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Archive for the ‘engineering’ category

Apr 18, 2018

Full of hot air and proud of it

Posted by in categories: chemistry, engineering

This could be used for hydrogen storage.


Of the four states of matter, gases are the hardest to pin down. Gas molecules move quickly and wildly and don’t like to be confined. When confined, heat and pressure build in the container, and it doesn’t take long before the gas blows the lid off the place, literally. Luckily, gases are superficial. Provide them with an attractive internal surface area, and they’ll pin themselves down in no time. No, it’s not love at first sight, it’s adsorption.

“Adsorption is the processes of gas pinning to the surface of another material—the inside walls of a container, for example,” says Chris Wilmer, assistant professor in Pitt’s Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. “When adsorption occurs, the stop bumping into each other, reducing pressure. So, by increasing a container’s internal surface area, we can store more gas in less space.”

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Apr 18, 2018

Scalable manufacturing process spools out strips of graphene for use in ultrathin membranes

Posted by in categories: biological, engineering, nanotechnology

MIT engineers have developed a continuous manufacturing process that produces long strips of high-quality graphene.

The team’s results are the first demonstration of an industrial, scalable method for manufacturing high-quality that is tailored for use in membranes that filter a variety of molecules, including salts, larger ions, proteins, or nanoparticles. Such membranes should be useful for desalination, biological separation, and other applications.

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Apr 16, 2018

The ‘nanobots’ and ’ninja polymers’ transforming medicine

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering, nanotechnology

With advances in stem cell research and nanotechnology helping us fight illnesses from heart disease to superbugs, is the fusion of biology and technology speeding us towards a sci-fi future — part human, part synthetic?

In Ridley Scott’s seminal blockbuster Blade Runner, humanity has harnessed bio-engineering to create a race of replicants that look, act and sound human — but are made entirely from synthetic material.

We may be far from realising that sci-fi future, but synthetics are beginning to have a profound effect on medicine.

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Apr 16, 2018

Flaxseed-like particles can now grow bone, cartilage tissues for humans

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering, nanotechnology

Human stem cells have shown potential in medicine as they can transform into various specialized cell types such as bone and cartilage cells. The current approach to obtain such specialized cells is to subject stem cells to specialized instructive protein molecules known as growth factors. However, use of growth factors in the human body can generate harmful effects including unwanted tissue growth, such as a tumor.

Researchers at Texas A&M University have explored a new class of clay nanoparticles that can direct to become bone or .

Dr. Akhilesh Gaharwar, an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and his students have demonstrated that a specific type of two-dimensional (2-D) nanoparticles, also known as nanosilicates, can grow bone and cartilage tissue from stem cells in the absence of . These nanoparticles are similar to flaxseed in shape, but 10 billion times smaller in size. Their work, “Widespread changes in transcriptome profile of human induced by two-dimensional nanosilicates,” has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week.

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Apr 14, 2018

Peptide-based biogenic dental product may cure cavities

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering, health

Researchers at the University of Washington have designed a convenient and natural product that uses proteins to rebuild tooth enamel and treat dental cavities.

The research finding was first published in ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering.

“Remineralization guided by peptides is a healthy alternative to current dental care,” said lead author Mehmet Sarikaya, professor of materials science and engineering and adjunct professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Department of Oral Health Sciences.

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Apr 13, 2018

Google’s latest AI experiments let you talk to books and test word association skills

Posted by in categories: business, engineering, habitats, information science, Ray Kurzweil, robotics/AI

Google today announced a pair of new artificial intelligence experiments from its research division that let web users dabble in semantics and natural language processing. For Google, a company that’s primary product is a search engine that traffics mostly in text, these advances in AI are integral to its business and to its goals of making software that can understand and parse elements of human language.

The website will now house any interactive AI language tools, and Google is calling the collection Semantic Experiences. The primary sub-field of AI it’s showcasing is known as word vectors, a type of natural language understanding that maps “semantically similar phrases to nearby points based on equivalence, similarity or relatedness of ideas and language.” It’s a way to “enable algorithms to learn about the relationships between words, based on examples of actual language usage,” says Ray Kurzweil, notable futurist and director of engineering at Google Research, and product manager Rachel Bernstein in a blog post. Google has published its work on the topic in a paper here, and it’s also made a pre-trained module available on its TensorFlow platform for other researchers to experiment with.

The first of the two publicly available experiments released today is called Talk to Books, and it quite literally lets you converse with a machine learning-trained algorithm that surfaces answers to questions with relevant passages from human-written text. As described by Kurzweil and Bernstein, Talk to Books lets you “make a statement or ask a question, and the tool finds sentences in books that respond, with no dependence on keyword matching.” The duo add that, “In a sense you are talking to the books, getting responses which can help you determine if you’re interested in reading them or not.”

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Apr 10, 2018

This is the COOLEST! Everything that’s Orbiting the Earth Right Now

Posted by in categories: computing, engineering, satellites

Okay, if you’ve got some spare time, check out this amazing website called Stuff in Space. It’s a simulation of every satellite (alive or dead), space station, and large piece of space junk orbiting the Earth right now.

You can zoom in and out, rotate the Earth and its satellites around. Pick any one object and discover more information about it. Or just leave it running and watch all the objects buzz around in real time. Humans have been busy launching a lot of stuff, and it’s only going to increase.

The simulation was made by James Yoder, an incoming Electrical and Computer Engineering freshman at the University of Texas at Austin, and it’s based on data supplied by Space Track, which is a service of the Joint Space Operations Center. They have a bunch of handy data feeds and APIs that you can use track orbital objects, but I’ve never seen anything as creative as this.

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Apr 8, 2018

New DIY 3D Bioprinter to Create Living Human Organs

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, bioprinting, biotech/medical, engineering, life extension

DIYers can bioprint living human organs by modifying an off-the-shelf 3D printer costing about $500, announce researchers who published the plans as open source, enabling anyone to build their own system. [This article first appeared on LongevityFacts. Author: Brady Hartman. ]

Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) developed a low-cost 3D bioprinter to print living tissue by modifying a standard desktop 3D printer and released the design as open source so that anyone can build their own system.

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Apr 7, 2018

Putting the ‘smart’ in manufacturing

Posted by in categories: engineering, mobile phones

“Although smartphones and tablets are ubiquitous, many of the companies that make our everyday consumer products still rely on paper trails and manually updated spreadsheets to keep track of their production processes and delivery schedules,” says Leyuan Shi, a professor of industrial and systems engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

That’s what she hopes to change with a research idea she first published almost two decades ago.

During the past 16 years, Shi has visited more than 400 companies in the United States, China, Europe, and Japan to personally observe their production processes. “And I have used that insight to develop tools that can make these processes run much more smoothly,” she says.

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Apr 4, 2018

Artificial intelligence: Construction technology’s next frontier

Posted by in categories: engineering, information science, robotics/AI

Engineering and construction is behind the curve in implementing artificial intelligence solutions. Based on extensive research, we survey applications and algorithms to help bridge the technology gap.

The engineering and construction (E&C) sector is worth more than $10 trillion a year. And while its customers are increasingly sophisticated, it remains severely underdigitized. To lay out the landscape of technology, we conducted a comprehensive study of current and potential use cases in every stage of E&C, from design to preconstruction to construction to operations and asset management. Our research revealed a growing focus on technological solutions that incorporate artificial intelligence (AI)-powered algorithms. These emerging technologies focus on helping players overcome some of the E&C industry’s greatest challenges, including cost and schedule overruns and safety concerns.

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