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Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, EPFL


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Health - Life Sciences - 11.04.2024
A new tool for tracing the family trees of cells
A new tool for tracing the family trees of cells
Researchers have developed GEMLI, a pioneering tool that could democratize and vastly improve how we study the journey of cells from their embryonic state through to specialized roles in the body, as well as their changes in cancer and other diseases. In the intricate dance of life, where cells multiply and diversify to form the different parts of organisms, understanding each cell's origin can be crucial.

Astronomy / Space - 08.04.2024
Largest 3D map of the universe ever made
Largest 3D map of the universe ever made
The first results from the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, or DESI, project, with significant contributions from EPFL astrophysicists, has mapped galaxies and quasars with unprecedented detail measuring how fast the universe expanded over 11 billion years. The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument project, an international collaboration of more than 900 researchers from over 70 institutions around the world including EPFL, has released its first results - a map of galaxies and quasars with unprecedented detail, creating the largest 3D map of the universe ever made.

Environment - 05.04.2024
Transformative potential of decentralization
Transformative potential of decentralization
Researchers from EPFL and HES-SO Valais Wallis have published a study outlining a path to a more sustainable energy future for Switzerland. The study emphasizes the importance of local energy solutions, and the role of decentralized systems for community empowerment. A pivotal finding of the study, published in Energies , is the integration of decentralized photovoltaic (PV) systems into the Swiss energy grid; this could reduce annual system costs by 10% and elevate self-consumption rates to 68%.

Physics - Environment - 04.04.2024
Nanodevices can produce energy from evaporating tap or seawater
Nanodevices can produce energy from evaporating tap or seawater
Researchers have discovered that nanoscale devices harnessing the hydroelectric effect can harvest electricity from the evaporation of fluids with higher ion concentrations than purified water, revealing a vast untapped energy potential. Evaporation is a natural process so ubiquitous that most of us take it for granted.

Computer Science - 03.04.2024
Machine learning enables viability of vertical-axis wind turbines
Machine learning enables viability of vertical-axis wind turbines
Researchers have used a genetic learning algorithm to identify optimal pitch profiles for the blades of vertical-axis wind turbines, which despite their high energy potential, have until now been vulnerable to strong gusts of wind. If you imagine an industrial wind turbine, you likely picture the windmill design, technically known as a horizontal-axis wind turbine (HAWT).

Life Sciences - Mathematics - 02.04.2024
How the brain senses body position and movement
How the brain senses body position and movement
Researchers at EPFL use neural networks to study proprioception, the sense the brain uses to "know" the body's movement and position. How does your brain know the position and movement of your different body parts? The sense is known as proprioception, and it is something like a "sixth sense", allowing us to move freely without constantly watching our limbs.

Materials Science - 28.03.2024
3D images reveal link between crack complexity and material toughness
3D images reveal link between crack complexity and material toughness
By capturing a rare glimpse into three-dimensional crack formation in brittle solids, researchers have found that complex cracks require more energy to advance than simple ones; a discovery that could improve materials testing and development. The last time you dropped a favorite mug or sat on your glasses, you may have been too preoccupied to take much notice of the intricate pattern of cracks that appeared in the broken object.

Chemistry - Physics - 27.03.2024
Deciphering a dance of electrons and water molecules
Deciphering a dance of electrons and water molecules
A research project at EPFL succeeded in decoding the complex dance of electrons in water, a major step in understanding a critical process of many chemical phenomena, and that might be the first step to improving energy conversion technologies. Water, the cradle of life on Earth, is not just a passive backdrop but actively participates in the chemical ballet of life.

Life Sciences - Health - 26.03.2024
Protect cells from excesses of the immune system
Protect cells from excesses of the immune system
Researchers at EPFL reveal how Drosophila's Turandot proteins protect against immune self-harm. The study is the first to identify some proteins that protect against antimicrobial peptides offering insights into cellular resilience mechanisms with potential therapeutic applications. In the constant battle between organisms and pathogens, our immune system plays the role of a vigilant guardian.

Life Sciences - 25.03.2024
Artificial nanofluidic synapses can store computational memory
Artificial nanofluidic synapses can store computational memory
In a step toward nanofluidic-based neuromorphic - or brain-inspired - computing, EPFL engineers have succeeded in executing a logic operation by connecting two chips that use ions, rather than electrons, to process data. Memory, or the ability to store information in a readily accessible way, is an essential operation in computers and human brains.

Life Sciences - Health - 22.03.2024
Locating single neurons that monitor and regulate the heart and lungs
Locating single neurons that monitor and regulate the heart and lungs
EPFL neuroscientists have located single neurons in a deep structure of the brain that regulates the heart and the lungs, a first detection in humans. The results shed light on how the brain-body system self-regulates both vital bio-rhythms. The body self-regulates in a process known as homeostasis, and the brain is responsible for this as it is constantly monitoring all'of the body's vital signals.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 19.03.2024
AI-powered system maps corals in 3D in record time
AI-powered system maps corals in 3D in record time
An artificial intelligence system developed at EPFL can produce 3D maps of coral reefs from camera footage in just a few minutes. It marks a major leap forward in deep-sea exploration and conservation capabilities for organizations like the Transnational Red Sea Center (TRSC). Corals often provide a colorful backdrop to photographs of shimmering fish captured by amateur divers.

Environment - 18.03.2024
Sustainable plastics from agricultural waste
Sustainable plastics from agricultural waste
Scientists have developed a sustainable method to make high-performance plastics from agricultural leftovers, turning them into valuable materials. In our rapidly industrialized world, the quest for sustainable materials has never been more urgent. Plastics, ubiquitous in daily life, pose significant environmental challenges, primarily due to their fossil fuel origins and problematic disposal.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 15.03.2024
The baritone of Red Giants refines cosmic distance measurements
The baritone of Red Giants refines cosmic distance measurements
A fresh look at red giant stars offers key insights into cosmic distance measurements and a way to measure the Universe's expansion with the highest accuracy. In a constantly expanding universe, measuring cosmic distances is like trying to find a reliable ruler in a vast, ever-stretching fabric. One tool that astrophysicists use is the Hubble constant, (H0), which measures how fast the Universe is expanding and sets the age and observable size of the Universe.

Computer Science - 14.03.2024
Does Artificial Intelligence work in English?
Does Artificial Intelligence work in English?
Researchers have shown that large language models primarily trained on English text seem to use English internally, even when they are prompted in another language. As AI increasingly runs our lives, this may have important consequences regarding linguistic and cultural bias. Large language models (LLMs) including Open AI's ChatGPT and Google's Gemini have taken the world by storm, surprising with their ability to understand and respond to users with seemingly natural speech.

Microtechnics - Health - 13.03.2024
Robotic interface masters a soft touch
Researchers have developed a haptic device capable of reproducing the softness of various materials, from a marshmallow to a beating heart, overcoming a deceptively complex challenge that has previously eluded roboticists. The perception of softness can be taken for granted, but it plays a crucial role in many actions and interactions - from judging the ripeness of an avocado to conducting a medical exam, or holding the hand of a loved one.

Health - Life Sciences - 12.03.2024
The surprising effect of presence hallucinations on social perception
The surprising effect of presence hallucinations on social perception
EPFL neuroscientists have devised a way to alter our social perception and monitor specific types of hallucinations, both in healthy individuals and patients with Parkinson's disease. The test, which is also available online, provides the medical community with a tool to monitor hallucination susceptibility.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 06.03.2024
Facilitate lake delta renaturation projects
Facilitate lake delta renaturation projects
Engineers from EPFL and partner organizations have developed a method for classifying lacustrine deltas based on morphological parameters, in order to determine which of the deltas severely altered by human activity are best suited for restoration to their natural state. The Reuss delta on the edge of Lake Lucerne is once again a nature-lover's paradise, complete with gravel islands and stretches of shallow water where plants, animals and bathers coexist in harmony.

Physics - Chemistry - 05.03.2024
A new theoretical development clarifies water's electronic structure
A new theoretical development clarifies water's electronic structure
Scientists at EPFL have decoded the electronic structure of water, opening up new perspectives for technological and environmental applications. There is no doubt that water is significant. Without it, life would never have begun, let alone continue today - not to mention its role in the environment itself, with oceans covering over 70% of Earth.

Physics - 04.03.2024
DIY structured-illumination microscope
DIY structured-illumination microscope
Scientists at EPFL have published a guide to building an add-on that turns a standard optical microscope into an instrument capable of producing super resolution, 3D images of cells, organoids, and embryos. For hundreds of years, the optical microscope was the only tool available to scientists wanting to study the movement of cells, bacteria and yeast.
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