Highlights from Interbike 2014

University of Illinois

A piece of dynamic polyurea, that has healed up after being cut in two

Stretchy, self-healing paints and other coatings recently took a step closer to common use, thanks to research being conducted at the University of Illinois. Scientists there have used "off-the-shelf" components to create a polymer that melds back together after being cut in half, without the addition of catalysts or other chemicals.  Read More

A diagram and a microscope image (inset) of one of the bio-bots

If you were asked to think of something microscopic that moves quickly, chances are that sperm would be the first thing to come to mind. The tiny reproductive cells are able to swim as fast as they do thanks to their long whip-like tails, known as flagella. So, imagine how helpful it might be if sperm-like machines could be used for applications such as delivering medication to targeted areas of the body. Well, that's what scientists at the University of Illinois are in the process of making possible, with the creation of their heart cell-powered "bio-bots."  Read More

Circuit Scribe uses silver ink to draw circuits

A new company called Electroninks is seeking to make DIY electronics child’s play ... literally. Circuit Scribe is a roller-ball pen filled with conductive silver ink that enables the creation of circuits by simply drawing them.  Read More

Researchers have found a simple way to preserve broccoli’s cancer-fighting properties afte...

Broccoli is one of those foods we’re told to eat as youngsters because it’s good for us. Unfortunately, researchers at the University of Illinois (U of I) found some of that goodness, namely the vegetable’s cancer-protective benefits, doesn’t survive the process its subjected to before reaching the freezers at supermarkets. Thankfully, the researchers followed up their initial research and found a simple way to preserve broccoli’s cancer-fighting properties.  Read More

Researchers have found that an AI system has an average IQ of a four-year-old child (Image...

Those who saw IBM’s Watson defeat former winners on Jeopardy! in 2011 might be forgiven for thinking that artificially intelligent computer systems are a lot brighter than they are. While Watson was able to cope with the highly stylized questions posed during the quiz, AI systems are still left wanting when it comes to commonsense. This was one of the factors that led researchers to find that one of the best available AI systems has the average IQ of a four-year-old  Read More

One of the lithium-ion 'microbatteries'

While we’re currently witnessing the rise of tiny electronic devices such as biosensors, many of those devices do have one limiting factor – they still require not-so-tiny batteries, which ends up somewhat defeating the whole miniaturization process. Although some devices can get their power from external sources, scientists from Harvard University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have come up with an alternative ... functional 3D-printed lithium-ion batteries no larger than a grain of sand.  Read More

The University of Illinois' iPhone-based biosensor

We already know that smartphones can perform many of the same features as more expensive computers, cameras and other devices. Now, a portable iPhone cradle made up of about US$200 worth of electronics is claimed to be as accurate of a biosensor as a $50,000 spectrophotometer that remains stuck in a lab.  Read More

Artist's conception of the interlocking 3D battery electrodes exchanging ions (Image: Univ...

There can be little doubt that people love their mobile devices. But, by leaving them high and dry at the most inconvenient of times, this love generally doesn't extend to the batteries that power said devices. New microbatteries developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) that measure just a few millimeters in size, yet are powerful enough to power a mobile phone may be more likely to inspire a little love.  Read More

Scientists have copied the structure of insect eyes to create a 180-degree hemispherical c...

Contrary to what certain cartoons may have us believe, insects’ compound eyes don’t produce a grid of tiny identical images. Instead, each of their many optical facets supply one unique section of a single composite image – sort of like the individual pixels that make up one digital image. Now, a team of scientists has replicated that eye structure, to create an ultra-wide-angle camera.  Read More

The lights themselves can be as small as single cells, and are printed onto the end of a f...

Optogenetics is the process by which genetically-programmed neurons or other cells can be activated by subjecting them to light. Among other things, the technology helps scientists understand how the brain works, which could in turn lead to new treatments for brain disorders. Presently, fiber optic cables must be wired into the brains of test animals in order to deliver light to the desired regions. That may be about to change, however, as scientists have created tiny LEDs that can be injected into the brain.  Read More

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