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Speeding up genome sequencing

November 25, 2003

The BioMEMS 768 Sequencer can sequence the entire human genome in only one year, processing up to 7 million DNA letters a day, about seven times faster than its nearest rival. It will be tested at Whitehead Institute this fall.

The technology eventually will help scientists quickly determine the exact genetic sequence of the DNA of many different organisms, and could lead to faster forensic analysis of DNA gathered… read more

Speeding up lab testing for medical diagnosis and toxin detection

Faster, less expensive device gives lab test results in 15 minutes at point-of-care
July 13, 2012


Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have developed a lab-on-a-disk platform that they believe will be faster, less expensive and more versatile than similar medical diagnostic tools.

Lab officials are seeking industry partners to license and commercialize the SpinDx technology, which can determine a patient’s white blood cell count, analyze important protein markers, and process up to 64 assays from a single sample, all… read more

Speedy robot legs it to break record

April 5, 2006

Runbot, a two-legged robot that walks at record-breaking speed, has been developed by researchers from Germany and Scotland.

At 30 centimeters high, it can walk at a speedy 3.5 leg-lengths per second. The robot is controlled by a simple program that mimics the way neurons control reflexes in humans and other animals: it detects just two things — when a foot touches the ground and when a leg swings… read more

Speedy silicon sets world record

August 18, 2006

A simple tweak to the way common silicon transistors are made — adding fluorine implants to the silicon layers using a common ion-implantation manufacturing process — could allow them to operate at a speed of about 110GHz, using existing silicon manufacturing technology.

Sperm and eggs created in dish produce mouse pups

October 5, 2012


After producing normal mouse pups last year using sperm derived from stem cells, a Kyoto University team of researchers has now accomplished the same feat using eggs created the same way, Science Now reports. The study may eventually lead to new ways of helping infertile couples conceive.

The stem cells in both cases are embryonic stem (ES) cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. The former are taken… read more

Sperm-inspired microrobots controlled by magnetic fields

May be useful for drug delivery, IVF, cell sorting, and nano/micro assembly
June 5, 2014


A team of researchers at the University of Twente (Netherlands) and German University in Cairo has developed sperm-inspired microrobots that can be controlled by weak oscillating magnetic fields.

Described in a cover article in AIP Publishing’s journal Applied Physics Letters, the 322 micron-long robots consist of a head coated in a thick cobalt-nickel layer and an uncoated tail.

When the microrobot is subjected to an oscillating field of… read more

Sperm-like cells made from human embryonic stem cells

July 8, 2009

Human embryonic stem cells have been coaxed into forming sperm-like cells, Karim Nayernia of the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne and colleagues report.

They have also launched a project to produce sperm cells from induced pluripotent stem cells, which can be generated from adult cells. Such cells would make it easier to derive sperm cells from many individuals.

Sperm-like nanopropeller is smallest swimmer ever

May 27, 2009
(American Chemical Society)

Harvard University researchers have developed remote-controlled nano-devices that mimic the corkscrew motion of flagella and that may one day deliver drugs to where they are needed in the body.

The devices have a spherical head 200 to 300 nanometers across and a corkscrew-shaped tail 1 to 2 microns long. They are coated with cobalt, allowing an external magnetic field to make the propellers corkscrew through water at… read more

Spherical nucleic acids train immune system to fight disease

Could lead to an entire new pipeline of drugs to treat a range of diseases
March 17, 2015

SNA ft.

A research team led by Northwestern University nanomedicine expert Chad A. Mirkin and Sergei Gryaznov of AuraSense Therapeutics has shown that spherical nucleic acids (SNAs) can be used as potent drugs to effectively train the immune system to fight disease, by either boosting or dampening the immune response. The initial treatment triggers a cell-specific immune response all over the body.

By increasing the body’s immune response… read more

‘Spider pill’ used for scans

October 13, 2009

Italian doctors have developed a wirelessly controlled device with camera and moving legs for gastrointestinal examinations, replacing invasive endoscopes. (Video)

Spider silk delivers finest optical fibers

March 24, 2003

Delicate threads of spider’s silk are about to solve a major problem in photonics: how to make hollow optical fibres narrow enough — just two nanometers wide — to carry light beams around the fastest nanoscale optical circuits.

They will also make for a new breed of sensors that can detect single molecules of a particular chemical.

Spider webs, leaves inspire touch-screen, solar-cell designs

December 18, 2014

Refined by natural selection, spider webs and leaves serve as models for new and highly effective optoelectronic networks and displays (credit: Boston College)

Natural scaffoldings perfected by evolution such as spider webs and leaf veins can lead to near-optimal performance when copied to create flexible and durable networks for optoelectronic applications such as photovoltaic devices and display screens, researchers at Boston College, South China Normal, and University of Houston reported in the journal Nature Communications.

A network design inspired by the quasi-fractal vein-laced structure of a leaf served as an effective electrode for solar… read more

‘Spiderbots’ talk amongst themselves inside active volcano

August 12, 2009

A squadron of robust, self-healing, remotely controllable “spiderbots” inside Mount St. Helens is the first network of volcano sensors that can automatically communicate with each other via a mesh network and with satellites, route data around any sensors that break, and be dropped into volcanoes.

Similar networked robots could one day be used to study geological activity elsewhere in the solar system.

SpiderFab: low-cost kilometer-scale antennas in space

September 17, 2012


“We’d like someday to be able to have a spacecraft create itself entirely from scratch, but realistically that’s quite a ways out; that’s still science fiction,” says Robert Hoyt, CEO and chief scientist of Tethers Unlimited Inc. Instead, with his “SpiderFab” project, he proposes to use 3D printing technology aboard a tiny CubeSat to create a much larger structure in space.

The  project received $100,000 from NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts… read more

Spiders, Grubbs’ and polymer-powered nanomotors

September 12, 2011

Chemical spider (credit: Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.)

A chemical spider that spins a polymer thread using a simple organometallic polymerization catalyst could drive a nanomotor, according to researchers at Pennsylvania State University.

Ayusman Sen and colleagues say that these nanomotors have potential applications in the deposition of polymers in the channels of microdevices, for instance.

Click here to watch related videos from the Sen Group

Ref.: Pavlick, R. A., Sengupta, S., McFadden,… read more

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