Biology, Electronics, News, Studies, Technology

‘Herding’ cells with direct electric current may aid in tissue engineering

The top image shows a patch of epithelial cells. The white lines in the middle image mark the electric current flowing from positive to negative over the cells. The bottom image shows how the cells track the electric field, with blue indicating leftward migration and red signaling rightward movement (credit: Daniel Cohen)

The human body is littered with free ions and salts, which goes to explain why so much of our physiology is controlled by electrical signals, from neural pathways to muscle articulation. Very related, researchers at UC Berkeley have shown for the first time that direct current can be used to deliberately guide migration of a sheet of epithelial cells. Practically, the scientists ‘herded’ the cells to move along the direct current electric field, like a sheepdog controls sheep. The implications may be numerous, as driving current at key biological locations – say a wound – could accelerate healing though the use of so-called “smart bandages”. Epithelial cells are those  cells that line the…

Electronics, Other

Geologists grant full access to details of every significant recorded volcanic eruption

The Paluweh volcano; copyright Tom Pfeiffer.

Details of some 2000 volcanic eruptions that occurred in the past 1.8 million years are now available in a new open access database, complied by scientists at the University of Bristol with help from the UK, US, Colombia and Japan. Volcanic eruptions are among the most dangerous natural hazards, having the potential to take numerous lives, significantly impact climate, disrupt air traffic and dramatically alter the surrounding landscapes. Knowledge of past behaviors is often the best way to be prepared for future events – this is what led Dr Sian Crosweller from the Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences to head a team which created the database. The open access database…

Electronics, Physics, Space

NASA sends Mona Lisa to the Moon

mona lisa

NASA announced in a recent statement that they have beamed an image of the legendary painting to the Lunar Reconaissance Orbiter, a spacecraft currently orbiting the Moon, to test communication abilities with the satellite, using laser technology. The image was first converted to a suitable digital format, after which it traveled just less than 400.000 km to the satellite. “This is the first time anyone has achieved one-way laser communication at planetary distances,” said David Smith of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “In the near future, this type of simple laser communication might serve as a backup for the radio communication that satellites use. In the more distant future, it…

Electronics, Technology

Transistor nanowires stacked in ’4-D’ hint to future tech

rdue and Harvard universities. The transistor is made from tiny nanowires of a material called indium-gallium-arsenide, which could replace silicon within a decade. The image was taken with a transmission electron microscope (Purdue University image)

It’s amazing how this cross-section view on the right showcasing a  new type of transistor from  Purdue and Harvard universities resembles a Christmass tree, just in the nick of the time for the holiday season. Its design, however, has little to do with a Christmas trees. Make no mistake, the transistor’s shape and design follows a pattern that allows it to operate faster and possibly lead to a new generation of computers powered by it. “It’s a preview of things to come in the semiconductor industry,” said Peide “Peter” Ye, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University. The transistor are made out of three nanowires progressively smaller, yielding a tapered cross…

Electronics, Renewable Energy, Science

New polymer coating technique leads to first-ever completely plastic solar cell and makes way for even thinner electronics

A team of researchers led by Georgia Tech's Bernard Kippelen has developed the first completely plastic solar cell, as seen captioned above exposed to humidity and oxygen. (Credit: Virginie Drujon-Kippelen)

One of the cutting edge technologies currently used today in manufacturing allows for printing materials directly onto a surface to create electrically functioning devices which are very thin and flexible. The best example of such an application are organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), widely used as displays for most new generation smartphones commercially available now. The process however is very tedious, and the resulting devices become vulnerable to outside chemical phenomena, thus the need for an extra isolating casing, which makes the process expensive and the resulting device thicker. Scientists at Georgia Tech may have finally devised a work-around this issue after they introduced a printed electronics atypical conductor with a…

Electronics, Science

A novel technique cools electronic devices faster and cheaper

cooler

Researchers at  North Carolina State University have developed a new technique of cooling electronic devices which they claim and prove through their findings that it can lead to an increase of performance by improving the rate of heat exchange, while also lowering the cost of manufacturing. The scientists’ findings might lead to a new generation of more efficient heat sinks, as well as better cooling for devices that generate a lot of heat, such as lasers and power devices. The technique is centered around what the researchers call a “heat spreader”, a copper-graphene composite, which is attached to the electronic device using an indium-graphene interface film. Together, the materials provide…

Electronics, Technology

Speech-jamming gun puts annoying conversations to an end

Speech Jammer

Are you fed up with meaningless, rambling conference speakers? All too tired of phone calls around you at work? Wish there was a mute button for your girlfriend? Finally, all your prayers have been answered! Presenting the ultimate silencer, the speech-jamming gun. Japanese scientists, Kazutaka Kurihara at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tskuba and Koji Tsukada at Ochanomizu University, recently presented their radical solution, unveiling to the world a device which feeds-back the words uttered by a targeted speaker with a delay of 0.2 seconds. The idea is simple, and has been confirmed by psychologists in the past – when a person’s voice is recorded…

Electronics, Research, Science, Technology

Smallest Storage Device in the World to Revolutionize Computing Developed

storage

Miniaturization seems to be the buzzword of the 21st century in this global village. Thanks to the genius of German and American scientists who have pioneered a revolutionary technique that could be used to develop a new class of hard disk drives with nanomaterials which could store larger amounts of information in a tiny space and at the same time consume lesser energy in computing. “It could take a few more years before the technique leads to new consumer goods. But once perfected, this method could lead to new types of nanomaterials able to store large amounts of information in tiny spaces, and to consume less energy while doing it,”…

Electronics, Inventions, Nanotechnology, Studies

The age of nano-electronics: scientists develop one of the world’s smallest circuits

nnano.2011.182-f2

A team of researchers from led by Guillaume Gervais from McGill’s Physics Department and Mike Lilly from Sandia National Laboratories, have managed to develop one of the smallest electronic circuits in the world using nanowires spaced across each other by a distance so small, it has to be measured at an atomic level. Miniaturization has been the dominant trend in the digital industry for years, and nano-electronics, with which scientists have been fiddling for the past 20 years, is considered as the next obvious step, allowing for even smaller and powerful electronic devices. “People have been working on nanowires for 20 years,” says Sandia lead researcher Mike Lilly. “At first, you…