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University of Illinois

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

Using a collection of sensors placed all over the body, the SpiderSense suit detects objec...

In the Spider-Man comics and movies, the famous hero's "Spider Sense" warns him of incoming danger, which proves to be just as important a superpower as slinging webs and climbing walls. Now a group of researchers at the University of Illinois in Chicago may have found a way to replicate such superhuman perception that doesn't involve any radioactive spiders. Using a collection of sensors placed all over the body, the group has designed a "SpiderSense" suit that detects objects in the environment and warns the wearer when anything gets too close.  Read More

Scientists have developed a stretchable lithium-ion battery, that could be used to power s...

Thanks to the advent of stretchable electronics, we’re currently witnessing the development of things like smart fabrics, bendable displays, and even pressure-sensitive skin for robots. In many potential applications, however, the usefulness of such electronics would be limited if they still had to be hooked up to a rigid battery. In response to that problem, a team of scientists have recently created – you guessed it – a stretchable lithium-ion battery.  Read More

University of Illinois neuroscience professor Aron Barbey

We tend to think of reason and emotion as being two different things, but it turns out that there may not be a choice between the heart and the head. A University of Illinois team, led by neuroscience professor Aron Barbey, has made the first detailed 3D map of emotional and general intelligence in the brain, that shows a strong overlap of general and emotional intelligence.  Read More

A flexible bio-bot propels itself using heart cells from the common rat (Photo: Elise A. C...

Using a 3D printer, researchers at the University of Illinois have developed synthetic "bio-bots" about seven millimeters long that are powered by embedded cardiac cells that give them the ability to "walk" on their own. The researchers say they are just scratching the surface of what is possible, with their work potentially leading to millimeter-scale medical or environmental sensors that that can seek out and neutralize harmful toxins.  Read More

Graduate student Zachary Baer works with a fermentation chamber to separate acetone and bu...

Researchers at the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) are generating bio fuels from renewable sources, such as sugar and starch, using a process that could be commercialized in as little as five to ten years. Although the fuels are currently more expensive to produce than those made from petroleum, they contain more energy per gallon than ethanol and the researchers say that, if adopted, could help to cut greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.  Read More

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