News

EPFL's PhD Summit attracts students from around the world 14th November, 2018

Thirteen PhD students from the US, Asia and Europe presented their research at the first Engineering PhD Summit held by EPFL’s School of Engineering. The topic for this year’s event was data-driven engineering in the life sciences. Shachi Mittal from the University of Illinois took home the jury award with her presentation on “Combining Data Science and Chemical Imaging for Automated Cancer Diagnosis.” 

Using diamonds to recharge civilian drones in flight 7th November, 2018

A small lab-grown diamond measuring a few millimeters per side could one day enable civilian drones to be recharged in mid-flight through a laser. Thanks to the diamond, the laser beam can remain strong enough over a long distance to recharge photovoltaic cells on the drones’ surface. This system, which poses no threat to human health, is being developed by EPFL spin-off LakeDiamond. It could also be used to transmit both power and data to satellites and has just been included in the ten projects supported for two years by of the Swiss Space Office.

TWIICE One exoskeleton is a step towards independence 7th November, 2018

The new version of the TWIICE walking-assistance system is not only lighter, more comfortable and more powerful, but patients can also put it on and use it themselves – giving them greater independence. It has been tested by handcycling champion Silke Pan.

A MOOC pioneer honored at EPFL 30th October, 2018

Jennifer Widom, dean of the Stanford School of Engineering, has won the Erna Hamburger Prize, which she will be awarded this evening by the EPFL-WISH Foundation.

Small flying robots able to pull objects up to 40 times their weight 29th October, 2018

Researchers from EPFL and Stanford have developed small drones that can land and then move objects that are 40 times their weight, with the help of powerful winches, gecko adhesives and microspines.

AI and NMR spectroscopy determine atoms configuration in record time 29th October, 2018

EPFL scientists have developed a machine-learning approach that can be combined with experiments to determine, in record time, the location of atoms in powdered solids. Their method can be applied to complex molecules containing thousands of atoms and could be of particular interest to the pharmaceutical industry.

Nerve-on-a-chip platform makes neuroprosthetics more effective 23rd October, 2018

EPFL scientists have developed a miniaturized electronic platform for the stimulation and recording of peripheral nerve fibers on a chip. By modulating and rapidly recording nerve activity with a high signal-to-noise ratio, the platform paves the way to using chips to improve neuroprosthetic designs. 

EPFL opens new research center for educational science 16th October, 2018

EPFL inaugurate this Wednesday, October 10 the LEARN Center for Learning Sciences. The Center will promote innovation in teaching and help formulate responses to the challenges being created by our society’s digital transformation.

Ultra-light gloves let users “touch” virtual objects 16th October, 2018

Scientists from EPFL and ETH Zurich have developed an ultra-light glove – weighing less than 8 grams per finger– that enables users to feel and manipulate virtual objects. Their system provides extremely realistic haptic feedback and could run on a battery, allowing for unparalleled freedom of movement.

Using mobile data to model the drinking habits of Swiss youth 16th October, 2018

Researchers from Idiap Research Institute and EPFL have carried out a study using smartphone data from young Swiss people to better understand the circumstances in which they are most likely to drink. A computer model developed from the data can estimate, with over 75% accuracy, whether alcohol was consumed on a given weekend night.

The School of Engineering congratulates 234 new graduates! 6th October, 2018

234 students received their Master's degree in Electrical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Microengineering on Saturday, October 6, during the traditionnal EPFL's graduation ceremony. 

Microresonators offer a simpler approach to sensing with light pulses 2nd October, 2018

Researchers at EPFL have found a way to implement an optical sensing system by using spatial multiplexing, a technique originally developed in optical-fiber communication. The method, which produces three independent streams of ultrashort optical pulses using a single continuous-wave laser and a single optical microresonator, is far simpler than existing technologies.

Using biosensors to deliver personalized doses of antibiotics 27th September, 2018

A team of eight EPFL students won the technical prize in the SensUs international competition, designing a portable biosensor that can measure the amount of vancomycin in a patient’s blood stream, enabling doctors to better control the dosage and reduce harmful side effects. Their technology – developed for the upcoming SensUs international competition – could eventually be used for other antibiotics as well.

Two School of Engineering spin-offs awarded 27th September, 2018

EPFL spin-offs Bestmile and Lunaphore took home second and third place in this year’s ranking of Switzerland’s 100 most promising startups at an awards ceremony last night in Zurich. Flyability and Gamaya, two other EPFL spin-offs, also made the top ten. The winners were selected by a panel of 100 innovation experts.

Another step towards the hand prosthesis of the future 24th September, 2018

Researchers stimulated the nerves of the amputated arm with signals very similar to the natural ones, succeeding in "imitating the colors" of the evoked sensations of the various types of receptors and related nerve fibers present in the fingertips of the hand. This has brought greater realism and greater functionality of the feelings experienced by patients.

Preserving Chile's water with solar-powered robots 20th September, 2018

EPFL researchers have developed floating, solar-powered robots to help protect Chile’s water reservoirs. These low-cost robots can be assembled together in a variety of ways on the water surface to prevent the water from evaporating – thereby preserving a precious resource in this arid country and one that’s crucial to its biggest industry: winemaking.

HydroContest: EPFL's team makes the podium 12th September, 2018

The team of EPFL students came in second place with their lightweight boat on Sunday in Saint-Tropez (France). Their heavyweight boat won the innovation prize.

An open-access platform for simulating materials' properties 10th September, 2018

EPFL researchers have developed an open-access platform where scientists can store and share their results together with their full provenance. This will enable their peers to build on published data and analysis methods for future work.

Visitors of all ages try their hand at flying a drone at EPFL 4th September, 2018

EPFL held its second annual Drone Days this past weekend. From Friday to Sunday, nearly 5,000 visitors were given the chance to pilot various types of drones. The weekend was capped off by a spectacular drone race that drew over 60 competitors from around the world and sent three Swiss pilots to the winners’ podium.

IGM Colloquium: Topological Mechanics 4th September, 2018

The elastic properties of materials are determined by a few material constants such as the Young’s modulus.

Tech transfer from Labs: CHF 14 million of funding for radiology 30th August, 2018

Pristem SA, a company spun off from EPFL’s EssentialTech program, has raised CHF 14 million of new capital in a first round. The funding will enable it to put its prototype of a robust digital all-terrain radiology system, appropriate for both industrialized and low income countries, into full-scale production.

Bill Curtin elected Solid Mechanics Fellow of EUROMECH 29th August, 2018

Bill Curtin, head of the Laboratory for Multiscale Mechanics Modeling (LAMMM), has been elected a Fellow in Solid Mechanics by the European Mechanics Society for his " seminal contributions in modeling of mechanical behavior of materials from quantum to continuum scales, especially for predictive models of metal plasticity and composite failure, and concurrent multiscale methods."

A paper by Ali Saeidi wins the George E. Smith Award 28th August, 2018

A paper co-authored by Ali Saeidi, a doctoral student at the Nanoelectronic Devices Laboratory (NANOLAB), has won the 2017 Electron Devices Society George E. Smith Award. The paper is entitled "Negative Capacitance as Performance Booster for Tunnel FETs and MOSFETs: An Experimental Study”.

Amputees feel as though their prosthetic limb belongs to their body 28th August, 2018

In a breakthrough approach that combines virtual reality and artificial tactile sensations, two amputees feel as though their prosthetic hand belongs to their own body. Moreover, the scientists show that the phantom limb actually grows into the prosthetic hand.

Competing in the Hydrocontest with a new boat 28th August, 2018

Summer series - Students' projects (6/9). On 11 August, the three Swiss universities that will compete in the upcoming Hydrocontest – EPFL, HES-SO Fribourg and HEIG Yverdon – will unveil their boats in Yverdon-les-Bains. EPFL’s team is now putting the finishing touches to its new boat.

An avatar uses your gait to predict how many calories you will burn 27th August, 2018

New avatar-based software developed at EPFL looks at how people walk in order to predict their energy expenditure. The software, originally intended for roboticists and for researchers who develop prosthetics and exoskeletons, could have many uses in both medicine and sports. It can be tested online through a downloadable app.

“No other material can compete with concrete” 27th August, 2018

Friday, 17 August has marked the 100th anniversary of the Laboratory of Construction Materials LMC. This is one of EPFL's oldest labs and specializes in concrete – a 4.2-billion-ton-per-year industry worldwide. Here is a look back at how this material has changed over the years.

For ever more efficient optical fibres 27th August, 2018

By applying a computer program that mimics the way the human brain learns to identify objects, EPFL scientists are now able to reconstruct images that have been degraded by passing through an optical fiber.

Optical fibers that can “feel” the materials around them 6th August, 2018

EPFL researchers have developed an optical fiber capable of detecting what sort of material or liquid they have come into contact with. Their research has been published in Nature Communications.

Engineering Annual PhD Summit: registrations open until September 14 1st August, 2018

The summit will be held on November 7-9 2018 and will focus on "Data Driven Engineering in the Life Sciences". Final year PhD students from universities worldwide are invited to submit their application until September 14.

The annual PhD Summit initiative, a workshop for final year PhD students interested in a career in academia, is organised by the School of Engineering at EPFL. We invite to campus, on a competitive basis, a group of exceptional graduating PhD students from institutions worldwide.

Prof. Li Tang gets an ERC Starting Grant 30th July, 2018

Prof. Li Tang, head of the Laboratory of Biomaterials for Immunoengineering at the School of Engineering of EPFL has obtained a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant, for his project entitled "Mechanical Immunoengineering for Enhanced T-Cell Immunotherapy".

An insect-inspired drone deforms upon impact 26th July, 2018

An origami-like drone developed at EPFL is flexible enough to absorb shocks without breaking before returning to its initial shape. This new type of drone, which was inspired by insect wings, draws on the advantages of both stiff and flexible structures.

NATURE: EPFL uses excitons to take electronics into the future 26th July, 2018

EPFL researchers have developed a transistor based on excitons – a type of particle most people have not heard of – that is able to function at room temperature. This breakthrough could lead to a new breed of faster, more energy efficient and smaller electronics. The study was published today in Nature.

EPFLoop takes third place 26th July, 2018

EPFL’s entry in Hyperloop Pod Competition in California raced to a third-place finish. This was an extraordinary result for EPFLoop, which squared off against 18 teams from around the world in its first-ever Hyperloop competition.

Forget joysticks, use your torso to pilot drones 26th July, 2018

Your torso is more intuitive – and more precise – than joysticks for piloting drones, both simulated and real, according to a recent study by EPFL scientists. Work is already underway to implement this new body-machine-interface technology for search and rescue with drones.

Smart Nanoparticles keep immunotherapy focused on cancer 26th July, 2018

MIT and EPFL researchers have developed a highly targeted and non-toxic method for battling cancer through immunotherapy. Their nanoparticle gel acts only on immune cells surrounding the tumor, without affecting the rest of the body.

Making opaque materials totally transparent 3rd July, 2018

EPFL researchers have found a way to make materials that are normally opaque to sound waves completely transparent. Their system involves placing acoustic relays at strategic locations so that sound waves can propagate at a constant amplitude – regardless of what may lie in their path. This method could eventually be used to make it possible to hide objects like submarines.

Internship: new EPFL Excellence in Engineering Program 2nd July, 2018

The School of Engineering launches the E3 EPFL Excellence in Engineering internship program. It aims at Bachelor and Master students interested in research careers in any field of engineering, science and technology. The program offers an intensive research training opportunity to students during the summer months.

A dual-therapy approach to boost motor recovery after a stroke 2nd July, 2018

EPFL scientists have shown that combining a brain-computer interface (BCI) with functional electrical stimulation (FES) can help stroke victims recover greater use of their paralyzed arm – even years after the stroke.

David Atienza receives two prestigious Awards 2nd July, 2018

Professor David Atienza is the recipient of two prestigious awards, the 2018 IEEE TCCPS Mid-Career Award, and the IEEE/ACM 2018 DAC under 40 Innovator Award. He officially received both prizes during the IEEE/ACM 2018 Design Automation Conference (DAC) in San Francisco.

Tracking cancer-cell development with “drinkable” electronic sensors 28th June, 2018

Thanks to an unorthodox approach being proposed by EPFL researchers, patients may soon be able to track their illness simply by drinking a solution containing millions of tiny electronic sensors disguised as bacteria.

Silicon-perovskite solar cells achieve record efficiency of 25,2% 28th June, 2018

In Neuchâtel (Switzerland), researchers from EPFL and CSEM have combined silicon- and perovskite-based solar cells. The resulting efficiency of 25.2% is a record for this type of tandem cell. Their innovative yet simple manufacturing technique could be directly integrated into existing production lines, and efficiency could eventually rise above 30%.

SCIENCE: A sensor turns molecular fingerprints into bar codes 28th June, 2018

A new system developed at EPFL can detect and analyze molecules with very high precision and without needing bulky equipment. It opens the door to large-scale, image-based detection of materials aided by artificial intelligence. The research has been published in Science.

Inauguration of the 12 millions CHF Center for Artificial Muscles 27th June, 2018

The Center for Artificial Muscles was inaugurated at Microcity, Neuchâtel, Switzerland, in the presence of Jean-Nathanaël Karakash, the Neuchâtel State Councilor for the Economy and Social Action, and Martin Vetterli, the President of EPFL. The Center will allow EPFL – working first with the Bern University Hospital (Inselspital) and then with the Zurich University Hospital – to develop a less invasive cardiac assistance system for treating heart failure.

An EPFL-designed rocket competed in the United States 20th June, 2018

Students from the EPFL Rocket Team took part to the Spaceport America Cup in the New Mexico desert. They received the Jim Furtaro award for technical excellence and are now waiting for the final results.

Philip Moll receives the 2018 Nicholas Kurti Science Prize for Europe 29th May, 2018

Dr Moll is recognised for leading the development of novel micro-structuring techniques, allowing the fabrication of bespoke devices and experiments from complex quantum materials, and thereby enabling entirely new classes of low temperature and high magnetic field measurements.His research group, ‘microstructured quantum materials’ (mqm), is currently transitioning from Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids in Dresden, Germany, to the Institute of Materials at EPFL's School of Engineering, Switzerland.

Improgineering: improvisation and engineering come together on stage 29th May, 2018

24 students from Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have presented an improvisation performance at the Arsenic Theater, Lausanne, Switzerland, as part of their final project for the course “Collective creation: improv-arts & engineering.”

EPFL projects make it past the first round to becoming FET Flagships 29th May, 2018

Two projects coordinated by EPFL – the Time Machine and Health EU – have made it into the second round of the selection process to become FET Flagships. If selected, they will receive one billion euros over ten years as part of the European Commission’s ambitious funding program. Professor at the School of Engineering, Adrian Ionescu runs the Health EU project.

Deciphering the language of cells using observation chambers 29th May, 2018

EPFL researchers have developed an innovative label-free method for studying the behavior of single cells continuously and in real time. By placing a cell in a small chamber containing nanosensors and observing it over many hours, it is possible to identify the cell’s unique personality and understand how it communicates. This powerful new technology could be used to select the most aggressive cells to combat an enemy. Potential applications include treatments for cancer and autoimmune diseases.

An elastic fiber set to revolutionize smart clothes 29th May, 2018

EPFL scientists have found a fast and simple way to make super-elastic, multi-material, high-performance fibers. Their fibers have already been used as sensors on robotic fingers and in clothing. This breakthrough method opens the door to new kinds of smart textiles and medical implants.