at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, that had been modified to run on an unlikely-sounding mixture of diesel and gasoline
. Not only did the one-cylinder engine work, but it was more efficient than pure-diesel or pure-gas engines at converting the chemical energy of fuel into motion. Sitting in a basement lab, however, isn't the same as experiencing use in the real world. That's why students at UW-Madison, led by Prof. Rolf Reitz, have now put another diesel/gas engine into a 2009 Saturn.
While it's already possible to wirelessly recharge smartphones in cars, those cars need to be equipped with a special charging pad
that the phone has to be placed on. Thanks to a newly-developed "nanogenerator," however, it might eventually be possible to place the phone anywhere in any
car, letting the vehicle's vibrations provide the power.
We've recently seen rehabilitative systems in which stroke victims use their thoughts either to move animated images
of their paralyzed limbs, or to activate robotic devices
that guide their limbs through the desired movements. Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, however, have just announced an alternative approach. Their device acts as an intermediary between the brain and a non-responsive hand, receiving signals from the one and transmitting them to the other.
Some time ago, astronauts on the International Space Station needed a way to eliminate the ethylene gas that was being produced by plants growing aboard the station. NASA collaborated with the University of Wisconsin, and the result was an air-purifying system known as Airocide. Flash forward to the present, and that technology has been licensed for use in a household product that reportedly eliminates all sorts of airborne nasties.