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University of California Berkeley

Electronics

High performance transistors created on flexible plastic sheets

Using a technique known as nanoimprint lithography, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and partners have created a breakthrough method to allow the simple manufacture of inexpensive, high-performance, wireless-capable, flexible Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistors that overcome many of the operation problems encountered in devices manufactured using standard techniques. Created on large rolls of pliable plastic, these MOSFETs could be used to make a host of devices ranging from wearable electronics to bendable sensors.
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Materials

Metamaterial paves way for thermophotovoltaic cells that generate electricity in the dark

Using a new optical magnetic metamaterial claimed to have revolutionary properties, physicists from the Australian National University (ANU) and the University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley) have produced a prototype device that could be used in super-efficient thermophotovoltaic cells. These cells do not need direct sunlight to generate electricity, but instead absorb infrared radiation to convert to electric current and, unlike conventional photovoltaic cells, can do so even in the dark.Read More

Robotics

suitX announces "world's most affordable" powered exoskeleton – the Phoenix

When it comes to the price of most products, US$40,000 is pretty high. In the case of powered exoskeletons, however, it's cheap – at least half the typical price. Nonetheless, that's approximately what suitX's Phoenix modular exoskeleton should sell for, bringing the technology to a whole new income class. And at 27 lb (12.25 kg), it's also one of the lightest models ever made.Read More

Robotics

VelociRoACH gets a job as an aircraft carrier

In nature, you're not likely to ever see a bird get a piggyback ride from a cockroach and then take off from its back. But in the world of bio-inspired robotics, such things can and do happen. Researchers from the UC Berkeley's Biomimetic Millisystems Lab have successfully demonstrated a cooperative launching system that puts a lightweight ornithopter on the back of its VelociRoACH robotic carpet crawler for a short run before the H2Bird takes to the air.Read More

Science

Acoustic bottle beams hold promise for acoustic imaging, cloaking and levitation

Using a technique that has possible applications in acoustic cloaking, sonic levitation, ultrasonic imaging, and particle manipulation, scientists at the University of California Berkeley claim to have produced a "bottle" beam of acoustic energy in open air that can precisely redirect sound waves. Able to bend these waves along set trajectories without the need for waveguides or other mechanical assistance, the bottle beam is also able to flow around objects in its path while maintaining its shape.Read More

Science

Laser tech allows for longer-distance sensing

The trouble with existing 3D imaging technology is that – at the consumer level, at least – it tends to struggle with distances beyond a few feet. Put even a third of the width of a basketball court between yourself and a Microsoft Kinect sensor, for instance, and it won't pick up your movements at all. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, claim to have developed a Lidar (light radar)-based system that can remotely sense objects across distances as long as 30 feet (10 m), which could have widespread benefits in fields as diverse as entertainment, transportation, robotics, and mobile phones.Read More

Electronics

Interactive electronic skin lights up when touched

The stereotype of the clumsy robot may soon become a thing of the past thanks to ongoing research at the University of California, Berkeley, where a team of engineers has created a thin and interactive sensor network that can be layered onto the surfaces of virtually any shape. The device gives out immediate feedback via an LED light when touched, and could be used to create smart bandages that monitor vitals in a patient in real time, wallpapers that act as touchscreens, or even to give humanoid robots that elusive "human touch." Read More

Science

Maps provide "most detailed look ever" at how the brain organizes visual information

How does our brain organize the visual information that our eyes capture? Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, used computational models of brain imaging data to answer this question and arrived at what they call “continuous semantic space” – a notion which serves as the basis for the first interactive maps showing how the brain categorizes what we see.Read More

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