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Future phones to use blood, speech to monitor HIV, stress, nutrition

August 25, 2014 9:30 am | by Cornell Univ. | News | Comments

David Erickson, a professor at Cornell Univ., will receive a $3 million National Science Foundation grant over five years to adapt smartphones for health monitoring. The program, dubbed PHeNoM for Public Health, Nanotechnology, and Mobility, aims to deploy three systems that can have an immediate impact on personal healthcare.

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A surprising new role for natural killer T cells

August 25, 2014 9:25 am | News | Comments

In the past, immune cells were clearly divided into innate cells, which respond to attacks in a non-specific way, and adaptive cells, which learn to recognize new antigens and gain the ability to rapidly react to later attacks. Researchers at RIKEN in Japan have discovered that is not always the case, having found that killer T cells previously thought to be innate, and thus short-lived, can remain in the lung for up to nine months.

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Breakthrough understanding of biomolecules could lead to new, better drugs

August 25, 2014 9:09 am | by Marcia Goodrich, Michigan Technological Univ. | News | Comments

There’s a certain type of biomolecule built like a nano-Christmas tree. Called a glycoconjugate, it’s many branches are bedecked with sugary ornaments. It’s those ornaments that get all the glory. That’s because, according to conventional wisdom, the glycoconjugate’s lowly “tree” basically holds the sugars in place as they do the important work of reacting with other molecules.

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Biomimetic photodetector “sees” in color

August 25, 2014 7:56 am | by Jade Boyd, Rice Univ. | News | Comments

Rice Univ. researchers have created a CMOS-compatible, biomimetic color photodetector that directly responds to red, green and blue light in much the same way the human eye does. The new device uses an aluminum grating that can be added to silicon photodetectors with the silicon microchip industry’s mainstay technology, “complementary metal-oxide semiconductor,” or CMOS.

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Quenching one's thirst for knowledge by studying beer foam

August 25, 2014 7:46 am | by Sarah Perrin, EPFL | News | Comments

A mechanical engineering student at EPFL in Switzerland wanted to understand the reason behind the formation of a “foam volcano” after tapping the neck of a bottle of beer. He studied the phenomenon with a high-speed camera and compared it to the outcome of applying the same action to sparkling water. His work offers insights into the behavior of cavitation nuclei.

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Study: Cutting emissions pays for itself

August 25, 2014 7:44 am | by Audrey Resutek, MIT | News | Comments

Lower rates of asthma and other health problems are frequently cited as benefits of policies aimed at cutting carbon emissions from sources like power plants and vehicles, because these policies also lead to reductions in other harmful types of air pollution. But just how large are the health benefits of cleaner air in comparison to the costs of reducing carbon emissions?

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Solar fuels as generated by nature

August 25, 2014 7:39 am | News | Comments

A research team investigating an important cofactor in photosynthesis, a manganese-calcium complex which uses solar energy to split water into molecular oxygen, have determined the exact structure of this complex at a crucial stage in the chemical reaction. The new insights into how molecular oxygen is formed at this metal complex may provide a blueprint for synthetic systems that could store sunlight energy in chemical energy carriers.

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Roche to acquire InterMune for $8.3B

August 24, 2014 1:24 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche said Sunday it has reached an $8.3 billion deal to buy InterMune Inc., a California-based developer of treatments for lung diseases. The companies have reached an agreement under which Roche will acquire InterMune in an all-cash transaction, paying $74.00 per InterMune share, Roche said.

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Report: Tesla building I-80 supercharger station

August 23, 2014 5:24 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Tesla Motors Inc. is building a supercharger station in the Sierra Nevada north of Lake Tahoe where drivers of the company's electric cars can recharge along Interstate 80, a newspaper says. Tesla officials previously announced plans to build a station near Truckee, Calif., about 30 miles southwest of Reno but hasn't confirmed an exact location or opening date.

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Super-tunable Nanomembranes

August 22, 2014 4:11 pm | Award Winners

Membrane technologies are crucial in a variety of separation processes, from biotechnology to energy. Current membrane developments are bottlenecked by the “selectivity vs permeability paradox”. That is, the higher selectivity achieved by use of small pores (of less than 0.5 nm) is compromised by the lower permeability flux, and vice versa. This is especially evident in parasitic energy loss for ethanol-water separations. A new type of nanomembrane, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s High-Performance Architectured Surface Selective (HiPAS) membranes combine a superhydrophobic surface selectivity layer with an architectured high-flux membrane layer to eliminate this Catch-22.

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Preventing Proppant Flowback

August 22, 2014 3:56 pm | Award Winners

A new type of resin-coated sand created by Preferred Technology and The Dow Chemical Company addresses this difficulty, providing measurable particle bond strength in the temperature range of 75 to 140 F without the aid of an external surfactant or activator. Preferred RCS Garnet 2.0 resin-coated sand delivers this performance with the help of a special polyurethane polymer bonding mechanism that utilizes Dow’s Teraforce technology.

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Better Protection for Offshore Oil

August 22, 2014 3:45 pm | Award Winners

Increasing demand for oil as an energy source and sustained prices of oil on the world market are driving offshore oil producers to seek new finds further offshore. One challenge with deep-water projects is that the emerging oil is much hotter than the surrounding sea, which is near freezing, and needs to be kept warm as it flows through subsea flow elements and pipes to prevent blockage. As a result, flow systems on the seafloor are typically insulated. The Oil Gas & Mining R&D Div. of The Dow Chemical Company has commercialized an innovative new insulation product that can be used in projects that see oil temperatures up to 160 C.

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Pregnancy Hormone Sniffs Out Anthrax

August 22, 2014 3:04 pm | Award Winners

To mitigate anthrax attack risks, Sandia National Laboratories developed a credit-card sized device based on the lateral flow assay for detection of B. anthracis in ultra-low resource environments: BaDx (Bacillus anthracis diagnostics). BaDx is a low-cost, disposable device that requires no power, instrumentation or equipment to operate, and no refrigeration to maintain efficacy.

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Efficient Bioengineering

August 22, 2014 2:50 pm | Award Winners

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Tissue-Specific Cell-Wall Engineering is a powerful new method for rapidly transforming crops into biological factories. The technology, a suite of high-precision genetic tools and procedures, makes it possible to change plant traits in a highly selective, tissue-specific fashion.

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Gold Standard for Laparoscopic Surgery

August 22, 2014 2:38 pm | Award Winners

Laparoscopic Surgery was introduced with a goal to reduce morbidities associated with open surgical techniques. Twenty years later, although it has brought much better outcomes across a number of indicators, it still has some significant patient morbidities and mortality risks associated with it. Port site hernia is one such example. No ubiquitous global device-based standard of care developed has been accepted to deal with this issue. neoSurgical’s neoClose brings a simple, accurate technology/device-based solution that can be deployed in less than 30 sec.

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