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University of California

Environment

Hitachi developing reactor that burns nuclear waste

The problem with nuclear waste is that it needs to be stored for many thousands of years before it’s safe, which is a tricky commitment for even the most stable civilization. To make this situation a bit more manageable, Hitachi, in partnership with MIT, the University of Michigan, and the University of California, Berkeley, is working on new reactor designs that use transuranic nuclear waste for fuel; leaving behind only short-lived radioactive elements.Read More

Medical

Multi-tasking nanoparticle both seeks and destroys cancerous cells

Nanoparticles hold great potential as a way of both detecting cancer cells and delivering the drugs to treat them. One hurdle that has proven difficult to overcome is incorporating these properties into one multi-purpose device, as nanoparticles are generally engineered with either goal in mind. In what appears a promising development, researchers at the University of California Davis (UC Davis) Cancer Center have created a multi-tasking nanoparticle shown to be effective both in the diagnosis of a tumor and attacking its cells – a flexibility that could lead to new treatment options for cancer patients.Read More

Electronics

Temporary tattoo lactate sensor converted into sweat-powered biobattery

Last year, researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) unveiled a sensor imprinted on a temporary tattoo that, when applied to the skin, is able to continuously monitor lactate levels in a person's sweat as they exercise. Now the research team has leveraged the technology to create a biobattery powered by perspiration that could lead to small electronic devices being powered by sweat.Read More

Space

NASA selects concept technologies for phase 2 NIAC funding

NASA has chosen five studies to advance to phase 2 of its Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program. The successful projects were chosen via a system of peer review, and represent the most promising technological concepts with the greatest potential to revolutionize the agency's approach to the building and operating of aerospace systems. Read More

Robotics

Robots that use Wi-Fi to see through walls

Robots created by a team working at the University of California, Santa Barbara are able to look through solid walls using just Wi-Fi signals. With potential applications in search and rescue, surveillance, detection and archeology, these robots have the capability to identify the position and outline of unseen objects within a scanned structure, and then categorize their composition as metal, timber, or flesh. Read More

Computers

Vision-correcting display lets users ditch their reading glasses

In an age where reading something from a screen on a phone or a computer is a normal part of our daily lives, the wearing of glasses or contact lenses often makes doing so a chore with eye-strain problems and the necessity to carry around spectacles or lenses wherever you go. In this vein, researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have created a prototype vision-correcting, printed pinhole matrix that they claim fits directly to a screen and negates the need for eyeglasses or remedial lenses and may one day offer improved visual acuity to those with eye problems much worse than simple farsightedness.Read More

Electronics

Sand-based anode triples lithium-ion battery performance

Conventional lithium-ion batteries rely on anodes made of graphite, but it is widely believed that the performance of this material has reached its zenith, prompting researchers to look at possible replacements. Much of the focus has been on nanoscale silicon, but it remains difficult to produce in large quantities and usually degrades quickly. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have overcome these problems by developing a lithium-ion battery anode using sand.Read More

Good Thinking

Student-designed device reduces gas lawnmower air pollution by over 90 percent

Gas-powered lawnmowers are notorious polluters. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, running a new gas mower for one hour produces as much air pollution as would be generated by 11 typical automobiles being driven for the same amount of time. Switching to an electric or reel mower is certainly one option, but for those applications where it's gotta be gasoline, a team of engineering students from the University of California, Riverside are developing another: an attachment that they claim reduces noxious emissions by over 90 percent. Read More

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