Whitehead Institute scientists and associates have modified red blood cells (RBCs) to carry a range of valuable therapeutic and diagnostic payloads — such as drugs, vaccines, and disease-detecting imaging agents — for delivery to specific sites throughout the body.
July 2, 2014
Engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have demonstrated a class of walking “bio-bots” powered by muscle cells and controlled with electrical pulses, giving researchers unprecedented command over their function.
The group published its work in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (open access).
“Biological actuation driven by cells is a… read more
July 2, 2014
Three Stanford researchers have discovered a flexible, switchable material that can form a paper-like sheet just three atoms thick and behave like a switch.
As noted in articles on KurzweilAI, there’s a lot of interest in developing electronic devices based on such materials, which could enable a cell phone to be woven into a shirt, for example.
The new Stanford material can be mechanically pulled… read more
Robonaut, a human-like robot designed by NASA and General Motors (GM), whose aim is to avoid the scenario in the movie Gravity — and perform other tasks to free up human crew time and energy — has spun off three other astronaut helpers.
Scientists from the Universities of Sydney, Harvard, Stanford, and MIT have bio-printed artificial vascular networks mimicking the body’s circulatory system.
These networks are necessary for growing large complex transplantable tissues and organs for people affected by major diseases and trauma injuries.
“Thousands of people die each year due to a lack of organs for transplantation,” says study lead author and University of Sydney researcher Luiz Bertassoni. ”Many more are… read more
Advanced Technologies Large Aperture Space Telescope (ATLAST) — a giant telescope in space 20 meters across that could give scientists a good chance of detecting hints of life on exoplanets (planets around other stars) — has been proposed by U.S. and European scientists.
June 30, 2014
Crowdsourcing can be a quick and effective way to teach a robot how to complete tasks, University of Washington computer scientists have shown.
Learning by imitating a human is a proven approach to teach a robot to perform tasks, but it can take a lot of time. But if the robot could learn a task’s basic steps, then ask the online community for additional input, it could collect more… read more
Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have developed wearable computing technology to help people learn how to read and write Braille.
Surprisingly, people wearing the glove don’t have to pay attention while learning.
“The process is based on passive haptic learning (PHL),” said Thad Starner, a Georgia Tech professor and wearable computer pioneer. “We’ve learned that people can acquire motor skills through vibrations without devoting active attention… read more
June 27, 2014
Researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, have developed a method for using ultrasonics to enable precision micro- and nano-manufacturing, precisely controlling the spread of a thin-film fluid along a specially designed chip.
Thin-film technology is the bedrock of microchip and microstructure manufacturing, and applications of the research range from thin-film coatings for paint and wound care to 3D printing, micro-casting, and micro-fluidics.
“Manufacturing using thin… read more
June 27, 2014
The more cores — or processing units — a computer chip has, the bigger the problem of communication between cores becomes.
June 26, 2014
A research team from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has developed a self-powered artificial cardiac pacemaker operated semi-permanently by a flexible piezoelectric nanogenerator.
Currently, pacemaker batteries last seven years on average, requiring frequent replacements, which may pose patients to a potential risk involved in medical procedures.
The nanogenerator directly stimulated a living rat’s heart using electrical energy converted from the small body… read more
June 26, 2014
Google announced several innovations at 7th annual Google I/O developer conference (Google I/O) Wednesday. Among them:
Android Wear connects your phone to your wrist (say “Ok Google” to ask questions, read or send a text, get alerts, schedule a meeting, etc.). Google also announced that two Android wearables, the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live, are available to order today, and the Moto 360 from Motorola… read more
June 25, 2014
A simple, scalable method of making strong, stretchable graphene oxide fibers that are easily scrolled into yarns and have strengths approaching that of Kevlar is possible, according to Penn State and Shinshu University, Japan, researchers.
“We found this graphene oxide fiber was very strong, much better than other carbon fibers,” said Mauricio Terrones, professor of physics, chemistry and materials science and engineering, Penn… read more
June 24, 2014
The secret of how salamanders successfully regrow body parts is being unravelled by University College London (UCL) researchers in a bid to apply it to humans.
For the first time, researchers have found that the “ERK pathway” must be constantly active for salamander cells to be reprogrammed, and hence able to contribute to the regeneration of different body parts.
The team identified a key… read more
Researchers at Duke University have found that taking food away from the C. elegans nematode worm triggers a state of arrested development: while the organism continues to wriggle about, foraging for food, its cells and organs are suspended in an ageless, quiescent state.
When food becomes plentiful again, the worm develops as planned, but can live twice as long as normal.
The results appear June 19… read more