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R&D Daily

Implanted devices may reshape medicine

May 14, 2014 8:19 am | Comments

Researchers from The Univ. of Texas at Dallas and the Univ. of Tokyo have created electronic devices that become soft when implanted inside the body and can deploy to grip 3-D objects, such as large tissues, nerves and blood vessels. These biologically adaptive, flexible transistors might one day help doctors learn more about what is happening inside the body, and stimulate the body for treatments.

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High-tech peg measures palsy patients’ dexterity

May 14, 2014 7:31 am | Comments

It looks like a game board and many of its users will find it fun, but there’s serious intent behind a device by Rice Univ. students to test the abilities of cerebral palsy patients. At the heart of the DeXcellence platform is a small peg comfortable enough for a three-year-old to hold. But packed inside are enough electronics to tell a nearby computer, tablet or other Bluetooth-enabled device of how the cylinder is moving in space.

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A hydrogel that knows when to go

May 7, 2014 7:34 am | Comments

Rice Univ. bioengineers have created a hydrogel that instantly turns from liquid to semisolid at close to body temperature—and then degrades at precisely the right pace. The gel shows potential as a bioscaffold to support the regrowth of bone and other 3-D tissues in a patient’s body using the patient’s own cells to seed the process.

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Students’ energy invention is really out there

May 1, 2014 8:26 am | Comments

Rice Univ. engineering students think it’s a shame to waste energy, especially in space. So a team of seniors invented a device that turns excess heat into electricity. Heat created by electronics onboard the International Space Station (ISS) now gets tossed overboard into the void. But new technology to turn heat into power would make it possible to put it back to work to run the myriad systems onboard.

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Featured R&D 100 winner: Livermore’s movie-mode electron microscope

April 30, 2014 9:13 am | Comments

In 2010 Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory introduced a new type of electron microscope that could study structural dynamics in condensed matter with the help of a nanosecond laser “pump” that could capture images. In 2013, the laboratory won another R&D 100 Award for speeding up this process more than 100,000 times, resulting in a “movie-mode” version of the instrument.

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3-D printer builds 10 houses in one day

April 29, 2014 7:46 am | by Lindsay Hock, Managing Editor | Comments

WinSun, a private company located in eastern China, has printed 10 full-size houses using a 3-D printer in the space of a day. The process utilizes quick-drying cement and construction water to build the walls layer-by-layer. The company used a system of four 10-m-by-6.6-m-high printers with multi-directional sprays to create the houses.

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Nissan develops first "self-cleaning" car prototype

April 28, 2014 11:00 am | Comments

Washing a car can be a costly and time-consuming chore. The European model of Nissan’s Note will be the first car to wear a new type of paint which could make car washes obsolete. The paint has been engineered to be super-hydrophobic and oleophobic, meaning it repels both water and oils. The tests may result in an aftermarket application.

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World’s smallest magazine cover

April 25, 2014 1:47 pm | Comments

IBM scientists have developed a new tool inspired by hieroglyphics. The core of the technology is a tiny, heatable silicon tip with a sharp apex 100,000 times smaller than a sharpened pencil. Working like a 3-D printer it “chisels” away material by local evaporation. They have used this invention to make a magazine cover for National Geographic that is just 11 by 14 micrometers in size.

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Students take clot-buster for a spin

April 22, 2014 7:46 am | Comments

In the hands of some Rice Univ. senior engineering students, a fishing rod is more than what it seems. For them, it’s a way to help destroy blood clots that threaten lives. Branding themselves as “Team Evacuator,” five students have been testing a device to break up blood clots that form in the bladders of adult patients and currently have to be removed by suction through a catheter in the urethra.

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The science of caffeine, the world’s most popular drug

April 16, 2014 2:08 pm | Comments

It seems there are new caffeine-infused products hitting the shelves every day. From energy drinks to gum and even jerky, our love affair with this little molecule shows no signs of slowing. In a recent American Chemical Society video, the science behind the world’s most popular drug is explained, including why it keeps you awake and how much caffeine is too much.

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Floating nuclear plants could ride out tsunamis

April 16, 2014 11:08 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | Comments

When an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex in 2011, neither the quake nor the inundation caused the ensuing contamination. Rather, it was the aftereffects—specifically, the lack of cooling for the reactor cores, due to a shutdown of all power at the station—that caused most of the harm. A new design for nuclear plants built on floating platforms could help avoid such consequences in the future.

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Engineers design video game controller that can sense players’ emotions

April 8, 2014 8:25 am | by Bjorn Carey, Stanford News Service | Comments

Sometimes, a dozen ravenous zombies just aren't exciting enough to hold a video gamer's interest. The next step in interactive gaming, however, could come in the form of a handheld game controller that gauges the player's brain activity and throws more zombies on the screen when it senses the player is bored.

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Taking lab informatics mobile

April 5, 2014 4:36 pm | Comments

Accelrys has always been the leader in leveraging mobile technology for lab operations. Learn more about their corporate mobile initiatives including Accelrys Capture, the new mobile data recording app for lab informatics. Also visit Accelyrs' new Webinar on their coporate mobile initatives.

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Nanoparticles cause cancer cells to self-destruct

April 3, 2014 2:04 pm | Comments

Using magnetically controlled nanoparticles to force tumor cells to "self-destruct" sounds like science fiction, but could be a future part of cancer treatment, according to new research.                  

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Researchers open path to finding rare, polarized metals

April 2, 2014 12:31 pm | Comments

Researchers are turning some of the basic tenets of chemistry and physics upside down to cut a trail toward the discovery of a new set of materials. They’re called “polar metals” and, according to many scientific principles, they probably shouldn’t exist.

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