EPFL (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne)

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Web: http://www.epfl.ch/


EPFL (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne) articles

Displaying 1 - 20 of 24

Insect-inspired drone deforms upon impact

Insect-inspired drone deforms upon impact
An origami-like drone developed at EPFL is flexible enough to absorb shocks without breaking before returning to its initial shape. This new type of drone, which was inspired by insect wings, draws on the advantages of both stiff and flexible structures. In recent years, robotics experts have taken a page from the traditional Japanese practice of origami and come up with light and flexible robots and drones.
26th July 2018

Mini robot gets a schooling when swimming with fish

Mini robot gets a schooling when swimming with fish
  Researchers from EPFL have developed a new miniature robot that can swim with fish to learn how they communicate with each other and make them change direction or come together. These capabilities have been proven on schools of zebrafish.  
8th November 2017

Walking on two legs isn’t as easy as it seems...

Walking on two legs isn’t as easy as it seems...
  For robots and their designers, walking on two legs isn't as easy as it seems. Researchers at EPFL’s Biorobotics Laboratory are testing novel algorithms to improve humanoids’ ability to walk and interact with humans.
9th October 2017


Soft robots really suck!

Soft robots really suck!
EPFL scientists have created the first functional robot powered entirely by vacuum: made up of soft building blocks, it moves by having air sucked out of them. The robot can be reconfigured to perform different tasks, like climbing vertical walls and grabbing objects. This new robot sucks: to move, air has to be sucked out of its individual components. Inspired by muscle contraction, its individual soft components are activated (they collapse) when negative pressure (vacuum) is applied to them.
31st August 2017

Six-legged robots faster than nature-inspired gait

Six-legged robots faster than nature-inspired gait
When vertebrates run, their legs exhibit minimal contact with the ground. But insects are different. These six-legged creatures run fastest using a three-legged, or "tripod" gait where they have three legs on the ground at all times -- two on one side of their body and one on the other. The tripod gait has long inspired engineers who design six-legged robots, but is it necessarily the fastest and most efficient way for bio-inspired robots to move on the ground?
20th February 2017

Ultrafast processors thanks to plasmons

Ultrafast processors thanks to plasmons
  By implementing an electron imaging technique, EU-funded scientists managed for the first time to capture an unprecedented look at the dual quantum and classical nature of plasmons and wave travel in nanostructures. The outcome lays the groundwork for a new generation of optical-electronic hybrid computers that can operate at ultrafast speeds.
18th January 2017

Perovskite could lead to next-gen data storage

Perovskite could lead to next-gen data storage
EPFL scientists have developed a perovskite material with unique properties that can be used to build next-gen hard drives. As we generate more and more data, we need storage systems, e.g. hard drives, with higher density and efficiency. But this also requires materials whose magnetic properties can be quickly and easily manipulated in order to write and access data on them. EPFL scientists have now developed a perovskite material whose magnetic order can be rapidly changed without disrupting it due to heating.
24th November 2016

Soft robots mimic human muscles

Soft robots mimic human muscles
An EPFL team is developing soft, flexible and reconfigurable robots. Air-actuated, they behave like human muscles and may be used in physical rehabilitation. They are made of low-cost materials and could easily be produced on a large scale. Robots are usually expected to be rigid, fast and efficient. But researchers at EPFL's Reconfigurable Robotics Lab (RRL) have turned that notion on its head with their soft robots.
12th October 2016

Tool mimics cells' ability to stretch and compress

Tool mimics cells' ability to stretch and compress
A tool developed at EPFL can stretch and compress cells, mimicking what happens in the body. The aim: to study the role played by these mechanical forces in cases of cancer or lymphatic diseases. Complex mechanical forces are constantly at work in the human body, deforming our cells. In our blood vessel walls, for example, cells are stretched approximately once per second by the pulsing blood flow.
5th September 2016

Self-consciousness with every heartbeat

Self-consciousness with every heartbeat
Bodily self-consciousness is an integral part of our everyday life. It allows us to be instinctively aware of where we are and how we move. While this seems trivial, it requires a lot of computation and processing from our brain. But how does the brain produce and regulate it? Using a virtual reality experiment, EPFL scientists have now shown that bodily self-consciousness involves the brain monitoring heartbeat.
26th August 2016

Remote-controlled microrobots aid medical operations

Remote-controlled microrobots aid medical operations
EPFL scientist Selman Sakar teamed up with Hen-Wei Huang and Bradley Nelson at ETHZ to develop a simple and versatile method for building bio-inspired robots and equipping them with advanced features. They also created a platform for testing several robot designs and studying different modes of locomotion. Their work, published in Nature Communications, produced complex reconfigurable microrobots that can be manufactured with high throughput.
22nd July 2016

Drone can navigate around obstacles like an insect

Drone can navigate around obstacles like an insect
Physics student Darius Merk has used an insect-inspired algorithm to develop a drone that can navigate around obstacles. His research could prove particularly useful in a natural disaster. How do you send a drone on a reconnaissance mission in a hard-to-reach area without it getting stuck in the rubble? The drone could of course be remotely controlled, but you could lose contact with the device if it went behind a wall.
15th July 2016

High-resolution imaging reveals bacterial toxins

Many bacteria use specialised toxins to attack and infect other cells. Scientists at EPFL and the University of Bern have now modeled a major such toxin with unprecedented resolution, uncovering the way it works step-by-step. In order to infect other cells, many bacteria secrete a type of toxin that punctures the membrane of the target cell and form a pore; as a result, the cell dies.
13th July 2016

Thymio teaches digital sciences in primary schools

Thymio teaches digital sciences in primary schools
Thymio, the teaching robot designed by EPFL and widely used in French-speaking Switzerland, is now making inroads elsewhere in Europe. In France, it has been incorporated in an important initiative to teach digital sciences in nursery and primary schools. The first one emerged from EPFL's labs barely four years ago. There are now more than 14,000 Thymios in use around the world. This little teaching robot has become widely popular. 
6th June 2016

AR will aid the visibility of firefighters

AR will aid the visibility of firefighters
An EPFL team is working on a smart visor that, combined with a thermal imaging camera, will help firefighters see what's around them in real time, even at night and in smoke. All firefighters, volunteers and professionals alike, have to learn how to deal with flames. But fire is not the only risk they face. Toxic, impenetrable smoke and darkness add to the dangers and slow the firefighters' progress.
25th May 2016

Graphene could make wireless telecommunications faster

Graphene could make wireless telecommunications faster
EPFL and UNIGE scientists have developed a microchip using graphene that could help wireless telecommunications share data at a rate that is ten times faster than currently possible. The results are published in Nature Communications. "Our graphene based microchip is an essential building block for faster wireless telecommunications in frequency bands that current mobile devices cannot access," says EPFL scientist Michele Tamagnone.
7th April 2016

Digital tech to enhance social interaction between senior citizens

Digital tech to enhance social interaction between senior citizens
EPFL+ECAL Lab, Pro Senectute Vaud and the Fondation Leenaards have joined forces in an initiative to use technologies to enhance social interaction among seniors. Their goal is to develop a digital solution that will allow greater interaction among older people in "solidarity neighborhoods." Preliminary results have shown that, despite widespread assumptions to the contrary, new interfaces can be developed to meet the needs of elderly users.
23rd March 2016

Device studies gold nanoparticles in depth

Device studies gold nanoparticles in depth
Artists have used gold nanoparticles for centuries, because they produce vibrant colors when sunlight hits them. Their unique optical-electronics properties have put gold nanoparticles at the center of research, solar cells, sensors, chemotherapy, drug delivery, biological and medical applications, and electronic conductors. The properties of gold nanoparticles can be tuned by changing their size, shape, surface chemistry etc., but controlling these aspects is difficult.
23rd March 2016

Human eyes assist drones and teach them to 'see'

Human eyes assist drones and teach them to 'see'
Drone images accumulate much faster than they can be analysed. Researchers have developed a new approach that combines crowdsourcing and machine learning to speed up the process. Who would win in a real-life game of "Where's Waldo," humans or computers? A recent study suggests that when speed and accuracy are critical, an approach combing both human and machine intelligence would take the prize.
21st March 2016

Amputee feels texture with a bionic fingertip

Amputee feels texture with a bionic fingertip
An amputee was able to feel smoothness and roughness in real-time with an artificial fingertip that was surgically connected to nerves in his upper arm. Moreover, the nerves of non-amputees can also be stimulated to feel roughness, without the need of surgery, meaning that prosthetic touch for amputees can now be developed and safely tested on intact individuals.
8th March 2016


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