Lithium-ion batteries offer the promise of more power in a lighter package, but, as seen with recent problems in Boeing’s new 787’s, they also tend to be more susceptible to fire. Scott White, Nancy Sottos and Jeffrey Moore are looking to a nano-technological cure for this problem – deploying a thin coating of nanospheres to serve as a sub-microscopic fire brigade.
Beckman researchers have developed a technique to measure nanometer-scale behavior of semiconductor microparticles. This will give scientists new tools to better understand how devices perform and to confirm theoretical models.
Developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the new microbatteries out-power even the best supercapacitors and could drive new applications in radio communications and compact electronics. Led by Beckman researcher William P. King, the Bliss Professor of mechanical science and engineering, the researchers published their results in the April 16 issue of Nature Communications.
The Spring 2013 Beckman Institute Graduate Student Seminar Series continues on Wednesday, April 24. The seminar will feature three short talks from students Alexandru Iordan, Joshua Wood and Pauline Baniqued. The seminar will be held in Beckman Institute Room 1005 and a lunch will be served to those attending the talks.
Beckman researcher Kate Clancy found that more than 20 percent of female bioanthropologists who took part in a new survey are victims of “physical sexual harassment or unwanted sexual contact” in the course of their scientific research, primarily at the hand of superior professional colleagues, even their own mentors.
Neuroscientist Art Kramer, who directs the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois, has a number of suggestions to stave off problems in memory and thinking. First and foremost, Kramer says, is to exercise. Research shows it's the best thing you can do for your brain.
Aaron Johnson has joined the Beckman Institute. Johnson is an assistant professor in the College of Applied Health Sciences at Illinois and is a member of the Bioimaging Science and Technology (BST) Research Group within the Integrative Imaging (IntImg) Research Theme at Beckman.
Some scholars are expressing skepticism about President Obama’s initiative to unlock the mysteries of the brain. “To understand the psyche, what it is and how it does the remarkable things it does, it is going to require a whole lot more than low-level brain science,” says Jonathan Waskan, a Beckman researcher and professor of philosophy at the U. of I.
Tiny, glowing probes packed with LEDs and sensors are scientists’ newest tool for measuring and manipulating the brain and other living tissues. They’re flexible, they can operate wirelessly, and yes, they’re small enough to fit through the eye of a needle, says John A. Rogers, Beckman researcher and materials scientist at Illinois and co-leader of the team that developed the probes.
Jane E. Brody, personal health columnist for the New York Times, will be speaking at the Beckman Institute Auditorium at 6 pm on Monday, April 29, as the keynote for a symposium sponsored by the Center for Nutrition, Learning, and Memory (CNLM). Her talk is entitled “Eat Well, Move Well and Enjoy the Good Life.” The talk is free and open to the public.
Victor Regnier, professor of architecture and gerontology, will present the SmithGroup Distinguished Lecture at 3 pm Monday, April 15, in Room 1005 Beckman. The lecture, entitled “Design Innovations in Long-term Care: The Dutch Apartment for Life Model + Dementia Housing in Northern Europe” examines the Dutch model that has much to offer the U.S. and Asia, as we contemplate a future with older frail constituents.
“The goal of the electronics industry has always been to build durable devices that last forever with stable performance,” says John A. Rogers, Beckman researcher and materials science and engineering professor at Illinois. “But many new opportunities open up once you start thinking about electronics that could disappear in a controlled and programmable way.”
The Obama administration recently announced a large-scale initiative to develop new technologies to “map” the complex neural circuitry of the human brain. While the specifics of the program, called the BRAIN Initiative, are still vague, the goal is a worthy one, says Beckman faculty member Aron Barbey, who has himself mapped brain regions that contribute to general and emotional intelligence. Barbey spoke to Illinois News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates.
Future pilots might be invited to have a tiny sensor surgically implanted in their brain, extending the fly-by-wire concept straight to the motor cortex. A more palatable option, perhaps, is simply donning a headset, though accuracy suffers. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have a lot of practice with test subjects flying simulated aircraft in the laboratory. Timothy Bretl, Beckman researcher and associate professor of aerospace engineering, said in an email it is “unlikely” that systems based on EEGs and similar devices “will give performance that exceeds traditional input devices (e.g., pedals, stick) in an aircraft. That being said, what exactly constitutes an ‘EEG/EMG-based interface’ is becoming less clear.”