Konstantinos Kostarelos, associate professor in petroleum engineering, is building a new device to address the issue of blockage inside crude oil pipes. It’s a big problem in the oil industry. Companies typically spend a lot of money on chemical dispersants and inhibitors to address the issue and then they may still have to physically clean out the pipes by scraping the solids that have accumulated with devices called “pigs.”
Imagine an electronic “tattoo” on your skin that could continuously monitor your health, or tiny, biocompatible sensors that could treat a traumatic brain injury at the site. It may seem like science fiction, or at least a dream of a very distant future – but as John Rogers of Northwestern University explained to the UH community last week, these are both current examples of biocompatible devices that can integrate with the human body.