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University of Illinois

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

The scanner being used to check for an ear infection

Although there are various efforts under way to create a working Star Trek-like medical tricorder, such a device isn’t available for general use just yet. In the meantime, however, doctor’s offices may soon be equipped a piece of equipment that wouldn’t look at all out of place in the sick bay of the Enterprise. Developed by engineers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, it’s a hand-held scanning device that provides real-time three-dimensional images of the insides of patients’ bodies.  Read More

A biodegradable integrated circuit during dissolution in water (Photo: Beckman Institute, ...

We’ve certainly been hearing a lot lately about tiny electronic devices that can do things such as delivering medication after being implanted in the body, measuring structural stress upon being attached to a bridge, or monitoring pollution after being placed in the environment. In all of these cases, the device has to be retrieved once it’s served its purpose, or just left in place indefinitely. Now, however, an interdisciplinary team of researchers have demonstrated “transient electronics,” which dissolve into nothing after a pre-determined amount of time.  Read More

Smart sutures that contain ultrathin sensors to detect when a wound is infected.(Image: Jo...

Sutures have come along way from the days of silk and catgut, but now they’re poised to make their biggest change in 3,000 years. They’re getting smart. John Rogers, professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has invented a “smart” suture that contains ultrathin sensors that can detect when a wound is infected and may one day be able to actively promote healing as well.  Read More

A newly-developed electronic finger cuff could lead to smarter surgical gloves that make p...

Using industry-standard manufacturing technology, researchers have integrated ultrathin and stretchable silicon-based electronics, sensors and actuators on an artificial skin that can be worn on the tip of your fingers. The result is an artificial finger cuff that could be used to produce the ultimate hi-tech surgeon's glove, capable of sensing the electrical properties of tissue, removing it locally, or even performing ultrasound imaging with a simple touch.  Read More

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