ILI RIPE ImageScientists at the University of Illinois have found a way to enhance yields by engineering a more efficient way for crops to convert sunlight into energy.

Researchers participating in an international study called Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency – or RIPE – have discovered that most crops on the planet experience suppressed yield potential as a result of a glitch in photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert sunlight into energy.

To combat the problem, scientists have developed a shortcut in the photosynthetic process that can make crops about 40 percent more productive. The study estimates that up to 200 million additional people could be fed with the production lost during photosynthesis in the Midwest.

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Alma Mater UIUC

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a flexible patch that monitors if you need to rehydrate.

The new device is placed on your forearm or lower back. It absorbs sweat and tests for glucose, lactate, chloride and pH levels to determine if you are overworking your body. Circles in the patch will change colors as they test your sweat. A smartphone app analyzes the color of the circles and determines the contents of your sweat.

The patches are designed for a single use and can monitor sweat for up to six hours.

Although the design is still a few years away from completion, it could be used to warn athletes or military personnel when they are nearing overexertion before it’s too late.

RetirementAccountAn estimated 2.5 million Illinois workers do not have access to an employer-based retirement plan. With Americans living longer and longer and the total cost of retirement increasing every year, many workers – particularly low-wage workers – are on track to not have enough resources to live on once they reach their golden years. 

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The world’s economy is changing. Marketplaces are becoming increasingly global, and automation continues to chip away at traditional high-employment sectors like manufacturing and agriculture. The companies that will combine human talent and new technology to create the economic engines of the coming decades are just now being created by talented entrepreneurs with visionary goals.

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Between 2012 and 2013, research and development spending at Illinois universities grew faster than in any other state. Illinois’ institutions of higher learning spent a record $2.4 billion trying to drive science and engineering innovation.

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