August 21, 2018

    Several imaging techniques in medicine require cutting open people or making them swallow large tubes with attached cameras. However, scientists have developed an in-body GPS system called ReMix. Now, one can track accurately the location of ingestible implants using a wireless signal. Importantly, the marker inside the body doesn't need to transmit any wireless signal, rather it reflects the signals which are transmitted from a device outside the body. Further, the marker inside the body doesn't need any battery or external energy source. An important application for ReMix is the proton therapy which is used in cancer treatments to kill cancer cells with magnetically controlled protons.

    Read the full story: MIT news


    The red alga C. merolae grown in culture in the laboratory. Image: Sousuke Imamura
    Acceleration of biofuel production with an enzyme from algae - biotechnology news

    Scientists found that the enzyme GPAT1 is the rate-limiting factor in the accumulation of oils called triacylglycerols in red algae. This is of importance for the production of biofuel, as triacylglycerols can be converted to biodiesel. Red algae normally store triacylglycerols under adverse condition such as nitrogen deprivation, and use them as energy source. Overexpressing GPAT1 increases triacylglycerols by more than 50%, without compromising algae survival or growth, suggesting that upregulation of the enzyme may serve to increase the production of biofuel.

    Read the full story: Tokyo Institute of Technology
    Scientific publication: Scientific Reports


    Robots induced peer pressure in children, while adults resisted. Credit: Pixabay
    Children are susceptible to peer pressure by robots - science news

    Peer pressure is a common psychological phenomenon, but now a new study shows that it doesn’t necessarily take a human to induce it. As the research shows, robots can induce peer pressure too. In an experiment, humanoid robots influenced children to make bad decisions. However, adults remained immune to the peer pressure from the robots but were influenced by human peers. According to the paper, this reinforces the idea of humans treating computers and robots as social beings, “attributing human-like qualities to technology.”

    Read the full story: Popular Mechanics
    Scientific publication: Science Robotics


    A new platform to promote blood vessel growth. Image: Texas A&M University
    A clay-based platform to promote blood vessel growth - health technology news

    Scientists have developed a clay-based platform for the delivery of growth factors into the body to stimulate the growth of blood vessels. It makes use of a two-dimensional clay (nanosilicates) that slowly release growth factors, so that the secretion of these proteins is prolonged. This method prevents problems such as abnormal, abrupt tissue formation, and eliminates a major hurdle for efficient wound repair and tissue implants.

    Read the full story: Texas A&M University
    Scientific publication: Advanced Biosystems


    For the first time, scientists created fibers with embedded electronics that are so flexible they can be woven into soft fabrics and made into wearable clothing. Credit: the researchers / MIT
    Latest in fashion: clothing with electronic devices built right into it - science news

    Researchers managed to create textiles and fibers that incorporate high-speed optoelectronic semiconductor devices, including light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and diode photodetectors. The tiny electronic devices were embedded within the fibers that were then woven into soft, washable fabrics. As a result, “smart” clothing can be obtained that behave like communication systems. This discovery, the researchers say, could unleash a rapid development for smart fabrics. The capabilities of fibers could grow rapidly and exponentially over time, just as the capabilities of microchips have grown over decades.

    Read the full story: MIT
    Scientific publication: Nature


    Experimentally measured polarization singularity trefoil knot. Credit: University of Bristol
    Physicists tie light in knots to understand how it flows through space - science news physics

    Laser light may appear to be a single, focused beam. In fact, it is an electromagnetic field, vibrating in an ellipse shape at each point in space (the light is polarized). Now, scientists have been able to use holographic technology to twist a polarized laser beam into knots. This way, one can study the topology of the knotted light fields. The researchers were able to create knots of much greater complexity than previously possible. Understanding how light flows through space provides important information for the fields on optics and polarization and could lead to the creation of new devices which process information through customized complex light structures.

    Read the full story: University of Bristol
    Scientific publication: Nature Physics


    Frontal and lateral scans of mouse lungs with fibrosis (grey), before and after treatment with nanoparticles carrying drugs. Image: Guillem Garaulet and Francisca Mulero, CNIO
    Nano-carriers for drug release into senescent cells - technology science news

    Senescent cells accumulate during aging, and play an active role in aging-related diseases. Scientists have now developed a drug delivery tool that specifically targets senescent cells by employing the high lysosomal (degradative) activity of these cells. Nanoparticles carrying drugs have been designed in such a way that they will go to the lysosomes, and thus release their drugs in senescent cells. In a mouse model of lung fibrosis, these nanoparticles effectively removed senescent cells, and the lung tissue regenerated. For the treatment of a cancer in mice, chemotherapy first induced the formation of senescent cells, which were then destroyed by the drugs brought by the nanoparticles. This combined therapy reduced the tumor. This versatile drug delivery system is expected to become an efficient tool for the treatment of various illnesses.

    Read the full story: IRB Barcelona
    Scientific publication: EMBO Molecular Medicine


    Cell-sized robots can sense changes in your body, but also in the environment, detecting and reporting problems. Credit: MIT
    Scientists create smallest robots that can sense the environment and store data - science news latest in medical technology

    Researchers from MIT have created the smallest robots – the size of a human cell – with the ability to detect changes in their environment, record data and even perform computations. They were created using two-dimensional materials and small particles called colloids. The colloids make it possible for the electrical circuits inside the robots to work. The applications are countless, from the diagnostic of the human body to measuring water contamination and other industrial applications.

    Read the full story: MIT
    Scientific publication: Nature Nanotechnology


    Researchers have developed an imaging technology able to identify hidden mounds to help unravel the history of Native Americans. Credit: Carl Lipo
    Archeology: new imaging method allows identification of North American mounds - science news in brief

    Mounds are artificial elevated structures, like little hills, formed through gradual accumulation of debris upon which a continuously occupied settlement is built. People lived in such areas for hundreds or thousands of years. They are invaluable for archeology, but difficult to find because they are hidden by vegetation or by the landscape. Now, scientists have used a new image-based analysis technique to identify hidden North American mounds, which could reveal valuable information about pre-contact Native Americans. To achieve this, they used satellite images and a special software designed to automatically identify mounds.

    Read the full story: Phys.org
    Scientific publication: Southeastern Archaeology


    Running water depends on proper water supplies. AI may help to protect their quality.
    Artificial Intelligence for protection of water supplies - technology science news

    Artificial Intelligence software combined with microscopy makes it possible to do a rapid and inexpensive automatic analysis of the presence of cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, in about two hours, scientist report. Sudden growth of cyanobacteria threatens water supplies, and quick and constant monitoring is therefore essential to protect water supplies. The newly presented method is fast and cheap, and can be used commercially in three to four years according to the latest estimates.

    Read the full story: University of Waterloo
    Scientific publication: Scientific Reports


    Psychological therapy delivered in virtual reality has shown promising results in a pioneering study
    Successful psychological therapy delivered in virtual reality - health technology science news

    In a pioneering study with 100 participants, scientists have shown that it is possible to deliver psychological therapy delivered in virtual reality. The therapy was designed to treat fear of heights, not with a human therapist present, but by a computer-generated virtual coach. The treatment is personalized and interactive due to voice recognition technology. Participants in the study had fear of height for more than 30 years, and underwent five sessions of two hours each. All participants showed fear reduction, on average with 68%, and more than half over 75%. These results are superior to those obtained by even the best psychological intervention, demonstrating that therapy delivered in virtual reality might see a golden future.

    Read the full story: University of Oxford
    Scientific publication: The Lancet Psychiatry


    A 3D color image of a wrist with a watch showing part of the finger bones in white and soft tissue in red. Credit: MARS Bioimaging Ltd
    3D color X-ray images obtained using CERN technology - short science news

    The traditional black and white X-ray images are invaluable for medical diagnosis. However, a color image could produce clearer and more accurate pictures. Now, this is possible using a technology called Medipix3, developed at CERN. The technology was used by a New Zeeland company to scan, for the first time, a human body in 3D. Medipix is a family of chips developed for particle imaging and detection. It works like a camera, detecting and counting each particle hitting the pixels when its electronic shutter is open. The technology has multiple applications in medicine, such as cancer detection and the first clinical trial is scheduled in the following months.

    Read the full story: CERN


    Inspiration from nature: a cockroach at the basis of a new minirobot that can walk under water
    A microbot that can walk under water - technology science news

    Scientists have designed a small robot that cannot only walk on land, but also under water, and it can swim on the surface of water. It resembles a cockroach that is a terrestrial animal but can survive under water for 30 minutes. The robot uses multifunctional foot pads that rely on surface tension. A voltage can be applied to break the surface of the water, making the robot sink. This process is known as electrowetting. This new robot can therefore explore many different environments, with endless applications to be expected in the near future.

    Read the full story: Harvard
    Scientific publication: Nature Communications


    Technical breakthrough paves the way for the next generation of solar cells
    Technical breakthrough in the fabrication of efficient solar panels - technology science news

    While most of the solar cells in use today are crystalline silicon based, researchers are now working the next generation, known as Perovskite cells. They are as efficient as the silicon-based ones, but are way cheaper. However, Perovskite cells suffer from an unwanted process, known as non-radiative recombination, which basically means that energy and efficiency are lost. Now, a team of scientists have solved this problem by the technique of Solution-Process Secondary growth, which increases the voltage of Perovskite cells by 100 millivolts to reach 1.21 volts, while keeping electricity flow through a device intact. This technical breakthrough shows that Perovskite cells hold a lot of promise, and might become the solar cells of the future.

    Read the full story: University of Surrey
    Scientific publication: Science


    While kid-friendly robots are already used by therapists to help autistic children recognize emotions from other people’s faces, new robots have been developed that can also interpret the child’s own behavior. This is a major advantage, as the robot can learn whether the child is interested, excited or paying attention. The assessment of the child’s behavior correlated for 60% with the assessment by human experts. Ultimately, the robots can convey information that the therapists can use to personalize the therapy for each individual child, and make the interactions with the robot more naturalistic.

    Read the full story: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Scientific publication: Science Robotics


    Big data could get it totally wrong
    Maybe what big data knows about you is totally wrong - short science articles

    Scientists have long believed that bigger the sample size of human subjects better it is. However, new research suggests that this big-data approach could be way off-target. Averaging data of a large number of human subjects gives only a snapshot image, but mental illness, emotions and behaviours are variably expressed in us over time. Scientists used statistical models to compare data of people collected in hundreds of people suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD and panic disorders. But when the analysis was applied to each individual, there were wide variations sometimes well above the group average. They state that relying on big data in social, behavioural and medical sciences could lead to misdiagnosis, prescription of wrong treatments and continued research which isn't individualized.

    Read the full story: University of Berkeley
    Scientific publication: PNAS


    A robot with lab-on-chip application could fasten blood testing
    Robot for faster blood tests - short science articles

    Researchers have designed an automatic blood drawing and testing device which can also provide rapid results that could efficiently fasten the workflow in hospitals thereby giving more time to healthcare workers to deal with patients. Terming the device as 'the holy grail of blood testing technology', scientists developed an integrated miniature robotic system which is a lab-on-chip robot that can provide accurate results like the white blood cell count. The robot uses an image-guided robot to draw blood samples from the vein and it is combined with a centrifuge-based blood analyzer. They plan to increase the number of tests possible with this device in the future.

    Read the full story: Rutgers University
    Scientific publication: Technology


    Scientists who had previously shown that they could extract water from the air, successfully field tested their next generation system recently. Using the highly porous material called the metal-organic framework (MOF), they could extract water from air, even when the humidity fell to 8% indicating that it wouldn't be difficult to scale up the model. The MOF are solids with so many internal channels that a small cube of MOF could have a surface area of six football fields and hence it can extract large volumes of water. This latest model is about 150 times cheaper and can capture twice as much water; about 400 mL of water per kilogram of MOF. They are now preparing to field test this new model in the Death Valley where temperatures reach 110 degrees in daytime.

    Read the full story: University of Berkeley
    Scientific publication: Science Advances


    An AI could identify cancer by analysis of breath in patients
    AI which can smell and detect illness in human breath - short science articles

    For several years labs around the world are using gas-chromatography mass-spectrometers to detect extremely small amounts of several substances in the air. Of the several substances present in the human breath a few could point towards the presence of various cancers. However, the sheer volume of data produced makes this process time consuming since it needs to be manually inspected by experts. However, scientists are now using the latest artificial intelligence algorithms like deep learning which can learn about different types of compounds in the breath. In a preliminary experiment, they found that these algorithms accurately analyzed breath samples of human cancer patients within minutes as compared to human experts. Further, this algorithm could learn over time thereby becoming more efficient day by day.

    Read the full story: The Conversation


    An optimal dosage of coffee using machine learning algorithm
    Optimal caffeine dosage and timing for alertness determined by a new algorithm - short science articles

    Scientists have developed a machine learning algorithm which determines the amount and time of caffeine required for optimizing alertness. Their algorithm used a mathematical model which could predict the effects of sleep loss and caffeine on the psychomotor vigilance test and used it to improve alertness by 64% following coffee drinking. Further, it reduced the caffeine consumption by up to 65% while maintaining the effect of coffee. This algorithm could help develop personalized schedule for the coffee intake to a particular sleep/wake schedule and maximize alertness, especially during sleep-loss conditions.

    Read the full story: American Academy of Sleep Medicine
    Scientific publication: Journal of Sleep Research


    Nanorobots could help create technology for rapid decontamination of biological fluids
    Nanorobots which mimic cells to clear toxins and bacteria from blood created - short science articles

    Researchers have built nanorobots by coating gold wires with platelets and RBC membranes. These hybrid cell membranes help the nanorobot to bind to bacteria like the antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and also neutralize toxins produced by them. Further, these nanorobots respond to ultrasound giving them the ability to swim around without chemical fuels. This can help in targetting these nanorobots to specific sites in the body and thus speed up the process of detoxification. This could help create technology which could safely and effectively detoxify biological fluids.

    Read the full story: University of California San Diego
    Scientific publication: Science Robotics


    Virtual reality will soon be more realistic with a new technology that gives the illusion of infinite walking
    Is the holodeck here? Scientists achieve infinite walking in virtual reality - science news in brief

    Virtual reality is constantly evolving, but many challenges remain. One of them is the ability to move continuously in a virtual space, while being confined to a small space, like a room. To solve this, computer scientists from Stony Brook University, NVIDIA and Adobe have collaborated on a computational framework that gives VR users the perception of infinite walking in the virtual world, even when limited to a small physical space. To do this, the researchers focused on manipulating the user's walking direction by exploiting a natural phenomenon of the human eye, called saccade (quick eye movements). Maybe this is a small step towards achieving the perfect VR space like the holodecks from the Star Trek TV series.

    Read the full story: ScienceBriefss


    A software presenting virtual activities may instruct robots how to perform them in the real world
    Virtual home could teach robots everyday household activities - science news in brief

    Soon you could have a robot preparing your coffee, or cleaning the table after you eat. Scientists have developed a virtual home that demonstrates how various household chores are performed in order to help robots learn how to correctly perform them. The advantage of describing actions as computer programs is that this language is much clearer for robots. It is unambiguous and includes all the necessary steps to perform a given task. This is essential because robots, unlike humans, need more explicit instructions to complete easy activities since they can not infer and reason with ease.

    Read the full story: MIT
    Scientific publication: VirtualHome


    Chloroplasts in plant cells produce ATP under the influence of sun light. This has now been harnessed in artificial cells.
    Photosynthesis in an artificial cell to drive metabolism - biotechnology science news

    In the process of developing artificial cells, researchers have reached the milestone of integrating photosynthesis in a cell-like structure. It is now possible to activate metabolic activity with light, and use the resulting energy in the form of ATP for protein synthesis in artificial organelles. This is an important step for further development of more complex artificial cells that can build protein networks and perform complex cellular behavior. In the long term, artificial cells might be used as cellular prosthetics to treat diseases or repair damaged tissue.

    Read the full story: Harvard – John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
    Scientific publication: Nature Biotechnology


    A 3D printed cornea could address the world shortage of corneas
    3D printed corneas are here - short science articles

    Cornea plays an important role in focusing vision as it is the outermost layer of the human eye. Still, there is a global shortage of corneas for transplant since 10 million people require surgeries to avoid corneal blindness. Now, researchers have 3D printed the human cornea using an innovative method. They mixed human stem cells from a healthy donor cornea, mixed with alginate and collagen to create a solution that can be printed, so a 'bio-ink'. Then by using a simple low-cost 3D printer, the bio-ink was printed in concentric circles in the shape of a human cornea. Further, scientists claim that they can also build corneas to match a patient's unique requirements by scanning their eyes to print corneas which match their size and shape. This could be the first step towards addressing the worldwide shortage of corneas necessary for surgeries.

    Read the full story: Newcastle University


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