COVID ROBOT pixWaukegan aerospace company Astronics Corporation is building coronavirus-killing robots, called the Xenex LightStrike, to help hospitals and health care facilities protect patients and staff from the spread of the virus.

The device is being used by seven Chicago hospitals and 700 facilities worldwide, including in Florida, California and North Carolina.

The robot uses pulsed UV rays to penetrate the virus’ cell walls and destroy the molecular structure, killing the virus. A single robot allows hospitals to disinfect 60 or more rooms, destroying bacteria that can’t be reached through typical cleaning and uses no chemicals or toxic fumes.

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cat797 carouselIllinois is not short on “cool things” made in the state. The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association named Caterpillar Inc.’s 797 foot mining truck the “Coolest Thing made in Illinois” as part of its Makers Madness Competition. The company received a trophy and banner for its honor this week.

The vote for the inaugural bracket-style event took place this spring and more than 300,000 votes were cast by everyday people. Caterpillar’s Decatur-made mining truck, which beat out 260 other products for the honor, stands at 23 feet tall on six 13-foot tires. It has top of the line class productivity and fuel efficiency to make it more environmentally friendly. The truck also has a top speed of 40 mph and can carry a 400-pound payload for a single trip. That’s enough to carry 686,000 ears of corn.

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laptop 3087585 640Eastern Illinois University has seen 10% uptick in enrollment this year, mainly as a result of jumps in freshman and local student enrollment. This marks the university’s third year of continued growth thanks to increases in continuing, dual-credit, freshman and graduate students.

EIU is also noticing greater enrollment of high-achieving students, who have boosted the school’s incoming average ACT, SAT and GPA scores as well as resulted in considerably greater eligibility among freshmen for EIU’s Sandra and Jack Pine Honors College.

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discussing-home-task-picture-id1034383664.jpegMany colleges are struggling to adapt to online learning and new safety procedures, but Northern Illinois University continues to see growth despite the challenges they face.

For fall 2020, the number of enrolled students increased by 1% to a total of 16,769 students. This influx was primarily driven by the growing freshman class this year: At 2,047 students, the Class of 2024 is 8% larger than last year’s freshman class.

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When Hillcrest High School began the school year online, woodshop teacher Marty Coyle noticed several of his students sitting on their bed, couches or even the floor during classes. To ensure every student has a dedicated workspace for at-home learning, Coyle began making desks with the leftover woodshop materials from the previous school year. 

Coyle, who has been teaching at Hillcrest High School for the past three years, wanted to give back to his community. He shared a photo of his desks on Facebook, saying, “Turns out lots of students do not have desks to work at during E-Learning.....So I figured I might as well build some."

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