News

Producing electricity at estuaries using light and osmosis 23rd May, 2019

Researchers at EPFL are working on a technology to exploit osmotic energy – a source of power that’s naturally available at estuaries, where fresh water comes into contact with seawater. In a laboratory experiment, the team reproduced the real-world conditions that occur where rivers meet the sea (pH and salt concentration) and showed that, by shining light on a system comprising salt, water and a membrane three atoms thick, it was possible to optimize electricity production.

A new non-invasive therapy for people with paraplegia 21st May, 2019

Researchers from the Alberto Santos Dumont Association for Research Support (AASDAP) in Brazil, in collaboration with EPFL, have developed a non-invasive strategy that combines functional electrostimulation, a body weight support system and a brain-machine interface for the rehabilitation of people with paraplegia. This approach was tested on two patients, who showed an improvement in their motor skills and a partial neurological recovery.

New professor joins EPFL's School of Engineering 7th May, 2019

Giulia Tagliabue recently joined EPFL’s mechanical engineering department as a tenure track assistant professor. In her work, she aims to provide a better understanding of how light interacts with materials on a nanometric scale. This information will enable engineers to design more sustainable energy systems. Tagliabue will pursue her research at the School’s new Laboratory of Nanoscience for Energy Technologies.

Engineering PhD Summit: register before May 31st 6th May, 2019

Compete for the EPFL Engineering PhD Summit Prize, present your exceptional research work in Intelligent Systems, visit EPFL and interact with top engineering faculty. Travel and housing costs will be covered for all selected candidates. 

Three School of Engineering professors awarded ERC PoC Grants 2nd May, 2019

Professors Camille-Sophie Brès, Bruno Correia and Tobias Kippenberg have been awarded Proof of Concept Grants from the European Research Council. Five EPFL Professors have been awarded an ERC Proof of Concept grant. This year, the ERC has given 54 PoC grants.

Record solar hydrogen production with concentrated sunlight 1st May, 2019

EPFL researchers have created a smart device capable of producing large amounts of clean hydrogen. By concentrating sunlight, their device uses a smaller amount of the rare, costly materials that are required to produce hydrogen, yet it still maintains a high solar-to-fuel efficiency. Their research has been taken to the next scale with a pilot facility installed on the EPFL campus.

Lausanne Racing Team unveils an electric racing car 29th April, 2019

EPFL is set to make its debut in Formula Student this year, pitting a brand-new electric racing car developed by Lausanne Racing Team – and unveiled at an event at the Rolex Learning Center on Tuesday, 9 April – against other universities in races held across Europe.

Using 60% less water in paper production 26th April, 2019

An EPFL researcher has developed a mathematical model for optimizing heat transfer in factories and dramatically reducing water and energy consumption. The model could, in theory, cut water use by 60% at a Canadian paper mill and allow the facility to produce as much as six times more power.

Jamie Paik's robots took the stage at the TED conference 18th April, 2019

Jamie Paik, the head of EPFL’s Reconfigurable Robotics Lab at the School of Engineering presented her reconfigurable robots at the TED2019 conference in Vancouver on 18 April. Her miniature, versatile devices stand to revolutionize the way robots are used.

EPFL students engineer societal solutions in India 17th April, 2019

Twelve student volunteers, including those from EPFL and the EPFL + ECAL Lab, spent 10 days developing and testing four solutions to everyday challenges facing Bangalore residents as part of the India Switzerland Social Innovation Camp (INSSINC) pilot program. But the fruits of the students’ labor go beyond the prototypes themselves.

The way people walk says a lot about how healthy they are 11th April, 2019

Gait characteristics are sometimes regarded as the sixth vital sign in humans. They serve as a valuable indicator of a person’s health, particularly in older adults – so why not measure them? A team of EPFL researchers is taking part in a major European project to design a device that can assess a person’s gait more accurately.

How understanding animal behavior can support wildlife conservation 8th April, 2019

Researchers from EPFL and the University of Zurich have developed a model that uses data from sensors worn by meerkats to gain a more detailed picture of how animals behave in the wild.

Detecting pollution with a compact laser source 8th April, 2019

Researchers at EPFL have developed a simple mid-infrared laser source that can be used to detect pollution in the air or molecules in someone’s breath. Their system takes up considerably less space than the large ones typically used for such tasks.

Harnessing photonics for at-home disease detection 2nd April, 2019

With nothing more than a photonic chip and an ordinary camera, EPFL researchers have managed to count biomolecules one by one in a small sample and determine their position. Their tiny device – a marriage of optics and smart image analysis – is even able to detect a graphene sheet only a single atom thick. This type of sensor could one day play a key role in personalized medicine.

Professor Tobias J. Kippenberg awarded ERC Advanced Grant 2nd April, 2019

Tobias J. Kippenberg, a Professor at the EPFL School of Engineering and at the School of Basic Sciences, as well as Professors Pierre Gönczy and Douglas Hanahan (School of Life Sciences), have been awarded ERC Advanced Grant.

Engineering Industry Day a great success 1st April, 2019

The third edition of the Engineering Industry Day was attended by 150 companies, over 250 Master’s and PhD students, and 130 professors and researchers from EPFL. The event was organized by the EPFL School of Engineering in order to foster links – and create opportunities – among key players in research and innovation.

Engineering PhD Summit: register before May 31st 6th May, 2019

Compete for the EPFL Engineering PhD Summit Prize, present your exceptional research work in Intelligent Systems, visit EPFL and interact with top engineering faculty. Travel and housing costs will be covered for all selected candidates. 

Apply for the Piaget Scientific Award and do cutting-edge research 28th March, 2019

This prestigious award, organized by EPFL and sponsored by Piaget, gives a young scientist the chance to pursue their own research in an EPFL lab during a one-year postdoctoral fellowship. The next deadline for applications is 31 May 2019.

Combating fatigue with a smartwatch application 26th March, 2019

Scientists from EPFL, UNIL and local startup be.care have developed a system that uses heart rate variability to detect fatigue and identify what kind it is. The system then uses the results to suggest lifestyle changes that can make a difference. An initial test has been carried out on university students under real-world conditions.

NCCR MARVEL and NCCR Robotics get next phase fully funded 26th March, 2019

The Swiss National Science Foundation has awarded the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) MARVEL full funding of 18 million Swiss francs for its second phase, which will run until April 2022. The National Centre of Competence in Research Robotics gets the maximum possible funding level - more than 11 million Swiss francs - for its third and final phase, which will run until the end of 2022.

Google Faculty Research Award for Professor Volkan Cevher 26th March, 2019

Google awarded Professor Volkan Cevher from the LIONS lab with the Google Faculty Research Award for 2018.

Engineering cellular function without living cells 25th March, 2019

EPFL scientists have come up with a systematic method for studying and even predicting gene expression – without using cells. Using their innovative, quantitative approach, they measured important parameters governing gene regulation. This allowed them to design and construct a synthetic biological logic gate, which could one day be used to introduce new functions into cells. Their research has just been published in PNAS.

Robots enable bees and fish to talk to each other 21st March, 2019

Through an imaginative experiment, researchers were able to get two extremely different animal species located far apart to interact with each other and reach a shared decision with the help of robots.

Virtual time-lapse photos can capture ultrafast phenomena 13th March, 2019

EPFL scientists have developed a new image-processing method that can capture extremely rapid phenomena using any type of camera. Their method, called Virtual Frame Technique, delivers better performance than any commercial high-speed camera and is affordable and accessible to anyone.

MT180: First place for the artificial ligaments of Alvaro Charlet 11th March, 2019

The winner of the fourth annual My Thesis in 180 Seconds competition, held last night at the Rolex Forum, was Alvaro Charlet – a PhD student in materials science. In just three minutes he explained to the 600 people in the audience how his hydrogels receipes could one day replace ligaments in the human body. His presentation – perfectly orchestrated and seasoned with humor – won over the jury.

Turning buildings into energy producers 11th March, 2019

EPFL has become the coordinator of Be-Smart, an EU research project that aims to step up the deployment of building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) and cut their costs by 75% between now and 2030. The project was launched in response to EU regulations that require new buildings to be nearly zero-energy by 2020.

A self-healing composite 7th March, 2019

Researchers from EPFL's Laboratory for Processing of Advanced Composites have developed a material that can easily heal after being damaged. This cutting-edge composite could be used in aircraft, wind turbines, cars and sports equipment.

Coordinating the movements of mother and baby to facilitate delivery 6th March, 2019

A team of researchers from EPFL and Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) has been awarded one of two Fondation Leenaards 2019 science prizes for its research into the biomechanics of labor. The aim of the project is to determine the best position for each mother to adopt in order to make vaginal delivery easier. 

EPFLoop in the running again 6th March, 2019

The EPFLoop team – which took home third place in last year’s Hyperloop Pod Competition – has been selected to compete again, making it one of around 20 short-listed teams that will head to California this summer.

Several programs in EPFL Engineering move up in the rankings 1st March, 2019

Two programs are now ranked in the top ten worldwide. According to the most recent QS World University Rankings, the Institute of Materials Science is now ranked #6 up from #10, and the Institute of Electrical Engineering is now ranked #9 up from #16. The Institute of Mechanical Engineering has moved up 9 positions to #18 from #27. Overall, EPFL is ranked #11 under Engineering and Technology.

EPFL students work on problems encountered by doctors 28th February, 2019

Students taking the biomechanics course at EPFL were given the chance to work directly on problems encountered by doctors. They looked at issues such as how to better assess the healing process of skin grafts on patients with severe burns, how to prevent broaches from breaking during hip replacement surgery, and how to replace a windpipe damaged in a traffic accident. 

Why a blow to the chest can kill or save you 22nd February, 2019

It is still a mystery why a blow to the chest can kill some people yet save others. We may be one step closer to an answer, however, thanks to a device developed by researchers at EPFL and the University of Bern that can replicate the experience in the laboratory.

The holy grail of nanowire production 21st February, 2019

EPFL researchers have found a way to control and standardize the production of nanowires on silicon surfaces. This discovery could make it possible to grow nanowires on electronic platforms, with potential applications including the integration of nanolasers into electronic chips and improved energy conversion in solar panels.

New residential solar panels deliver record-breaking efficiency 21st February, 2019

The solar panels developed by startup Insolight boast an impressive 29% yield – a record for the retail market. These systems, which have now been standardized for mass production, contain lenses that focus sunlight on tiny high-yield photovoltaic cells, employing what is a pioneering approach for the solar-power industry.

A prosthetic that restores the sense of where your hand is 21st February, 2019

Researchers have developed a next-generation bionic hand that allows amputees to regain their proprioception. The results of the study, which have been published in Science Robotics, are the culmination of ten years of robotics research.

A transformer to drive the transition from AC to DC 15th February, 2019

EPFL researchers have developed a compact and efficient medium-frequency transformer. Their device is poised to enhance the flexibility and efficiency of tomorrow’s smart grids and DC power distribution networks. An EPFL-made prototype has been thoroughly tested and presented in several tutorials designed for experts from the academic and industrial worlds.

Next-generation optics in just two minutes of cooking time 13th February, 2019

One of the key building blocks of flexible photonic circuits and ultra-thin optics are metasurfaces. And EPFL engineers have now discovered a simple way of making these surfaces in just a few minutes – without needing a clean room – using a method already employed in manufacturing. Their findings have just been published in Nature Nanotechnology.

Transferring technology from the lab to industry 12th February, 2019

Much of the pioneering technology developed in research labs struggles to reach the market. To help scientists and engineers turn their ideas into viable business plans, 22 Swiss companies and research institutes – including EPFL – have teamed up to create a network of Advanced Manufacturing Technology Transfer Centers across the country.

Gummy-like robots could help prevent disease 8th February, 2019

EPFL scientists have developed microscopic, hydrogel-based muscles that can manipulate and mechanically stimulate biological tissue. These soft, biocompatible robots could be used for targeted therapy and to help diagnose and prevent disease.

Lunaphore, an EPFL spin-off, brings its first product to market 7th February, 2019

The first rapid screening test for cancer developed by EPFL spin-off Lunaphore is being released today. It holds the European Union's CE marking and will be available in most European countries.

A new EPFL fund rewards nine open science ideas 4th February, 2019

The first call for proposal for the EPFL Open Science Fund attracted nearly 50 propositions. Nine projects were selected and will receive support to develop ideas fostering open and reproducible research on campus, and beyond. Three of the nine selected projects are being developed by the School of Engineering.

New Excellence in Engineering Program attracts over 2000 applicants 4th February, 2019

For its inaugural edition, the new E3 EPFL Excellence in Engineering Program attracts over 2000 applicants, from 82 countries. 

Prof. Nicola Marzari receives IBM Faculty Award for curated datasets 4th February, 2019

Nicola Marzari, head of the Laboratory of theory and simulation of materials (THEOS) and director of the NCCR MARVEL has been granted an IBM Faculty Award for the project “Curated Datasets on Demand”.

Using artificial intelligence to save bees 31st January, 2019

A beekeeper teamed up with the Signal Processing Laboratory 5 and a group of EPFL students to develop an app that counts the number of Varroa mites in beehives. This parasite is one of the two main threats – along with pesticides – to bees’ long-term survival. Knowing the extent of the mites’ infestation will allow beekeepers to protect their bees more effectively.

More energy-efficient cruise ships 22nd January, 2019

An EPFL researcher has developed a system based on fuel cells to reduce the carbon footprint and energy consumption of cruise ships, which are increasingly popular among vacation goers around the world.

Smart microrobots that can adapt to their surroundings 21st January, 2019

Scientists at EPFL and ETH Zurich have developed tiny elastic robots that can change shape depending on their surroundings. Modeled after bacteria and fully biocompatible, these robots optimize their movements so as to get to hard-to-reach areas of the human body. They stand to revolutionize targeted drug delivery.

A robot recreates the walk of a 300-million-year-old animal 17th January, 2019

Using the fossil and fossilized footprints of a 300-million-year-old animal, an interdisciplinary team that includes scientists from EPFL and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin have developed a method for identifying the most likely gaits of extinct animals and designed a robot that can recreate their walk. This innovative study of animal biomechanics using robots can help researchers better understand how vertebrate locomotion evolved over time.

EPFL drones draw crowds in Las Vegas 14th January, 2019

This week, four EPFL-designed drones are being shown in the Swiss Pavilion at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The spin-offs developing the drones are trying to follow in the footsteps of Flyability and Pix4D by establishing themselves in the international market. Americans may be more familiar with Swiss chocolate than with Switzerland’s “Drone Valley,” but US specialists are keeping a close eye on the technologies being developed here.

Excitons pave the way to more efficient electronics 7th January, 2019

After developing a method to control exciton flows at room temperature, EPFL scientists have discovered new properties of these quasiparticles that can lead to more energy-efficient electronic devices.

EPFL startups raise a total of 217 million in 2018 3rd January, 2019

2018 was a prosperous year for EPFL startups, which raised a total of CHF 217 million in fresh capital. Nexthink alone announced a successful CHF 85 million fundraising round last week and Abionic, a spin-off from the School of Engineering, raised CHF 20 millions. This remarkable showing reflects EPFL’s vibrant entrepreneurial culture as well as the many different forms of assistance that the school has introduced over the years.