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Magnetic brain stimulation improves a precise type of memory

Non-invasive repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation could help people with brain injuries or dementia
January 20, 2017

Using Brain Stimulation ft

Non-invasive magnetic brain stimulation can be used to precisely improve a specific type of memory — remembering highly precise contextual and spatial information — Northwestern Medicine scientists shown for the first time.

The new research could help in developing new treatments for people with brain injuries or dementia, said Joel Voss, assistant professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, senior… read more

Microbiologists make big leap in developing ‘green’ electronics

January 20, 2017

An artist's rendition of Geobacter expressing electrically conductive nanowires. Microbiologists at UMass Amherst have discovered a new type of natural wire produced by bacteria that could greatly accelerate the development of sustainable "green" conducting materials for the electronics industry. (credit: UMass Amherst)

 

UMass Amherst research finds microbe yields better electronic material

Microbiologists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst report that they have discovered a new type of microbial nanowire produced by bacteria that could greatly accelerate the development of sustainable “green” conducting materials for the electronics industry.

The study by Derek Lovley and colleagues appears this week in an open-access paper in mBio, the… read more

A ‘smart’ patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

Replaces finger-pricking and insulin shots
January 20, 2017

Tiny, painless microneedles on a patch can deliver insulin in response to rising glucose levels. (credit: American Chemical Society)

A team of scientists has invented a replacement for daily glucose-level finger-pricking and insulin shots: a painless “smart” patch that monitors blood glucose and releases insulin when levels climb too high.

The report on the device, which has only been tested on mice so far, appears in the journal ACS Nano.

People with Type 1 diabetes don’t make insulin — a hormone that regulates blood glucose (sugar). Those with… read more

Woman dies from antibiotic-resistant bacteria when no antibiotics worked

Deadly “CRE” family of superbug bacteria spreading more widely and stealthily, Harvard study finds
January 18, 2017

CRE bacteria

The death of a hospitalized patient in Reno Nevada for whom no available antibiotics worked highlights what World Health Organization and other public-health experts have been warning: antibiotic resistance is a serious threat and has gone global.

The patient — a female in her 70s — was admitted in for an infection and died in September 2016 from septic shock the CDC announced on Jan.… read more

Wearable sensors can alert you when you are getting sick, Stanford study shows

January 18, 2017

iHeath sensor ft

Fitness monitors and other wearable biosensors can tell when your heart rate, activity, skin temperature, and other measures are abnormal, suggesting possible illness, including the onset of infection, inflammation, and even insulin resistance, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The team collected nearly 2 billion measurements from 60 people, including continuous data from each participant’s wearable biosensor devices* and periodic data… read more

Compact new microscope chemically identifies micrometer-sized particles

Low-cost, ten-times-higher-resolution spectroscopy technique could allow for detection of microscopic amounts of chemicals for applications in security, law enforcement, and research
January 13, 2017

Multiple species of micron-sized particles are simultaneously illuminated by an infrared laser and a green laser beam. Absorption of the infrared laser light by the particles increases their temperatures, causing them to expand and slightly altering their optical properties. These changes are unique to the material composition of each particle and can be measured by examining the modulation of scattered green light from each particle. (credit: Ryan Sullenberger, MIT Lincoln Laboratory)

MIT researchers have developed a radical design for a low-cost, miniaturized microscope that can chemically identify individual micrometer-sized particles. It could one day be used in airports or other high-security venues as a highly sensitive and low-cost way to rapidly screen people for microscopic amounts of potentially dangerous materials. It could also be used for scientific analysis of very small samples or for measuring the optical properties of materials.… read more

Synthetic stem cells offer benefits of natural stem cells without the risks

Can be applied to multiple stem cell types and to repair of various organ systems
January 13, 2017

Synthetic cardiac stem cells could offer therapeutic benefits without associated risks. (credit: Alice Harvey, NC State University)

Scientists have created the first synthetic version of a cardiac stem cell, offering therapeutic benefits comparable to those from natural stem cells — but without the risks and limitations, according to researchers from North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University in China.

The newly created “synthetic stem cells” (not actual stem cells —… read more

Intricate microdevices that can be safely implanted

Applications include a drug-delivery system to provide tailored drug doses for precision medicine, catheters, stents, cardiac pacemakers, and soft microbotics
January 13, 2017

Implantable microrobots ft

Columbia Engineering researchers have invented a technique for manufacturing complex microdevices with three-dimensional, freely moving parts made from biomaterials that can safely be implanted in the body. Potential applications include a drug-delivery system to provide tailored drug doses for precision medicine, catheters, stents, cardiac pacemakers, and soft microbotics.

Most current implantable microdevices have static components rather than moving parts and, because they require batteries or other toxic… read more

A transparent, self-healing, highly stretchable conductive material

Can be electrically activated to power artificial muscles or used to improve batteries, electronic devices, and robots
January 6, 2017

cut and healed ft

A team of scientists has developed a transparent, self-healing, highly stretchable conductive material that can be electrically activated to power artificial muscles or used to improve batteries, electronic devices, and robots.

The findings, published Dec. 23 in the journal Advanced Materials, combine the fields of self-healing materials and ionic conductors (a material that ions can flow through). Ionic conductors are a class of materials with key roles… read more

Nanowire ‘inks’ enable low-cost paper- or plastic-based printable electronics

Highly conductive ink-jet-printed silver films enable electronic circuits without requiring high heat; lower-cost solar cells, RFID chips, batteries, other devices now possible
January 6, 2017

Duke University chemists have found that silver nanowire films like these conduct electricity well enough to form functioning circuits without applying high temperatures, enabling printable electronics on heat-sensitive materials like paper or plastic. (credit: Ian Stewart and Benjamin Wiley)

By suspending tiny metal nanoparticles in liquids, Duke University scientists can use conductive ink-jet-printed conductive “inks” to print inexpensive, customizable RFID and other electronic circuit patterns on just about any surface — even on paper and plastics.

Printed electronics, which are already being used widely in devices such as the anti-theft radio frequency identification (RFID) tags you might find on the back of new DVDs, currently have… read more

MIT researchers design one of the strongest, lightest materials known

10 times as strong as steel but much lighter
January 6, 2017

3-D-printed gyroid models such as this one were used to test the strength and mechanical properties of a new lightweight material (credit: Melanie Gonick/MIT)

MIT scientists said today they’ve just created one the strongest materials known (ten times stronger than steel, but also one of the lightest, with a density of just 5 percent of that of steel) by compressing and fusing flakes of graphene, a two-dimensional form of carbon.

In its two-dimensional form, graphene is thought to be the strongest of all known materials. But researchers until now have had a hard… read more

Tesla Autopilot predicts collision ahead seconds before it happens

Before visible signs of trouble
December 30, 2016

Tesla autopilot predicts

Hans Noordsij, a Dutch Tesla driver, uploaded a Dec. 27 dashcam video that dramatically shows the new radar processing capacity of Tesla’s Autopilot and resulting auto-breaking, DarkVision Hardware reports. The system’s radar saw ahead of the car in front and tracked two cars ahead on the road. Note the audible warning a second or so before the accident.

pic.twitter.com/70MySRiHGR

December 27, 2016

How to form the world’s smallest self-assembling nanowires — just 3 atoms wide

December 30, 2016

This animation shows molecular building blocks joining the tip of a growing nanowire. Each block consists of a diamondoid – the smallest possible bit of diamond – attached to sulfur and copper atoms (yellow and brown spheres). Like LEGO blocks, they only fit together in certain ways that are determined by their size and shape. The copper and sulfur atoms form a conductive wire in the middle, and the diamondoids form an insulating outer shell. (credit: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

Scientists at Stanford University and the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have discovered a way to use diamondoids* — the smallest possible bits of diamond — to self-assemble atoms, LEGO-style, into the thinnest possible electrical wires, just three atoms wide.

The new technique could potentially be used to build tiny wires for a wide range of applications, including fabrics that generate electricity, optoelectronic devices… read more

MRI breakthroughs include ultra-sensitive MRI magnetic field sensing, more-sensitive monitoring without chemical or radioactive labels

Heart mechanical contractions recorded in MRI machine for first time; hope to monitor neurotransmitters at 100 times lower levels
December 30, 2016

Highly sensitive magnetic field sensor (credit: ETH Zurich / Peter Rüegg)

Swiss researchers have succeeded in measuring changes in strong magnetic fields with unprecedented precision, they report in the open-access journal Nature Communications. The finding may find widespread use in medicine and other areas.

In their experiments, the researchers at the Institute for Biomedical Engineering, which is operated jointly by ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich, magnetized a water droplet inside a magnetic resonance imaging… read more

Apple’s first AI paper focuses on creating ‘superrealistic’ image recognition

December 28, 2016

Simulated+Unsupervised learning ft

Apple’s first paper on artificial intelligence, published Dec. 22 on arXiv (open access), describes a method for improving the ability of a deep neural network to recognize images.

To train neural networks to recognize images, AI researchers have typically labeled (identified or described) each image in a dataset. For example, last year, Georgia Institute of Technology researchers developed a deep-learning method to recognize images taken at regular… read more

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