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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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student in front of a microscope Trouble in the air?
The smell of licorice and lessons learned from the West Virginia chemical spill
Released  October 20, 2015
Neurons of a mouse brain Video series: New strategies address one of science's greatest mysteries
36 NSF-funded research teams work to help reveal how neurons team up to produce thoughts and actions
Released  September 23, 2015
Researcher Robin Murphy  next to damaged buildings Robots to the rescue
Five lessons from Hurricane Katrina (and 22 subsequent emergency robot deployments)
Released  September 17, 2015
Andrea Alu Video: Now you see it...
Andrea Alý makes small things invisible--and that could mean big things for technology
Released  August 18, 2015
Anna Balazs After the Lecture: Anna Balazs
Materials scientist Anna Balazs on her journey from Hungary, inspiration from her parents and the future of biosensing
Released  July 2, 2015
Illustration of Laser micro-transfer printing Letting go with lasers
Focused energy of lasers breaks microscopic adhesion
Released  July 1, 2015
animated map of transit systems Walking, driving and riding in a winter wonderland
Using big data techniques, engineers more accurately model how people adapt to snowstorms and other disruptions
Released  February 5, 2015
People working under a bridge Warding off failure
Tiny, self-powered sensors push the limits of health and usage monitoring
Released  February 4, 2015
Photo of Bob Bea After the lecture: Bob Bea and a lifetime spent outwitting disaster
Nearly 10 years post-Katrina, the engineer who co-led a team that investigated the New Orleans levee system reflects on what it takes to have resilient and sustainable infrastructure -- and the next generation of engineers
Released  February 4, 2015
A humanoid robot from MIT lab A day in the life of Robotina
What might daily life be like for a research robot that's training to work closely with humans?
Released  November 20, 2014
illustration showing wall of a wood cell New technology uses natural wood fibers to reinforce plastic materials
Research offers sustainable solutions that may have strong benefits to building, construction, automobile and aircraft industries
Released  November 19, 2014
Photo of dried kenaf, a plant similar to bamboo Plant-based building materials may boost energy savings
Insulation for homes of the future may be harvested from fields of kenaf, an alternative to fiberglass
Released  September 23, 2014
People stand in a food bank storage area. Engineering a better food bank
Key nodes in a vast national food distribution system, food banks manage complex logistics that help connect families to farms
Released  September 22, 2014
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

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