October 18, 2018

    Immune cell moving through the ear of a zebrafish while collecting sugar particles (blue)

    Scientists have constructed a new microscope to make detailed 3D images of of cells and intracellular structures. With this microscope, researchers can study cells in the body (instead of on glass outside the body), and even follow them as they move through the body of a living organism. This is a majar breakthrough in microscopy, and although the new microscope is still very costly, it is expected that prices will go down and that this microscope can be used to solve questions concerning biological systems in the body, in health and disease. 

    Read the full story: Howard Hughes Medical Institute
    Scientific publication: Science


    Body support wont turn you to a superhero
    An exoskeleton won't turn you into a superhero - use with caution - short science articles - technology

    Researchers tested the commercially available exoskeletons which are typically used by workers to carry heavy objects hands-free. They found that while the exoskeleton relieved the stress on the arms just as it is supposed to do, it increased the stress on the back by more than 50%. Stress on other muscles also increased by 56-120% on other torso muscles. The problem is the exoskeleton is pulling and tugging in unexpected directions and the body reacts to compensate thereby increasing stress on other parts of the body. People participating in the study reacted negatively saying they would never use it again if not compulsory.

    Read the full story: Ohio State University
    Scientific publication: Applied Ergonomics


    Spider silk protein was used to create“glue” for repairing broken bones
    Spider silk helps repair bones - health technology news

    Spider silk was used to create a biodegradable material that can help repair broken bones. Normally, repairing bones, especially the ones that bear the load of the body, can be a long and difficult process. The new material provides a better alternative by using silk fibroin, a protein naturally found in spider silk. After trying many different combinations of silk fibroin and other materials, the scientists finally found the correct recipe. The new composite material is very promising for bone repairs and practical since no surgery is required for removal, as in the case of the standard metal plates used for fractures.

    Read the full story: University of Connecticut
    Scientific publication: Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials


    This scanning electron microscope image shows ultrafine diamond needles being pushed on by a diamond tip (dark shape at top). These images reveal that the diamond needles can bend as much as 9% and still return to their original shape. Credit: MIT
    Diamonds can be bent and stretched with this new method - short science news

    Diamond is the strongest natural material, but it is also brittle, which limits its applications. A team of scientists found a way to make diamonds flexible, opening the door for using this material in new ways. The trick is to convert diamonds into extremely small needle-like shapes which can be stretched like rubber. In a way, these needles behave like the tips of a toothbrush. The results could lead to new diamond-based devices with applications in data storage, electronics, drug delivery and imaging.

    Read the full story: MIT
    Scientific publication: Science


    Not to worry if you are not so handy in the house, soon robots might be able to do the job for you! A robot designed by the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore managed to assemble an IKEA chair in 20 minutes (including planning and assembly time). It was equipped with a 3D camera and two robotic arms with grippers to pick up the pieces. The robot was programmed with algorithms that made planning, finding of objects, applying the proper force and fine arm movements possible. This sort of robots, and improved versions by implementing more artificial intelligence, are envisaged to become important in performing varied tasks where precision is required.

    Read the full story: Nanyang Technological University
    Scientific publication: Science Robotics


    Artificial intelligence could identifying early risks of heart diseases
    Detect heart disease using AI - short science articles - technology and health

    Heart disease is a leading cause of death with at least 1 in 4 deaths associated with it. Further, predicting heart diseases is an expensive affair requiring expensive equipment and invasive procedures. All this could change since researchers have developed an algorithm which by measuring a patient's pulse data can ascertain risks for cardiovascular diseases and arterial stiffness using a smartphone. They record a single carotid artery pressure wave using a smartphone's camera to feed a mathematical model called intrinsic frequency identifying different phases of a patient's heartbeat. This could be then used to determine arterial stiffness and other risk factors.

    Read the full story: USC Viterbi School of Engineering
    Scientific publication: Scientific Reports


    An artificial muscle could help you do pull ups like this
    Worlds' strongest man could envy this artificial muscle - short science articles - technology

    Researchers have developed an artificial muscle which is capable of lifting 12,600 times its own weight, support 60MPa of mechanical stress and provide a 25% higher tensile strength. The muscle is made up of commercial carbon fibre and polydimethylsiloxane. The artificial muscle when electrically stimulated demonstrates excellent performance without the requirement of the high input voltage. Scientists have been able to show that a 0.4 mm diameter muscle bundle could lift half a gallon of water by 1.4 inches by applying only 0.172 V/cm voltage. The applications are limitless such as prosthetics, robotics, orthotics and human assistance devices.

    Read the full story: University of Illinois
    Scientific publication: Smart materials and structures


    A plastic eating enzyme could solve or major plastic waste crisis
    How cool is this - a plastic eating enzyme developed accidentally - short science articles - technology

    First discovered in Japan in 2016, scientists have accidentally created a mutant enzyme which breaks down plastic and also overperforms its natural variant. The bacteria Ideonella sakaiensis breaks down polyethylene terephthalate (PET) which is a major component of plastic using the enzyme PETase. The new mutant variant was created by accident when scientists were trying to tweak the natural enzyme. PET usually takes centuries to naturally break down and the enzyme enables its break down in a matter of days. This could be the answer to our massive plastic problem.

    Read the full story: ScienceBriefss
    Scientific publication: PNAS


    You can't hide anymore. A new face recognition system works even in the dark.
    Nowhere to hide - A face recognition tech effective even in the dark - short science news - technology

    Researchers have developed a face recognition system that can identify faces from thermal face images which are usually captured by thermal cameras. Under low light conditions, there is insufficient illumination to accurately capture facial imagery without active illumination which might give away the position of surveillance cameras. This new system could be used for covert military operations which are usually carried out in the dark and could help inform soldiers if a person is a person of interest like someone on a watchlist. The technology uses artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to match thermal face images and existing biometric face databases.

    Read the full story: ScienceDaily


    Smartphone cameras could replace lab microscopes one day by employing artificial intelligence techniques
    Smartphones as microscopes - artificial intelligence at its best - short science technology news

    Since smartphone cameras of today are specially designed to photograph scenery but not to develop high-resolution microscopic images, researchers have developed an attachment which can be placed on the smartphone lens to increase its resolution to one-millionth of a meter. However, since this 3D printed attachment wasn't enough to give results of high-end lab microscopes, they then developed artificial intelligence algorithms to develop microscope level images. Researchers fed the images shot by the smartphone and a microscope to a computer system to rapidly enhance the mobile phone images. This innovation could help develop cheap alternatives to the expensive lab microscopes.

    Read the full story: University of California Los Angeles
    Scientific publication: ACS Photonics


    Scientists developed a new type of biocompatible, flexible polymer, using caffeine as a catalyst. Credit: MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital
    Caffeine used to create polymers with applications in medicine - short science news - technology news

    Caffeine is now used in a totally unexpected way: to stimulate the formation of a new type of polymer material. Caffeine acts as a catalyst, facilitating the production of a gel-like biomaterial, scientists discovered. The gel has several potential medical applications, including the delivery of drugs in the body. The researchers showed that they could load two malaria drugs, artesunate and piperaquine, into these polymers and they found do harmful effects of the gels in four different types of cells tested.

    Read the full story: MIT
    Scientific publication: Biomaterials


    Internet searches and Twitter activity predict trends in syphilis cases
    Using social media and internet searches to predict syphilis trends - short science news - technology and health

    Two different studies found that certain terms that people searched in Google, or twitted about were correlated with trends in syphilis infections. For the internet searches, the study looked at 25 phrases such as “find sex” and “STD”. For Twitter, the study included the activity of 8,538 users. In both cases, a computer algorithm was able to predict with up to 90% accuracy the syphilis counts. This suggests that monitoring internet searches and social media data could help predict future syphilis outbreaks.

    Read the full story: University of California, Los Angeles WebsiteDirections Save
    Scientific publication: Preventive Medicine
    Scientific publication: Epidemiology


    A material coating is developed which can repel all liquids
    An 'everything-repellent' coating can kid-proof phones and homes - short science articles and news

    Material scientists have developed a material which can repel just about any known liquid. Called an 'omniphobic' material, this coating is the first that is durable, clear and long-lasting. Scientists claim that this new coating can prevent phone screens, table tops, camera lenses and just about anything from getting greasy. IT can easily repel water, alcohols, oils and even peanut butter. The material is a mixture of fluorinated polyurethane and a special fluid repellent molecule called F-POSS. Scientists believe that in the next coming years the cost of production will dramatically decrease which will help in mass adoption.

    Read the full story: University of Michigan
    Scientific publication: ACS Applied and Materials interfaces


    A biosensor under the skin to monitor blood alcohol levels
    An injectable sensor to monitor blood alcohol levels - short science news and articles

    Engineers have now developed a small, injectable biosensor which can be put just below the skin surface to monitor long-term blood alcohol levels. This sensor can be powered wirelessly by wearable devices like a smartwatch. The sensor is coated with alcohol oxidase enzyme which selectively interacts with alcohol to generate a product which is then detected by the sensor. Scientists say that the ultimate goal is to develop a routine drug monitoring device especially for patients in substance abuse programs. This sensor could be n alternative to breathalyzers which normally require patient initiation and are widely inaccurate.

    Read the full story: ScienceBriefss


    DNA to store your data is an amazing idea
    This startup could store your favourite song in DNA- short science articles and news

    Twist Bioscience is one of the world's largest supplier of manufactured synthetic DNA. Storing data in DNA is a $30 billion a year industry up for grabs. Instead of storing data on magnetic tapes, it is now possible to store it in DNA, such that each bit of information is translated into genes which then can be sequenced when the data is needed for retrieval. As a data storage device, DNA has unlimited potential. They have developed methods to recover individual data files in an error-free way from a 200 MB of data stored in DNA. The company has already supplied 20 million custom coded DNA strands to Microsoft research and is now working towards developing DNA storage into a business.

    Read the full story: MIT technology Review


    Arnav Kapur, a researcher in the Fluid Interfaces group at the MIT Media Lab, demonstrates the AlterEgo project. Credit: Lorrie Lejeune/MIT
    A system to transcribe words spoken silently 'in your head' - short science articles and news

    Researchers have developed a computer interface which can transcribe words that are spoken internally and not actually spoken aloud. This silent speech interface device wraps around the back of the neck and then has projections which touch the face at 7 different locations. Neuromuscular signals are picked up by electrodes in the device from the face and the jaw and these signals when processed by the computer code could distinguish non-spoken words with an accuracy of 92%. Scientists are confident that they would be able to achieve full conversation someday with applications in high-noise environments like power plants and printing presses.

    Read the full story: ScienceBriefss


    Bacteria could be killed using light using the new NanoEnzyme
    A 'NanoZyme' kills bacteria using light- short science technology articles

    For years scientists have been trying to develop artificial enzymes which can fight against bacteria by use of external triggers. Now, researchers have developed a new artificial enzyme which uses light to kill bacteria. Made of extremely small nanorods which are 1000 times thinner than the human hair, these 'NanoZymes' create highly reactive oxygen species using light and moisture which then can rapidly kill the bacteria. This enzyme can be made in a solution to mimic fluids in a wound or as powers to mix with paint, ceramics and other products. This has numerous applications like making surfaces bacteria free like public toilets and control infections in public hospitals.

    Read the full story: RMIT university
    Scientific publication: Applied nanomaterials


    Parental control apps might not be useful
    Parental control apps to keep children safe online might be counterproductive-short science articles and news

    Mobile apps which are designed to keep children safe from online predators are actually counterproductive since they hamper the trust between the child and the parent. It also reduces the ability of the child to respond to online threats. Researchers found children who had authoritarian parents experienced higher online risks like harassment, sexual solicitation and explicit content. Researchers state that children would rather want their parents to talk to them rather than use these apps. This could form the basis of designing apps meant to keep our children safe online.

    Read the full story: University of Florida


    ZIPLINE launches the fastest drone delivery system
    ZIPLINE is set to launch the world's fastest delivery drone- short technology news

    A few years ago, the California startup ZIPLINE created a national drone delivery system to ship drugs and blood to remote regions of Rwanda. Now, the same startup has launched the world's fastest commercial delivery drone which has a top speed of 128 km/hr. The USA is set to pass a bill which would allow a private drone to operate at heights at which people on earth cannot see them. ZIPLINE has plenty of experience in this scenario in Rwanda and Rinaudo. They have also developed a streamlined launch and recovery system so that now ZIPLINE can manage about 500 flights in a single day from one centre. Way for future delivery systems....

    Read the full story: MIT technology Review


    Injectable bandages could save lives on the battlefield
    Injectable bandages are here - short science technology news and articles

    Researchers have developed hydrogels which can be injected at the site of penetrating injuries. These hydrogels then achieve hemostasis by promoting the natural cascade of blood clotting. Researchers used a common thickening agent known as the kappa-carrageenan which is usually obtained from seaweeds. This kappa-carrageenan was then mixed with clay-based nanoparticles resulting in the development of injectable gelatin. The negatively charged nanoparticles also enabled interactions with therapeutic agents which then are slowly released into the wound. This also helps in the healing process in addition to homeostasis.

    Read the full story: Texas A&M Engineering
    Scientific publication: Acta Biomaterialia


    This new plastic could help prevent overheating of electronic instruments. Credit: Chelsea Turner/MIT
    Converting plastic insulators to heat conductors - short science news and articles

    Plastic is an excellent insulator and it has been used to efficiently trap heat, for eg a coffee cup. However, the same property is a problem with plastic casings for laptops and mobiles which leads to overheating. However, MIT researchers have now developed a plastic material which is a thermal conductor, which means it dissipates heat. While traditional plastics are made of long-chain fibres which are intertwined like a spaghetti ball, the new plastics developed consist of stretched chains which enables the heat to skip easily. These new plastics result in heat conduction about 300 times as compared to older plastics. This could help develop plastics for advanced applications like self-cooling alternatives to existing electronic casings.

    Read the full story: MIT


    Squids can reflect light in such a way that become essentially invisible
    Now you see it, now you don’t : new invisibility material invented

    Inspired by light reflection by squid skin, researchers have invented a material that can quickly change the way it reflects heat, smoothing or wrinkling its surface in under a second after being stretched or electrically stimulated. This makes it invisible to infrared night vision devices. This invention can be applied for better camouflage for troops, or for insulation for spacecraft, storage containers, clinical care, and building heating and cooling systems.

    Read the full story: University of California – Irvine
    Scientific publication: Science


    A molecular model of peptoid nanosheet which binds to Shiga Toxin. Credit: Berkeley Lab
    Nanosheets coated with sugar developed to target pathogens-short science articles

    Researchers have developed ultrathin sheets of self-assembling polymers called peptoids which can be coated with different sugars. These nanosheets effectively mimic cell surfaces functioning as a trap. The sugars selectively bind to different proteins including Shiga toxin, which causes dysentery. Depending on which sugars are used to coat these nanosheets, different pathogens can be attracted to the surface. The applications are numerous, environmental cleanups to clear specific pathogens and toxins or targetting pathogens like Ebola or E.coli. Or we could develop nasal sprays containing these pathogen trapping nanosheets to prevent respiratory infections.

    Read the full story: Berkeley Lab
    Scientific publication: ACS Nano


    Released CO2 could be repurposed
    What could we do with captured CO2 emissions - short science articles

    Scientists are very optimistic that in the next 10 years we could affordably capture CO2 from power plants and other emissions and convert it into useful molecules. The technology is still in its infancy but could be used to convert CO2 to hydrogen, methane and ethane as biofuels, ethylene and alcohol as consumer goods and formic acid in the pharmaceutical industry or as fuel in fuel cells. While currently, the electricity required to do so is very high making it very expensive, rapid strides could be made since renewable energy sources will become more available.

    Read the full story: phys.org
    Scientific publication: Joule journal


    A new thin flexible and cheap LCD could revolutionize the industry
    Thin, flexible paperlike LCD- short science technology articles

    Engineers from HongKong and China have developed a special liquid crystal display (LCD) which is flexible, light and paper thin. Like traditional LCDs, this screen is designed to have liquid crystal between two plates. However, unlike traditional LCDs, which uses electric connections to switch individual pixels from light to dark, this new LCS uses special molecules which realign on exposure to polarized light and change the colour of the pixels. Normally spacers are used in all LCDs to determine the liquid crystal thickness, which on an impact or bending moves the liquid away leaving a section of screen blank. However, this new LCD has a mesh-like spacer which prevents the liquid crystal to move away on impact. This could lead to rewritable LCDs in the future.

    Read the full story: NanoWrek
    Scientific publication: Applied Physics papers


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