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You can now be identified by your ‘brainprint’ with 100% accuracy

Could one day replace fingerprints; initial use likely to be high-security locations
April 21, 2016

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Binghamton University researchers have developed a biometric identification method called Cognitive Event-RElated Biometric REcognition (CEREBRE) for identifying an individual’s unique “brainprint.” They recorded the brain activity of 50 subjects wearing an electroencephalograph (EEG) headset while looking at selected images from a set of 500 images.

The researchers found that participants’ brains reacted uniquely to each image — enough so that a computer system that analyzed the different… read more

Scientists shoot anticancer drugs deep into tumors

Ultrasonic vibrations cause gas microbubbles to explode, releasing nanoparticles containing anticancer drugs
April 18, 2016

Schematic of magnetic microbubbles used in the study contain gas cores (blue) and shells of magnetic iron-oxide nanoparticles (red), forming a dense shell (center) around a drug-containing nanoparticles. When stimulated by ultrasound at resonant frequencies, the nanoparticles can travel hundreds of micrometers into tumor tissue.  (credit:  Yu Gao et al./NPG Asia Materials)

Scientists at Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) have invented a new way to deliver cancer drugs deep into tumor cells.

They created micro-sized gas bubbles coated with anticancer drug particles embedded in iron oxide nanoparticles and used MRI or other magnetic sources to direct these microbubbles to gather around a specific tumor. Then they used ultrasound to vibrate the microbubbles, providing the energy to direct the drug particles into… read more

Super-stretchy, self-healing material could lead to artificial muscle

April 18, 2016

An extremely stretchable polymer film that can repair itself when punctured, suggesting potential applications in artificial muscle (credit: Bao Research Group)

Stanford researchers have developed a new material that can stretch to 100 times its original length by exposing it to an electric field, and even repair itself if punctured, making it potentially useful as an artificial muscle.

Artificial muscles currently have applications in some consumer technology and robotics, but small holes or defects in the materials currently used make them less resilient, and they can’t self-repair if punctured or scratched,… read more

Ultrathin organic material enhances e-skin displays

More than next-gen medical displays: they're also ultra mood rings and a new art form
April 15, 2016

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University of Tokyo researchers have developed technology to enable creation of electronic skin (e-skin) displays of blood oxygen level, e-skin heart rate sensors for medical, athletic uses, and other applications.

To serve as a demo, they’ve created an ultrathin, ultraflexible, protective layer and created an air-stable, organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display.

For use in electronic devices integrated into the human body, wearable electronics need to… read more

NYU Holodeck to be model for year 2041 cyberlearning

The role of VR and AI in future integrated living, learning, and research environments
April 15, 2016

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In an open-access paper in the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Education, Winslow Burleson, PhD, MSE, associate professor, New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing, suggests that “advanced cyberlearning environments that involve VR and AI innovations are needed to solve society’s “wicked challenges*” — entrenched and seemingly intractable societal problems.

Burleson and and co-author Armanda Lewis imagine such technology in a year 2041 Holodeck,… read more

Quadriplegic man is first to regain use of hand and fingers

Six years ago, Ian Burkhart was paralyzed in a diving accident. Today, he can swipe a credit card, pour a drink, or even play a guitar video game, his fingers and hand movements driven by his own thoughts --- no prosthetic arm or robot required.
April 15, 2016

Ian Burkhart, who is paralyzed, playing a guitar video game, enabled by neural bypass system. (credit: The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and Battelle)

Battelle and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have developed and surgically implanted the first neural bypass for spinal cord injuries that reconnects the brain to muscles, allowing voluntary and functional control of a paralyzed limb by using a patient’s thoughts — no robotic prosthetic arm required.

Ian Burkhart, a 24-year-old quadriplegic injured in a diving accident, is the first person to experience… read more

Turning hands and packages into displays

Are you ready for haptic "smart hands" and interactive displays on packages?
April 15, 2016

The device uses 'time-reversal' processing to send ultrasound waves through the hand. This technique is effectively like ripples in water but in reverse -- the waves become more targeted as they travel through the hand, ending at a precise point on the palm. (credit: Sri Subramanian / University of Sussex)

Imagine using your hand as an interactive touch-screen display. Sounds like science fiction, but Nokia Research Centre and the European Research Council have funded a study, led by the University of Sussex, to develop such a device, which could be used as a display for the next generation of smartwatches and other smart devices.

Called SkinHaptics, the device (still in the lab) sends ultrasonic pulses… read more

Microscope uses nanosecond-speed laser and deep learning to detect cancer cells more efficiently

April 13, 2016

The microscope uses specially designed optics that boost image clarity and slows them enough to be detected and digitized at a rate of 36 million images per second. It then uses deep learning to distinguish cancer cells from healthy white blood cells. (credit: Tunde Akinloye/CNSI)

Scientists at the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA have developed a new technique for identifying cancer cells in blood samples faster and more accurately than the current standard methods.

In one common approach to testing for cancer, doctors add biochemicals to blood samples. Those biochemicals attach biological “labels” to the cancer cells, and those labels enable instruments to detect and identify them. However, the biochemicals can damage… read more

​Clothes that receive and transmit digital information

Imagine shirts that act as smart-phone antennas, workout clothes that monitor fitness level, sports equipment that monitors performance, a bandage that tells your doctor how well the tissue beneath is healing, or a flexible fabric cap that senses brain signals
April 13, 2016

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Ohio State University researchers have taken a key step in the design of  “functional textiles” — clothes that gather, store, or transmit digital information. They’ve developed a breakthrough method of weaving electronic components into fabric with 0.1mm precision — small enough to integrate components such as sensors and computer memory devices into clothing.

Imagine shirts that act as antennas for your smart phone or tablet, workout clothes that monitor… read more

Chinese team genetically modifies human embryo, using CRISPR gene-editing technique

April 11, 2016

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Chinese researchers have genetically modified a human embryo using CRISPR/Cas9, the gene editing technique, using embryos that carried an extra set of chromosomes (so they were not viable) — hoping to learn more about the possibility of producing human babies that would be immune to HIV.

The Chinese team reports in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics that they obtained 213 fertilized eggs from a fertility clinic, which had been deemed… read more

‘Breakthrough Starshot’ aims to reach Alpha Centauri 20 years after launch

$100 million research and engineering program to study concept of using laser light beam to propel gram-scale "nanocraft" to 20 percent of light speed
April 11, 2016

Lightsail and StarChip powered by Light Beamer (credit: Breakthrough Initiatives)

Internet investor and science philanthropist Yuri Milner and physicist Stephen Hawking announced Tuesday a $100 million research and engineering program, Breakthrough Starshot, aiming to demonstrate proof of concept for light-propelled “nanocrafts” that could travel to Alpha Centauri, our nearest star system.

The nanocrafts would fly at 20 percent of light speed and capture images of possible planets and other scientific data, arriving in just over 20 years after their launch.

“Earth is a wonderful… read more

Autonomous vehicles might have to be test-driven tens or hundreds of years to demonstrate their safety

Alternative testing methods needed, RAND report finds
April 11, 2016

A Lexus RX450h retrofitted by Google for its driverless car fleet (credit: Steve Jurvetson/CC)

Autonomous vehicles would have to be driven hundreds of millions of miles or even hundreds of billions of miles over tens and even hundreds of years (under some scenarios) to create enough data to statistically demonstrate their safety, when compared to the rate at which injuries and fatalities* occur in human-controlled cars and trucks, according to a new open-access RAND report.**

Although the total number of crashes,… read more

First transistors made entirely of nanocrystal ‘inks’ in simplified process

Transistors and other electronic components to be built into flexible or wearable applications; 3D printing planned
April 8, 2016

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University of Pennsylvania engineers have developed a simplified new approach for making transistors by sequentially depositing their components in the form of liquid nanocrystal “inks.” The new process open the door for transistors and other electronic components to be built into flexible or wearable applications. It also avoids the highly complex current process for creating transistors, which requires high-temperature, high-vacuum equipment. Also, the new lower-temperature process is compatible with a… read more

Best textile manufacturing methods for creating human tissues with stem cells

Bioengineers determine three best processes for engineering tissues needed for organ and tissue repair
April 8, 2016

All scaffold types exhibited the presence of lipid vacuoles (small red spheres, right), compared to control (left). Electrospun scaffolds exhibited a monolayer of lipid vacuoles in a single focal plane and in multiple planes throughout the fabric thickness for meltblown, spunbond, and carded scaffolds. Scale bars: 100 μm (credit: S. A. Tuin  et al./Biomedical Materials)

Elizabeth Loboa, dean of the Missouri University College of Engineering, and her team have tested new tissue- engineering methods (based on textile manufacturing) to find ones that are most cost-effective and can be produced in larger quantities.

Tissue engineering is a process that uses novel biomaterials seeded with stem cells to grow and replace missing tissues. When certain types of materials are used, the “scaffolds” that… read more

Berkeley Lab captures first high-res 3D images of DNA segments

DNA segments are targeted to be building blocks for molecular computer memory and electronic devices, nanoscale drug-delivery systems, and as markers for biological research and imaging disease-relevant proteins
April 7, 2016

In a Berkeley Lab-led study, flexible double-helix DNA segments connected to gold nanoparticles are revealed from the 3-D density maps (purple and yellow) reconstructed from individual samples using a Berkeley Lab-developed technique called individual-particle electron tomography or IPET. Projections of the structures are shown in the background grid. (credit: Berkeley Lab)

An international research team working at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has captured the first high-resolution 3D images of double-helix DNA segments attached at either end to gold nanoparticles — which could act as building blocks for molecular computer memory and electronic devices (see World’s smallest electronic diode made from single DNA molecule), nanoscale drug-delivery systems, and as markers for biological research and for imaging… read more

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