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University of Minnesota

Controlling virtual arms and hands with the minds could help stroke patient rehabilitation...

Earlier this year, we saw an amazing demonstration of an EEG skullcap interface that allowed a quadcopter to be controlled with only thoughts. Now the same technology is pioneering a medical therapy in which stroke patients can use their thoughts to guide a simulation, and thus rebuild damaged neurons. As the “virtual reality hands” provide customization and direct feedback of one’s progress, this could be an improvement over traditional therapy methods.  Read More

Subjects were trained to control the quadcopter by imagining opening or closing their fist...

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have done away with all that tedious joystick work by developing a mind-controlled quadcopter. It may seem like the top item of next year’s Christmas list, but it also serves a very practical purpose. Using a skullcap fitted with a Brain Computer Interface (BCI), the University's College of Science and Engineering hopes to develop ways for people suffering from paralysis or neurodegenerative diseases to employ thought to control wheelchairs and other devices.  Read More

Mariprofundus ferrooxydans PV-1 bacteria (Image: Clara S. Chan)

What do bacteria, wind turbines and solar panels have to do with one another? Nothing ... unless you can teach the bacteria to “breathe” electricity and turn it into biofuel. That’s still a very long way off, but a team of researchers at the BioTechnology Institute at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities have found a method for growing iron-oxidizing bacteria by feeding it electricity. It’s primarily a way to better study a recently-discovered type of bacteria, but it also holds the promise of turning electricity into biofuel.  Read More

Locomotive 3463, the 75 year-old test bed locomotive for CSR's Project 130

You might think that a coal-burning locomotive built in 1937 had nothing left to offer the modern rail industry, short of being a nice museum piece. In the case of Locomotive 3463, however, that appears to be far from true – now in the hands of engineers from the Coalition for Sustainable Rail (CSR), it is set to become the world’s first carbon-neutral higher-speed locomotive. It won’t be electric, however. Instead, it will run on steam generated by the burning of biocoal.  Read More

Researchers have shown it is easy for a third party to track a mobile phone user's locatio...

While cop shows have shown us that it’s easy for service providers to track a person’s location via their mobile phone, researchers at the University of Minnesota have revealed it’s also an easy task for hackers. Using a cheap phone and open source software, the researchers were able to track the location of mobile phone users without their knowledge on the GSM network, which is estimated to serve 80 percent of the global mobile market.  Read More

A newly-created alloy (center disc) is able to convert heat directly into electricity (Ima...

The heat given off by electronics, automobile engines, factories and other sources is a potentially huge source of energy, and various technologies are being developed in order to capture that heat, and then convert it into electricity. Thanks to an alloy that was recently developed at the University of Minnesota, however, a step in that process could be saved – the new material is able to convert heat directly into electricity.  Read More

Two scientists are proposing the use of high-pressure carbon dioxide, instead of water, fo...

A promising new innovation in geothermal technology, that offers a novel solution to climate change, has been created by two researchers from the University of Minnesota's Department of Earth Sciences. The technology focuses on tapping heat from beneath the Earth's surface. By using high-pressure carbon dioxide (CO2) instead of water to extract the heat, the system has the potential to produce significantly more efficient renewable energy. At the same time, by sequestering CO2 deep underground, it actively reduces atmospheric CO2. It's being hailed as a two in one solution for climate change.  Read More

Shewanella bacteria, which produces ketones that are processed into fuel(Image from 'Culti...

Researchers from the University of Minnesota have announced a breakthrough in the quest to create a viable fuel alternative using greenhouse gases. The process uses two types of bacteria to create hydrocarbons from sunlight and carbon dioxide. Those hydrocarbons can in turn be made into fuel, which the scientists are calling "renewable petroleum."  Read More

US scientists have mapped 90 percent of the domestic turkey genome

In the past few months, we’ve received announcements regarding the mapped genomes of wheat, of apples, and even the repulsive human body louse. Now, researchers from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have sequenced 90 percent of the genome of Meleagris gallopavo, which you may know as the domestic turkey.  Read More

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