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$3 Microscope Plugs into Cell Phones

May 12, 2010

(Aydogan Ozcan)

UCLA researchers have developed a prototype of a small digital microscope without a lens that costs just a few dollars.

It can plug into a cell phone and perform basic medical diagnostics that would ordinarily require expensive lab equipment.

The device can generate blood counts and identify disease cells and bacteria from simple images sent through a USB cord to a cell phone that uses software… read more

MIT scientists create virus-based microbatteries

September 1, 2008

Angela Belcher and other MIT professors have developed a virus-based method of creating and installing microbatteries by stamping them onto a variety of surfaces.

First, on a clear, rubbery material, the team used a common technique called soft lithography to create a pattern of tiny posts either four or eight microns in diameter. On top of these posts, they then deposited several layers of two polymers that together act… read more

Beyond the DNA: Chemical signatures reveal genetic switches in the genome

February 6, 2007

Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have made a breakthrough in identifying functional elements in the human genome.

Their novel method can identify and predict the “promoter” and “enhancer: regions that switch on transcription, the first step in gene expression. This study is an important step towards large-scale functional annotation of “enhancers,” which establish the rate at which… read more

Thou shalt not make scientific progress

March 26, 2004

Medical research is poised to make a quantum leap that will benefit sufferers from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, muscular dystrophy, diabetes and other diseases. But George W. Bush’s religious convictions stand in its way.

“Embryonic stem cells are magical,” says Michael West of Advanced Cell Technology. “We’ve never had anything like this before, they are a whole quantum leap beyond adult stem cells. They’re absolutely magical — and that magic that… read more

MIT-led team designs airplanes that use 70 percent less fuel

May 19, 2010

MIT's D "double bubble" series design concept is based on a modified "tube-and-wing" structure that has a very wide fuselage to provide extra lift. The aircraft would be used for domestic flights to carry 180 passengers in a coach cabin roomier than that of a Boeing 737-800.(MIT/Aurora Flight Sciences)

An MIT-led team has designed a green airplane that is estimated to use 70 percent less fuel than current planes while also reducing noise and emission of nitrogen oxides.

The design was presented to NASA last month as part of a $2.1 million research contract to develop environmental and performance concepts that will help guide the agency’s aeronautics research over the next 25 years.

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Cancer Redefined

September 5, 2008

In three new studies that could redefine how cancer is viewed, researched, and treated, scientists have created a detailed map of the genetic mutations that underlie two of the deadliest forms of the disease: pancreatic cancer and glioblastoma.

The new findings are the first steps in the huge task of mapping the genomes of cancer, as researchers work to learn about cancers from the ground up.

Fiber-optic/nanocrystal system enables live nanoscale sensing

Can sense changes to a single living cell in the human body in response to chemical signals
September 3, 2013


Researchers have identified the “world’s most sensitive nanoparticle” and can measure it from a distance, using light.

The discovery, by a team of researchers from Macquarie University, the University of Adelaide, and Peking University, opens the way for rapid localization and measurement of cells within a living environment at the nanoscale.

These super-bright, photostable nanocrystals enable a new approach to highly advanced sensing technologies using… read more

To Add Speed, Chipmakers Tune Structure

February 15, 2007

Chip companies are finding ways around the physical problems that have held them back from making chips go faster.

On Feb. 14, IBM said it plans to combine microprocessor and memory chips onto a single piece of silicon to substantially improve processor performance.

Earlier this week, Intel announced that it had built a chip with 80 cores that is capable of completing 1 trillion computations every second.… read more

Self-assembling nanotubes offer promise for future artificial joints

April 12, 2004
Self-assembly of rosettes

Researchers have discovered that bone cells called osteoblasts attach better to nanotube-coated titanium than to conventional titanium used to make artificial joints.

Conventional titanium used in artificial joints has surface features on the scale of microns, causing the body to recognize them as foreign and prompting a rejection response. This eventually weakens the attachment of the implants and causes them to become loose and painful, requiring replacement… read more

Man Infects Himself with (Computer) Virus

May 27, 2010

Implantable bionic devices are susceptible to computer viruses that can be passed along to other devices, Dr. Mark Gasson, a cybernetics expert at the University of Reading demonstrated by inserting a computer virus into an RFID chip implanted in his arm.

People with pacemakers, cochlear implants, and deep brain stimulators, for example, could be in big trouble if a virus infected their implanted devices.

DNA Deletion Tied to Cognitive Problems

September 11, 2008

A small deletion in a specific chunk of DNA can trigger a wide variety of cognitive problems, including autism, mental retardation, and developmental delay, according to research published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

A number of studies using new gene microarray technology have shown that rearrangements of larger pieces of DNA–the equivalent of shuffling entire words, sentences, or pages–are surprisingly common and likely play a significant… read more

Agenda Set For Upcoming Planetary Defense Conference

February 26, 2007

The second Planetary Defense Conference will bring together scientists and engineers from the international space community on March 5 – 8 in Washington DC to assess our ability to discover and track near-Earth objects and deflect an asteroid or comet that poses a threat to Earth.

Xerox hopes plastic ink leads to printed chips

April 19, 2004

Xerox researchers have discovered a way to print plastic transistors using a semiconductive ink at room temperature, paving the way for flexible displays and low-cost RFID (radio frequency identification) chips.

The new technique builds on a polythiophene semiconductor, an organic compound that resists degradation in open air better than other semiconductor liquids and also exhibits self-assembling properties.

The researchers found a way to process this material to form… read more

DNA logic gates herald injectable computers

June 2, 2010

DNA-based logic gates that could carry out calculations inside the body have been constructed for the first time. The work brings the prospect of injectable biocomputers programmed to target diseases as they arise.

“The biocomputer would sense biomarkers and immediately react by releasing counter-agents for the disease,” says Itamar Willner of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, who led the work.

The new logic gates are formed from… read more

The Holes in Our Genomes

September 19, 2008

New microarray tools should generate a more complete picture of the genetic root of common diseases by screening for “copy number variations” (deletions, duplications, and rearrangements of stretches of DNA ranging in size from one thousand to one million base pairs).

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