As part of its R&D 100 Awards program, the editors of R&D Magazine hold an annual roundtable discussion that addresses outstanding trends and issues in research and development. This year, the Industry Executives’ Roundtable, held Nov. 7, 2013, in Orlando, Fla., focused on industrial research, featuring executives from several organizations that invest heavily in R&D efforts. These organizations all won 2013 R&D 100 Awards.
In the late 1980s, when setting up his first laboratory, an asst. prof. of chemistry at the Univ...
The first LCD television was invented in 1972 at Westinghouse in Pennsylvania. Like many...
In January 2013, an assoc. prof of biomedical engineering at Columbia Univ., Samuel K. Sia, developed a lab-on-a-chip technology that not only checks a patient’s HIV status with a finger prick, it also synchronizes the results automatically and instantaneously with central health care records. The technology, developed in collaboration with OPKO Diagnostics and called mChip, performs all ELISA functions, and produces results within 15 min.
Fume hoods are a central component in most laboratories. Whether designing a new laboratory or renovating an existing one, architects are challenged to incorporate safety, reliability and sustainability. These same issues hold true for laboratory managers when thinking about updating their existing equipment.
Provider of flexible and affordable 3-D modeling software for engineers, SpaceClaim, has announced the launch of the 2014 edition of SpaceClaim Engineer. The new release maintains the familiar interface and workflow of the prior editions while combining tools for manufacturing, advances in file compatibility, performance speed gains and improved collaboration.
Virtually every laboratory has areas with elevated fire risks, with fume hoods being a primary concern. The presence of ignition sources, such as hot plates and Bunsen burners, the use of pyrophoric materials and the inherent volatility of the various chemicals and compounds that are commonly found in fume hoods all add up to a serious fire risk.
During the development of the transistor, which launched the computer age, oscilloscopes were a key tool for engineers and scientists who needed to understand the behavior of complex electronics. Now, computers are returning the favor by revolutionizing how test and measurement instrumentation, including oscilloscopes, is constructed and how it performs.
Multiphysics software simulations are used by biomedical equipment developers to reliably design complex mechanisms for enhancing the human physical condition. These medical devices can include tools for treating cancers, enhancing hearing and treating chronic back pain.
Many applications involve generating sinusoid voltage waveforms onto low-AC-impedance capacitive loads. For example, this capability is needed when emulating automotive alternator whine for testing a car stereo system’s ability to reject noise. Such applications may require generating waveforms up to 20 kHz with peak-to-peak amplitudes of 500 mV onto a capacitive load as high as 1 mF to 1 F.
In the first 300 days of the Mars Science Laboratory surface mission, the Curiosity rover collected soil samples in Gale Crater while the onboard Radiation Assessment Detector made detailed measurements of the radiation environment on the surface of Mars. Southwest Research Institute scientists have published the results of these studies, comparing them to typically doses received on Earth.
Scientists from the Univ. of Toronto have discovered a novel chemical lurking in the atmosphere that appears to be a long-lived greenhouse gas (LLGHG). The chemical—perfluorotributylamine (PFTBA)—is the most radiatively efficient chemical found to date, breaking all other chemical records for its potential to affect climate.
To learn new motor skills, the brain must be plastic: able to rapidly change the strengths of connections between neurons, forming new patterns that accomplish a particular task. However, if the brain were too plastic, previously learned skills would be lost too easily. A new computational model explains how the brain maintains the balance between plasticity and stability, and how it can learn similar tasks without interference.
Q?rius (pronounced “Curious”) is a new hub of scientific activity and education based at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. The product of a partnership between Olympus and the Smithsonian, the 10,000-square-foot experiential learning center will be equipped with dozens of microscopes and imaging systems that will enable museum visitors more than 6,000 bones, minerals, and fossils.
By using optical techniques, researchers in Switzerland are now able to measure the concentration of the oxidizing substances produced by a damaged cell. This new biosensing technique for toxic agents also offers a new way to know more about the mechanisms of oxidative stress.
With the help of the x-ray light source PETRA III, researchers in Germany have, for the first time, watched organic solar cells degrade in real time. This work could open new approaches to increasing the stability of this highly promising type of solar cell, which is known for its flexibility and low cost but has a short lifespan.
Univ. of Oregon chemists studying the structure of ligand-stabilized gold nanoparticles have captured fundamental new insights about their stability. The information, they say, could help to maintain a desired, integral property in nanoparticles used in electronic devices, where stability is important.
The Titan Arm, a robotic device invented by Univ. of Pennsylvania engineering students, looks and sounds like part of a superhero's costume. But its creators say it's designed for ordinary people—those who need either physical rehabilitation or a little extra muscle for their job. The arm can help its wearer carry an additional 40 pounds.
Forensic experts have long used the shape of a person’s skull to make positive identifications of human remains. But those findings may now be called into question, since a new study from North Carolina State Univ. shows that there is not enough variation in skull shapes to make a positive identification.
With one stomp of his foot, Zhong Lin Wang illuminates a thousand light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs, with no batteries or power cord. The current comes from essentially the same source as that tiny spark that jumps from a fingertip to a doorknob when you walk across carpet on a cold, dry day. Wang and his research team have learned to harvest this power and put it to work.
Heating a sheet of plastic may not bring it to life, but it sure looks like it does in new experiments at Rice Univ. The materials created by Rice polymer scientist Rafael Verduzco and his colleagues start as flat slabs, but they morph into shapes that can be controlled by patterns written into their layers.
Zinc is found in every tissue in the body. The vast majority of the metal ion is tightly bound to proteins, helping them to perform biological reactions. Tiny amounts of zinc, however, are only loosely bound, and may be critical for proper function in some organs. Yet the exact roles the ion plays in biological systems are unknown. A new optical sensor tracks zinc within cells and should help researchers learn more about its functions.
Harmless lung cancer? A provocative study found that nearly one in five lung tumors detected on CT scans are probably so slow-growing that they would never cause problems. The analysis suggests the world's No. 1 cause of cancer deaths isn't as lethal as doctors once thought. In the study, these were not false-positives—suspicious results that turn out upon further testing not to be cancer.
A massive impact on the moon about 4 billion years ago left a 2,500-mile crater, among the largest known craters in the solar system. Smaller subsequent impacts left craters within that crater. Comparing the spectra of light reflected from the peaks of those craters may yield clues to the composition of the moon’s lower crust and mantle—and would have implications for models of how the moon formed.
Funded by prominent Silicon Valley investors and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Hampton Creek Foods seeks to disrupt a global egg industry that backers say wastes energy, pollutes the environment, causes disease outbreaks and confines chickens to tiny spaces. The company, which just started selling a mayonnaise made without eggs, is part of a new generation of so-called food-tech ventures that aim to change the way we eat.
NASA's Curiosity rover has uncovered signs of an ancient freshwater lake on Mars that may have teemed with tiny organisms for tens of millions of years, far longer than scientists had imagined, new research suggests. The watering hole near the Martian equator existed about 3.5 billion years ago. Scientists say it was neither salty nor acidic, and contained nutrients—a perfect spot to support microbes.
As embryonic tissue develops, cells push and pull on each other, and they must do so correctly for the tissue to develop properly. Now scientists at Harvard Univ. have devised the first method to measure these tiny forces in 3-D tissues and living embryos. The method, which involves injecting tiny oil droplets, could lead to new tools to diagnose cancer, hypertension, connective tissue diseases and more.
Carbon nanotubes carry plasmonic signals in the terahertz range of the electromagnetic spectrum, but only if they’re metallic by nature or doped. In new research, the Rice Univ. laboratory of physicist Junichiro Kono disproved previous theories that dominant terahertz response comes from narrow-gap semiconducting nanotubes.
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