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Could a virtual wall build an invisible barrier for oil spills and stop the spread?

December 12, 2013

oil-repellent

University of Missouri researchers have developed a technique to form a virtual wall for oily liquids that will help confine them to a certain area, aiding researchers who are studying these complex molecules. This development will have future implications in the guided delivery of oil and effective blockage of oil spreading.

“Our work is based on micro/nanoelectromechanical systems, or M/NEMS, which can be thought of as miniaturized… read more

Forcing cancer cells to shape-shift stops them from migrating, Mayo Clinic researchers find

December 12, 2013

Shape-Shifting

Researchers at Mayo Clinic in Florida have identified a number of agents — some already used in the clinic for different disorders — that may force shape-shifting in tumor cells to immobilize them and thus prevent metastasis.

“We are starting to understand mechanistically how cancer cells move and migrate, which gives us opportunities to manipulate these cells, alter their shape, and stop their spread,” says the study’s lead… read more

OpenBCI opens up low-cost brain-wave-controlled experimentation to everyone

December 12, 2013

OpenBCI board (credit: OpenBCI)

New York EEG researchers/Parsons instructors Joel Murphy and Conor Russomanno just launched a Kickstarter campaign called OpenBCI, intended to give anyone low-cost computer access to their EEG (brain waves).

BCI stands for brain-computer interface. The idea with OpenBCI is to allow you to control (with your brain — via an eight-channel EEG interface, your computer, and your controller) devices such as lights, robots, optocopters,… 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

Multi-material 3D printer creates realistic neurosurgical models for training

December 12, 2013

A perforator creates a burr hole in the model of a skull. The model, produced using a multimaterial 3D printer, is composed of a variety of materials that simulate the various consistencies and densities of human tissues encountered during neurosurgery. (Credit: American Association of Neurosurgeons)

Researchers* from Malaysia and the UK have used a new multi-material 3D printer to create realistic, low-cost model of the skull for use by students in practicing neurosurgical techniques.

The model uses a variety of materials that simulate the various consistencies and densities of human tissues encountered during neurosurgery.

Neurosurgery is a difficult discipline to master. Trainees may spend as many as 10 years after graduation from medical… read more

Digital global intelligence on the future of the world in the palm of your hand

December 11, 2013

(Credit: The Millennium Project)

The Millennium Project’s Global Futures Intelligence System is now available and accessible online, including auto-detected mobile phone data access.

“Overviews, situation charts, references, and latest relevant news on the most important challenges facing humanity are now all immediately available,” explains Jerome Glenn, CEO of The Millennium Project.

“The system presents distillations of the present situation, prospects, and strategies to address issues ranging from climate change to… read more

Final four teams qualify to participate in DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials

December 11, 2013

Team KAIST (Daejeon, South Korea)

Four teams that built full robot hardware and software systems using their own funds have qualified to join 13 other teams to compete in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotics Challenge (DRC) Trials.

The event will take place Dec. 20 and 21 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla., where spectators can observe as the robots are tested on the capabilities… read more

Neural prosthesis restores normal behavior after brain injury

December 11, 2013

Rat with prostheses

Scientists from Case Western Reserve University and University of Kansas Medical Center have restored behavior — in this case, the ability to reach through a narrow opening and grasp food — using a neural prosthesis in a brain-injured rat.

Ultimately, the team hopes to develop a device that rapidly and substantially improves function after brain injury in humans.

There is no such commercial treatment for the… read more

A new way to make solar cells thin, efficient and flexible

December 11, 2013

printed_cell

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Central Florida may be one step closer to making solar cells that operate efficiently on a large scale.

The team found a way to create large sheets of nanotextured silicon micro-cell arrays that hold the promise of making solar cells lightweight, more efficient, bendable, and easy to mass produce.

Nanoimprinting

The team used… read more

Detecting objects as small as protein molecules using multispectral imaging

December 10, 2013

Die encapsulated in carbon nanotube improves detection by

Richard Martel and his research team at the Department of Chemistry of the University of Montreal have discovered a method to improve detection of the “infinitely small” by encapsulating a dye inside carbon nanotubes for multispectral imaging.

Raman scattering provides information on the ways molecules vibrate, which is equivalent to taking their fingerprint. It’s a bit like a bar code,” said Martel. “Raman signals are… read more

Using 3D printing to explain theoretical physics

December 10, 2013

3d_printed_forest_fire_model

Students may soon be able to reach out and touch some of the theoretical concepts they are taught in their physics classes thanks to a novel idea devised by a group of researchers from Imperial College London.

In new study published December 9 in the journal EPL, the researchers successfully demonstrated how complex theoretical physics can be transformed into a physical object using a 3D printer.… read more

How to produce enough hydrogen to meet global energy needs (in 50 years)

December 10, 2013

serpentinization-olivine

Scientists in Lyon, France have discovered how to create copious amount of the hydrogen that propels rockets and energizes fuel cells.

In a few decades, it could even help the world meet key energy needs.

Here’s the recipe, according to University Claude Bernard Lyon 1 researchers:

1. In a microscopic high-pressure cooker called a diamond anvil cell (within a tiny space about as wide as a pencil… read more

Apple’s iBeacon will put the ‘internet of things’ in your pocket

December 10, 2013

This undated photo provided by Apple shows the screen on an iPhone using Apple's iBeacon, offering precise location technology. On Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, Apple Inc. will begin using iBeacon, a part of its iOS 7 mobile software, to send shoppers inside its U.S. stores messages about products, events and other information based where they are in the store. (Credit: Apple)

Apple switched on “iBeacons” across its 254 U.S. stores Friday, using low-power Bluetooth transmitters to offer tips to customers.

Here’s how it works, according to GigaOm:

“Using Bluetooth Low Energy(BLE), iBeacon opens up a new whole dimension by creating a beacon around regions so your app can be alerted when users enter them. Beacons are a small wireless sensors placed inside any physical space… read more

Infrared vision sees through multiple layers of graphene

Could lead to new optical devices using graphene for communications, imaging, and signal processing
December 9, 2013

graphene-b-field

A University at Buffalo-led research team has developed a technique for “seeing through” a stack of graphene sheets to identify and describe the electronic properties of each individual sheet — even when the sheets are covering each other up.

The method involves shooting a beam of infrared light at the stack, and measuring how the light wave’s direction of oscillation changes as it bounces off the layers… read more

Nanodiamond quantum sensors pave way to MRI for living cells

December 9, 2013

diamondflaws

By exploiting flaws in nanoscale diamond fragments, researchers say they have created precise quantum sensors in a biocompatible material.

Nanoscopic thermal and magnetic field detectors that could be inserted into living cells could enhance our understanding of everything from chemical reactions within single cells to signaling in neural networks and the origin of magnetism in novel materials.

Atomic impurities in natural diamond structure give rise to the color… read more

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