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Students use smarts for damaged hearts

April 30, 2015 8:23 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

A smartphone app created by students at Rice Univ. may someday serve as the ultimate remote to help control the flow of blood through human hearts. The Flowtastic team of Rice senior engineering students created a combined software-hardware interface that works with an Android app to monitor and even control a high-tech pump that resides in the aorta and regulates the flow of blood.

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Magnifying vibrations in bridges, buildings

April 23, 2015 9:40 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | Comments

To the naked eye, buildings and bridges appear fixed in place, unmoved by forces like wind and rain. But in fact, these large structures do experience imperceptibly small vibrations that, depending on their frequency, may indicate instability or structural damage. Researchers have now developed a technique to “see” vibrations that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye, combining high-speed video with computer vision techniques.

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Gamers feel the glove

April 23, 2015 7:51 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

Rice Univ. engineering students are working to make virtual reality a little more real with their invention of a glove that allows a user to feel what they’re touching while gaming. The Hands Omni glove developed at Rice’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen will provide a way for gamers and others to feel the environments they inhabit through the likes of 3-D heads-ups displays.

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New tactic targets brain tumors

April 20, 2015 11:41 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

Drugs that target insulin pathways to slow or stop the growth of brain tumors are going in the right direction, but appear to be on the wrong track, according to new research. Through detailed computer models and experiments on two distinct glioblastoma cell types, the researchers have found reason to believe therapies that attack the insulin signaling pathway thought to influence tumor development have had mixed results in trials.

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Technology can transfer human emotions to your palm through air

April 20, 2015 8:03 am | by Univ. of Sussex | Comments

Human emotion can be transferred by technology that stimulates different parts of the hand without making physical contact with your body, a Univ. of Sussex-led study has shown. Sussex scientist Dr. Marianna Obrist has pinpointed how next-generation technologies can stimulate different areas of the hand to convey feelings of, for example, happiness, sadness, excitement or fear.

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Science Connect: Positive Energy: Sustaining a Great Lab Environment

April 17, 2015 1:33 pm | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Comments

The design of laboratories for sustainable construction and operation has become a major driver in the A/E/C industry over the past 10 to 15 years. These days, most lab clients are looking for sustainable design approaches at a minimum—and third-party certification, such as LEED, in many cases.

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Could maple syrup help cut use of antibiotics?

April 17, 2015 8:42 am | by Chris Chipello, McGill Univ. | Comments

A concentrated extract of maple syrup makes disease-causing bacteria more susceptible to antibiotics, according to laboratory experiments by researchers at McGill Univ. The findings suggest that combining maple syrup extract with common antibiotics could increase the microbes’ susceptibility, leading to lower antibiotic usage.

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Thumbnail track pad

April 17, 2015 7:36 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | Comments

Researchers are developing a new wearable device that turns the user’s thumbnail into a miniature wireless track pad. They envision that the technology could let users control wireless devices when their hands are full: answering the phone while cooking, for instance. It could also augment other interfaces, allowing someone texting on a cellphone, say, to toggle between symbol sets without interrupting his or her typing.

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Packing heat: New fluid makes untapped geothermal energy cleaner

April 16, 2015 7:43 am | by Frances White, PNNL | Comments

More American homes could be powered by the Earth's natural underground heat with a new, nontoxic and potentially recyclable liquid that is expected to use half as much water as other fluids used to tap into otherwise unreachable geothermal hot spots. The fluid might be a boon to a new approach to geothermal power called enhanced geothermal systems.

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Science Connect: The Translational Approach

April 15, 2015 4:37 pm | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Comments

Translational research is a paradigm for research designed to enable innovative thinking by leveraging the benefits of collaboration. First emerging in the mid-1990s in reference to cancer studies spanning basic science, over the past two decades the definition has broadened and evolved.

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Making injections less painful

April 15, 2015 10:45 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

If the Rice Univ. freshman engineering design team Comfortably Numb has it their way, children will be less fearful and feel less pain when they go to the doctor’s office for a shot. The trio of freshmen has created a device to ease the pain of an injection. Their device numbs the skin prior to a shot by producing a rapid chemical reaction to cool the patient’s skin.

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Clean up your life with chemistry life hacks

April 14, 2015 12:11 pm | by American Chemical Society | Comments

Ever run out of your go-to cleaning product, and you’ve got a mess that you just can’t leave alone? Have no fear, chemistry is here. Reactions is back with another round of Chemistry Life Hacks series, and it’s all about cleaning.

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Science Connect: Flexibility Built In

April 13, 2015 10:09 am | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Comments

Flexibility is critical when considering the future of science, research and lab environments. However, research needs down the road are difficult to predict, and flexibility is hard to define. Yet, reducing a facility’s flexibility may mean the loss of spare engineering capacities/infrastructures, services planning and space for anticipated growth and fit-out.

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What happens underground when a missile or meteor hits

April 13, 2015 7:37 am | by Robin A. Smith, Duke Univ. | Comments

When a missile or meteor strikes the earth, the havoc above ground is obvious, but the details of what happens below ground are harder to see. Duke Univ. physicists have developed techniques that enable them to simulate high-speed impacts in artificial soil and sand in the lab, and then watch what happens underground close-up, in super slow motion.

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Erupting electrodes

April 10, 2015 8:49 am | by Mary Beckman, PNNL | Comments

An eruption of lithium at the tip of a battery's electrode, cracks in the electrode's body and a coat forming on the electrode's surface reveal how recharging a battery many times leads to its demise. Using a powerful microscope to watch multiple cycles of charging and discharging under real battery conditions, researchers have gained insight into the chemistry that clogs rechargeable lithium batteries.

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