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Earth Sciences - May 20
Earth Sciences
Engineers at EPFL and the University of Geneva believe they hold the key to automated drone mapping. By combining artificial intelligence with a new algorithm, their method promises to considerably reduce the time and resources needed to accurately scan complex landscapes.
Environment - May 19
Environment

A new robot is capable of switching from an underwater drone to an aerial vehicle in less than one second. The robot also features a suction disc inspired by the remora fish, which enables it to hitchhike on wet or dry moving objects to significantly reduce its power consumption. It is designed for biological and environmental monitoring in marine ecosystems such as surveying ocean pollution in the open sea as the scientist of Beihang University, Imperial College London and Empa point out in a new study published in Science Robotics.

Chemistry - May 19
Chemistry

Salad boxes to go, sealed-tray lasagna and apple juice in PET bottles: we encounter packaged food and drink everywhere. A new database shows which packaging contains harmful substances that can be transferred to its contents. It also includes findings from researchers at the University of Basel, who are investigating plastic molecules that were previously unknown or barely known.

Environment - May 19
Environment

Global biodiversity assessments require the collection of data on changes in plant biodiversity on an ongoing basis. Researchers from the universities of Zurich and Montréal have now shown that plant communities can be reliably monitored using imaging spectroscopy, which in the future will be possible via satellite. This paves the way for near real-time global biodiversity monitoring.

Health - May 19

If a human comes down with a rash, they might go to the doctor and come away with some ointment to put on it. Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins get skin conditions, too, but they come about their medication by queuing up nose-to-tail to rub themselves against corals. In the journal iScience on 19 May, researchers show that these corals have medicinal properties, suggesting that the dolphins are using the marine invertebrates to medicate skin conditions.


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Earth Sciences - Innovation - 20.05.2022
The missing piece to faster, cheaper and more accurate 3D mapping
The missing piece to faster, cheaper and more accurate 3D mapping
Engineers at EPFL and the University of Geneva believe they hold the key to automated drone mapping. By combining artificial intelligence with a new algorithm, their method promises to considerably reduce the time and resources needed to accurately scan complex landscapes. Three-dimensional (3D) mapping is a very useful tool, such as for monitoring construction sites, tracking the effects of climate change on ecosystems and verifying the safety of roads and bridges.

Environment - Microtechnics - 19.05.2022
A drone for ultrafast transitions between air and water
A drone for ultrafast transitions between air and water
A new robot is capable of switching from an underwater drone to an aerial vehicle in less than one second. The robot also features a suction disc inspired by the remora fish, which enables it to hitchhike on wet or dry moving objects to significantly reduce its power consumption. It is designed for biological and environmental monitoring in marine ecosystems such as surveying ocean pollution in the open sea as the scientist of Beihang University, Imperial College London and Empa point out in a new study published in Science Robotics.

Environment - Astronomy / Space Science - 19.05.2022
Satellite Monitoring of Biodiversity Moves Within Reach
Satellite Monitoring of Biodiversity Moves Within Reach
Global biodiversity assessments require the collection of data on changes in plant biodiversity on an ongoing basis. Researchers from the universities of Zurich and Montréal have now shown that plant communities can be reliably monitored using imaging spectroscopy, which in the future will be possible via satellite.

Chemistry - 19.05.2022
From the packet into your food: what harmful substances are in food packaging?
From the packet into your food: what harmful substances are in food packaging?
Salad boxes to go, sealed-tray lasagna and apple juice in PET bottles: we encounter packaged food and drink everywhere. A new database shows which packaging contains harmful substances that can be transferred to its contents. It also includes findings from researchers at the University of Basel, who are investigating plastic molecules that were previously unknown or barely known.

Health - 19.05.2022
Dolphins Line Up to Self-Medicate Skin Ailments at Coral ’Clinics’
If a human comes down with a rash, they might go to the doctor and come away with some ointment to put on it. Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins get skin conditions, too, but they come about their medication by queuing up nose-to-tail to rub themselves against corals. In the journal iScience on 19 May, researchers show that these corals have medicinal properties, suggesting that the dolphins are using the marine invertebrates to medicate skin conditions.

Transport - Environment - 19.05.2022
How a cognitive bias is blocking the rise of electric cars
How a cognitive bias is blocking the rise of electric cars
A team from the University of Geneva shows that underestimating battery autonomy is a major psychological barrier to buying an electric car. What are the barriers to the adoption of electric cars? Although the main financial and technological obstacles have been removed, their market share still needs to increase.

Computer Science - Life Sciences - 18.05.2022
A component for brain-inspired computing
A component for brain-inspired computing
Researchers from ETH Zurich, Empa and the University of Zurich have developed a new material for an electronic component that can be used in a wider range of applications than its predecessors. Such components will help create electronic circuits that emulate the human brain and that are more efficient than conventional computers at performing machine-learning tasks.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 17.05.2022
New findings on the global cooling of 1627 BC
New findings on the global cooling of 1627 BC
An interdisciplinary study, in which the University of Bern played a major role, sheds new light on two extreme volcanic events and a subsequent global cooling in antiquity. With the help of a highly precise analysis of volcanic ash and sulphur in ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica, it became clear that the global cooling around 1627 BC was not attributable to the Thera volcano in Santorini, as previously assumed, but to a volcano in distant Alaska.

Paleontology - Earth Sciences - 17.05.2022
Previously Unknown Dolphin Species Was Present in Switzerland
Previously Unknown Dolphin Species Was Present in Switzerland
Twenty million years ago, the Swiss Plateau region, or -Mittelland-, was an ocean in which dolphins swam.

Health - Life Sciences - 17.05.2022
Change of temperature causes whole body reprogramming
Scientists have discovered that changes in temperature cause marked and organ-specific effects in all tissues. Human beings, like most organisms, are constantly exposed to alternating colder or warmer temperatures. These environmental variations cause striking metabolic effects and require constant adaptations.

Physics - 17.05.2022
A new calculation for predicting fusion energy
A new calculation for predicting fusion energy
Physicists at EPFL, within a large European collaboration, have revised one of the fundamental laws that has been foundational to plasma and fusion research for over three decades, even governing the design of megaprojects like ITER. The update shows that we can actually safely use more hydrogen fuel in fusion reactors, and therefore obtain more energy than previously thought.

Life Sciences - Computer Science - 16.05.2022
NeuroMechFly: a digital twin of Drosophila
NeuroMechFly: a digital twin of Drosophila
Scientists have developed a digital model of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, which realistically simulates the movements of the animal. The twin is a big step towards reverse engineering the neuromechanical control of animal behavior, and developing bioinspired robots. "We used two kinds of data to build NeuroMechFly," says Professor Pavan Ramdya at EPFL's School of Life Sciences.

Psychology - Health - 13.05.2022
How sleep helps to process emotions
How sleep helps to process emotions
Researchers at the Department of Neurology of the University of Bern and University Hospital Bern identified how the brain triages emotions during dream sleep to consolidate the storage of positive emotions while dampening the consolidation of negative ones. The work expands the importance of sleep in mental health and opens new ways of therapeutic strategies.

Life Sciences - Mathematics - 13.05.2022
How cells correct errors under time pressure
How cells correct errors under time pressure
How does a cell balance risk and speed when dividing? scientists have developed and experimentally tested the first mathematical theory that describes the cell's best strategy for dividing safely and efficiently. Cells go through a life cycle that includes growing to the right size, being equipped to perform its functions, and finally dividing into two new cells.

Life Sciences - 13.05.2022
Our cells take their ease in the curves
A team from the University of Geneva shows that cells that make up our tissues increase in volume when tissues bend. A key discovery for the culture of in vitro organs. "Sheet" of curved cells in the form of a tube: the cells initially organized flat were forced to curl. (c) Aurélien Roux How do our cells organize themselves to give their final shape to our organs? The answer lies in morphogenesis, the set of mechanisms that regulate their distribution in space during embryonic development.

Life Sciences - Health - 12.05.2022
When unconscious, the brain is anything but 'silent'
When unconscious, the brain is anything but ’silent’
The cerebral cortex is thought to be the seat of conscious processing in the brain. Rather than being inactivated, specific cells in the cortex show higher spontaneous activity during general anesthesia than when awake, and this activity is synchronized across those cortical cells. Improving our understanding of the neuronal mechanisms of general anesthesia could lead to better anesthetic drugs and improved surgical outcomes.

Materials Science - Physics - 12.05.2022
Black holes as noise traps
Black holes as noise traps
Anyone who lives in an old building with wooden floors knows the problem: Even if the neighbors from above glide across the floor with graceful elegance, it sounds as if you were living under a bowling alley. Impact sound is a challenge even for the most modern wooden buildings. Scientists at Empa are now tinkering with a solution.

Life Sciences - Agronomy / Food Science - 12.05.2022
The genetic origins of the world's first farmers clarified
The genetic origins of the world’s first farmers clarified
The genetic origins of the first agriculturalists in the Neolithic period long seemed to lie in the Near East. A new study published in the journal Cell shows that the first farmers actually represented a mixture of Ice Age hunter-gatherer groups, spread from the Near East all the way to south-eastern Europe.

Physics - Innovation - 12.05.2022
Quantum one-way street in topological insulator nanowires
Quantum one-way street in topological insulator nanowires
Very thin wires made of a topological insulator could enable highly stable qubits, the building blocks of future quantum computers. Scientists see a new result in topological insulator devices as an important step towards realizing the technology's potential. An international group of scientists have demonstrated that wires more than 100 times thinner than a human hair can act like a quantum one-way street for electrons when made of a peculiar material known as a topological insulator.

Health - Life Sciences - 11.05.2022
Thwarting cellular enzyme can fight viral infections
Thwarting cellular enzyme can fight viral infections
Researchers from FMI have identified a synthetic protein that dampens the activity of a cellular pathway involved in viral infection. The findings could help to develop drugs that combat viruses such as influenza A and Zika. Influenza A virus affects millions of people worldwide and can have serious complications, including bacterial pneumonia, ear infections and the worsening of long-term medical conditions.
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