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University of Illinois

— Medical

Dissolvable sensors could soon be used to wirelessly monitor the human brain

Even though as many as 50,000 people die of traumatic brain injuries in the United States every year, the equipment used to measure vital stats like intracranial pressure is usually made up of decades-old technology. To address this, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have created a new sensor that's far less invasive and much safer than the existing technology.

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— Materials

Coating highlights microscopic cracks, before they lead to disaster

Whether they're on airplanes, bridges or pipelines, even the tiniest of cracks can fast lead to catastrophic failures. That's why it's important to identify them as early as possible, before they get out of hand. With that in mind, scientists at the University of Illinois have created a new polymer coating that can be applied to a wide variety of structural materials. When those materials crack – even a little – the polymer changes color to let inspectors know that something's up.

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— Medical

Vitamin C-detecting sensor could assess eye injuries on the spot

Although any eye injury can be painful and upsetting, those that involve damage to the inside of the eye are the most serious. For people like battlefield medics or rural physicians, however, it can be difficult to judge the extent of such injuries without the resources of a hospital. That's why scientists from the University of Illinois have created OcuCheck – it's a portable sensor that assesses eye injuries based on the amount of vitamin C in the patient's tears.

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— Materials

Nanometer-thick membrane a new contender in the quest for more efficient desalination

Engineers from the University of Illinois have used nanotechnology to model a new membrane that can filter salt from seawater at higher volumes than ever before. The membrane is made from a nanometer-thin layer of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) studded with tiny holes called nanopores. By "pulling" clean water through itself while filtering out salt and other compounds, the membrane has the potential to make desalination plants much more energy-efficient.

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— Materials

Nanometer-thick membrane a new contender in the quest for more efficient desalination

Engineers from the University of Illinois have used nanotechnology to model a new membrane that can filter salt from seawater at higher volumes than ever before. The membrane is made from a nanometer-thin layer of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) studded with tiny holes called nanopores. By "pulling" clean water through itself while filtering out salt and other compounds, the membrane has the potential to make desalination plants much more energy-efficient.

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— Materials

Origami and the art of structural engineering

From military shelters and solar arrays to batteries and drones, engineers continue to prove that origami can be the inspiration for more than just paper cranes. The latest creation inspired by the ancient art of paper folding is a new "zippered tube" design that forms paper structures with enough stiffness to support weight, but can be folded flat for shipping or storage. The scaleable technique could be used in anything from microscopic robots and biomedical devices, to buildings and bridges.

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