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Built-in miniaturized micro-supercapacitor powers silicon chip

Replaces bulky batteries in wearable electronics, mobile internet-of-things (IoT) devices, and autonomous sensor networks
June 8, 2016

PS-TiN supercapacitor ft

Finnish researchers have developed a method for building highly efficient miniaturized micro-supercapacitor energy storage directly inside a silicon microcircuit chip, making it possible to power autonomous sensor networks, wearable electronics, and mobile internet-of-things (IoT) devices.

Supercapacitors function similar to standard batteries, but store electrostatic energy instead of chemical energy.

The researchers at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have developed a hybrid nano-electrode that’s only a few nanometers… read more

How creating defective nanodiamonds could revolutionize nanotechnology and quantum computing

June 8, 2016

This electron microscope image shows a hybrid nanoparticle consisting of a nanodiamond (roughly 50 nanometers wide) covered in smaller silver nanoparticles that enhance the diamond's optical properties. (credit: Min Ouyang)

University of Maryland researchers have developed a method to quickly and inexpensively assemble diamond-based hybrid nanoparticles from the ground up in large quantities while avoiding many of the problems with current methods.

These hybrid nanoparticles could speed the design of room-temperature qubits for quantum computers and create brighter dyes for biomedical imaging or highly sensitive magnetic and temperature sensors, for example.

When impurities are betterread more

Universe’s first life might have been born on diamond planets

June 7, 2016

In this artist's conception, a carbon planet orbits a sunlike star in the early universe. Young planetary systems lacking heavy chemical elements but relatively rich in carbon could form worlds made of graphite, carbides and diamond rather than Earth-like silicate rocks. Blue patches show where water has pooled on the planet's surface, forming potential habitats for alien life. (credit: Christine Pulliam (CfA). Sun image: NASA/SDO)

New findings by scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) suggest that planet formation in the early universe might have created carbon planets consisting of graphite, carbides, and diamond and that astronomers might find these diamond worlds by searching a rare class of stars.

“This work shows that even stars with a tiny fraction of the carbon in our solar system can host planets,” says lead… read more

New material kills E. coli bacteria in 30 seconds

Destroys bacteria cell membrane, blocking development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria
June 6, 2016

A microscopic image of the E. coli bacteria (credit:Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology)

A new material that can kill E. coli bacteria within 30 seconds has been developed by researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) of A*STAR in Singapore.

Triclosan, a common antibacterial ingredient found in many products such as toothpastes, soaps, and detergents to reduce or prevent bacterial infections, has been linked to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics, with adverse health effects. The European Union… read more

Scientists plan to build human genome from scratch

June 6, 2016

Efficiency trends in DNA sequencing (green) and synthesis of double-stranded DNA (dsDNA, blue) and single-stranded DNA (ssDNA, red) over the past ~35 years. Double-stranded DNA, or<br />
gene synthesis, has improved noticeably over the past ~10 years, but still lags behind<br />
sequencing and ssDNA synthesis. The disruptive improvement in sequencing and ssDNA (oligonucleotides) synthesis technologies has improved from multiplex and miniaturization technologies in high-throughput DNA sequencing and oligo microarray technologies, respectively. Commercial gene synthesis technologies relies on both oligo synthesis (building blocks) and sequencing (validation of synthesis) technologies. (credit: Jef D. Boeke/Science)

Leading genomics experts have announced Genome Project-write (HGP-write), which aims to synthesize entire genomes of humans and other species from chemical components and get them to function in living cells.

As explained in Science, the goal of HGP-write is to reduce the costs of engineering large genomes, including a human genome, and to develop an ethical framework for genome-scale engineering and transformative medical applications.

Impactsread more

Chronic stroke patients safely recover after injection of human stem cells

Stanford researchers now actively recruiting 156 patients for new trial
June 3, 2016

Sonia Olea Coontz had a stroke in 2011 that affected the movement of her right arm and leg. After modified stem cells were injected into her brain as part of a clinical trial, she says her limbs "woke up." (credit: Mark Rightmire/Stanford University School of Medicine)

Injecting specially prepared human adult stem cells directly into the brains of chronic stroke patients proved safe and effective in restoring motor (muscle) function in a small clinical trial led by Stanford University School of Medicine investigators.

The 18 patients had suffered their first and only stroke between six months and three years before receiving the injections, which involved drilling a small hole through their skulls.

For most… read more

Dietary fiber has biggest influence on successful aging, research reveals

June 2, 2016

(credit: iStock)

Eating the right amount of dietary fiber from breads, cereals, and fruits can help us avoid disease and disability into old age, according to an open-access paper published in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences by scientists from The Westmead Institute for Medical Research in Australia.

Using data compiled from the Blue Mountains Eye Study, a benchmark population-based study… read more

Soft, safe robot actuators inspired by human bicep muscles

"A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm." --- Isaac Asimov's first law of robotics
June 2, 2016

VAMP

If robots are going work around humans, they will have to be softer and safer. A Harvard team has designed a new actuator with that in mind. Its movements are similar to those of a human bicep muscle, using vacuum power to automate soft rubber beams. Like real muscles, the actuators are soft, shock-absorbing, and pose no danger, according to the researchers.

The work is led by… read more

Implanted neuroprosthesis improves walking ability in stroke patient

June 1, 2016

gait-assist system ft

A surgically implanted neuroprosthesis has led to substantial improvement in walking speed and distance in a patient with limited mobility after a stroke, according to a single-patient study in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

The system, programmed to stimulate coordinated activity of hip, knee, and ankle muscles, “is a promising intervention to provide assistance to stroke survivors during daily walking,” write Nathaniel S. Makowski, PhD,… read more

‘On-the-fly’ 3-D printing system prints what you design, as you design it

June 1, 2016

This wire frame prototype of a toy aircraft was printed in just 10 minutes, including testing for correct fit, and modified during printing to create the cockpit. The file was updated in the process, and could be used to print a finished model. (credit: Cornell University)

Cornell researchers have developed an interactive prototyping system that prints a wire frame of your design as you design it. You can pause anywhere in the process to test or measure and make needed changes, which will be added to the physical model still in the printer.

In conventional 3-D printing, a nozzle scans across a stage depositing drops of plastic, rising slightly after each pass to… read more

How to make opaque AI decisionmaking accountable

May 31, 2016

transparency report ft

Machine-learning algorithms are increasingly used in making important decisions about our lives — such as credit approval, medical diagnoses, and in job applications — but exactly how they work usually remains a mystery. Now Carnegie Mellon University researchers may devised an effective way to improve transparency and head off confusion or possibly legal issues.

CMU’s new Quantitative Input Influence (QII) testing tools can generate “transparency reports” that provide the… read more

Cell-phone-radiation study finds associated brain and heart tumors in rodents

May 27, 2016

Glioma in rat brain (credit: Samuel Samnick et al./European Journal of Nuclear Medicine)

A series of studies over two years with rodents exposed to radio frequency radiation (RFR) found low incidences of malignant gliomas (tumors of glial support cells) in the brain and schwannoma tumors in the heart.*

The studies were performed under the auspices of the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP).

Potentially preneoplastic (pre-cancer) lesions were also observed in the brain and heart of male rats… read more

How to erase bad memories and enhance good ones

May 27, 2016

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Imagine if people with dementia could enhance good memories or those with post-traumatic stress disorder could wipe out bad memories. A Stony Brook University research team has now taken a step toward that goal by manipulating one of the brain’s natural mechanisms for signaling involved in emotional memory: a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine.

The region of the brain most involved in emotional memory is thought to… read more

Deep learning applied to drug discovery and repurposing

May 27, 2016

Deep neural networks for drug discovery (credit: Insilico Medicine, Inc.)

Scientists from Insilico Medicine, Inc. have trained deep neural networks (DNNs) to predict the potential therapeutic uses of 678 drugs, using gene-expression data obtained from high-throughput experiments on human cell lines from Broad Institute’s LINCS databases and NIH MeSH databases.

The supervised deep-learning drug-discovery engine used the properties of small molecules, transcriptional data, and literature to predict efficacy, toxicity, tissue-specificity, and heterogeneity of response.

“We used LINCSread more

Automated top-down design technique simplifies creation of DNA origami nanostructures

Nanoparticles for drug delivery and cell targeting, nanoscale robots, custom-tailored optical devices, and DNA as a storage medium are among the possible applications
May 27, 2016

The boldfaced line, known as a spanning tree, follows the desired geometric shape, touching each vertex just once. A spanning tree algorithm is used in the new DNA origami method to map out the proper routing path for the DNA strand. (credit: Public Domain)

MIT, Baylor College of Medicine, and Arizona State University Biodesign Institute researchers have developed a radical new top-down DNA origami* design method based on a computer algorithm that allows for creating designs for DNA nanostructures by simply inputting a target shape.

DNA origami (using DNA to design and build geometric structures) has already proven wildly successful in creating myriad forms in 2- and… read more

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