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Studying data from Twitter, University of Illinois researchers found that less people tweet per capita from larger cities than in smaller ones, indicating an unexpected trend that has implications in understanding urban pace of life. They identified that while there are less people tweeting, there are a group of people who tweet prolifically. This suggests there is a concentrated core of more active users that may serve as information broadcasters for larger cities.

Three Illinois scientists are among 126 recipients of the 2018 Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. According to the foundation, the awards “honor early career scholars whose achievements mark them as among the very best scientific minds working today.” Winners receive a two-year $65,000 fellowship to further their research. This year’s Illinois recipients are materials science and engineering professors Qian Chen and Pinshane Huang, and chemical and biomolecular engineering professor Ying Diao.

On the battlefield, soldiers usually wear protective gear that covers most of their bodies, but in many cases the Kevlar helmets that soldiers wear cannot fully protect the face, head, and neck. With funding from the U.S. Army, researchers at the University of Illinois are looking for ways to repair complicated skull injuries with biomaterials—substances that can interact with or guide the body’s natural healing processes—instead of using artificial materials like titanium plates or grafting bone from other areas onto the head.

A drug-carrying microsphere within a cell-bearing microcapsule could be the key to transplanting insulin-secreting pig pancreas cells into human patients whose own cells have been destroyed by type I diabetes. In a new in vitro study by University of Illinois engineers, the insulin-secreting cells, called islets, showed increased viability and function after spending 21 days inside tiny capsules containing even tinier capsules bearing a drug that makes the cells more resilient to oxygen deprivation.

Even before Amazon boldly announced plans to enter the world of healthcare last week, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have already been working on the technology that will make it all work. Kesh Kesavades, the director of the Health Care Engineering Systems Center (HCESC) at Illinois, calls the technology, the "Internet of Personalized Things," which brings together the triage of natural language processing, sensors and devices which can connect to the Internet or cloud, and artificial intelligence.

While much of the rhetoric around climate change centers on extreme events such as floods or droughts, today’s guest Praveen Kumar, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Illinois, contends frequency and intensity of non-extreme or everyday precipitation events are changing and having a noticeable effect on the ecosystem.

The University of Illinois College of Engineering will host a FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Illinois Robotics LEGO League state competition Saturday, January 27, at the Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) on campus. The “Tesla” championship tournament brings together 50 teams of youth in grades 4-8 to test their skills in building an autonomous robot to perform tasks using LEGO Mindstorms technology.

Illinois researchers have demonstrated that sound waves can be used to produce ultraminiature optical diodes that are tiny enough to fit onto a computer chip. These devices, called optical isolators, may help solve major data capacity and system size challenges for photonic integrated circuits, the light-based equivalent of electronic circuits, which are used for computing and communications.

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