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Power walk: Footsteps could charge mobile electronics

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When you’re on the go and your smartphone battery is low, in the not-so-distant future you could charge it simply by plugging it into your shoe. An innovative energy harvesting and storage technology developed by University of Wisconsin–Madison mechanical engineers could reduce our reliance on the batteries in our mobile devices, ensuring we have power for our devices no matter where we are.

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Physics Plays Key Role in How White Blood Cells Fight Infection

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Researchers at Georgia Tech and Emory fabricated model blood vessel systems that include artificial blood vessels with diameters as narrow as the smallest capillaries in the body. The systems were used to study the activity of white blood cells as they were affected by drugs that tend to make them softer, which facilitates their entry into blood circulation.

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Robotically Driven System Could Reduce Cost of Drug Discovery

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University have created the first robotically driven experimentation system to determine the effects of a large number of drugs on many proteins, reducing the number of necessary experiments by 70 percent.

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Room-Temperature Lithium Metal Battery Closer to Reality

Rechargeable lithium metal batteries offer energy storage capabilities far superior to today’s workhorse lithium-ion technology that powers our smartphones and laptops. But these batteries are not in common use today because, when recharged, they spontaneously grow treelike bumps called dendrites that can trigger short-circuiting and cause a potential safety hazard.

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EMBARGOED

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 12-Feb-2016 5:00 AM EST

Life

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Smart Cities Better Defined by New Research

Researchers at the University of Birmingham have identified a handful of key elements that define ‘smart cities’– cities like Singapore and Copenhagen, which are both at the top of their game in using technology to enable their citizens to enjoy a better quality of life, but in different ways.

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Behind the Levees

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Flood risk can be higher with levees than without them.

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Cockroach Inspires Robot That Squeezes Through Cracks

Creepy bugs can run quickly even when flattened to one-half height.

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Celebrating Canada’s TRIUMF-ant Tradition of Accelerating Discovery

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – TRIUMF is celebrating four decades of discovery enabled by the world’s largest cyclotron – a particle accelerator driving cutting-edge science with tangible impacts on our daily lives. Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan joined TRIUMF’s anniversary celebration and highlighted how the national laboratory continues to advance world-class science and engineering for the benefit of Canada.

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Iowa State Engineers Develop Hybrid Technology to Create Biorenewable Nylon

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Iowa State's Zengyi Shao and Jean-Philippe Tessonnier are combining the tools of biology and chemistry to create new biorenewable products. Their hybrid conversion technology is described in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

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The Big Dig: A Global Software Solution for Road, Water and Sewer Repairs

In a paper recently published in the Journal of Construction Engineering Management, researchers describe an innovative method of tracking the many issues involved with the repair and renewal of road, water and sewer networks.

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Why Not Recycled Concrete?

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From paper towels to cups to plastic bottles, products made from recycled materials permeate our lives. One notable exception is building materials. Why can’t we recycle concrete from our deteriorating infrastructure for use as material in new buildings and bridges? It’s a question that a team of researchers at the University of Notre Dame is examining.

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Cotton Candy Machines May Hold Key for Making Artificial Organs

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Vanderbilt engineers have modified the cotton candy machine to create complex microfluidic networks that mimic the capillary system in living tissue and have demonstrated that these networks can keep cells alive and functioning in an artificial three-dimensional matrix.

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A New-Generation Exoskeleton Helps the Paralyzed to Walk

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Until recently, being paralyzed from the waist down meant using a wheelchair to get around. And although daily life is more accessible to wheelchair users, they still face physical and social limitations. But UC Berkeley’s Robotics and Human Engineering Laboratory has been working to change that.

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Carbon Dioxide Captured From Air Converted Directly to Methanol Fuel for the First Time

Research could one day create a sustainable fuel source from greenhouse gas emissions.

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Hack-Proof RFID Chips

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New technology could secure credit cards, key cards, and pallets of goods in warehouses.

Medicine

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The Future of Medicine Could Be Found in This Tiny Crystal Ball

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A Drexel University materials scientist has discovered a way to grow a crystal ball in a lab. Not the kind that soothsayers use to predict the future, but a microscopic version that could be used to encapsulate medication in a way that would allow it to deliver its curative payload more effectively inside the body.

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Scientist Creates AI Algorithm to Monitor Machinery Health

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An artificial intelligence algorithm created by University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) principal research scientist Dr. Rodrigo Teixeira greatly increases accuracy in diagnosing the health of complex mechanical systems.

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Acoustic Tweezers Provide Much Needed Pluck for 3-D Bioprinting

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Researchers, including Carnegie Mellon University President Subra Suresh and collaborators Tony Jun Huang from the Pennsylvania State University and Ming Dao from MIT, have demonstrated that acoustic tweezers can be used to non-invasively move and manipulate single cells along three dimensions, providing a promising new method for 3-D bioprinting.

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Nanosheet Growth Technique Could Revolutionize Nanomaterial Production

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After six years of painstaking effort, a group of University of Wisconsin-Madison materials scientists believe the tiny sheets of the semiconductor zinc oxide they’re growing could have huge implications for the future of a host of electronic and biomedical devices.