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First images and spectra of individual carbon nanotubes in a general environment

November 14, 2013

nanotube

A technique for imaging individual carbon nanotubes and for characterizing their electronic and optical properties has been developed by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley.

The physical structure and electronic properties of each individual species of single-walled carbon nanotubes are governed by chirality, meaning their structure has a distinct left/right orientation or “handedness.”

So achieving chirality-controlled growth… read more

Controlling devices with a beam of light

Could make possible light-activated microrobotic and biomedical devices --- batteries not required
November 14, 2013

Arch-shaped samples were created using a azobenzene-functionalized polymer that deform when irradiated with light (blue). The design of the device triggers an elastic instability when it reaches a certain configuration when irradiated and “snaps” to deliver a large power at millisecond time-scales of actuation. (Credit: M. Ravi Shankar et al./University of Pittsburgh)

University of Pittsburgh and Air Force Research Laboratory researchers are investigating polymers that “snap” when triggered by light, thereby converting light energy into mechanical work and potentially eliminating the need for traditional machine components such as switches and power sources.

“Learning from ideas observed in the natural world, we created mechanical designs that generate ultrafast actuation when triggered with light,” M. Ravi Shankar, lead author of the… read more

IBM to announce low-cost, more-powerful cloud-based Watson

November 14, 2013

IBM Watson computer

On Thursday, IBM will announce that Watson will be available to companies, academics and individual software developers as a cloud product that is “more than twice as powerful via the Internet … and at a small fraction of the previous cost,” The New York Times revealed Wednesday.

In October,  IBM announced that “organizations gaining competitive advantage through high cloud adoption are reporting almost double the revenue… read more

Enhanced carbon nanotubes detect molecules at trace amounts

November 13, 2013

A jungle of coated nanotubes.

Scientists have come up with yet another innovative use of nanotubes: to detect molecules at extremely low concentrations, making it possible to detect trace amounts of toxic biological warfare agents, explosives, and drugs.

The joint research team at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich is using three innovative techniques to achieve this:

1. Surface-enhanced Ramanread more

Signal found to enhance survival of new brain cells

Implications for treating neurodegenerative disease, mental illness
November 13, 2013

An illustration of parvalbumin-expressing interneurons delivering lifesaving chemical messengers to newborn neurons via tentacle-like synapses.<br />
Credit: Mingxi Max Song and Gerald Sun

A specialized type of brain cell, parvalbumin-expressing interneuron,  suppresses stem cell activity by  instructing nearby stem cells not to divide, by releasing a chemical signal called GABA. Paradoxically, in the process, it actually encourages the survival of the stem cells’ progeny, Johns Hopkins researchers report.

Understanding how these brain cells “decide” whether to live or die and how to behave is of special interest because changes in… read more

Brain-machine interface allows precise control of coma and general anesthesia or sedation

November 13, 2013

The BMI system records the EEG, segments the EEG into a binary time-series by filtering and thresholding, estimates the BSP or equivalently the effect-site concentration level based on the binary-time series, and then uses this estimate as feedback to control the drug infusion rate.

Researchers have developed a brain-machine interface (BMI) that monitors a patient’s brain activity and adjusts the anesthetic infusion rate to precisely control the level of brain activation in a medically induced coma or for general anesthesia, according to a study published online Oct. 31 in the journal PLoS Computational Biology (open access).

The team includes lead author Maryam Shanechi, a visiting professor and an incoming assistant professor in… read more

Motorola Mobility/Google files patent application for electronic ‘throat tattoo’

November 13, 2013

131112095149-google-neck-tattoo-story-top

Motorola Mobility, owned by Google, has filed a patent application (US20130297301), published last week, for a system “that comprises an electronic skin tattoo* capable of being applied to a throat region of a body.”

The patent application reads:
The electronic skin tattoo can include an embedded microphone; a transceiver for enabling wireless communication with the MCD (mobile communication device); and a power supply configured to receive energizing… read more

Remote virtual surgery via Google Glass and telepresence

November 12, 2013

Remote doctor-advisor

A University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) surgical team has performed one of the first surgeries using a telepresence augmented reality technology from VIPAAR in conjunction with Google Glass.

The combination of the two technologies could be an important step toward the development of useful, practical telemedicine.

VIPAAR (Virtual Interactive Presence in Augmented Reality) is commercializing a UAB-developed technology that provides real-time,… read more

Researchers regrow hair, cartilage, bone, soft tissues

November 12, 2013

Hair club for mice: mouse on right has been

Young animals are known to repair their tissues effortlessly, but can this capacity be recaptured in adults? A new study from researchers at the Stem Cell Program at Boston Children’s Hospital suggests that it can.

By reactivating a dormant gene called Lin28a, which is active in embryonic stem cells, researchers were able to regrow hair and repair cartilage, bone, skin and other soft tissues in a mouse… read more

Researchers grow human muscle cells in a dish

November 12, 2013

Muscle cells grown in mice from transplanted human iPSC-derived cells

Skeletal muscle has proved to be very difficult to grow in patients with muscular dystrophy and other disorders that degrade and weaken muscle. But researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital‘s Stem Cell Program now report boosting muscle mass and reversing disease in a mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, using a “cocktail” of three compounds identified through a new rapid culture system.

Adding the same compounds to stem… read more

Simulated attack on the US power grid planned for Wednesday — Thursday

November 12, 2013

gridexii

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) is quietly planning to launch a simulated attack on the U.S. power grid on Wednesday and Thursday (Nov. 13–14) called GridEx II, according to an unpublished document obtained by KurzweilAI from NERC.

The updated objectives for GridEx II are:

• Exercise the current readiness of the electricity industry to respond to a security incident, incorporating… read more

Bio patch can regrow bone for dental implants and craniofacial defects

November 11, 2013

Researchers at the University of Iowa have created a bio patch to regenerate missing or damaged bone. The patch has been shown to nearly fully regrow missing skull, seen in the image above. Image courtesy of Satheesh Elangovan.

Researchers at the University of Iowa have created a bio patch to regenerate missing or damaged bone by putting DNA into a nano-sized particle that delivers bone-producing instructions directly into cells via genes.

“This is the first study to use plasmid DNA encoding platelet derived growth factor (PDGF) for bone regeneration applications,” researcher Aliasger K. Salem, Ph.D. — a professor in the College of Pharmacy and a co-corresponding author on the… read more

$100 million gift launches Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center at UCSD

November 11, 2013

huma-ipsc-derived-neuron-deerinck

Businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford has committed $100 million to the creation of the Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

The Sanford Center will accelerate development of drugs and cell therapies inspired by and derived from current human stem cell research; establishing, promoting and disseminating clinical trials and patient therapies that will help more quickly transform promise… read more

Worldwide annual solar PV installations will double by 2020, says report

November 10, 2013

Annual solar PV

Annual installations of new solar PV capacity will more than double in capacity by 2020, growing from a total 35.9 gigawatts (GW) in 2013 to 73.4 GW in 2020, according to a recent report from Navigant Research.

Despite waning government support, the threat of international trade wars, and high-profile bankruptcies, the solar photovoltaic (PV) market continues to grow, solar PV technology costs have steadily declined, and pathways… read more

Metallic 3D carbon discovered

New metallic structure may be stable at ambient temperature and pressure, with potential applications ranging from electronics and superconductivity to lightweight space materials
November 8, 2013

3D Metallic carbon with interlocking hexagons (credit: Qian Wang, Ph.D.)

A theoretical, three-dimensional (3D) form of carbon that is metallic under ambient temperature and pressure has been discovered by an international research team.

The search for this form of carbon has remained an ongoing challenge for scientists in the field.

Researchers from Peking University, Virginia Commonwealth University and Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics employed state-of-the-art theoretical methods to show that it is possible to manipulate carbon… read more

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