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Engineers create wireless, self-propelled medical device

February 23, 2012 4:47 am | by Andrew Myers, Stanford University | News | Comments

For 50 years, scientists searched for the secret to making tiny implantable devices that could travel through the bloodstream. Engineers at Stanford University have demonstrated such a device. Powered without wires or batteries, it can propel itself through the bloodstream and is small enough to fit through blood vessels.

Nanopatterned surfaces could improve efficiency of power plants

February 23, 2012 4:19 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

The condensation of water is crucial to the operation of most power plants that provide our electricity. But there are still large gaps in the scientific understanding of exactly how water condenses on the surfaces used to turn steam back into water in a power plant. A team at the Massachusetts Institute of technology offers new insights into how these droplets form.

Cell phone-based sensor for detection of E. coli

February 23, 2012 3:46 am | News | Comments

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles have developed a new cell phone-based fluorescent imaging and sensing platform that can detect the presence of the bacterium Escherichia coli in food and water.

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Spitzer finds solid buckyballs in space

February 22, 2012 7:54 am | News | Comments

Astronomers using data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have, for the first time, discovered buckyballs in a solid form in space. Prior to this discovery, the microscopic carbon spheres had been found only in gas form in the cosmos.

Sandia seeks better neural control of prosthetics for amputees

February 22, 2012 7:40 am | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories researchers, using off-the-shelf equipment in a chemistry laboratory, have been working on ways to improve amputees' control over prosthetics with direct help from their own nervous systems.

A faster way to catch cells

February 22, 2012 6:50 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Separating complex mixtures of cells can offer valuable information for diagnosing and treating disease. However, it may be necessary to search through billions of other cells to collect rare cells. A team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Massachusetts General Hospital has now demonstrated a new microfluidic device that can isolate target cells much faster than existing devices.

NIST reveals switching mechanism in promising computer memory device

February 22, 2012 5:18 am | News | Comments

Sometimes knowing that a new technology works is not enough. You also must know why it works to get marketplace acceptance. New information from NIST about how layered switching devices for novel computer memory systems work, for example, may now allow these structures to come to market sooner, helping bring about faster, lower-powered computers.

Implantable, wireless sensors share secrets of healing tissues

February 22, 2012 4:12 am | News | Comments

A new implantable sensor developed at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute can wirelessly transmit data from the site of a recent orthopedic surgery. Inexpensive to make and highly reliable, this new sensor holds the promise of more accurate, more cost-effective, and less invasive post-surgery monitoring and diagnosis.

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New technique produces free-standing piezoelectric ferroelectric nanostructures

February 22, 2012 3:50 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a "soft template infiltration" technique for fabricating free-standing piezoelectrically active ferroelectric nanotubes and other nanostructures from PZT. The technique allows fabrication of ferroelectric nanostructures with user-defined shapes, location, and pattern variation across the same substrate.

A new twist on nanowires

February 22, 2012 3:21 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Nanowires are a hot research topic today, with a variety of potential applications including light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and sensors. Now, a team of Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers has found a way of precisely controlling the width and composition of these tiny strands as they grow, making it possible to grow complex structures that are optimally designed for particular applications.

Researchers coax gold into nanowires

February 21, 2012 10:28 am | News | Comments

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have coaxed gold into nanowires as a way of creating an inexpensive material for detecting poisonous gases found in natural gas. The team developed a self-assembly method that uses scaffolds to grow gold nanowires.

One step closer to a new kilogram

February 21, 2012 7:30 am | News | Comments

The National Physical Laboratory produced technology capable of accurate measurements of Planck's constant, which is a significant step towards changing the international definition of the kilogram—currently based on a lump of platinum-iridium metal kept in Paris, France.

New tongue drive system to improve performance, user comfort

February 21, 2012 6:56 am | News | Comments

Georgia Institute of Technology's Tongue Drive is a wireless device that enables people with high-level spinal cord injuries to operate a computer and maneuver an electrically powered wheelchair simply by moving their tongues. The newest prototype of the system allows users to wear an inconspicuous dental retainer embedded with sensors to control the system.

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Energy-recycling computer technology goes global

February 21, 2012 6:21 am | News | Comments

An energy-recycling computer circuit born at the University of Michigan will enable a new generation of power-efficient laptop PCs and servers. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) announced that the company's forthcoming 64-bit processor core, dubbed Piledriver, incorporates the technology.

Big, bad bacterium is an 'iron pirate'

February 21, 2012 3:53 am | News | Comments

Life inside the human body sometimes looks like life on the high seas in the 1960s, when pirates hijacked foreign vessels in search of precious metals. For Neisseria bacteria, which can cause gonorrhea and meningitis, the booty is not gold or silver but plain old iron. Until recently, scientists did not understand how these bacterial snatch iron from healthy human cells, where a protein called transferrin bind the metal in a molecular bear hug.

A step toward better electronics

February 21, 2012 3:21 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a new method for chemically altering graphene, a development that could be a step toward the creation of faster, thinner, flexible electronics. Their method, which oxidizes graphene without the collateral damage encountered in the Hummers method, is also reversible.

One and done: Single-atom transistor is end of Moore's Law

February 21, 2012 2:59 am | News | Comments

The smallest transistor ever built—in fact, the smallest transistor that can be built—has been created using a single phosphorous atom by an international team of researchers at the University of New South Wales, Purdue University, and the University of Melbourne.

Rare Earth element found far, far away

February 17, 2012 11:28 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

A team of researchers has detected the element tellurium for the first time in three ancient stars. The researchers found traces of this brittle, semiconducting element—which is very rare on Earth—in stars that are nearly 12 billion years old. The finding supports the theory that tellurium, along with even heavier elements in the periodic table, likely originated from a very rare type of supernova during a rapid process of nuclear fusion.

Researchers develop better control for DNA-based computations

February 17, 2012 9:29 am | News | Comments

A North Carolina State University chemist has found a way to give DNA-based computing better control over logic operations. His work could lead to interfacing DNA-based computing with traditional silicon-based computing.

Georgia Tech develops Braille-like texting app

February 17, 2012 9:20 am | News | Comments

Imagine if smartphone and tablet users could text a not under the table during a meeting without anyone being the wiser. Mobile gadget users might also be enabled to text while walking, watching TV, or socializing without taking their eyes off what they're doing. Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have built a prototype app for touchscreen mobile devices that is vying to be a complete solution for texting without the need to look at a mobile gadget's screen.

Sandia researchers find energy storage solutions in MetILs

February 17, 2012 9:04 am | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories researchers have developed a new family of liquid salt electrolytes, known as MetILs, that could lead to batteries able to cost-effectively store three times more energy than today's batteries. The research might lead to devices that can help economically and reliably incorporate large-scale intermittent renewable energy source into the nation's electric grid.

Researchers find the healing properties of a spider's web

February 17, 2012 5:13 am | News | Comments

The study of spider webs has led to a discovery that will generate new types of medical sutures embedded with medication. University of Akron scientists have developed a novel biocompatible thread material similar to a specific kind of silk spun by an orb spider.

Human trials prove successful for wireless drug delivery chip

February 17, 2012 4:18 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

About 15 years ago, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professors Robert Langer and Michael Cima had the idea to develop a programmable, wirelessly controlled microchip that would deliver drugs after implantation in a patient's body. Now, the MIT researchers and scientists from MicroCHIPS Inc. reported that they have successfully used such a chip to administer daily doses of an osteoporosis drug normally given by injection.

'Mini-cellulose' molecule may maximize biofuel production

February 17, 2012 4:00 am | News | Comments

A team of chemical engineers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has discovered a small molecule that behaves the same as cellulose when it is converted to biofuel. Studying this 'mini-cellulose' molecule reveals, for the first time, the chemical reactions that take place in wood and prairie grasses during high-temperature conversion to biofuel.

Inspired by gecko feet, scientists invent super-adhesive material

February 16, 2012 11:21 am | News | Comments

For years, biologists have been amazed by the power of gecko feet, which let these lizards produce an adhesive force roughly equivalent to carrying nine pounds up a wall without slipping. Now, a team from University of Massachusetts Amherst has discovered exactly how the gecko does it, leading them to invent "Geckskin," a device that can hold 700 lbs on a smooth wall.

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