In The News Archive

This monthly summary includes excerpts from Illinois in the News, a daily service provided by the University of Illinois News Bureau and other media search tools. This collection of recent stories focuses on engineering topics and faculty contacted for their expertise by print and broadcast reporters around the world.

Solar Cells

Compound Semiconductor (July 13) -- Scientists at George Washington University, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and Illinois have built a prototype for a new solar cell that is capable of capturing nearly all of the energy in the solar spectrum, resulting in a 44.5 percent conversion efficiency.

Bespoke Processors

IEEE Spectrum (July 24) -- Researchers from Illinois and the University of Minnesota have created a “bespoke processor,” a stripped-down microcontroller that only has the logic gates needed to perform, saving space and power. “Processors are overdesigned for most applications,” says Rakesh Kumar, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Illinois.

 

Projecting electrical grid from cyberattacks

Morning Consult (July 20) -- A national study on electric grid security released Thursday called on the United States to do more to protect its grid against high-impact attacks, highlighting large gaps in U.S. technology and infrastructure. “Much less emphasis has been placed on cyber resilience [than security measures],” says William Sanders, a co-author of the report and head of the electrical and computer engineering department at Illinois.

Psyonic Bionic Hand

American Inno (July 19) Aadeel Akhtar believes quality bionic limbs shouldn’t have to cost thousands of dollars. In fact, the one he invented costs less than a tenth of the cost of state-of-the-art commercially available prosthetic hands. Akhtar is the cofounder of Psyonic, a startup that has created a low-cost, high tech bionic hand. Their goal is to create an affordable advanced prostheses for low-income patients and amputees in the developing countries.

U of I gets $104 million research grant

Crain's Chicago Business (July 20) --￿The Urbana-Champaign campus is home to a 320-acre energy farm that's filled with test plots to grow various types of crops. U of I was one of four research centers nationally to receive the Energy grants. The money will allow the university to bring together researchers from various departments under the new Center for Advanced Bioenergy & Bioproducts Innovation.

Biophysics

ZME Science (July 19) -- It took two years, two supercomputers and two Illinois researchers, Juan Perilla and the late Klaus Schulten, to simulate 1.2 microseconds in the life of an HIV capsid, a protein cage that protects the viral genome. The findings, reported in the journal “Nature Communications,” indicate several properties that enhance the capsid’s adeptness at finding a path to the nucleus of a target cells, but also potential vulnerabilities that could be exploited to defeat the HIV virus. Also: Alphr (July 19), Cosmos Magazine (July 19)

Artificial Intelligence

Quartz (July 17) -- A self-driving car is theoretically able to replace a human driver because it can see and react the way a human would – or better. But artificial intelligence researchers, prompted by a paper from researchers at Illinois, are now debating whether their software could be susceptible to “hacks” of real-world objects like stop signs.

Bioenergy Research Center

Northern Public Radio (July 18) If Congress approves, the U. of I. will host a center for research into new biofuels and bioproducts, funded through the U.S. Department of Energy.

Tovala launches Smart Oven

Chicago Tribune (July 11) -- Tovala, a cloud-connected “smart oven” by a Chicago startup that cooks pre-prepared meals with the scan of a code and the touch of a button, goes on sale to the public Tuesday. Though the $399 device looks much like a microwave, it cooks very differently — alternately baking, steaming and broiling dishes. Also: The Verge (July 11) The Daily Illini (July 11), Chicago Inno (July 11), Smile Politely (July 11), Pop Sugar (July 11), Tasting Table (July 11), WSJ (July 12 -- video), News-Gazette (July 14)

Cancer Center set to coordinate UI's effort in fight

News-Gazette (July 11) -- The new Cancer Center at Illinois is being launched to bring together more than 90 faculty members, plus graduate and postdoctoral researchers, from across the local campus to pursue advances in cancer-fighting technologies and treatments.

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