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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

Cray unveils Cray XC30 supercomputer, capable of scaling to 100 petaflops

November 12, 2012

Cray XC30 supercomputer (credit:

Cray Inc. has launched the Cray XC30 supercomputer, previously code-named “Cascade,” designed to scale high performance computing (HPC) workloads of more than 100 petaflops, with more than one million cores.

Cray did not specify whether the 100 petaflops was Rpeak or Rmax, or when a 100 petaflops installation might be planned.

China’s Guangzhou Supercomputing Center also recently announced the development of a supercomputer… read more

Astronaut on ISS uses interplanetary Internet to control robot in Germany

November 12, 2012

legorobot_esa

NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) used an experimental version of interplanetary Internet in late October to control an educational rover from the International Space Station, NASA says.

The experiment used NASA’s Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN) protocol to transmit messages and demonstrate technology that one day may enable Internet-like communications with space vehicles and support habitats or infrastructure on another planet.

Space station Expedition… read more

Climbing 103 floors with a neural-controlled bionic leg

November 12, 2012

RIC unveils world's first neural-controlled bionic leg at fourth annual skyrise Chicago event

In the world’s tallest indoor stair climb event, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) research subject Zac Vawter climbed 103 floors of the Chicago Willis Tower Nov. 4 using the first “Bionic Leg,” a neural-controlled prosthetic leg driven by his own thoughts

RIC’s Center for Bionic Medicine pioneered the Targeted Muscle Reinnervation (TMR) technique, which allows amputees to have more natural control of prosthetic devices.… read more

Modeling pulmonary edema in a lung-on-a-chip

November 12, 2012

Combining microfabrication techniques with modern tissue engineering, lung-on-a-chip offers an in vitro approach to drug screening by mimicking the complicated mechanical and biochemical behaviors of a human lung (credit: Donald Ingber et al./Wyss Institute)

Researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have mimicked pulmonary edema in a microchip lined by living human cells. They used this “lung-on-a-chip” to study drug toxicity and identify potential new therapies to prevent this life-threatening condition.

The study offers further proof-of-concept that human “organs-on-chips” hold tremendous potential to replace traditional approaches to drug discovery and development, according to the… read more

How to detect microvesicles in the bloodstream to diagnose and monitor brain cancer

System combining nanotechnology and NMR detects particles shed by brain tumors in bloodstream
November 13, 2012

glioblastoma

Diagnosing glioblastoma brain cancer is a real challenge for neurologists because they are deep in the brain and hard to test for. Now there’s a promising new solution.

A novel miniature diagnostic platform using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) technology that can detect minuscule cell particles known as microvesicles (shed by cancer cells) in a drop of blood has been developed by investigators at theread more

How to connect your home appliances to the Internet of Things

Is it really smart to connect smart grids to the Internet?
November 13, 2012

sigfox

French startup SigFox thinks it can help usher in a second mobile Internet boom by connecting millions of low-power sensors worldwide to the Internet, MIT Technology Review reports.

SigFox is focused on connecting cheap sensors and “dumb” home appliances to the Internet. The goal is to make all kinds of appliances and infrastructure, from power grids to microwave ovens, smarter by letting them share data.… read more

World’s First 3D printing photo booth to open in Japan

November 13, 2012

omote3D-photobooth-6

The world’s first “3D printing photo booth” is set to open for a limited time at the exhibition space EYE OF GYRE in Harajuku, Japan, Spoon & Tamago reports.

From November 24 to January 14, 2013, people with reservations can go and have their portraits taken. Except, instead of a photograph, you’ll receive miniature replicas of yourselves.

Reservations can be madke via… read more

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