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Mechanical energy harvester replaces small batteries

May 6, 2013

BOLT micro-power module (credit: Microgen)

MicroGen has developed a “piezo-MEMS” (piezoelectric microelectromechanical systems) device that gathers ambient vibrations and converts them into electrical energy.

Vibration causes a tiny flap in the device to swing back and forth, generateing electrical current that charges an ultra-capacitor (a thin-film battery).

The “BOLT micro-power module” (MPM) begins commercial-scale production in summer 2013. It was researched and developed by the company at the… read more

New research could let vehicles, robots collaborate with humans

Everything around us is getting smarter
May 5, 2013

zipcar_map

Vehicles, robots and other autonomous devices could soon collaborate with humans, thanks to researchers at MIT who are developing systems capable of negotiating with people to determine the best way to achieve their goals.

“In general, everything around us is getting smarter,” says Brian Williams, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics and leader of the Model-Based Embedded and Robotic Systems group… read more

The ultimate lifelogging interface?

"Wink, wink, nudge, nudge" --- Monty Python
May 4, 2013

wink

Developer Michael DiGiovanni has revealed on github a beta android app for Google Glass called “Winky” that takes a photo — replacing the wordy “”OK, Glass, take a picture.”

“Users will be able to lifelog with little to no effort. It allows more pictures to be taken easily and to become a timeline of where you have been,” says Roundarch Isobar, where DiGiovanni is Emerging… read more

Carbon nanotube sensor detects glucose in saliva

May 3, 2013

glucose_binding_nanotube

Painful finger-prick blood tests for diabetics could become a thing of the past, say physicists who have built a sensor that measures glucose in saliva.

Mitchell Lerner at the University of Pennsylvania and associates have developed just such a device, MIT Technology Review reports. Their glucose sensor is essentially a carbon nanotube-based transistor in which the nanotubes are coated with pyrene-1-boronic acid molecules that bind to glucose.… read more

How to visualize bio-metals and bio-molecules simultaneously

May 3, 2013

Photograph of GREI-II and experimental set-up (credit: RIKEN)

Researchers from the RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies have developed a new molecular imaging technology that enables them to visualize bio-metals and bio-molecules simultaneously in a live mouse.

This new technology will enable researchers to study the complex interactions between metal elements and molecules in living organisms.

Metal elements such as zinc, iron and copper are present in trace amounts in the body… read more

Towards a quantum internet

First detection of the spin of a single atom using a combined optical and electrical approach
May 3, 2013

This image shows laser light addressing a single erbium atom in a silicon chip (credit: University of New South Wales)

An Australian team led by researchers at the University of New South Wales is the first in the world to detect the spin, or quantum state, of a single atom using a combined optical and electrical approach.

This is a breakthrough in quantum science that brings the prospect of a network of ultra-powerful quantum computers — connected via a quantum internet — closer to reality,… read more

How haptics can enhance bionic eyes

Using haptics to improve outcomes for people given visual prosthetics
May 3, 2013

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Haptic devices — technologies that simulate the feel of an object — should be used as early as possible in children fitted with visual prosthetics, and also for older congenitally blind and late-blind people, George van Doorn and colleagues at Monash University suggest.

The haptic device can provide supplementary or redundant information that allows cross-referencing with the visual input from the prosthetic, they explain. This will help… read more

3D-printed ‘bionic’ ear melds electronics and biology

May 3, 2013

Scientists used 3-D printing to merge tissue and an antenna capable of receiving radio signals. Credit: Photo by Frank Wojciechowski

Scientists at Princeton University have used a 3D printer to create a functional ear that can “hear” radio frequencies up to microwave frequencies.

The researchers’ primary purpose was to explore an efficient and versatile means to merge electronics with tissue. The scientists used 3D printing of cells and nanoparticles, followed by cell culture to combine a small coil antenna with cartilage, creating what they term… read more

Scientists discover how to slow down aging in mice and increase longevity

Blocking a specific protein complex in the hypothalamus and injecting a hormone slow aging and cognitive decline
May 3, 2013

Hypothalamus:  (credit: iStockphoto)

Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have found that the hypothalamus of mice controls aging throughout the body.

Their discovery of a specific age-related signaling pathway opens up new strategies for combating diseases of old age and extending lifespan.

Background: the hypothalmus and inflammation

“Scientists have long wondered whether aging occurs independently in the body’s various tissues or if it… read more

‘Superlattice’ unleashes oxygen to improve fuel-cell efficiency

May 2, 2013

The MIT team used a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) to study the electrical activity of a superlattice material composed of two different compounds of the elements strontium, lanthanum and cobalt. At bottom, a diagram of how they "sliced" the material on an angle to expose wider bands of the thin layers of material. The center two images show the resulting measurements of the surface topography of the material, and the activity of electrons moving through it. At top, a diagram of the molecular structures of the two compounds. (Credit: Chen et al./MIT)

‘Superlattice’ structure could give a huge boost to oxygen reaction in fuel cells, increasing their power potential.

New research at MIT could dramatically improve the efficiency of fuel cells, which are considered a promising alternative to batteries for powering everything from electronic devices to cars and homes.

Fuel cells make electricity by combining hydrogen, or hydrocarbon fuels, with oxygen. But the most efficient types, called solid… read more

A ‘DNA nanotrain’ for targeted cancer drug transport

Targeted chemotherapy delivery without toxic side-effects
May 2, 2013

Chemotherapy drugs are specifically transported to target cancer cells, unloaded, and induce cytotoxicity to cancer cells (credit: )

University of Florida researchers have developed a “DNA nanotrain” that fast-tracks its payload of cancer-fighting drugs and bioimaging agents to tumor cells deep within the body.

The nanotrains can cost-effectively deliver high doses of drugs to precisely targeted cancers and other medical maladies without leaving behind toxic nano-clutter.

DNA nanotechnology holds great promise as a new way to deliver chemotherapy directly to cancer cells, but… read more

Brain implant gives early warning of epileptic seizure

May 2, 2013

seizure_advisory_system

A new brain implant can warn of seizures minutes before they strike, enabling them to get out of situations that could present a safety risk, New Scientist reports.

With funding from NeuroVista, a medical device company in Seattle, Mark Cook of the University of Melbourne and his colleagues have developed a brain implant that consists of a small patch of electrodes that measure brain… read more

Radical new graphene design operates at terahertz speed

May 2, 2013

Tunnelling transistor based on vertical graphene heterostructures. Tunnelling current between two graphene layers can be controlled by gating (Credit: Condensed Matter Physics Group/University of Manchester)

A new transistor capable of revolutionizing technologies for medical imaging and security screening has been developed by graphene researchers from the Universities of Manchester and Nottingham.

This is the first graphene-based transistor with bistable characteristics, which means that the device can spontaneously switch between two electronic states.

Such devices are in great demand as emitters of terahertz (trillions of oscillations per second, or thousands of gigahertz)… read more

DARPA seeks new ideas for mobile ad hoc networks

Would bypass Internet limitations, expand mobile network 20 times
May 2, 2013

MANETs (credit: DARPA)

Troops operating in forward locations without telecommunication infrastructure often rely on a mobile ad hoc network (MANET) to communicate and share data.

The communication devices  double as nodes on the mobile network. But the network can only scale to around 50 nodes before network services become ineffective.

So DARPA is looking for revolutionary new ideas for technologies unencumbered by Internet Protocols (IP) that could… read more

Lab-on-chip detects multiple tropical infectious diseases

May 2, 2013

Inserting natural samples directly into the VereTropTM chip, allowing fast and accurate identification of various tropical diseases that share the same fever symptoms (credit: A*STAR)

VereTrop, the first biochip that can identify 13 different major tropical diseases from a single blood sample, has been launched by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and Veredus Laboratories.

“Tropical diseases often reflect common symptoms like fever, and may not be accurately diagnosed early by doctors. This portable test kit is a rapid and reliable method to accurately test for multiple… read more

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