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Ultrafast lasers enable 3-D micropatterning of biocompatible hydrogels

Allows for high-resolution and scalability for engineering tissue scaffolds and implants
September 28, 2015

Illustration of laser-based micropatterning of silk hydrogels. The transparent gels enable the laser's photons to be absorbed more than 10 times deeper than with other materials, without damaging the cells surrounding the "Tufts" pattern. (credit: M.B. A)

Tufts University biomedical engineers have developed low-energy, ultrafast laser technology for micropatterning high-resolution, 3-D structures in silk-protein hydrogels.

Micropatterning is used to bring oxygen and nutrients to rapidly proliferating cells in an engineered tissue scaffold. The goal is “to controllably guide cell growth and create an artificial vasculature (blood vessel system) within an already densely seeded silk hydrogel,” said Fiorenzo G. Omenetto, Ph.D., senior author… read more

How to make 3-D objects totally disappear

A fully wraparound, ultrathin invisibility cloak at the microscale
September 28, 2015

This image shows a 3-D illustration of a metasurface skin cloak made from an ultrathin layer of nanoantennas (gold blocks) covering an arbitrarily shaped object. Light reflects off the cloak (red arrows) as if it were reflecting off a flat mirror. (credit: Image courtesy of Xiang Zhang group, Berkeley Lab/UC Berkeley)

An ultra-thin invisibility “skin” cloak that can conform to the shape of an object and conceal it from detection with visible light has been developed by scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley.

Working with blocks of gold nanoantennas, the Berkeley researchers created a “skin cloak” just 80 nanometers in thickness that was wrapped around… read more

Liquid water flows on today’s Mars, NASA confirms

September 28, 2015

These dark, narrow, 100 meter-long streaks called recurring slope lineae flowing downhill on Mars are inferred to have been formed by contemporary flowing water. Recently, planetary scientists detected hydrated salts on these slopes at Hale crater, corroborating their original hypothesis that the streaks are indeed formed by liquid water. The blue color seen upslope of the dark streaks are thought not to be related to their formation, but instead are from the presence of the mineral pyroxene. The image is produced by draping an orthorectified (Infrared-Red-Blue/Green(IRB)) false color image (ESP_030570_1440) on a Digital Terrain Model (DTM) of the same site produced by High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (University of Arizona). Vertical exaggeration is 1.5. (credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)

New findings from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) provide the strongest evidence yet that liquid water flows intermittently on present-day Mars, NASA announced today.

Researchers detected darkish signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes in several locations that appear to ebb and flow over time, based on spectrometer data. The signatures darken and appear to flow down steep slopes during warm seasons, and then fade in cooler seasons.

“This… read more

These self-propelled microscopic carbon-capturing motors may reduce carbon-dioxide levels in oceans

September 25, 2015

Nanoengineers have invented tiny tube-shaped micromotors that zoom around in water and efficiently remove carbon dioxide. The surfaces of the micromotors are functionalized with the enzyme carbonic anhydrase, which enables the motors to help rapidly convert carbon dioxide to calcium carbonate. (credit: Laboratory for Nanobioelectronics, UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering)

Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego have designed enzyme-functionalized micromotors the size of red blood cells that rapidly zoom around in water, remove carbon dioxide, and convert it into a usable solid form.

The proof-of-concept study represents a promising route to mitigate the buildup of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas in the environment, said the researchers.

The team, led by distinguished nanoengineering professor… read more

DNA-based nanodevices for molecular medicine: an overview

September 25, 2015

Virus-protein-coated DNA origami nanostructures. With the help of protein encapsulation, DNA origamis can be transported into human cells much more efficiently. (credit: Veikko Linko and Mauri Kostiainen)

KurzweilAI has covered a wide variety of research projects that explore how DNA molecules can be assembled into complex nanostructures for molecular-scale diagnostics, smart drug-delivery, and other uses. For example, tailored DNA structures could find targeted cancer cells and release their molecular payload (drugs or antibodies) selectively.

An article written by researchers from Aalto University just published in Trends in Biotechnology journal, comparing biological DNA-nanomachine developments… read more

Brain-computer interface enables paralyzed man to walk without robotic support

September 25, 2015

A man whose legs had been paralyzed for five years walks along a 12-foot course using UCI-developed technology that lets the brain bypass the spinal cord to send messages to the legs. (credit: courtesy of UCI’s Brain Computer Interface Lab)

A novel brain-computer-interface (BCI) technology created by University of California, Irvine researchers has allowed a paraplegic man to walk for a short distance, unaided by an exoskeleton or other types of robotic support.

The male participant, whose legs had been paralyzed for five years, walked along a 12-foot course using an electroencephalogram (EEG) brain-computer-interface system that lets the brain bypass the spinal cord to send messages to… read more

Pushing the resolution and exposure-time limits of lensless imaging

A custom-built ultrafast laser that could image everything from semiconductor chips to cells in real time
September 25, 2015

ultrafast laser ft

Physicists at Friedrich Schiller University in Germany are pushing the boundaries of nanoscale imaging by shooting ultra-high-resolution, real-time images in extreme ultraviolet light — without lenses. The new method could be used to study everything from semiconductor chips to cancer cells, the scientists say.

They are improving a lensless imaging technique called “coherent diffraction imaging,” which has been around since the 1980s. To take a picture… read more

New ‘stealth dark matter’ theory may explain mystery of the universe’s missing mass

A balancing act performed before the universe cooled
September 24, 2015

This 3D map illustrates the large-scale distribution of dark matter, reconstructed from measurements of weak gravitational lensing by using the Hubble Space Telescope (credit: Image courtesy of DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

A new theory that may explain why dark matter has evaded direct detection in Earth-based experiments has been developed by team of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) particle physicists known as the Lattice Strong Dynamics Collaboration.

The group has combined theoretical and computational physics techniques and used the Laboratory’s massively parallel 2-petaflop Vulcan supercomputer to devise a new model of dark… read more

First brain-to-brain ‘telepathy’ communication via the Internet

September 24, 2015

University of Washington graduate student Jose Ceballos wears an electroencephalography (EEG) cap that records brain activity and sends a response to a second participant over the Internet (credit: University of Washington)

The first brain-to-brain telepathy-like communication between two participants via the Internet has been performed by University of Washington researchers.*

The experiment used a question-and-answer game. The goal is for the “inquirer” to determine which object the “respondent” is looking at from a list of possible objects. The inquirer sends a question (e.g., “Does it fly?) to the respondent, who answers “yes” or “no” by mentally focusing on one of… read more

A new class of anti-obesity compounds with potential anti-diabetic properties

Mice with pre-existing obesity lost 20 percent of their body weight and about 50 percent of their fat mass
September 24, 2015

Prevalence of Self-Reported Obesity Among U.S. Adults by State and Territory, BRFSS, 2014 (credit: Behavorial Risk Factor Surveillance System/CDC)

A molecule known as MnTBAP* has rapidly reversed obesity in mice and could be effective for humans in the future, according to researchers from Skidmore College and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

“In the span of a month, mice with pre-existing obesity lost 20 percent of their body weight and about 50 percent of their fat mass,” said… read more

A new distance record for quantum teleportation via photons

September 24, 2015

photon detector

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have “teleported” (transferred) quantum information carried in photons over 100 kilometers (km) of optical fiber — four times farther than the previous record.

The experiment confirmed that quantum communication is feasible over long distances in fiber, according to the researchers. Other research groups have teleported quantum information over longer distances in free space (wirelessly), but fiber-optic cables… read more

’4-D’ printing technology allows self-folding of complex ‘transformer’ objects, using smart shape-memory materials

Among the wild possibilities: pop-up space structures, deployable medical devices that expand out after shipping, aircraft that morph in air depending on mission, multi-purpose shape-shifting electronic gadgets, magical transformer-type robots and toys ...
September 23, 2015

This image shows the self-folding process of smart shape-memory materials with slightly different responses to heat. Using materials that fold at slightly different rates is important to ensure that the components do not interfere with one another during the process. (Credit: Qi Laboratory)

Using components made from smart shape-memory materials (which can return to their original shape) with slightly different responses to heat, researchers have demonstrated a “four-dimensional” printing technology that allows for creating complex, self-folding structures.

The technology, developed by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), could be used to create 3-D structures that sequentially fold themselves… read more

Smart robot accelerates cancer treatment research by finding optimal treatment combinations

September 23, 2015

Iterative search for anti-cancer drug combinations. The procedure starts by generating an initial generation (population) of drug combinations randomly or guided by biological prior knowledge and assumptions. In each iteration the aim is to propose a new generation of drug combinations based on the results obtained so far. The procedure iterates through a number of generations until a stop criterion for a predefined fitness function is satisfied. (credit: M. Kashif et al./Scientific Reports)

A new smart research system developed at Uppsala University accelerates research on cancer treatments by finding optimal treatment drug combinations. It was developed by a research group led by Mats Gustafsson, Professor of Medical Bioinformatics.

The “lab robot” system plans and conducts experiments with many substances, and draws its own conclusions from the results. The idea is to gradually refine combinations of substances so that… read more

First all-optical chip memory

Will allow for integration of high-speed optical transmission systems and computers, reducing required power
September 23, 2015

All-optical data memory: ultra-short light pulses make the GST material change from crystalline to amorphous and back. Weak light pulses read out the data. (credit: C. Rios/Oxford University)

The first all-optical chip memory has been developed by an international team of scientists. It is capable of writing data to memory at a speed of up to a gigahertz or more and may allow computers to work more rapidly and more efficiently.

The memory is non-volatile (similar to flash memory), and the new memory can store data even when the power is removed, and may persist for decades,… read more

AI system solves SAT geometry questions as well as average American 11th-grade student

September 23, 2015

SAT geometry question

An AI system that can solve SAT geometry questions as well as the average American 11th-grade student has been developed by researchers at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2) and University of Washington.

This system, called GeoS, uses a combination of computer vision to interpret diagrams, natural language processing to read and understand text, and a geometric solver, achieving 49 percent accuracy on official SAT… read more

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