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Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI) Discoveries

NSF's public investment in science, engineering, education and technology helps to create knowledge and sustain prosperity. Read here about the Internet, microbursts, Web browsers, extrasolar planets, and more... a panoply of discoveries and innovations that began with NSF support.

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stack of liquid metal droplets Changing the shape and function of liquid metal
Researchers study gallium to design adjustable electronic components, including new types of antennas
Released  August 26, 2014
John Patten and Deepak Ravindra New tool, savings for manufacturing hard materials
Laser device could have major impact for manufacturing electronics, computer chips, lenses, windows and mirrors
Released  July 16, 2014
back of a man with a  self charging backpack Walking can recharge the spirit, but what about our phones?
Device captures energy from walking to recharge wireless gadgets
Released  July 1, 2014
children assembling test circuits Engineering for all
The "maker movement" shines a spotlight on DIY design and manufacturing
Released  June 17, 2014
Illustration of microtubules Engineering resilience in the brain
Penn researchers model neural structures on the smallest scales to better understand traumatic brain injury
Released  May 5, 2014
USGS aerial survey of the upper parts of the Oso, Washington, landslide. The uphill challenge
Understanding mudslides and other debris flows through mathematics
Released  April 29, 2014
liquid asphalt rubber binder poured in a dish Old tires become material for new and improved roads
"Crumb" rubber can lower road noise and reduce need for road maintenance
Released  April 21, 2014
Oguzhan Alagoz Tailoring disease screening programs to individuals
Researcher developed a customized computer algorithm that provides a better decision support tool
Released  March 18, 2014
Illustration of brain cancer Radically modified cells may stunt brain tumor growth
Cell-based treatment could lead to a new standard of care for brain cancer patients
Released  February 3, 2014
Engineers holding a skull with artificial implant 3-D printed implants may soon fix complex injuries
Researchers adapt technology for 3-D printing metals, ceramics and other materials to create custom medical implants designed to fix complicated injuries
Released  December 12, 2013
a 3-D printer The engineering behind additive manufacturing and the 3-D printing revolution
Get to know some of the foundational innovations that are creating new options for manufacturing
Released  December 3, 2013
experimental four wheel independently actuated, lightweight electric vehicle An unconventional car: no engine, no transmission, no differential
Researcher and his team are developing a safe and reliable control system for in-city driving
Released  November 15, 2013
Human heart surrounded by electrical orb. Researchers envision switching a heart beat on and off with light
Relatively new field of optogenetics may offer solutions for cardiac arrhythmia
Released  September 19, 2013
Graduate Student Jackson English installing crack displacement sensors on the Watts Towers Engineers, art conservators collaborate to preserve iconic L.A. landmark
NEES earthquake engineers monitor the structural soundness of the historic Watts Towers
Released  September 10, 2013
Researchers in front of the Big Blue Baby machine Cold-formed steel rebuilds earthquake-resistant architecture
A doctoral student discusses the engineering of earthquake-resistant buildings and the results of a recent shake table test.
Released  September 6, 2013
Samples of cement-polyvinyl fiber mixture; fiberglass column; carbon fiber column; nickel titanium Strong, elastic "smart materials" aid design of earthquake-resistant bridges
Earthquake researchers test out a super-elastic material known as nitinol, with promising results
Released  August 27, 2013
Ohio State engineers Bharat Bhushan (left) and Gregory Bixler (right). To Combat Biological Build-up, Engineers Look to Nature for Inspiration
Rice leaves and butterfly wings provide insight into nature's best self-cleaning surfaces
Released  January 23, 2013
Photo of student Keith Berry in the chemistry lab A Student's Road to Research
NSF's Research Experiences for Undergraduates program is a pathway to a career in science and engineering
Released  November 13, 2012
Image of a sundw leaf showing tentacles that secrete a powerful adhesive. The Nanotechnology of Sundew and English Ivy
Researchers are studying the adhesive properties of sundew plants and the nanoparticles in English ivy for innovative medical applications
Released  October 17, 2011
Image showing facial reconstruction through the use of topological optimization. Engineering a New Face After Injury
An engineering method used in the optimization of spaceships and airplanes may guarantee the full recovery of patients suffering from craniofacial injury
Released  July 21, 2011
Optical micrograph showing an array of graphene transistors prepared on silicon carbide. Miracle Material
Two-dimensional graphene may lead to faster electronics, stronger spacecraft and much more
Released  May 19, 2011
Photo of the snake robot that moves without the aid of a fixed base. The Search Serpent: The Next Wave in Robotics
Researchers are designing snake robots that can navigate a variety of terrains, surmount obstacles in their way and function in range of conditions
Released  May 16, 2011
Photo of two second generation robotic fish. Robot Fish Can Trick the Real Thing
NSF CAREER awardee studies the behavior of schooling fish and creates biologically inspired robots that may someday help preserve marine life
Released  March 7, 2011
Kavli Prize logo Three NSF-Funded Scientists Among Recipients of $3 Million Kavli Prize
Among the latest winners of the Kavli Prize are three scientists who have received NSF funding over the past several years
Released  November 28, 2010
Photo of a rabbit femur bone showing cracks due to compression at a slow rate. Bone-crushing Experiments Could Yield Better Protective Gear
With NSF support, Nikhil Gupta and Paulo Coelho have pioneered research that reveals surprising insights about the effect of compression on bones, and about the limitations of the foams used for protection in helmets and armor
Released  October 4, 2010
Photos of cockroach and robot showing how they are used to refine robotic design. Insects Inspire Robot Design
With NSF support, Oregon State University professor John Schmitt and his colleagues look to nature’s running machines as locomotion models for future robots that can easily run over rough surfaces
Released  June 18, 2010
Video showing gecko feet. Following in the Footsteps of Nature
Researchers move one step closer to nature with the development of polymers and directional adhesion that follow the workings of a gecko's foot
Released  February 9, 2010
Photo of the Seawall experiment in the Large Wave Flume at Oregon State University. Building Tsunami-resistant Cities
Mary Beth Oshnack describes her undergraduate and graduate research to understand tsunami wave forces and improve building construction in hazard-prone coastal communities
Released  October 20, 2009
Photo of Karen Smilowitz who helps nonprofit organizations streamline their work. Libraries, Food Banks Benefit From Transportation Modeling
NSF CAREER awardee Karen Smilowitz applies the art of operations research to find optimal solutions to problems in the nonprofit sector
Released  June 10, 2009
Illustration showing advanced chips In Industrial Manufacturing, Efficiency Falls as Technology Advances
A comprehensive study of old and new manufacturing processes, from machining metal to making carbon nanofibers, shows that the more advanced technologies are less efficient in their use of energy and materials per kilogram of output
Released  May 1, 2009

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