In the Media
This monthly summary includes excerpts from Illinois in the News, a daily service provided by the University of Illinois News Bureau and other media search tools, focusing on engineering topics and faculty contacted for their expertise by print and broadcast reporters around the world.
Researchers gain control over internal structure of self-assembled composite materials
Technolgy News (Jan. 15) -- Composites made from self-assembling inorganic materials are valued for their unique strength and thermal, optical and magnetic properties. However the structures formed can be highly disordered, leading to defects during large-scale production. Researchers have now developed a templating technique that instills greater order and gives rise to new 3D structures in a special class of materials, called eutectics, to form new, high-performance materials.
Swarms of Teeny Robo-Tractors Will Outmaneuver Tesla's Driverless Cars
OneZero (Jan. 13) -- Girish Chowdhary, the director of the Field Robotics Engineering and Sciences Hub, speaks about mportance of autonomous technology to farming and the ability to develop autonomous field technology faster than open road tech.
For CRISPR, tweaking DNA fragments before inserting yields highest efficiency rates yet
Science Daily (Dec. 23) -- Univeristy of Illinois Researchers have now achieved the highest reported rates of inserting genes into human cells with the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing system, a necessary step for harnessing CRISPR for clinical gene-therapy applications. By chemically tweaking the ends of the DNA to be inserted, the new technique is up to five times more efficient than current approaches.
New polymer material may help batteries become self-healing, recyclable
Science Daily (Dec. 23) -- Lithium-ion batteries are notorious for developing internal electrical shorts that can ignite a battery's liquid electrolytes, leading to explosions and fires. Engineers have developed a solid polymer-based electrolyte that can self-heal after damage -- and the material can also be recycled without the use of harsh chemicals or high temperatures.Also: Good News Network (Dec. 27), Electronic Products and Technology (Dec. 29), New Atlas (Dec. 27)
Scientists develop gentle, microscopic hands to study tiny, soft materials
Why Illinois Will Rule the Meatless Future
Chicago Magazine (Dec. 17) -- Illinois farms are poised to dominate the meatless foods industry. “Illinois is the ideal place to develop this industry,” says Vijay Singh, a professor of agricultural and biological engineering and director of the U. of I.’s Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory, which is developing alternative proteins. “We have some of the most fertile ground in the world.”
Water Filtration System Inspired by Our Body
Technology Networks (Dec. 17) -- A multidisciplinary group of engineers and scientists has discovered a new method for water filtration that could have implications for a variety of technologies, such as desalination plants, breathable and protective fabrics, and carbon capture in gas separations.
Engineers Develop Lightweight Arm Cast That's Waterproof and Itch-Proof
My Modern Net (Dec. 12) -- Chicago-based startup Cast21 has come up with a more hygienic, lightweight, and breathable alternative to the traditional plaster cast that will drastically improve the life of anyone with a broken limb. The Cast21 team is made up of a trio of engineers from the University of Illinois
Scientists develop a first-of-its-kind in vitro 3D neural tissue model
Science Board (Dec. 12) -- Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have successfully used stem cells to engineer nerve tissues as 3D models of neural networks to study brain function. The work was published in the December 3 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.