Agricultural robot may be “game changer” for crop growers, breeders

A semiautonomous robot may soon be roaming agricultural fields gathering and transmitting real-time data about the growth and development of crops, information that crop breeders – and eventually farmers – can use to identify the genetic traits in plants likely to produce the greatest yields. A team of scientists from the Carle R. Woese Institute … Read more…

Study: Changing the environment within bone marrow alters blood cell development

Researchers at the University of Illinois report they can alter blood cell development through the use of biomaterials designed to mimic characteristics of the bone marrow. The findings, reported in the journal Science Advances, are a first step toward developing more effective bone marrow treatments for diseases like leukemia and lymphoma. Blood cells flow throughout … Read more…

Tumor-targeting system uses cancer’s own mechanisms to betray its location

By hijacking a cancer cell’s own metabolism, researchers have found a way to tag and target elusive cancers with small-molecule sugars. This opens treatment pathways for cancers that are not responsive to conventional targeted antibodies, such as triple-negative breast cancer. Led by Jianjun Cheng, a Hans Thurnauer Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the University … Read more…

Luminescence switchable carbon nanodots follow intracellular trafficking and drug delivery

Tiny carbon dots have, for the first time, been applied to intracellular imaging and tracking of drug delivery involving various optical and vibrational spectroscopic-based techniques such as fluorescence, Raman, and hyperspectral imaging. Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have demonstrated, for the first time, that photo luminescent carbon nanoparticles can exhibit reversible switching … Read more…

Now you can “build your own” bio-bot

I’ll bet you don’t have one of these at home. For the past several years, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been developing a class of walking “bio-bots” powered by muscle cells and controlled with electrical and optical pulses. Now, Rashid Bashir’s bioengineering research group is sharing the recipe for the current … Read more…

Nano-level lubricant tuning improves material for electronic devices and surface coatings

Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), which is ubiquitously used as a solid lubricant, has recently been shown to have a two-dimensional (2D) form that is similar to graphene. But, when thinned down to less than a nanometer thick, MoS2 demonstrates properties with great promise as a functional material for electronic devices and surface coatings. Researchers at the … Read more…

Sensors embedded in sports equipment could provide real-time analytics to your smartphone

Sports analytics—tracking how fast the ball is moving or how players move across the field—is becoming a key component of how coaches make decisions and fans view games. Data for these analytics is currently sourced through cameras in stadiums and courts and is incredibly expensive to acquire. In an effort to make big data analytics … Read more…

Dual-function nanorod LEDs could make multifunctional displays

Cellphones and other devices could soon be controlled with touchless gestures and charge themselves using ambient light, thanks to new LED arrays that can both emit and detect light. Made of tiny nanorods arrayed in a thin film, the LEDs could enable new interactive functions and multitasking devices. Researchers at the University of Illinois at … Read more…

New brush polymers catalyze their own formation

Researchers at the University of Illinois and the University of Connecticut have developed new brush polymers – synthetic protein-like molecules that catalyze their own formation – that could provide insight into enzyme behavior and self-replicating systems. The polymers have potential applications in catalyst development, nanomaterials and medicine. As reported in the journal Nature Chemistry, the … Read more…

Advanced robotic bat’s flight characteristics simulates the real thing

Engineers create demonstration of self-contained autonomous flight by mimicking morphological properties of flexible bat wings. Bats have long captured the imaginations of scientists and engineers with their unrivaled agility and maneuvering characteristics, achieved by functionally versatile dynamic wing conformations as well as more than forty active and passive joints on the wings. However, their wing … Read more…