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Technology Research Stories


Eco One for the Road
If you thought motor-racing was all about petrol-heads and champagne, WMG students at the University of Warwick will make you think again. Eco One is an environmentally-friendly race car with a difference: its shell is made from hemp, the tyres made from potatoes and the brake pads made from cashew nut shells. It also runs entirely on bio-fuels and bio-lubricants.(more on this story)

Eat Chocolate and Save the Planet!
Most of us have the occasional craving for sweets and chocolate. Now research from the University of Birmingham in the UK suggests that by indulging our sweet tooth, we could be contributing to a new source of renewable energy! (more on this story)

Dynamic Fertigation
Researchers at  the University of Warwick's plant research arm, Warwick HRI, have developed “Dynamic Fertigation” technology – a water and fertiliser-saving system that can be dialled up over a GSM network, responds to commercial five day weather reports and decides whether to turn itself on or not! (more on this story)

Buddy System for World Cup Wannabes
The Innovation Direct team at the University of Warwick, working with a Birmingham company, has created the “Soccer Buddy”, a training aid designed specifically for the young player. The four-foot tall “Soccer Buddies” are the brainchild of semi professional footballer and children’s football coach Julez Broomes. Despairing at how dull and often inappropriate many training aids were for young players, he has created a colourful free-standing figure that can use radar to track the speed of shots at goal. (more on this story)

Switching on the Future of Fuel
Crop plants such as oil seed rape have the potential for industrial-scale renewable energy supplies. However, land availability, demand on water and crop yields mean bio-fuels are still an expensive option. Researchers at the University of Durham are looking into the genetic make-up of the Arabidopsis thaliana, commonly known as Thale Cress and have established genes within the plant which can act as molecular switches which,  if “turned on”, can promote massive accumulation of starch and oil, enabling bio-fuel production to become more cost-effective. (more on this story)

Cooking Biomass to Create Bioenergy
As reserves of fossil fuels dwindle, and the need to cut carbon dioxide emissions becomes paramount, the search is on for renewable energy alternatives, which are also carbon-neutral. At Aston University, in the West Midlands of the UK, researchers are leading the field in the development of a carbon-neutral process that can convert biomass and bio-waste into biofuels. (more on this story)

Old MacDonald Buys Robots!
At the University of Warwick, scientists from the Warwick Manufacturing Group and Warwick HRI are working on a number of robotic and automation projects that could change the face of modern farming. Mushrooms are a delicate crop that has to be reared under conditions that are less than pleasant for human workers to operate in. Now a robot mushroom picker can identify mushrooms at their optimum picking size, needs little space or light to work in and can work around the clock, maximising the use of peak picking opportunities. (more on this story)

Lights! Camera! Action!
At the University of Durham, in the northeast of England, a new Photonic Materials Institute draws together a range of leading players in light-based electronics – or photonics. Bringing together scientists from Physics, Chemistry and Engineering backgrounds this new institute is focused on research into light-emitting polymers, or novel kinds of plastic materials with particular properties for conducting electricity.  “Plastic circuitry” may not yet be as good as metal but scientists are closing the gap and the ultra thin, roll-up display screen of science fiction may very soon be science fact. (more on this story)

Nanotechnology and the Health of the EU Citizen in 2020
Groundbreaking research which aims to find cures for unpreventable diseases was showcased at a European Commission-backed conference in Edinburgh on 7 Sept 2005. Over 1,500 of the world's leading researchers, healthcare specialists, policy-makers and industry representatives from more than 50 countries witnessed the launch of a new European Technology Platform on NanoMedicine. (more on this story)

The Dirt on Diesel
Where is our automotive industry going and how are we preparing our cars for an uncertain future, in view of depleting oil reserves? What if we could recycle cooking oil and grow fuel in the vegetable garden? Can biodiesel be a fuel for the future? Research-TV looks into the production of cleaner, greener and smarter diesel engines at universities in the southwest of England. (more on this story)

Cosmic Cookery - Grow Your Own Galaxy
Can super computers unlock the secrets of the universe? Researchers at Durham University's Institute of Computational Cosmology are cooking up a storm with their super computers - they have produced a computer simulation of a galaxy that is remarkably similar to the earth's own! (more on this story)

Silence Isn't Golden for Car Manufacturers
What influences us to choose one car over another? Most people would think of styling, colour, speed or economy. But car manufacturers have encountered a new problem. Inside, a car can be too quiet, and car buyers don’t like it. At the University of Warwick’s International Manufacturing Centre, researchers are looking into customers' reactions to the sounds different cars make and how this influences their preferences. (more on this story)

Astronomy Looks into the Future: The Role of European Research Infrastructures
Research-TV carries exclusive coverage of the second of a series of press briefings on European Research Infrastructures held at JIVE (Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe) in Dwingeloo, northeast of Amsterdam. JIVE was created by the European Consortium for VLBI and is a member of the European VLBI Network. (more on this story)

Cracked Rail Detection
Researchers at the University of Warwick's Department of Physics have developed a technique to detect and measure gauge corner cracking and other rail defects by using ultrasound waves. With funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the research team hopes to develop their findings into a device that can be mounted on all trains, creating a highly sophisticated rail monitoring system that will vastly improve the safety and efficiency of rail network management. (more on this story)

Building Bridges the Super Computer Way
While there have been many advancements in the prediction of the effects of wind turbulence on bridges, an element of guesswork still exists. Now, at the University of Nottingham, a new super computer - one of the most powerful in Europe - is helping to reduce the uncertainties still further. Roughly equivalent to 1000 PCs working together, the super computer can provide three million, million or three terra flops of computational power, enabling more detailed modelling of stresses. (more on this story)

Composite Materials Improve Efficiency
The use of composites is increasingly seen in applications where optimum efficiency is paramount. From the creation of renewable energy to the next generation of air travel, composites have the ability to transform our world. Research from the University of Bath and the University of Plymouth reveal why composite materials are the future for efficiency. (more on this story)

Sound and Vision
At the University of Plymouth, researchers in the Computer Music Research Laboratory are developing new tools to analyse and re-create the style of the great composers. Just up the road in Bristol, animation students at the University of the West of England, together with students from the Royal Academy of Music, are investigating the creative process and professional collaboration. In five weeks, they aim to produce a film that is drawn to fit in with the music. (more on this story)

Music Technology
A combination of music and cutting-edge technology lies at the heart of two research projects undertaken in the southwest of England. At the Arts Institute at Bournemouth, the prototype of an audio-visual product for DJ-ing is being tested while at Bath Spa University College, a multimedia educational package is being developed for the National Curriculum. (more on this story)

Materials Science and Technologies of Tomorrow: the Role of European Research Infrastructures
Research-TV carries exclusive coverage of the first of a series of press briefings on European Research Infrastructures held at one of the world's most prestigious research centres, the CCLRC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford in England, on 3 March 2005. (more on this story)

The Future is Smart!
Smart technology possesses an in-built intelligence that can interact with and respond to information provided. The uses are diverse, ranging from military simulation at Bournemouth University to virtual architecture at The University of Plymouth's Institute of Digital Art and Technology. (more on this story)

Sound, Vision and Nano-Science
Scientists at the University of Bristol and the University of Bath in the southwest of England are turning to nature in their attempts to further their research into Nano-Science. (more on this story)

Tuneable Windows Keep Office Secrets
"Walls have ears" is the old saying that advises against discussing secrets in apparently empty rooms. These days it's the windows that pose more of a threat to our privacy. While there are many means of protecting sealed rooms from radio and microwave snooping, if the room has a window that protection has a weakness, according to research from the University of Warwick. (more on this story)

Just Eat and Go!
Researchers at the University of Bath and the University of the West of England are turning to nature for inspiration in their research into the aerodynamics needed to fly very small unmanned aircraft. The scientists are creating a new breed of autonomous robots that will carry out specific tasks - and even "feed" themselves while working! It's just possible that the insect-sized aircraft of the future could simply eat and go! (more on this story).

Say it with Flowers
The mobile phone has become part of everyday life for many people around the world. From humble beginnings as a communication tool, the mobile phone has become a fashion statement too and as a result, many of us change or upgrade our mobile phone every 18 months or so. Some estimates suggest that, in Europe alone, we discard in excess of 100 million mobile phones each year! Now researchers at the University of Warwick have come up with a novel solution to recycling discarded mobile phones; simply bury them and watch them turn into flowers! (more on this story)

Taming The Waves
Climate change, global warming, the rising cost of oil and diminishing fossil fuels are all reasons why research is increasingly turning to renewable resources to provide energy solutions for the future. Two new approaches to extracting energy from the sea come from researchers in the southwest of England – home to one of the world's most dramatic coastlines - in the hope of finding sustainable methods to fuel our energy needs. (more on this story)

Forget Robo Cop, Meet Robo Receptionis
Inkha is much the same as any receptionist, but the big difference is that Inkha is a robot! Built by postgraduate students at King's College London, Inkha looks set to be an integral part of KCL's reception for the forseeable future and beyond! (more on this story)

Location is Everything
Experts at Nottingham University predict that within 10 to 20 years, many of the daily electronic products we buy will come equipped with satellite navigational equipment. The latest research into this field aims to increase the accuracy of the equipment and lower its costs. (more on this story)

The Magnetic Attractions of Nanotechnology
Durham University are at the cutting-edge of nanotechnology research. They're using the technology to construct magnetic computer chips that are so tiny, they will be measured in nanometres - smaller than bacteria - making them lighter to carry around. (more on this story)

Clean and Green Water
An environmentally-friendly technique that uses sunlight to destroy pollution has been developed by academics in the School of Chemical, Environmental and Mining Engineering at the University of Nottingham. (more on this story)

Microengines: The Batteries of the Future
University of Birmingham engineers have developed tiny engines only a few millimetres wide that will soon replace a standard battery. Not only will these microengines be lighter and smaller, they will have over 300 times more energy than ordinary batteries. (more on this story)

US Air Force turns to UK University to protect Satellite Communications
Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are huge plasma clouds of hot gas that are emitted from the sun and can travel at speeds of up to 1,000 kilometres per second. When these clouds hit the earth, they cause major disruption to radio communications systems and in extreme cases, they can cause total loss of satellites according to researchers at the University of Birmingham. (more on this story)

Ford Invest in University Research Centre
The Premier Automotive Group, Ford Motor Company's premium vehicle group, manufacturing Jaguar and Land Rover, have invested heavily in The University of Warwick's new International Automotive Research Centre in order to tap the talent from graduates in the area. (more on this story)

Page contact: Tom Abbott Last revised: Wed 18 Apr 2007
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