Acoustic tweezers move objects in the body remotely

Physics World  August 4, 2020 Researchers at the University of Washington designed ultrasound beams of specific shapes by numerical modeling and a phased array. The beams were shown to levitate and electronically steer solid objects (3-mm-diameter glass spheres) along preprogrammed paths in a water bath, and in the urinary bladders of live pigs. Deviation from the intended path was on average <10%. No injury was found on the bladder wall or intervening tissue. The work provides a framework for medical applications, as well as nonmedical uses that require noninvasively moving sizable, dense objects in a free field or within a […]

Wearable-tech glove translates sign language into speech in real time

Science Daily  June 29, 2020 An international team of researchers (China, USA – UCLA) has developed wearable sign-to-speech translation system composed of yarn-based stretchable sensor arrays and a wireless printed circuit board. It offers a high sensitivity and fast response time, allowing real-time translation of signs into spoken words to be performed. By analysing 660 acquired sign language hand gesture recognition patterns, they demonstrated a recognition rate of up to 98.63% and a recognition time of less than 1 second…read more. TECHNICAL ARTICLE 

Researchers develop viable sodium battery

Science Daily  June 1, 2020 An international team of researchers (USA – Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Washington State University, China) created a layered metal oxide cathode and a liquid electrolyte that included extra sodium ions. The cathode design and electrolyte system allowed for continued movement of sodium ions, preventing inactive surface crystal build-up, and allowing for unimpeded electricity generation. The research revealed the essential correlation between cathode structure evolution and surface interaction with the electrolyte. They are working to better understand the important interaction between their electrolyte and the cathode, so they can work with different materials […]

Synthetic red blood cells mimic natural ones, and have new abilities

EurekAlert  June 3, 2020 Based on a silica cell bioreplication approach researchers at the University of New Mexico designed and constructed synthetic red blood cells (RRBCs) that fully mimic the broad properties of native RBCs – size, biconcave shape, deformability, oxygen-carrying capacity, and long circulation time. Four successive nanoscale processing steps were employed for RRBC construction. Tests proved the recapitulation of RBC shape, size, and membrane structure, confirmed the ability of RRBCs to deform and pass through small slits and reconstitute themselves in a manner comparable to native RBCs. They developed modular procedures with which to load functional cargos such […]

Princeton team develops ‘poisoned arrow’ to defeat antibiotic-resistant bacteria

EurekAlert  June 3, 2020 An international team of researchers (USA – Princeton University, Germany) have found a compound, SCH-79797, that can simultaneously puncture bacterial walls and destroy folate within their cells while being immune to antibiotic resistance. This is the first antibiotic that can target Gram-positives and Gram-negatives without resistance, attacking via two different mechanisms within one molecule. They hope that it is generalizable, leading to better antibiotics and new types of antibiotics in the future. Even with extraordinary effort, they were unable to generate any resistance to this compound… read more. TECHNICAL ARTICLE

Lab-made skin grows its own hair

Nature Podcast June 3, 2020 A team of researchers in the US (Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Indiana University, Stanford University) developed an organoid culture system that generates complex skin from human pluripotent stem cells. They used stepwise modulation of the transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) and fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling pathways to co-induce cranial epithelial cells and neural crest cells within a spherical cell aggregate. During an incubation period of 4–5 months, a cyst-like skin organoid composed of stratified epidermis, fat-rich dermis and pigmented hair follicles that are equipped with sebaceous glands emerged and a network of […]

“Living drug factories” might treat diabetes and other diseases

MIT News  March 30, 2020 To have a living drug factory that you can implant cells in patients, which could secrete drugs as-needed a team of researchers in the US (MIT, Boston Children’s Hospital, Joslin Diabetes Center, UMass Worcester) devised a way to protect the transplanted cells from the immune system by housing them inside a device built out of a silicon-based elastomer (polydimethylsiloxane) and a special porous membrane. The device contains a porous membrane that allows the transplanted cells to obtain nutrients and oxygen from the bloodstream but the pores are small enough so that immune cells such as […]

Graphene underpins a new platform to selectively ID deadly strains of bacteria  March 24, 2020 Point-of-care diagnostics that can reduce and/or prevent unneeded antibiotic prescriptions require highly specific probes with sensitive and accurate transducers that can be miniaturized and multiplexed, and that are easy to operate and cheap. Researchers at Boston College present several advances in the use of graphene field effect transistors (G-FET) including the first use of peptide probes to electrically detect antibiotic resistant bacteria in a highly specific manner. They have reduced the needed concentration for detection by employing dielectrophoresis which allows monitoring changes in the Dirac point due to individual bacterial cells. Rapid binding of bacterial cells […]

‘Rock-breathing’ bacteria are electron spin doctors, study shows  March 6, 2020 An international team of researchers (Israel, USA – University of Southern California) found that unlike most organisms whcih can use oxygen as the electron acceptor these bacteria transfer the electrons to a solid mineral or electrodes that are outside the cell. In terms of metabolism, they “breathe” the minerals or electrodes. To reach the external surface the electrons are shuttled through various protein molecules that form electrical conduits. These proteins have magnetic fields that can favor a particular spin as the electrons shuttle through. The magnetic fields are affected by chirality. The study has implications for […]

Experimental fingerprint test can distinguish between those who have taken or handled cocaine

Science Daily  February 6, 2020 An international team of researchers (UK, Ireland) has designed a test that can tell whether an individual has consumed the class A drug, or simply handled it. They took fingerprints from people who had testified to ingesting cocaine during the previous 24 hours. Fingerprints were collected again after the participants washed their hands thoroughly with soap and water. This same process was used to collect samples from a pool of non- drug users who had touched street cocaine. By cross-referencing the information from the non-users who had touched cocaine with that of volunteers who testified […]