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Biosensors on the fast track

March 17, 2011

Nerve stimulator (photo credit: FDA)

The Food & Drug Administration has teamed up with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to help accelerate the development and approval of innovative devices for continuously monitoring biomarkers in people.

Biomarkers can serve as early warning signs of disease — such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and influenza — before symptoms occur, ideally in real time. They could also help optimize the performance of… read more

Biosensors comfortable enough to wear 24-7

July 6, 2010


Replacing sticky EEG (brain wave) electrodes, UCSD researchers have built a capacitive EEG sensor, which conducts much weaker signals but can do so across small distances.

The sensor can detect faint changes in capacitance, and amplify them, while canceling out the ambient electrical noise that exists all around us. When multiple sensors are embedded in material and wired together, they create a portable monitor that patients can… read more

Biosensor patch monitors brain, heart, muscle signals

April 22, 2013

A close-up view of the Bio-patch (credit: KTH The Royal Institute of Technology)

The future of health care could be found in a tiny, paper-thin skin patch that collects vital information.

The Bio-patch sensor developed by KTH Royal Institute of Technology researchers is inexpensive, versatile, and comfortable to wear. It measures bioelectrical signals through the skin when applied to different parts of the body.

“On the chest it provides electrocardiography (ECG), on the skull it measures brainwaves… read more

Bioscientists: Gods or Monsters?

May 30, 2005

In his new book, The Geneticist Who Played Hoops With My DNA … and Other Masterminds From the Frontiers of Biotech, journalist and author David Ewing Duncan chats with some of the most prominent and powerful life scientists in the United States about the human motivations behind their God-like endeavors.

Bioprinted 3D liver-mimicking device detoxifies blood

May 16, 2014


Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a 3D-printed device inspired by the liver to remove dangerous toxins from the blood.

The device, which is designed to be used outside the body — much like dialysis — uses nanoparticles to trap pore-forming toxins that can damage cellular membranes and are a key factor in illnesses that result from animal bites and stings, and bacterial… read more

Biophysicists unravel cellular ‘traffic jams’ in active transport

December 5, 2012

This image depicts motor protein traffic along a single microtubule highway. Much like vehicular traffic in real life, kinesin motor traffic reduces the velocity of single motors. Multi-motor “cargos,” such as the quantum dot depicted, can stay attached to the microtubule much longer because they can add multiple motors. (Credit: Leslie Conway and Jennifer Ross/UMass Amherst)

UMass Amherst biophysicists, using a unique microscope, have improved upon earlier studies that used too-simple models not able to account for the densely crowded, dynamic conditions of a active transport in a real cell

Inside many growing cells, an active transport system runs on nano-sized microtubule tracks that resemble a highway, complete with motors carrying cargo quickly from a central supply depot to growing tips or wherever… read more

Biophysicists measure mechanism that determines fate of living cells

May 31, 2013

In this experiment, ligand molecules are tethered by DNA strands to a substrate; the strands have defined tension tolerances and will burst if tension above their tolerance is applied. The integrin-ligand bond activates cellular adhesion only when the tether does not rupture, enabling a measurement to be taken of the molecular force. The cultures show cell adhesion and spreading at a tension tolerance of 43 pico-Newtons but not at 33 pico-Newtons.

University of Illinois biophysicists at the Center for the Physics of Living Cells and the Institute for Genomic Biology have measured the molecular force required to mechanically transmit function-regulating signals within a cell.

The new tension gauge tether (TGT) has broad applications for research into stem cells, cancer, infectious disease, and immunology.


Cells in the human body do not function in isolation. Living cells… read more

BioPen rewrites orthopedic implant surgery

Delivers live stem cells and growth factors at the time of surgery to regenerate bone, cartilage, muscle, or nerve tissue
December 13, 2013


Australian researchers have developed a handheld “BioPen” that will allow surgeons to precisely design and deliver customized bone and other implant materials (live stem cells and growth factors) at the time of surgery to regenerate bone, cartilage, muscle, or nerve tissue.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Similar to a multi-material 3D printer, the BioPen delivers stem cells embedded in a biopolymer carrier (such as alginate, a seaweed extract), protected

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Bionic suit offers wearers super-strength

April 12, 2005

University of Tsukuba researchers have developed a motor-driven metal exoskeleton dubbed HAL, or hybrid assistive limb, that you strap onto your legs to power-assist leg movements.

Two control systems interact to help the wearer stand, walk and climb stairs. A “bio-cybernic” system uses bioelectric sensors attached to the skin on the legs to monitor signals transmitted from the brain to the muscles.

Bionic ‘sex chip’ that stimulates pleasure centre in brain developed by scientists

December 22, 2008

Scientists are developing an electronic “sex chip” that works by stimulating the orbitofrontal cortex, which is associated with the pleasure felt when eating and having sex.

Bionic penguins take to the water — and the skies

April 24, 2009

German engineering firm Festo has unveiled mechanical penguins that can paddle through water just like real ones, while larger helium-filled designs can “swim” through the air.

Each penguin carries 3D sonar, used to monitor its surroundings and avoid collisions with walls or other penguins.

Bionic microrobot walks on water — perfect spybot, say Chinese scientists

July 28, 2011

New bionic microrobot mimics the amazing water-walking movements of the water strider (credit: American Chemical Society)

A new aquatic microrobot that mimics the water-walking abilities of the water strider has been developed by researchers at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China.

The robot is about the size of a quarter, with ten water-repellent, wire legs and two movable, oar-like legs propelled by two miniature motors. Because the weight of the microrobot is equal to that of about 390 water striders,… read more

‘Bionic’ man dies in car crash

October 25, 2010

Christian Kandlbauer (Otto Bock Healthcare)

Christian Kandlbauer, an Austrian man who became the first person outside the U.S. to wear thought-powered prosthetic arms, has died from injuries sustained in a car crash, according to an AP report. He was driving, but the cause of the accident is not yet known.

Kandlbauer was fitted with myoelectric artificial arms by Germany-based Otto Bock Healthcare. He was the the “guinea pig” for a… read more

Bionic Knee Hits Market

July 25, 2005

A new prosthetic knee, developed using MIT research, is the first to use AI-based sensors that analyze the knee 1,000 times per second, allowing it to adjust to any step or misstep.

Bionic hand for ‘elective amputation’ patient

May 19, 2011

An Austrian man has voluntarily had his hand amputated so he can be fitted with a bionic hand, which will be controlled by nerve signals in his own arm. He lost the use of his right hand in a motorcycle accident a decade ago.

The bionic hands, manufactured by the German prosthetics company Otto Bock, can pinch and grasp in response to signals from the brain. The… read more

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