EPFL (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne)
EPFL (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne) Articles
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 th...
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.
Perovskite solar cells hit 21.1% efficiency and record reproduciblity
Perovskite solar cells show promise for cost-effective solar energy but heat stability is still an issue. This has been addressed by mixing perovskite materials with inorganic cesium to improve the solar cell’s thermal and structural stability. Using this approach, EPFL scientists have now developed a cesium-containing perovskite solar cell that has achieved efficiency of 21.1%, as well as record-level reproducibility.
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.
Stretchable electronics can quadruple in length
EPFL researchers have developed conductive tracks that can be bent and stretched up to four times their original length. They could be used in artificial skin, connected clothing and on-body sensors. Conductive tracks are usually hard printed on a board. But those recently developed at EPFL are altogether different: they are almost as flexible as rubber and can be stretched up to four times their original length and in all directions.
A portable device for rapid and highly sensitive diagnostics
When remote regions with limited health facilities experience an epidemic, they need portable diagnostic equipment that functions outside the hospital. As demand for such equipment grows, EPFL researchers have developed a low-cost and portable microfluidic diagnostic device. It has been tested on Ebola and can be used to detect many other diseases. Over the past several years, microfluidic devices have shown extraordinary potential in the ar...
Robots utilise electrostatic stickiness
Soft electronics are changing the way robots can touch. EPFL Scientists have developed a soft robotic gripper -- made out of rubber and stretchable electrodes -- that can bend and pick up delicate objects like eggs and paper, taking robotics to a whole new level. Have you ever rubbed a balloon in your hair to make it stick to the wall? This electrostatic stickiness called electroadhesion may change robotics forever.
Generate electricity with cardboard, tape & a pencil
Researchers from EPFL, working with researchers from the University of Tokyo, have discovered that a small device made from everyday materials can generate more than 3V - enough energy to power several diodes. The team used cardboard, Teflon tape and a pencil to make an 8cm2 device that can generate a considerable power: this simple, eco-friendly and inexpensive system can operate a remote micro- sensor or system.
Charge an EV (almost) as fast as filling up with fuel
Electric cars will only be truly competitive when it doesn’t take longer to charge them than it does to fill the fuel tank. The storage capacity of batteries is improving exponentially, but the power grid is the weak link: how could it possibly charge thousands of cars at the same time? This is especially problematic in the case of ultra-fast charging, which requires more than 10 times more power. EPFL researchers have found the solution: i...
Material achieves 20.2% efficiency & lowers PV cost
Some of the most promising solar cells today use light-harvesting films made from perovskites - a group of materials that share a characteristic molecular structure. However, perovskite-based solar cells use expensive 'hole-transporting' materials, whose function is to move the positive charges that are generated when light hits the perovskite film.
Origami robot can fold, crawl & jump
Modelled on the inchworm, researchers at EPFL have designed a folding, reconfigurable robot that is capable of crawling and jumping. Researchers in Jamie Paik's Reconfigurable Robotics Laboratory, have thrown convention out the window by creating robots patterned on origami: flat, ultra-light and foldable. It represents a new paradigm in robotics.
Pac-Man inspired space debris clean-up
Space debris is the collection of objects travelling at up to 17,500 mph in orbit around Earth, including spent rocket stages, old satellites, fragments from disintegration and more. According to NASA, there are more than 20,000 pieces of debris larger than 10cm and 500,000 pieces of debris larger than 1cm being tracked, as well as the many millions of pieces of debris that are too small to be tracked.