University of Wisconsin-Madison
University of Wisconsin-Madison Articles
Video game may improve empathy in middle schoolers
A space-exploring robot crashes on a distant planet. In order to gather the pieces of its damaged spaceship, it needs to build emotional rapport with the local alien inhabitants. The aliens speak a different language but their facial expressions are remarkably humanlike. This fantastical scenario is the premise of a video game developed for middle schoolers by University of Wisconsin–Madison researchers to study whether video games can...
Insights into the mechanics of human movement
For athletes and weekend warriors alike, returning from a tendon injury too soon often ensures a trip right back to physical therapy. However, a technology developed by University of Wisconsin–Madison engineers could one day help tell if your tendons are ready for action. A team of researchers led by UW–Madison mechanical engineering professor Darryl Thelen and graduate student Jack Martin has devised an approach for noninvasivel...
Advance could enable high-performance materials
An engineering physics professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison has created new materials that behave in an unusual way that defies the standard theory engineers use for designing things like buildings, airplanes, bridges and electronic devices. It’s an advance that could open the door to designing novel materials for applications that require high toughness — for example, airplane wings that are more fracture-resis...
A ‘weather map’ that forecasts antibiotic resistance
The resistance that infectious microbes have to antibiotics makes it difficult for physicians to confidently select the right drug to treat an infection. And that resistance is dynamic: It changes from year to year and varies across a region. To help choose the best antibiotic first, researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are drawing inspiration from another dynamic process — the weather.
Enabling communication between cells
A basic structure that allows cells and subcellular units to converse in chemical language turns out to have a lot more abilities than expected. The structure, called a “fusion pore,” allows hormones, chemicals that carry nerve impulses, and proteins produced in containers inside cells to reach their destination. Without fusion pores, multicellular life is difficult to envision, says University of Wisconsin–Madison neurosci...
Bio-renewable process could help make sustainable plastic
When John Wesley Hyatt patented the first industrial plastic in 1869, his intention was to create an alternative to the elephant tusk ivory used to make piano keys. But this early plastic also sparked a revolution in the way people thought about manufacturing: What if we weren’t limited to the materials nature had to offer? Over a century later, plastics are an abundant part of daily life. But these plastics are often derived from petr...
Bringing accurate tuberculosis tests to Africa
Since the 1970s, millions of women have appreciated the ease of a urine-based home pregnancy test to find out if their family is about to grow. A diagnostic test that’s just as accurate and easy to use would make a big impact in the war on tuberculosis. With more than 10 million affected people worldwide, many of them in Africa, the annual market for such a test is estimated at about 75 million — but only if it costs as little as...
Understanding the roots of CAVD
The diminutive size of our aortic valve belies its essential role in pushing oxygen-rich blood from the heart into the aorta, our body’s largest vessel, and from there to all other organs. Yet for decades, researchers have focused less on damaged valves than on atherosclerosis, the gradual hardening of the blood vessels themselves. Thanks, in part, to pigs at the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Arlington Agricultural...
An easy-to-make curved image sensor
Cellphone users rely on their phone cameras to capture virtually every aspect of their lives. Far too often, however, they end up with photos that are a sub-par reproduction of reality. While operator error sometimes comes into play, the camera’s digital image sensor is the most likely culprit. A flat, silicon surface, it just can’t process images captured by a curved camera lens as well as the similarly curved image sensor &mdas...
Icebound detector reveals how ghostly neutrinos are blocked
Famously, neutrinos can zip through a million miles of lead without skipping a beat. Now, in a critical measurement that may one day help predict physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics, an international team of researchers with the IceCube Neutrino Observatory has shown how energised neutrinos can be stopped cold as they pass through the Earth.
Video game improves balance in children with autism
Playing a video game that rewards participants for holding various 'ninja' poses could help children and youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) improve their balance, according to a recent study in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders led by researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
A strange solar system visitor
A strange visitor, either asteroid or comet, zipping through our solar system at a high rate of speed is giving astronomers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to examine up close an object from somewhere else in our galaxy. “It’s a really rare object,” explains Ralf Kotulla, a University of Wisconsin–Madison astronomer who, with colleagues from UCLA and the NOAO, used the 3.5 meter WIYN Telescope on Kitt Peak, Ar...
Driverless vehicle on display in Madison
Like many of today’s fully loaded cars, which offer capabilities such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, and automatic parking, the Navya passenger shuttle capitalises on such cutting-edge technologies as Lidar, GPS, cameras, dynamic driving algorithms, and more in the features that enable its passengers to arrive safely at their destinations. One feature that’s noticeably missing, however, is a steering wheel. And spa...
Molecular magnetism packs power with 'messenger electron'
Electrons can be a persuasive bunch, or at least, a talkative bunch, according to new work from John Berry’s lab at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The spins of unpaired electrons are the root of permanent magnetism, and after 10 years of design and re-design, Berry’s lab has made a molecule that gains magnetic strength through an unusual way of controlling those spins.
A recipe to make human blood-brain barrier
A critical anatomical structure, the barrier is the brain’s first and most comprehensive line of defense. But in addition to protecting the brain, it also is involved in disease and effectively blocks many of the small-molecule drugs that might make effective therapies for a host of neurological conditions, including such things as stroke, trauma and cancer.
Model reveals possibility of pumping antibiotics into bacteria
Researchers in the University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Biochemistry have discovered that a cellular pump known to move drugs like antibiotics out of E. coli bacteria has the potential to bring them in as well, opening lines of research into combating the bacteria. The discovery could rewrite almost 50 years of thinking about how these types of transporters function in the cell.
Computer ‘assistant’ simplifies complex chip design challenges
With applications in devices such as lasers and solar panels, or as alternatives to the curved lenses in powerful microscopes or telescopes, metasurfaces — flat optical chips — offer unparalleled control of light. Created through a monolithic process, each tiny feature on a metasurface can perform its own unique light-scattering task — yet all of those features work together to perform a unified optical function.
Making sense of bridges loaded with sensors
The University of Wisconsin–Madison has a few iconic landmarks: the statue of Abraham Lincoln in front of Bascom Hall, the Carillon Tower, and the colorful Union Terrace chairs on the shore of Lake Mendota. But one of its most heavily traveled structures is the pedestrian bridge over North Park Street between Mosse Humanities Building and Bascom Mall that numerous students and staff cross every day.
Method dramatically reduces energy use in making silicon
A University of Wisconsin–Madison chemistry professor has come up with a new and more sustainable way to make silicon at much lower temperatures for the kind of advanced batteries used in electronics such as phones, cameras and laptop computers. Silicon, one of the most common elements on earth, is generally refined from sand, but it could also be sourced from glass. Silicon production is energy-intensive, requiring a temperature of 17...
A platform for high-performance electronics
A team of University of Wisconsin–Madison engineers has created the most functional flexible transistor in the world — and with it, a fast, simple and inexpensive fabrication process that’s easily scalable to the commercial level. It’s an advance that could open the door to an increasingly interconnected world, enabling manufacturers to add “smart,” wireless capabilities to any number of large or small pro...