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A new way to make large sheets of graphene

Could enable advances in display screens, solar cells, other devices
May 28, 2014

sheets-of-graphene-mit

Researchers at MIT and the University of Michigan have developed a process that lends itself to making graphene directly on materials such as large sheets of glass.

Previous processes have used tiny flakes of graphene or graphene films on metal foil, with limited success.

The new process, described in a paper published in the journal Scientific Reports (open access), makes graphene on both the film’s top and… 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

A New Way to Read Hard Disks

September 11, 2007

Researchers believe that the magneto-electric effect might be key to creating the sensors needed for ultra-high-capacity memory. The design could lead to much thinner and smaller read heads that are suitable for data densities as high as one terabit per square inch, compared to 200 gigabits per square inch now.

A new way to trap light

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

trapping_light_mit

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

A New Way to Treat Obesity

May 16, 2008

Enteromedics has developed an implantable device that uses electrical signals to block the vagus nerve (which helps regulate digestion) as an alternative to gastric bypass surgery.

Two electrodes are surgically implanted at the top of the stomach to block signals from the vagus nerve and are controlled by a regulator beneath the skin, which can be programmed at a doctor’s office.

Gastric bypass often leads to dramatic weight… read more

A New Web of Trust

January 6, 2009

Many experts are now looking to DNSSEC to solve the problem of web visitors being sent to malicious Web pages.

DNSSEC is a protocol that verifies DNS messages with digital signatures. It will be implemented in the .org and .gov domains initially.

A nickel investment for future’s grid will pay off

July 12, 2004

“Energy is the single most important challenge facing humanity today,” says Richard Smalley, director of the Carbon Nanotechnology Laboratory at Rice University.

“We will need revolutionary breakthroughs to find the clean, low-cost energy necessary for advanced civilization of the 10 billion souls we expect to be living on this planet before this century is out.”

Nanotechnology will play a key role, he says. For example, single-wall carbon nanotubes… read more

A noninvasive avenue for Parkinson’s disease gene therapy

Nanoparticles bypass the blood-brain barrier to treat Parkinson's disease
April 26, 2013

Glial cell derived neurotrophic factor structure (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Researchers at Northeastern University in Boston have developed a gene therapy approach that may one day stop Parkinson’s disease (PD) in it tracks, preventing disease progression and reversing its symptoms.

The novelty of the approach lies in the nasal route of administration and nanoparticles containing a gene capable of rescuing dying neurons in the brain.

Parkinson’s is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder caused… read more

A nose-like sensor array that ‘smells’ different cancers

Gold nanoparticles and proteins can “smell” different cancer types
September 17, 2012

gold nanoparticles

In the fight against cancer, knowing the enemy’s exact identity is crucial for diagnosis and treatment, especially in metastatic cancers, those that spread between organs and tissues.

A rapid, sensitive way to detect microscopic levels of many different metastatic (cancer-spreading) cell types in living tissue has been developed by chemists led by professor Vincent Rotello of the Chemistry Department of University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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A novel thought-controlled prosthesis for amputees

November 30, 2012

When amputee patients have received their new prosthesis, it will be controlled with their own brain signals. The signals are transferred via the nerves through the arm stump and captured by electrodes. These will then transmit the signals through a titanium implant (OPRA Implant System) to be decoded by the prosthetic arm. The prosthesis is anchored directly to the skeleton by a process known as osseointegration. (Credit: Integrum)

An implantable robotic arm controlled by thoughts is being developed by Chalmers University of Technology industrial doctoral student Max Ortiz Catalan in Sweden.

Ever since the 1960s, amputees have been able to use prostheses controlled by electrical impulses in the muscles, their functionality is limited because they are difficult to control, according to Catalan.

Today’s standard socket prostheses, which are attached to the body… read more

A paper-thin flexible tablet computer

January 9, 2013

papertab

A flexible paper computer developed at Queen’s University in collaboration with Plastic Logic and Intel Labs could one day revolutionize the way people work with tablets and computers.

The PaperTab tablet looks and feels just like a sheet of paper. However, it is fully interactive with a flexible, high-resolution 10.7” plastic display developed by Plastic Logic, a flexible touchscreen, and powered by the second generation… read more

A paper-thin wearable pulse sensor

May 17, 2013

This flexible skin-like heart monitor is small enough to wear under a bandage (credit:

Engineers combine layers of flexible materials into pressure sensors to create a wearable heart monitor thinner than a dollar bill. The skin-like device could one day provide doctors with a safer way to check the condition of a patient’s heart.

Zhenan Bao, a professor of chemical engineering at Stanford, has developed a heart monitor thinner than a dollar bill and no wider than… read more

A Passion to Build a Better Robot, One With Social Skills and a Smile

June 10, 2003

The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York is exhibiting a “cyberfloral installation” by Dr. Cynthia L. Breazeal of MIT, which features robotic flowers that sway when a human hand is near and glow in beautiful bright colors.

“The installation,” said Dr. Breazeal, “communicates my future vision of robot design that is intellectually intriguing and remains true to its technological heritage, but is able to touch us emotionally in… read more

A Patch for Broken Hearts

December 14, 2004

MIT researchers have grown a tissue patch that could repair damaged hearts, using electric signals that mimic a heartbeat to force single cardiac cells to develop into tissue similar to that of the native heart.

They attached rat cardiac cells to a three-dimensional collagen scaffold and then zapped the cells with electrical pulses modeled on a rat heartbeat for several days, inducing the cells to grow into beating patches… read more

A pathway in the brain that allows humans to learn new words

Might account for language disorders and differences between humans and non-human primates in language learning
July 25, 2013

The arcuate fasciculus (c

Researchers from King’s College London Institute of Psychiatry, in collaboration with Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) and the University of Barcelona, have mapped the neural pathways involved in word learning among humans.

They found that the arcuate fasciculus, a collection of nerve fibers connecting auditory regions at the temporal lobe with the motor area located at the frontal lobe in the left hemisphere… read more

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