School of engineering and applied science

Just Like fabric, but robotic

The lab of Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio, the John J. Lee Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science, has created a robotic fabric that can move from a flat, ordinary fabric to a standing, load-bearing structure. All the while, it retains the qualities that make fabric so useful—flexibility, breathability, small storage footprint, and low weight. Potential applications include self-deploying tents, robotic parachutes, and assistive clothing. To create the robotic fabric, researchers developed a conductive ink that they could use to paint sensors directly onto the fabric.

Investigating water at the nanoscale

At the nanoscale, many things don’t act as they do at larger sizes. That’s the case with certain membranes used for water desalination. It’s not completely clear why, but figuring it out could go a long way toward combating global water scarcity by creating better membranes. Teaming up with MIT researchers, the lab of Menachem Elimelech, the Roberto C. Goizueta Professor of Chemical & Environmental Engineering and the Environment, used computer simulations to get a closer look at what exactly is happening. They found that completely ionizing polyamide membranes would increase their selectivity and significantly improve the efficiency of the desalination process. 

State-of-the-art brain imaging

The Yale PET Center’s HRRT system, currently the highest resolution brain scanner in the world, will soon be replaced by the NeuroeXplorer (NX), which will have a ten-fold higher sensitivity than the HRRT scanner and produce much higher quality images. These improvements will lead to dramatic expansions in the scope of brain PET applications for the study of the healthy and diseased brain. “The new system will give us the ability to measure very small nuclei in the brain and very small signals in the brain with remarkable precision,” said Richard Carson, professor of radiology and biomedical imaging and of biomedical engineering, and director of the Yale PET Center.

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