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New material science research may advance tech tools

August 31, 2015 4:30 pm | by Alison Satake, Louisiana State Univ. | Comments

Hard, complex materials with many components are used to fabricate some of today’s most advanced technology tools. However, little is still known about how the properties of these materials change under specific temperatures, magnetic fields and pressures. Researchers conducted research on materials that separate into different regions through a process called electronic phase separation, which is poorly understood.

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Engineered surface unsticks sticky water droplets

August 31, 2015 3:30 pm | by Walt Mills, Penn State Univ. | Comments

The leaves of the lotus flower, and other natural surfaces that repel water and dirt, have been the model for many types of engineered liquid-repelling surfaces. As slippery as these surfaces are, however, tiny water droplets still stick to them. Now, researchers have developed nano/micro-textured, highly slippery surfaces able to outperform these naturally inspired coatings, particularly when the water is a vapor or tiny droplets.

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Gaming computers offer huge, untapped energy savings potential

August 31, 2015 2:30 pm | by Jon Weiner, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

In the world of computer gaming, bragging rights are accorded to those who can boast of blazing-fast graphics cards, the most powerful processors, the highest-resolution monitors, and the coolest decorative lighting. They are not bestowed upon those crowing about the energy efficiency of their system.

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Mouth guard monitors health markers

August 31, 2015 1:30 pm | by Ioana Patringenaru, Univ. of California, San Diego | Comments

Engineers have developed a mouth guard that can monitor health markers, such as lactate, cortisol and uric acid, in saliva and transmit the information wirelessly to a smartphone, laptop or tablet. The technology, which is at a proof-of-concept stage, could be used to monitor patients continuously without invasive procedures, as well as to monitor athletes’ performance or stress levels in soldiers and pilots.

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Using ultra-thin sheets to discover new class of wrapped shapes

August 31, 2015 12:20 pm | by Univ. of Massachusetts at Amherst | Comments

Materials scientists seeking to encapsulate droplets of one fluid within another often use molecules like soap or micro- or nanoparticles to do it. One distinct way of wrapping a droplet is to use a thin sheet that calls on capillary action to naturally wrap a droplet in a blanket of film, but because it takes some force to bend a sheet around a drop, there were thought to be limits on what can be accomplished by this process.

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Lab research mimics blast-induced brain trauma in soldiers

August 31, 2015 11:30 am | by Emil Venere, Purdue Univ. | Comments

Researchers have developed a procedure to mimic in laboratory experiments a form of brain trauma commonly seen in combat veterans, and findings suggest a new diagnostic tool for early detection and a potential treatment.

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Seeing quantum motion

August 31, 2015 10:30 am | by Jessica Stoller-Conrad, Caltech | Comments

Consider the pendulum of a grandfather clock. If you forget to wind it, you will eventually find the pendulum at rest, unmoving. However, this simple observation is only valid at the level of classical physics. However, quantum mechanics, the underlying physical rules that govern the fundamental behavior of matter and light at the atomic scale, state that nothing can quite be completely at rest.

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Hearing Loss Drug Trial Takes Place at Firing Range

August 31, 2015 10:00 am | by Ryan Bushey, Associate Editor | Comments

An experimental drug trial is underway at the Fort Jackson military base in South Carolina.

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Tissue Velcro could help repair damaged hearts

August 31, 2015 7:27 am | by Tyler Irving, Univ. of Toronto | Comments

Engineers at the Univ. of Toronto just made assembling functional heart tissue as easy as fastening your shoes. The team has created a biocompatible scaffold that allows sheets of beating heart cells to snap together just like Velcro.

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DNA “clews” helps shuttle CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool into cells

August 31, 2015 7:18 am | by Matt Shipman, News Services, North Carolina State Univ. | Comments

Researchers from North Carolina State Univ. and the Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have for the first time created and used a nanoscale vehicle made of DNA to deliver a CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool into cells in both cell culture and an animal model.

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Research advances on “scourge” of transplant wards

August 28, 2015 1:00 pm | by David Tennebaum, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison | Comments

The fungus Cryptococcus causes meningitis, a brain disease that kills about 1 million people each year—mainly those with impaired immune systems due to AIDS, cancer treatment or an organ transplant. It's difficult to treat because fungi are genetically quite similar to humans, so compounds that affect fungi tend to have toxic side effects for patients.

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Closing the loop with optogenetics

August 28, 2015 12:00 pm | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | Comments

Optogenetics provides a powerful tool for studying the brain by allowing researchers to activate neurons using simple light-based signals. But until now, these optical stimulation techniques have been “open loop,” meaning they lack the kind of feedback control that most biological and engineering systems use to maintain a steady operating state.

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Can rain clean the atmosphere?

August 28, 2015 11:00 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | Comments

As a raindrop falls through the atmosphere, it can attract tens to hundreds of tiny aerosol particles to its surface before hitting the ground. The process by which droplets and aerosols attract is coagulation, a natural phenomenon that can act to clear the air of pollutants like soot, sulfates and organic particles.

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Learning from the unexpected

August 28, 2015 10:00 am | by Peter Tarr, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory | Comments

When a large combat unit, widely dispersed in dense jungle, goes to battle, no single soldier knows precisely how his actions are affecting the unit’s success or failure. But in modern armies, every soldier is connected via an audio link that can instantly receive broadcasts based on new intelligence. The real-time broadcasts enable dispersed troops to learn from these reports.

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Evidence suggests subatomic particles could defy Standard Model

August 28, 2015 9:00 am | by Matthew Wright, Univ. of Maryland | Comments

The Standard Model of particle physics, which explains most of the known behaviors and interactions of fundamental subatomic particles, has held up remarkably well over several decades. This far-reaching theory does have a few shortcomings, however. The most notable is it doesn't account for gravity.

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