Sandia National Laboratories researcher Steve Dai jokes that his approach to creating materials whose properties won’t degenerate during temperature swings is a lot like cooking — mixing ingredients and fusing them together in an oven.
Sandia has developed a unique materials approach to multilayered, ceramic-based, 3-D microelectronics circuits, such as those used in cell phones. The approach compensates for how changes due to temperature fluctuations affect something called the temperature coefficient of resonant frequency, a critical property of materials used in radio and microwave frequency applications. Sandia filed a patent for its new approach last fall. The work was the subject of a recently completed two-year Early Career Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) project that focused on understanding why certain materials behave as they do. That knowledge could help manufacturers design and build better products.
Today I’m going to focus on medical technologies that are available or being researched now that can be implanted into (or onto) humans. Specifically, I am going to talk about tech that promises to restore (and one day replace) faulty biological systems.
Most people value large chunks of gold – but scientists at the Vienna University of Technology are interested in gold at the smallest possible scale, because single gold atoms are potentially the most reactive catalysts for chemical reactions. However, when gold atoms are placed on a surface they tend to ball up into tiny nuggets consisting of several atoms. A team of surface scientists now managed to fix single gold atoms on special sites of an iron-oxide surface. This could open the door to more efficient catalysts, requiring less of the precious material.
Researchers in Nebraska are developing a new use for quadcopters by turning them into a portable power source. The NIMBUS Lab has developed a prototype that uses a process called coupled magnetic resonance to transfer energy between two coils — one on the copter, and the other on whatever it is that needs charging. Right now the prototype can provide about five watts of power from 25 centimeters away, which is enough to power an LED bulb. Eventually the process could give unmanned aerial vehicles the ability to recharge the batteries of sensors found in remote locations, such as underwater or underneath a bridge. If nothing else, it’s certainly a better use of a quadcopter than nearly hitting the drummer of The Roots.
Tuberculosis, now largely controlled in the industrialized world, remains a stubbornly persistent killer in most of Africa, as well as parts of Asia and South America. The spread of multidrug-resistant strains of TB has slowed progress against the devastating disease, which is estimated to strike more than 10 million people annually. Now a modified soft-drink cooler, developed by researchers at MIT’s D-Lab, could make a dent in the disease’s impact.
Many people keep favorite Hollywood films or TV shows on solid DVDs or Blu-ray discs, but quantum physicists wanted to go beyond solid storage devices. They stored and replayed two letters of the alphabet in a gaseous atomic vapor — the first time images have ever been reliably stored in a nonsolid medium.
Nobody likes being alone, and Japanese researchers from Yamagata University are developing a robot to make sure you’ll never have to be alone again: the MH-2 wearable miniature humanoid lives on your shoulder and can be remotely inhabited by your friends from anywhere in the world.
Mice and monkeys don’t develop diseases in the same way that humans do. Nevertheless, after medical researchers have studied human cells in a Petri dish, they have little choice but to move on to study mice and primates.
Multi-walled carbon nanotubes riddled with defects and impurities on the outside could replace some of the expensive platinum catalysts used in fuel cells and metal-air batteries, according to scientists at Stanford University. Their findings are published in the May 27 online edition of the journal Nature Nanotechnology.
“Platinum is very expensive and thus impractical for large-scale commercialization,” said Hongjie Dai, a professor of chemistry at Stanford and co-author of the study. “Developing a low-cost alternative has been a major research goal for several decades.”
NTU and I²R scientists invent revolutionary chipset for high-speed wireless data transfer, new microchip that can transfer data the size of 80 MP3 song files (or 250 megabytes) wirelessly between mobile devices, in the flick of a second, 1000 times faster than Bluetooth.
I view the world of aging and longevity science as divided into three broad classes of research and researchers - something that will already be apparent to regular readers, but which I don’t recall having outlined explicitly. This crude model of the research community informs the ways in which I read research and evaluate the state of progress towards meaningful goals: both extension of healthy human life, and - more importantly - forms of medicine capable of repair and reversal of aging.
While researchers are busy identifying new biomarkers to detect disease and tailor treatments to individual needs, legal battles have been waged all the way up to the Supreme Court, trying to sort out whether a private company can own the rights to a particular biomarker.