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A better way to make muscle cells from human stem cells

No required genetic modifications, which would prohibit future clinical applications
March 26, 2014

suzuki_muscle_cellESC

University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers have discovered a new way to make large concentrations of skeletal muscle cells and muscle progenitors from human stem cells.

The new method, described in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine, could be used to generate large numbers of muscle cells and muscle progenitors directly from human pluripotent stem cells. (Pluripotent stem cells, such as embryonic (ES) or induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells,… read more

A Better Way to Make Nano Stuff

February 16, 2009

Yale University researchers have demonstrated that nanoimprint lithography molds can be created from more durable materials — an advance that could make the technique commercially viable for creating denser data storage and faster microprocessors.

A Better Way to Make Nanotubes

January 6, 2009

The newly synthesized cycloparaphenylene “nanohoop” molecule, the shortest segment of a carbon nanotube, could help grow much longer carbon nanotubes in a controlled way and in large batches, with each nanotube identical to the next.

This combination of precision and high yield will be needed if carbon nanotubes are to make the jump from the lab to the commercial sector. To replace silicon wafers in electronics, for example, they’ll… read more

A Better Way to Spot Disease

September 5, 2008

Nanjing University scientists have found that microRNAs circulating in blood can serve as a molecular “fingerprint” for cancers and diabetes, raising the possibility that a simple blood test could help clinicians tailor treatments to individual patients.

A big leap toward lowering the power consumption of microprocessors

January 22, 2012

The Intel Atom processor allows for low-power designs

The first systematic power profiles of microprocessors could help lower the energy consumption of both small cell phones and giant data centers, say computer science professors from the University of Texas at Austin and the Australian National University in a study to systematically measure and analyze application power, performance, and energy on a wide variety of hardware.

Their results may point the way to making… read more

A big test for new Internet addresses

June 8, 2011

As of 8 p.m. EST on Tuesday, more than 300 organizations, including Google, Facebook, and Yahoo, are testing a new way of routing information around the Internet: Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6). Though the test run will only last 24 hours, participants may learn valuable lessons about how transitioning to IPv6 could affect their sites and their users.

The Internet has simply outgrown IPv4 — the last few addresses… read more

A billion-pixel view of Mars from Curiosity Rover

June 20, 2013

nasa_mars_image

A 1.3-billion-pixel image of the surface of Mars, from NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity, offers armchair explorers a way to examine one part of the Red Planet in great detail. It stitches together nearly 900 exposures taken by cameras onboard Curiosity and shows details of the landscape along the rover’s route.

The full image is available with pan and zoom tools at http://mars.nasa.gov/bp1/.

The… read more

A billion-year storage medium that could outlive the human race

... and a holographic coding system using a graphene oxide substrate to protect data from physical damage
October 24, 2013

A QR code etched in tungsten (Credit: University of Twente)

Researcher Dr. Jeroen de Vries from the University of Twente MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology suggests we could store data for one million to one billion years, using a new storage medium based on tungsten and graphene oxide.

He imagines two possible scenarios:

  • Disaster has devastated the earth and society must rebuild the world
  • We need to create a legacy for

read more

A bio-inspired method to attach graphene to silicon wafers for electronic devices

December 16, 2013

capillary bridges

Drawing inspiration from how beetles and tree frogs keep their feet attached to submerged leaves, National University of Singapore (NUS) researchers have developed the first effective process, called “face-to-face transfer,” to grow and transfer high-quality graphene on silicon and other stiff substrates.

Graphene has outstanding electronic, optical and mechanical properties, but there has been no practical way to grow and transfer graphene for use in semiconductors with minimal… read more

A biocompatible shape-changing material controlled by patterns and heat

Can be used as cell-culture substrates or implantable materials that contract and expand
December 12, 2013

A two-layer material designed to morph into a specific shape when heated to a specific temperature range.

The materials created by Rice University polymer scientist Rafael Verduzco and his colleagues start as flat slabs, but morph magically into shapes that can be controlled by patterns that were formed into their layers.

Materials that can change their shape based on environmental conditions are useful for optics, three-dimensional biological scaffolds, and controlled encapsulation and release of drugs, among other applications, according to the researchers.… read more

A Biofuel Process to Replace All Fossil Fuels

July 27, 2009

A process that could make 20,000 gallons of biofuel per acre per year, replacing all fossil fuels used for transportation, has been developed by Joule Biotechnologies.

Joule Biotechnologies grows genetically engineered microorganisms in specially designed photobioreactors. The microorganisms use energy from the sun to convert carbon dioxide and water into ethanol or hydrocarbon fuels.

A biology-friendly robot programming language

October 25, 2012

PaR-PaR-robot1

For researchers in the biological sciences, however, the future training of robots has been made much easier thanks to a new program called “PaR-PaR” (Programming a Robot).

Nathan Hillson, a biochemist at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), led the development of PaR-PaR, a simple high-level, biology-friendly, robot-programming language that allows researchers to make better use of liquid-handling robots… read more

A biomimetic artificial leg with a natural gait

October 16, 2013

(Credit: Michigan Technological University)

Researchers at Michigan Technological University and a Mayo Clinic scientist are working on a microprocessor-controlled ankle-foot prosthesis that comes close to achieving the innate range of motion of this highly complex joint.

It has pressure-sensitive sensors on the bottom of the foot that detect how an amputee is walking. The sensors instantaneously send signals to a microprocessor, which in turn adjusts the prosthesis to make walking more… read more

A Bionic Eye Comes to Market

March 8, 2011

Argus II.  Photo: Second Sight

Second Sight’s Argus II, the first retinal prosthesis has received European approval for clinical and commercial use, with FDA approval expected in 2012.

The $115,000 device uses a camera mounted on a pair of glasses to capture images, and corresponding signals are fed wirelessly to a chip implanted near the retina. These signals are sent to an array of implanted electrodes that stimulate retinal cells, producing light in the patient’s field of… read more

A Bitcoin backlash?

October 15, 2013

bitcoin

Governments and established financial institutions are likely to launch a campaign to quash the decentralized digital currency Bitcoin, according to a leading economist and academic. Simon Johnson, a professor of entrepreneurship at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, expects Bitcoin to face political pressure and aggressive lobbying from big banks because of its disruptive nature, MIT Technology Review reports.

The code that supports and… read more

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