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Real-time MRI-guided gene therapy for brain cancer

Phase 1 trial being developed
August 8, 2013

Dr. Chen can see the brain tumor light up with the therapeutic virus (credit: Chen et al./UC San Diego)

Neurosurgeons at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center are among the first in the world to use real-time magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) guidance for delivery of gene therapy as a potential treatment for brain tumors.

Using MRI navigational technology, neurosurgeons can inject Toca 511 (vocimagene amiretrorepvec), a novel investigational gene therapy, directly into… read more

Software upgrades to bionic eye enable color recognition, improve resolution, image focus, zooming

August 7, 2013

argus_implant

The first bionic eye to be approved for patients in the U.S. is getting software upgrades.

As KurzweilAI has reported, the FDA-approved Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System from Second Sight Medical Products transmits images from a small, eye-glass-mounted camera wirelessly to a microelectrode array implanted on a patient’s damaged retina.

The array sends electrical signals via the optic nerve, and the brain interprets a visual image.… read more

How to measure and control the temperature inside living cells

August 7, 2013

Artist’s concept of researchers heating gold nanoparticles inside of a cell with a laser and monitoring diamond sensors to measure temperature. This image is not to scale. Credit: Steven H. Lee (graphiko.com)

A team of researchers working on DARPA’s Quantum-Assisted Sensing and Readout (QuASAR) program recently demonstrated sub-degree temperature measurement and control at the nanometer scale inside living cells. The QuASAR team is led by researchers from Harvard University.

The technology might open the door to a number of defense and medical applications: better thermal management of electronics, monitoring the structural integrity of high-performance materials, cell-specific treatment… read more

An infallible quantum measurement?

August 7, 2013

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Physicists in Innsbruck and Geneva have developed a new reliable method to verify entanglement in the laboratory, using a minimal number of assumptions about the system and measuring devices.

Many quantum technologies require entanglement, so experimental physicists often need to verify entanglement in their systems. “

Two years ago, we managed to verify entanglement between up to 14 ions,” explains Thomas Monz, who works in the… read more

3D IR images now in full color

August 7, 2013

Spectro-microtomographic images of a human hair show absorptions of protein (red) and phospholipid (blue-green). Center, the medulla is observed to have little protein. Bottom, the medulla has higher concentrations of phospholipids.

Researchers have created a non-destructive 3D imaging technique that provides molecular-level chemical information of unprecedented detail on biological and other specimens with no need to stain or alter the specimen.

Developed by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), the technique combines Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy with computed tomography (CT-scans).

“The… read more

Depth perception through a single lens

Mathematical image processing creates a 3D movie of any scene, using just two frames from a stationary camera or microscope
August 7, 2013

Schematic of the light field parameterization used. θX and θY are defined by the projections of a ray onto the xz and yz planes, respectively. (Credit: Antony Orth/Optics Letters)

Researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a way for photographers and microscopists to create a 3D image through a single lens, without moving the camera.

Published in the journal Optics Letters, this improbable-sounding technology relies only on computation and mathematics — no unusual hardware or fancy lenses. The effect is the equivalent of attempting to see a stereo image with one eye… read more

A ‘molecule scanner’ — world’s smallest teraHertz detector

August 7, 2013

Experimental setup to demonstrate the feasibility of generating THz field at nanoscale. A nanojunction, consisting of a ∼10 nm wide nanowire with a<br />
∼10 nm insulating barrier, is fabricated a<br />
interface with c-AFM lithography. Ultrafast (∼30 fs) optical pulses from a Ti:Sapphire laser are divided into “pump” and “probe” beams by a Mach−Zehnder interferometer.

Molecules could soon be “scanned” in a fashion similar to imaging screenings at airports, thanks to a detector developed by University of Pittsburgh physicists.

The detector may have the ability to chemically identify single molecules using terahertz radiation — a range of light far lower in frequency (0.1 to 30 THz) than visible light but higher than microwaves.

Terahertz radiation is commonly used in airport scanners.… read more

World’s first lab-grown burger is eaten in London

August 6, 2013

World's first lab-grown burger (credit: BBC)

The world’s first lab-grown burger was cooked and eaten at a news conference in London, BBC News reports.

Scientists took stem cells from a cow and, at an institute in the Netherlands, turned them into strips of muscle that they combined to make a patty.

One food expert said it was “close to meat, but not that juicy” and another said it tasted like a real… read more

Hive-mind solves tasks using Google Glass ant game

August 6, 2013

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Daniel Estrada of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and Jonathan Lawhead of Columbia University in New York are seeking to bring crowdsourcing to Google Glass, New Scientist reports.

The pair have designed a game called Swarm! that puts a Glass wearer in the role of an ant in a colony.

Similar to the pheromone trails laid down by ants,… read more

Why disorder can improve the performance of plastic solar cells

August 6, 2013

These X-ray images reveal the microscopic structure of two semiconducting plastic polymers. The bottom image, with several big crystals stacked in a row, is from a highly ordered polymer sample. The top image shows a disordered polymer with numerous tiny crystals that are barely discernible. (Credit: Jonathan Rivnay,Stanford and Michael Toney, SSRL/SLAC)

Scientists have spent decades trying to build flexible plastic solar cells efficient enough to compete with conventional cells made of silicon.

To boost performance, research groups have tried creating new plastic materials that enhance the flow of electricity through the solar cell.

Several groups expected to achieve good results by redesigning pliant polymers of plastic into orderly, silicon-like crystals, but the flow of electricity did not improve.… read more

Making a mini Mona Lisa

The future of nanomanufacturing?
August 6, 2013

mini_lisa

Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have “painted” the Mona Lisa on a substrate surface approximately 30 microns in width — or one-third the width of a human hair.

The “Mini Lisa” demonstrates a technique that could potentially be used to achieve nanomanufacturing of devices, because the team was able to vary the surface concentration of molecules on such short-length scales.

The image was created… read more

A cheap spying tool with a high creepy factor

August 6, 2013

cheap_spying_tool

How easy would it be to monitor the movement of everyone on the street by a private citizen with a few hundred dollars to spare?

Brendan O’Connor, 27, bought some plastic boxes and stuffed them with a $25, credit-card size Raspberry Pi Model A computer and a few over-the-counter sensors, including Wi-Fi adapters, The New York Times reports.

He connected each of those boxes to a… read more

New graphene-based supercapacitors rival lead-acid batteries

August 5, 2013

graphene_ionic_1

Monash University researchers have developed a completely new strategy to engineer graphene-based supercapacitors (SC), making them viable for widespread use in renewable energy storage, portable electronics and electric vehicles.

SCs are generally made of highly porous carbon impregnated with a liquid electrolyte to transport the electrical charge. Known for their almost indefinite lifespan and the ability to re-charge in seconds, the drawback of existing SCs… read more

A layer of microspheres can slow sound waves

Potential to shrink devices, create new types of sensors
August 5, 2013

microspheres_on_substrate

MIT researchers have created two-dimensional arrays of micrograins that can funnel acoustic waves, much as specially designed crystals can control the passage of light or other waves.

The granular material behaves much like a crystal, with its close-packed grains mimicking the precise, orderly arrangement of crystalline atoms.

The researchers say the findings could lead to a new way of controlling frequencies in electronic devices… read more

Existing cropland could feed 4 billion more

An abundant supply of food for a hungry world, hidden in plain sight
August 5, 2013

cropland

Reallocating croplands away from fuels and animal feed could boost food available for people by 70 percent without clearing more land, new research from the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota research shows

The world’s croplands could feed 4 billion more people than they do now just by shifting from producing animal feed and biofuels to producing exclusively food for human consumption,… read more

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