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Silicon oxide chip design could replace flash memory

July 15, 2013

Rice University has built crossbar memory chips based on silicon oxide that show potential for next-generation 3-D memories for computers and consumer devices. (credit: Tour Group/Rice University)

Rice University team led by chemist James Tour has built a 1-kilobit rewritable silicon oxide chip that could surpass the limitations of flash memory in packing density, energy consumption per bit, and switching speed.

Normal operating voltages can repeatedly break and “heal” the channel, which can be read as either a “1” or “0” depending on whether it is broken or intact.… read more

Crowdsourcing speeds medical research

July 15, 2013

A crowdsourced study located more than 1,400  automated external defibrillators in Philadelphia (credit: University of Pennsylvania)

“Human computing power” harnessed from ordinary citizens across the world has the potential to accelerate the pace of health care research of all kinds, a team from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has found.

In fact, crowdsourcing — a research method that allows investigators to engage thousands of people to provide either data or data analysis — could even improve… read more

How to kill cancer cells by starving them

July 15, 2013

eEF2 starves

University of Southampton researchers have discovered a novel way of killing cancer cells by leaves healthy cells undamaged, unlike traditional therapies such as radiotherapy.

Chris Proud, Professor of Cellular Regulation in Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton says: “Cancer cells grow and divide much more rapidly than normal cells, meaning they have a much higher demand for and are often starved of, nutrients and… read more

Building 3D heart tissue with a programmable chip-making device

July 15, 2013


By adapting a programmable device used to manufacture integrated circuits, Draper Laboratory researchers have devised a semi-automated process to build three-dimensional heart tissue, MIT Technology Review reports.

Tissue is grown in the lab by “seeding” scaffolds — usually composed of a porous elastic or gelatinous material — with cells meant to develop into specific tissues.

But highly ordered cellular architectures, which are essential for complicated organs like… read more

Researchers regenerate retina in mice using neuronal reprogramming

July 12, 2013


Researchers from the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona have discovered a pathway that triggers the reprogramming and regeneration of retinal neurons in the eye.

The work, published on July 11 in the journal Cell Reports (open access), also describes a new mechanism for regenerating neural tissue.

The researcher Pia Cosma and her team used a cell fusion mechanism to reprogram the neurons in… read more

Mammals can ‘choose’ sex of offspring, study finds

July 12, 2013


A new study led by a researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine shows that mammalian species can “choose” the sex of their offspring to beat the odds and produce extra grandchildren.

In analyzing 90 years of breeding records from the San Diego Zoo, the researchers were able to prove for the first time a fundamental theory of evolutionary biology: that mammals rely on some unknown… read more

How to engineer a better synthetic tendon replacement

July 12, 2013

An innovative design for a scaffold for an artificial tendon. When stretched it pulls tight, like a Chinese finger trap. (Credit: Justin Brown/Pennsylvania State University)

An innovative scaffold design by Penn State bioengineers may help grow a new tendon that’s as good as the old one.

As sports injuries go, a torn tendon ranks right up there: searing pain, followed by a protracted period of healing that often lasts for months. If the rupture is severe there’s surgery involved, and because of the heavy stresses tendons must endure, a simple… read more

Introducing ATLAS, DARPA’s most advanced robot

Let's get ready to rescue
July 12, 2013

Atlas robot (credit: DARPA)

He stands at 6′ 2, 330 pounds. His name: ATLAS — possibly the most advanced humanoid robot every built.

Move over Petman. The mighty ATLAS, Boston Dynamics‘ new robot, sports an on-board real-time control computer, 28 hydraulically actuated joints, two sets of hands, and a sensor head with LIDAR (measures distance with a laser, as in Google’s self-driving car) and stereo vision… read more

A new way to trap light

Could lead to new types of lasers and sensors
July 11, 2013


MIT researchers have discovered a new method to trap light that could find a wide variety of applications.

There are several ways to “trap” a beam of light — usually with mirrors, other reflective surfaces, or high-tech materials such as photonic crystals.

But the new system, devised through computer modeling and then demonstrated experimentally, pits light waves against light waves:

It sets up… read more

Creating the inner ear from stem cells

Discovery provides new insights into the inner-ear developmental process and potential treatments for hearing loss and balance disorders
July 11, 2013


Indiana University scientists have transformed mouse embryonic stem cells into key structures of the inner ear.

The discovery provides new insights into the sensory organ’s developmental process and sets the stage for laboratory models of disease, drug discovery, and potential treatments for hearing loss and balance disorders.

A research team led by Eri Hashino, Ph.D., Ruth C. Holton Professor of Otolaryngology at Indiana University… read more

RSI announces the world’s most powerful cadmium telluride solar modules

July 11, 2013

Cadmium Telluride Solar Module

RSI has announced a new world record for cadmium telluride photovoltaic module size, achieving a 1.5 square meter module.

The availability of low-cost, large-area CdTe panels coupled with localized manufacturing partners hastens the widespread achievement of grid parity for utility scale solar, the company says.

Conventional cadmium telluride (CdTe) modules measure just 0.72 square meters, a limitation that stems from the use of… read more

5D nanostructured quartz glass optical memory could provide ‘unlimited’ data storage for a million years

"Superman memory crystal" recordings could survive the end of the human race
July 10, 2013


University of Southampton and Eindhoven University of Technology.scientists have developed a new technology that could store vast quantities of information — 360 TB on a disc, about 100 times more than current disk drives — for more than a million years [1].

‘Superman memory crystal’

Using a high speed femtosecond laser, data is written  on self-assembled nanostructures created in fused quartz, and stored in… read more

Crowdfunding campaign aims to deliver nanoparticle chemo via patches

July 10, 2013


Students at the University of York have  launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise enough cash to research a nanoparticle cancer treatment that’s delivered via a patch directly to a tumor.

It uses nanowires that behave like tiny needles. They are calling it the Nanject, Wired U.K. reports.

It’s a technique that has been the subject of research for some time, using… read more

First child born following embryo screening with new genome analysis technique

Validation studies underline accuracy of "next generation sequencing" for embryo selection in IVF
July 10, 2013

In vitro fertilization (credit: iStockphoto)

The first birth has been achieved following the analysis of embryos using a new genome-sequencing technique that promises to revolutionize embryo selection for in vitro fertilization (IVF).

The technique, which has never before been applied in the screening of embryos, was reported July 8 at the annual meeting of the European Societyread more

Let’s make genetically modified food open-source

July 10, 2013


If Monsanto is the Microsoft of food supply, perhaps the time has come for the agricultural equivalent of Linux, the open-source operating system that made computer programming a communal effort, Slate suggests.

“GMO agriculture relies on the relatively new science of bioinformatics (a mixture of bio- and information science), which means that DNA sequences look a lot more like software code than a vegetable garden,” says Slate.… read more

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