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Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, EPFL


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Environment - Innovation - 01.06.2023
Swiss energy system could be independent and carbon-neutral by 2050
Swiss energy system could be independent and carbon-neutral by 2050
Researchers from EPFL and HES-SO Valais have modeled the Swiss energy system under the hypothetical constraints of carbon neutrality and energy independence by 2050. The results show that these two constraints could be met while reducing energy system costs by about 30% compared to 2020. A carbon-neutral and independent Swiss energy system in 2050 is theoretically achievable using the currently untapped local renewable energy resources.

Physics - 31.05.2023
Actively reducing noise by ionizing air
Actively reducing noise by ionizing air
Scientists show that a thin layer of plasma, created by ionizing air, could be promising as an active sound absorber, with applications in noise control and room acoustics. Did you know that wires can be used to ionize air to make a loudspeaker? Simply put, it's possible to generate sound by creating an electric field in a set of parallel wires, aka a plasma transducer, strong enough to ionize the air particles.

Physics - 30.05.2023
Breaking the ice over a 40-year problem of supercooled water
Breaking the ice over a 40-year problem of supercooled water
Researchers at EPFL have found a way to study water in "no man's land," a subzero temperature range where water crystallizes rapidly. Historically, the inability to access "no man's land" has prevented researchers from unriddling the anomalous nature of water, but the breakthrough method can now change that.

Computer Science - 26.05.2023
Safe Aid: Protecting privacy in humanitarian operations
Safe Aid: Protecting privacy in humanitarian operations
Researchers have worked with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to develop a first of its kind, digital system to support humanitarian aid distribution. The design uses tokens to decentralize the storage and processing of recipients information, reducing the risk of harm, and uses advanced cryptography to enable accountability.

Life Sciences - Health - 24.05.2023
Thought-controlled walking again after spinal cord injury
Thought-controlled walking again after spinal cord injury
Neuroscientists and neurosurgeons from EPFL/CHUV/UNIL and CEA/CHUGA/UGA report in the journal Nature that they have re-established the communication between the brain and spinal cord with a wireless digital bridge, allowing a paralyzed person to walk again naturally "We have created a wireless interface between the brain and the spinal cord using brain-computer interface (BCI) technology that transforms thought into action.", summarizes Grégoire Courtine, Professor of Neuroscience at EPFL, CHUV and UNIL.

Health - 24.05.2023
Designing synthetic receptors for precise cell control
Designing synthetic receptors for precise cell control
Scientists at EPFL have developed a groundbreaking new technique for engineering biosensors that respond sensitively to specific biomolecules, enhancing cell migration and targeting in cancer treatment. The findings could lead to more precise control over cellular processes for a wide range of therapeutic applications.

Environment - 23.05.2023
Climpact: Flying, Fondue and CO2
Climpact: Flying, Fondue and CO2
Everything we do has a carbon footprint but are our perceptions of the emissions we generate on a daily basis aligned with reality? To find out, two researchers have launched Climpact a new tool to help separate fact from fiction. Whilst the environment, including our climate, came out as the main concern for Swiss people in 2022 , a global survey by the market research firm IPSOS has found that misconceptions are rife about the most effective climate solutions.

Innovation - 19.05.2023
Amputees feel warmth in their missing hand
Amputees feel warmth in their missing hand
An unexpected discovery about temperature feedback has led to new bionic technology that allows amputees to sense the temperature of objects - both hot and cold - directly in the phantom hand. The technology opens up new avenues for non-invasive prosthetics. "When I touch the stump with my hand, I feel tingling in my missing hand, my phantom hand.

Pharmacology - 17.05.2023
Diagnosing inflammatory diseases with synthetic peptides
Diagnosing inflammatory diseases with synthetic peptides
Scientists have developed a peptide that binds to the protein calprotectin, a marker of major inflammatory disorders, and shown that it is suitable for diagnostic tests. The use of synthetic peptides for sensing disease markers is of great interest as they are more precise, robust, and cheaper than antibodies commonly used in diagnostic tests.

Life Sciences - 11.05.2023
Deployable electrodes for minimally invasive craniosurgery
Deployable electrodes for minimally invasive craniosurgery
Scientists have developed electrode arrays that can be funneled through a small hole in the skull and deployed over a relatively large surface over the brain's cortex. The technology may be particularly useful for providing minimally invasive solutions for epileptic patients. Stephanie Lacour's specialty is the development of flexible electrodes that adapt to a moving body, providing more reliable connections with the nervous system.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 10.05.2023
PeSTo: a new AI tool for predicting protein interactions
PeSTo: a new AI tool for predicting protein interactions
Scientists at EPFL have developed PeSTo, an AI model for predicting protein binding interfaces with proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, ions, and small molecules with high confidence. The model's low computational cost enables the processing large amounts of structural data, opening up opportunities for discovering new biology.

Physics - Materials Science - 09.05.2023
Closer to next-generation electronics
Closer to next-generation electronics
EPFL engineers have found a way to control the interactions between excitons - quasiparticles that may one day transport data and replace the electrons in electronic devices. The engineers' method involves applying an electric field to a two-dimensional (2D) semiconducting material. Electronic devices have become an essential feature of just about all aspects of modern society.

Life Sciences - Computer Science - 04.05.2023
Predict what a mouse sees by decoding brain signals
Predict what a mouse sees by decoding brain signals
A research team from EPFL has developed a novel machine-learning algorithm that can reveal the hidden structure in data recorded from the brain, predicting complex information such as what mice see. Is it possible to reconstruct what someone sees based on brain signals alone? The answer is no, not yet.

Health - Life Sciences - 02.05.2023
Engineering molecular interactions with machine learning
Engineering molecular interactions with machine learning
By using deep learning-generated 'fingerprints' to characterize millions of protein fragments, researchers have computationally designed novel protein binders that attach seamlessly to key targets, including the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. In 2019, scientists in the joint School of Engineering and School of Life Sciences Laboratory of Protein Design and Immunoengineering ( LPDI ) led by Bruno Correia developed MaSIF: a machine learning-driven method for scanning millions of protein surfaces within minutes to analyze their structure and functional properties.

Astronomy / Space - Life Sciences - 28.04.2023
Silence reveals insights in search for extraterrestrial life
Silence reveals insights in search for extraterrestrial life
The search for radio signals from extraterrestrial civilizations has yet to yield evidence of alien technological activity. Research carried out at EPFL suggests we continue searching while optimizing the use of available resources. For over sixty years, amateur and professional astronomers have been monitoring the sky in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI).

Health - Pharmacology - 25.04.2023
Testing antibiotic resistance with a fast, cheap, and easy method
Testing antibiotic resistance with a fast, cheap, and easy method
Researchers at EPFL and Vrije Universiteit Brussel have developed a novel and highly efficient method for rapid antibiotic susceptibility testing using optical microscopy. The technique, called Optical Nanomotion Detection, is extremely rapid, single-cell sensitive, label-free, and requires only a basic traditional optical microscope, equipped with a camera or a mobile phone.

Chemistry - Materials Science - 24.04.2023
Cryo-imaging lifts the lid on fuel cell catalyst layers
Thanks to a novel combination of cryogenic transmission electron tomography and deep learning, researchers have provided a first look at the nanostructure of platinum catalyst layers, revealing how they could be optimized for fuel cell efficiency. Proton-exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC), which are being developed for use in electric vehicles, rely on nanoparticles called catalysts to trigger electricity-producing reactions between hydrogen and oxygen.

Environment - Life Sciences - 20.04.2023
Centralized database helps scientists better understand coral reefs
Centralized database helps scientists better understand coral reefs
Coral reefs are under a growing threat from climate change and human activity, making it more important than ever to understand their strengths and vulnerabilities. A team of scientists has now taken an important step in this direction with the new RECIFS open-access database on reef environments. The Reef Environment Centralized InFormation System ( RECIFS ) is a web application that provides a single repository of all datasets currently available on reef environments worldwide.

Chemistry - Physics - 17.04.2023
A solar hydrogen system that co-generates heat and oxygen
A solar hydrogen system that co-generates heat and oxygen
Researchers have built a pilot-scale solar reactor that produces usable heat and oxygen, in addition to generating hydrogen with unprecedented efficiency for its size. A parabolic dish on the EPFL campus is easily overlooked, resembling a satellite dish or other telecommunications infrastructure. But this dish is special, because it works like an artificial tree.

Life Sciences - Health - 13.04.2023
Fungi's beneficial effects on coral are not yet fully understood
Fungi's beneficial effects on coral are not yet fully understood
Until now, most studies of fungi have focused on their role in marine disease. But according to research done at EPFL, these fungi may also help protect coral reefs against climate change. Tropical coral reefs are a crucial element in the diversity of marine ecosystems. They help prevent coastal erosion and are home to numerous micro-organisms whose complex interactions have been fascinating scientists for decades.
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