System Bits: Aug. 2

Helping drones navigate urban environments While it has been widely discussed, Amazon wants to start using drones to deliver packages by 2017, but if you live in a high-rise apartment, you might be waiting a bit longer because because UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) use GPS for localization and navigation but in urban areas, high-rise buildings may block the line of sight to GPS satellites, ca... » read more

System Bits: March 29

Cryptographic system for controlling app access to data Researchers at MIT and Harvard University are hoping to change the fact that users of smartphones have no idea which data items their apps are collecting, where they’re stored, and if they’re stored securely with an application they’ve developed called Sieve. With Sieve, a Web user would store all personal data, in encrypted form... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Feb. 2

Do-it-yourself optoelectronics The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has developed a technology to make optical components on a do-it-yourself basis. To make a component, researchers have devised what they call plasmon-assisted etching. The process makes use of a nanostructured template, which can be used to create optical components. The template is a 2D array of gold pillar-su... » read more

System Bits: Dec. 1

Extracting the right information in large data sets When solving complex scientific problems, researchers sometimes encounter what is called the curse of dimensionality, that is, they have so much data that they cannot efficiently analyze it. Large data sets can also be expensive and time consuming to acquire, so it is critical to gather only what is necessary. To this end, University of Il... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Sept. 8

Solar water-splitting By splitting water molecules, Rice University researchers have demonstrated what they say is an efficient way to capture energy from the sun and convert it into clean, renewable energy. The technology relies on a configuration of light-activated gold nanoparticles that harvest sunlight and transfer solar energy to highly excited electrons, which scientists sometimes re... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: August 18

Making quantum robots Quantum dots are inorganic semiconductor nano-crystals. The technology can be used to boost the color gamut in LCD TVs. It can also be used in LEDs and other products. The problem? Quantum dots are expensive to fabricate. With funding from Dow Chemical, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has developed a new fabrication process. In doing so, researchers a... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: August 11

World neutrino record The U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory has achieved a world record for high-energy neutrino experiments. In one neutrino experiment, researchers sustained a 521-kilowatt beam generated by the organization’s so-called Main Injector particle accelerator. The previous record was a 400-plus-kilowatt beam, which was accomplished at CERN. ... » read more

System Bits: June 30

Implantable drug-delivery chip An implantable, microchip-based device developed by MIT spinout Microchips Biotech may soon replace the injections and pills now needed to treat chronic diseases. The company partnered with Teva Pharmaceutical to commercialize its wirelessly controlled, implantable, microchip-based devices that store and release drugs inside the body over many years. [caption id... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: June 2

Printing RF antennas with graphene ink Researchers from the University of Manchester, together with BGT Materials Limited, a graphene manufacturer in the United Kingdom, printed a radio frequency antenna using compressed graphene ink. The antenna performed well enough to make it practical for use in RFID tags and wireless sensors, the researchers said. Even better, the antenna is flexible, e... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: May 19

3D microbatteries for large-scale on-chip integration By combining 3D holographic lithography and 2D photolithography, researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign created a high-performance 3D microbattery suitable for large-scale on-chip integration with microelectronic devices. According to Paul Braun, professor of materials science and engineering at Illinois, "Micr... » read more

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