Oldest

Recyclable electronics: just add hot water

November 8, 2012

recyclable_electronics

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL), along with partners In2Tec Ltd (UK) and Gwent Electronic Materials Ltd, have developed a printed circuit board (PCB) whose components can be easily separated by immersion in hot water.

The project partners designed, developed and tested a series of unzippable polymeric layers that allow the assemblies to be easily separated at end-of-life into their constituent parts, after immersion in hot… read more

Medical devices powered by the ear itself

Could power cochlear implants, diagnostics, and implantable hearing aids
November 8, 2012

ear_powered_chip

Deep in the inner ear of mammals is a natural battery — a chamber filled with ions that produces an electrical potential to drive neural signals.

A team of researchers from MIT, the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST) have demonstrated for the first time that this battery could power implantable electronic devices without impairing hearing.… read more

How to design proteins from scratch

November 8, 2012

protein_model_vs_structure

Given the exponential number of contortions possible for any chain of amino acids, dictating a sequence that will fold into a predictable protein structure has been a daunting task.

Now a team from David Baker’s laboratory at the University of Washington reports that they can do just that, Nature News reports.

By following a set of rules, they designed five proteins from scratch that fold reliably into… read more

A challenge facing designers of future computer chips

November 8, 2012

The total conductance per unit area is similar for both tungsten (W) and gold (Au). However, by joining the two highly conducting metals, one finds a conductance density that is about 4 times lower of either material individually. (Credit: David J. Olivera et al./PNAS)

To build the computer chips of the future, designers will need to understand how an electrical charge behaves when it is confined to metal wires only a few atom-widths in diameter.

Researchers at at McGill University General Motors R&D, have shown that electrical current could be drastically reduced when wires from two dissimilar metals meet. The surprisingly sharp reduction in current reveals a significant challenge… read more

Congenitally blind learn to see and read with soundscapes

November 9, 2012

Example of seeing an object with sound (credit: Striem-Amit et al./Neuron)

Congenitally blind people have learned to ”see” and describe objects, and even identify letters and words, by using a visual-to-auditory sensory-substitution algorithm and sensory substitution devices (SSDs), scientists at Hebrew University and in France have found.

SSDs are non-invasive sensory aids that provide visual information to the blind via their existing senses. For example, using a visual-to-auditory SSD in a clinical or everyday setting, users wear a miniature camera… read more

Discovery may help nerve regeneration in spinal injury

November 9, 2012

liverpool_nerve_regeneration

Scientists at the Universities of Liverpool and Glasgow have discovered a possible new method of enhancing nerve repair in the treatment of spinal cord injuries.

It is known that scar tissue, which forms following spinal cord injury, creates an impenetrable barrier to nerve regeneration, leading to the irreversible paralysis associated with spinal injuries. The scientists found that long-chain sugars, called heparan sulfates, play a significant… read more

Stronger than a speeding bullet, but lighter

New tests of nanostructured material could lead to better armor against everything from gunfire to micrometeorites
November 9, 2012

rice_strong_material

While traditional shields have been made of bulky materials such as steel, body armor made of lightweight material such as Kevlar has shown that thickness and weight are not necessary for absorbing the energy of impacts.

Now, a new study by researchers at MIT and Rice University has shown that even lighter materials may be capable of doing the job just as effectively.… read more

New stem-cell-derived cells hold promise for Alzheimer’s, other brain diseases

November 9, 2012

CPEC

UC Irvine researchers have created a new stem cell-derived cell type with unique promise for treating neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Edwin Monuki of UCI’s Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center and colleagues developed these cells — called choroid plexus epithelial cells (CPECs) — from existing mouse and human embryonic stem cell lines.

CPECs are critical for proper… read more

Iran warplane fired at US drone in early November

November 9, 2012

MQ-1 Predator drone (credit: USAF)

An Iranian warplane opened fire on an unarmed U.S. military drone conducting surveillance near Iranian airspace Nov. 1, the Pentagon said Thursday, the first such incident over the Persian Gulf and one that is all but certain to draw attention to Washington’s use of unmanned aircraft, The Washington Post reports.

The MQ-1 Predator drone returned to its base unscathed, even as theread more

How improved batteries will make electric vehicles competitive

It will likely take a decade, but improvements to lithium-ion batteries could lead to much cheaper EVs
November 9, 2012

Electric cars like the Nissan Leaf are expensive. Cheaper batteries could eventually change that. (Credit: Tennen-Gas/Wikimedia Commons)

For electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids to compete with gas-powered cars, battery prices need to drop by between 50 and 80 percent, according to recent estimates by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Improvements to the lithium-ion batteries that power the current generation of electric vehicles may be enough, MIT Technology Review reports.

Electric vehicles costread more

What zebrafish can teach us about healing brain damage

November 11, 2012

800px-Zebrafisch

The zebrafish regenerates its brain after injury, unlike mammals. Is there something we can learn about the process that might help with traumatic brain injury  and neurodegenerative disorders?

A research team at the Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD), Germany decided to investigate.

They found that that in zebrafish — in contrast to mammals — inflammation is a positive regulator of neuronal regeneration in the… read more

3D-printed rocket parts

November 11, 2012

NASA_M2_Cusing_Machine

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center is using ”selective laser melting” (SLM) to create intricate metal parts for America’s Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket, saving millions in manufacturing costs.

SLM is similar to 3-D printing (additive printing) and is the future of manufacturing, says Ken Cooper, advanced manufacturing team lead at the Marshall Center.

“This machine takes metal powder and uses a high-energy laser to… read more

A robot bomb tester

November 11, 2012

lexi_llnl

In 2006, a plot by terrorists to blow up as many as 10 passenger planes in mid-air using peroxide-based liquid explosives was foiled by British authorities.

That led to the infamous TSA “no liquids or gels” flight restriction. But it also led to creation of the National Explosives Engineering Sciences Security (NEXESS) Center at Sandia National Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, funded by the Department of Homeland… read more

A touch-sensitive conductive plastic skin that heals itself

November 12, 2012

stanford_self_healing_material

The first synthetic material that is both sensitive to touch and capable of healing itself quickly and repeatedly if torn or cut at room temperature has been developed by a team of Stanford University chemists and engineers headed by Professor Zhenan Bao.

The advance could lead to smarter prosthetics, resilient personal electronics that repair themselves, and more sensitive soft robotics (such as the “Frankenoctopus“).

Not only is… read more

A better brain implant: listening to single neurons

November 12, 2012

SEM image of a fully assembled, functional microthread electrode (credit: Takashi Kozai)

A thin, flexible electrode developed at the University of Michigan is 10 times smaller than the nearest competition and could make long-term measurements of neural activity practical.

This kind of technology could also be used eventually to send brain-computer-interface (BCI) signals to prosthetic limbs, overcoming inflammation caused by larger electrodes, resulting in damage to both the brain and the electrodes.

Existing electrodes are stiff and enormous… read more

close and return to Home