Wine, cheese, and raspberries on the olfactory biosensor menu
Researchers at IRIG joined forces with a team from Dijon to develop olfactory biosensors capable of fixing and recognizing the aromatic compounds in cheese (hexanoic acid), wine (hexanal), and raspberries (ß-ionone). The researchers designed and tested several genetic variants of proteins from the rat olfactory system for the biosensors. Although their research is still at the proof-of-concept stage, it does bode well for future developments.
The biosensors developed offer the advantages of a very low detection threshold, high selectivity, and good measurement reproducibility. New variants of the proteins could be used to identify other VOCs—a capability that could be useful for industrial and domestic applications. The human nose is very easily “saturated” by VOCs, which makes it difficult for humans to effectively smell these substances.
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Measuring stress in children using an exoskeleton
Leti, in research conducted as part of the EU Motion project, which kicked off in September 2019, will develop a method for measuring the stress experienced by children who cannot walk due to neurological disorders when they are in an upright position with the support of an exoskeleton.
Most of the project partners are focusing on the children’s exoskeleton. Leti, however, is tackling data fusion. The goal is to combine the physiological data—heart and respiratory rates and electrical conductivity of the skin—measured while the child is using the exoskeleton to create a stress model that shows what the child is feeling (comfort, discomfort, confidence, fear of falling, etc.). Ultimately, the model will power a feedback loop that will adapt the movement (speed, range of motion) of the exoskeleton according to the level of stress felt by the child.
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Turn any bike into an electric bike in just fifteen minutes
You don’t need to be a DIY expert to install the Gboost electric bike conversion kit! Developed by local startup E-Bike Lite, the ultra-lightweight (950-gram) kit can be installed on any bike with just a single screw. The innovation is an invention of Grenoble Institute of Technology-Phelma faculty member and GIPSA-Lab scientist Dominique Houzet and E-Bike Lite CEO Guenther Hirn.
What makes Gboost so innovative is its patented motor and its controller. The brushless asynchronous permanent-magnet motor (PMM) uses a roller-based transmission; the controller leverages a three-axis magnetic sensor installed on the bicycle pedal axle that analyzes the magnetic field and switches the electric motor on. The company has already sold 500 of the kits this year and plans to double sales in 2020.
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What’s new at the Parvis des Sciences science fair in 2019?
The twelfth annual Parvis des Sciences science fair will be held at MINATEC on October 10, 11, and 12, 2019. And the 3,000 visitors expected to attend are in for a few surprises this year, with a slate of new activities that includes an up-close look at 3D printing, workshops on the periodic table, and an exhibit booth showcasing the NeuroDrop project that a team from Grenoble is entering into the iGEM competition.
But that’s not all! This year’s event will also dive deep into gender equality in the sciences with activities on this topical issue over the entire three days. Visitors can explore a portrait gallery of women scientists at Maison MINATEC and, outdoors, an exhibit designed by CERN on “The Code of the Universe.” The general public is welcome on Saturday; Thursday and Friday are reserved for the impressive 63 school groups expected this year.
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Student club Ingénieurs Citoyens gains popularity
Student club Ingénieurs Citoyens was founded last year with just a dozen or so members. This year, the club’s environmentally-responsible message really resonated with engineering students at all of Grenoble Institute of Technology’s schools at the traditional back-to-school forums—and membership is expected to grow to more than 50 this year. More than 20 Phelma students have already expressed an interest in joining the “green engineering” group.
The expected growth in membership will position the club to roll out awareness-raising campaigns and more hands-on projects this year. A talk on climate negotiations was held on October 1, and the club plans to continue with at least one talk a month on topics like conservation, mobility, and the circular economy. This group is definitely one to watch!
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Ideas Days 2019 to delve into technology and resilience
True to form, Ideas Laboratory will cross the boundaries between scientific disciplines and cultures at Ideas Days 2019, to be held on July 4 and 5, 2019. This year’s topic is “Technology and resilience: Utopia or balancing act?”. The event will interrogate whether or not science and technology can create hope and meaning in a highly-complex and unpredictable world. The day-and-a-half-long program includes around fifteen speakers who will facilitate five talks.
The event will begin and end with talks by Luc Schuiten, the architect who pioneered plant-inspired “vegetal cities,” and by historian and futurist Mathieu Baudin. A quartet will play jazz and 40s-style swing on the evening of July 4.
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E-health: Ludocare to deliver 500 companion robots in September
Lyon-based startup Ludocare was co-founded in 2017 by ENSPG (now Phelma) alumnae Élodie Loisel, who is currently the company’s VP R&D. Ludocare develops connected solutions for children suffering from chronic disease. The company’s two companion robots, Joe (for asthma) and Leo (for cystic fibrosis), provide sick children with fun reminders like when and how to take their medication and give motivating rewards. Parents can configure the reminders using a special mobile app. Ludocare recently raised €25,000 via a crowdfunding campaign, and used the funds to start scaling up the technology for manufacturing. A first batch of 500 robots, 100% manufactured in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, will be ready in September and sold through a monthly subscription plan.
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Puya Internationale moves headquarters to Grenoble
Puya Internationale, a non-profit dedicated to scientific cooperation, was founded in 2004. The group recently moved its headquarters from Cachan to Grenoble, where the majority of its most active members are located. Puya Internationale initially focused on Franco-Peruvian cooperation, and gradually expanded its scope across Latin America and, later, to other continents. The group’s objective is to promote and encourage scientific and technical cooperation between France and universities in emerging countries leveraging a strong network of partners that includes MINATEC.
This year, Puya Internationale is involved in several science-related events, including the Nanoandes and MEMS-Latam (formerly MEMS AL) schools in Chile, the MINATEC school in Vietnam, and a characterization school in Morocco.
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