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One-molecule-thick material could lead to ultrathin, flexible solar cells and LEDs

March 11, 2014

two_dimensional_material_optoelectronics

A team of MIT researchers has used a novel material that’s just a few atoms thick to create devices that can harness or emit light.

This proof-of-concept design could lead to ultrathin, lightweight, and flexible photovoltaic cells, light emitting diodes (LEDs), and other optoelectronic devices, the researchers say.

The research was published in the March 9 issue of Nature Nanotechnology. Researchers at Vienna Universityread more

Robotic prosthesis turns drummer into a three-armed cyborg

March 10, 2014

This robotic drumming prosthesis has motors that power two drumsticks. One is controlled by muscle sensors. The other is autonomous. (Credit: Georgia Tech)

Georgia Tech Professor Gil Weinberg has created a robotic drumming prosthesis that can be attached to amputees.

It has motors that power two drumsticks. The first stick is controlled both physically by the musicians’ arms and electronically using electromyography (EMG) muscle sensors. The other stick “listens” to the music being played and improvises.

“The second drumstick has a mind of its own,” said Weinberg, founding director… read more

NASA tests new robotic refueling technologies

March 10, 2014

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NASA has successfully concluded a remotely controlled test of new technologies that would empower future space robots to transfer hazardous oxidizer — a type of propellant — into the tanks of satellites in space today.

NASA is also incorporating results from this test and the Robotic Refueling Mission on the International Space Station to prepare for an upcoming ground-based… read more

A small step toward seeing habitable planets

March 10, 2014

beta_Pic_VisAO_v3

University of Arizona researchers have snapped images of a planet outside our solar system with an Earth-based telescope using a CCD imaging sensor, which is also found in digital cameras, instead of an thermal infrared detector.

“This is an important next step in the search for exoplanets because imaging in visible light instead of thermal infrared is what we likely have to do if we want to… read more

Three-part nanoparticles for biomedicine eliminate biocompatibilty, storage problems

March 10, 2014

two nanoparticles

Researchers in the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Nanoparticles by Design Unit have created nanoparticles for biomedicine that address current problems with biomedically relevant nanoparticles,  such as:

  • Nanoparticles are primarily made using chemicals, which may be harmful to the patient.
  • The fabrication process takes several steps, the size of the particles is difficult to control, and the particles can only survive in

read more

Imaging small biomolecules inside live cells

March 7, 2014

Images of stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) microscopy coupled with alkyne tags for visualizing a broad spectrum of small molecule dynamics in live cells and animals, including metabolic incorporation of small molecule precursors of nucleic acids for de novo synthesis of DNA (magenta image) and RNA (cyan image), amino acids for newly synthesized proteins (red image), lipids for choline phospholipids (yellow image) and triglycerides (blue image); and delivery pathways of small molecule drugs in mouse ear tissues (green image). (Credit: Lu Wei of Columbia University)

Researchers at Columbia University have made a significant step toward visualizing small biomolecules inside living biological systems with minimum disturbance, a longstanding goal in the scientific community.

In a study published March 2nd in Nature Methods, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Wei Min’s research team has developed a general method to image a broad spectrum of small biomolecules, such as small molecular drugs and nucleic acids, amino acids,… read more

Optical nano-tweezers allow for manipulating molecules, other nanoscale objects

March 7, 2014

The image on the left is an electron beam microscopy image of the extremity of the plasmon nano-tweezers. The image on the right is a sketch illustrating the trapping of a nanoparticle in the bowtie aperture. (Credit: Institute of Photonic Sciences)

Researchers at the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) in Catalonia have invented nano-optical tweezers capable of trapping and moving an individual nano-object in three dimensions using the force of light.

“This technique could revolutionize the field of nanoscience since, for the first time, we have shown that it is possible to trap, 3D-manipulate, and release a single nano-object without exerting any mechanical contact or other invasive action,” said Romain… read more

‘Multiferroics’ advances promise increased power efficiency for future computer processors

March 7, 2014

Multiferroic_Materials

A team led by researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has made major improvements in computer processing using an emerging class of magnetic materials called “multiferroics,” and these advances could make future devices far more energy-efficient than current technologies.

With today’s microprocessors, electric current passes through transistors (electronic switches). Because current involves the movement of electrons, this process produces heat —… read more

Credit card-sized device could analyze biopsy, help diagnose pancreatic cancer in minutes

Use in diagnosis of other cancers also planned
March 6, 2014

uw-microfluidic-device

University of Washington scientists and engineers are developing a low-cost device that could help pathologists diagnose pancreatic cancer* earlier and faster.

The prototype can perform the basic steps for processing a biopsy, relying on fluid transport instead of human hands to process the tissue.

“This new process is expected to help the pathologist make a more rapid diagnosis and be able to determine more accurately how… read more

Supplement added to a standard diet improves health and prolongs life in mice

March 5, 2014

Representative photographs from blinded histopathological analysis of kidney, liver, and lung panels for mice on standard diet (SD) and SRT1720 supplementation

Activating a protein called sirtuin 1 extends lifespan, delays the onset of age-related metabolic diseases, and improves general health in mice. The findings, which appear online February 27 in the Cell Press journal Cell Reports, point to a potentially promising strategy for improving health and longevity.

Sirtuin 1, or SIRT1, is known to play an important role in maintaining metabolic balance in multiple tissues, and studies in… read more

Robotic-assisted prostate surgery offers better cancer control, study finds

March 5, 2014

da Vinci Si robot (credit: Intuitive Surgical)

An observational study from UCLA‘s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center has found that prostate cancer patients who undergo robotic-assisted prostate surgery have fewer instances of cancer cells at the edge of their surgical specimen and less need for additional cancer treatments like hormone or radiation therapy than patients who have traditional “open” surgery.

The study, published online Feb. 19 in the journal European Urology, was led… read more

Study pinpoints protective mutations for type 2 diabetes

March 5, 2014

In the new study, researchers describe the genetic analysis of 150,000 patients showing that rare mutations in a gene called SLC30A8 reduce risk of type 2 diabetes by 65 percent (credit: Lauren Solomon, Broad Communications)

An international team led by researchers at the Broad Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has identified mutations in a gene that can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, even in people who have risk factors such as obesity and old age.

The results focus the search for developing novel therapeutic strategies for type 2 diabetes; if a drug can be developed that mimics the… read more

Human Longevity Inc. launched to promote healthy aging using advances in genomics and stem-cell therapies

Building world’s largest genotype/phenotype database
March 5, 2014

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Human Longevity Inc. (HLI), a genomics and cell therapy-based diagnostic and therapeutic company focused on extending the healthy, high performance human life span, was announced today by co-founders J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., Robert Hariri, M.D., Ph.D., and Peter H. Diamandis, M.D.

The company, headquartered in San Diego, California, is being capitalized with an initial $70 million in investor funding.

Largest human sequencingread more

Two-dimensional ‘electron gas’ creates radical microelectronics devices

March 4, 2014

Atomic structure of strontium titinate (credit: Vienna University of Technology)

Vienna University of Technology researchers have created a two-dimensional “electron gas” in strontium titanate. In a thin layer formed by the gas just below the surface, electrons can move freely and occupy different quantum states.

The new material represents a potential future alternative to standard semiconductors. Strontium titanate or other metal oxides could also exhibit other novel phenomena, such as superconductivity, thermoelectricity (converting heat to electricity), or magnetic… read more

How to generate new neurons in brains, spinal cords of living adult mammals

No stem-cell transplants required
March 4, 2014

Induced adult neuroblasts (iANBs) generated from astrocytes develop into functionally mature neurons

UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have created new nerve cells in the brains and spinal cords of living mammals without the need for stem cell transplants to replenish lost cells.

In a comment to a KurzweilAI news article, “Brain signals from a primate directly move paralyzed limbs in another primate ‘avatar,’” “Cazbot” wondered if “a sort of ‘neural jumper’ could be used to bridge damaged sections… read more

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