Research projects

Sep 15th, 2009 | By | Category: Issue, Research, September 10, 2009

Eye tracking

A UNL-led research team found clues suggesting human vision can lock in on certain targets more quickly if not searching for a specific item.

The research was led by Mike Dodd, a UNL professor of psychology. He worked with researchers from Utrecht University in the Netherlands and the University of Iowa to track eye movements as subjects viewed various scenes. The research used high-tech equipment that followed eye movements in real time.

Railroad safety

Shane Farritor, associate professor of mechanical engineering and his team of researchers are conducting research to identify soft spots in the nation’s rails that might help railroads find and fix problems before they cause derailments.

Jennifer Murray
Graduate student Jennifer Murray looks at a scene while being monitored with eyetracking technology. Photo by Craig Chandler/University Communications.

Farritor and his team retooled an old railcar with lasers, cameras and computers that can diagnose the condition of rails below. The system has found numerous trouble spots, including track in western Nebraska in June 2008 that was shut down for immediate repairs.

New digs

A $1.2 million donation by the Theodore F. and Claire M. Hubbard Family Foundation of Omaha is increasing the scope of discovery at Ashfall Fossil Beds.

The funds have been used to replace a small “rhino barn” that was built to protect the exposed fossils of animals that died around a waterhole during a weeks-long event that dropped ash from a volcanic blast 12 million years ago.

The Ashfall dig is led by Mike Voorhies, emeritus professor, who discovered the site in 1971.

Walking on water

Self-cleaning walls, counter tops, fabrics, even micro-robots that can walk on water – all those things and more could be closer to reality because of research recently completed by scientists at UNL and Japan’s RIKEN institute.

In a paper published in the May 4-8 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Xiao Cheng Zeng, professor of chemistry, and Japanese colleagues, presented important clues in how to develop the super hydrophobic materials.

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