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Sep 23, 2015

Researchers grow kidneys and urinary pathways that work in live animals

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in Japan has succeeded in growing kidneys from stem cells that worked as they were supposed to after being transplanted into rats and pigs. The team outlines their work and results in a paper they have had published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers have met with success in the past, using human stem cells to grow organs, in this case kidneys, unfortunately, the kidneys that have been grown have all developed without a urinary pathway—the means by which urine makes its way out of the and to a tube that connects with the bladder. Such kidneys experience hydronephrosis, where they bloat with urine. In this new effort, the researchers found a way to grow both a kidney and a pathway and an initial bladder, all of which successfully replicated the work normally done by natural organs for a period of time.

The team used the organogenic niche method to grow kidneys using rat stem cells, which when tested, were able to produce urine. Next, they grew a urinary pathway, which was in effect, a type of drainage tube. Then, they grew a blabber that would be compatible with the drainage tube. With all the parts, grown, the kidney was placed inside a rat, then the pathway was added, followed by the bladder they’d grown—the new bladder was then connected to the rat’s native . After sewing up the rat, they found the whole system worked. The team then repeated what they had done with a much larger animal, one much closer in size to humans—a pig—and found the same results.

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Sep 23, 2015

Curing Aging with Cell Manipulation and Telomere Lengthening; One Year Away from Human Trials

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

Bill__0337This week’s episode welcomes Bill Andrew’s, Ph. D., President and Founder of the biotechnology firm Sierra Sciences. Bill is widely considered the foremost researcher on aging and telomeres and most of his entire professional career has been devoted to finding a cure for aging. Most notably, he led a team in 1997 at Geron Corporation to successfully identify the human enzyme telomerase. An enzyme that causes Telomeres to lengthen, thus enabling cells to replicate itself without hitting their Hayflick limit (i.e. the number of times a cell is able to reproduce itself). It is believed that only human embryonic stem cells and cancer cells are immortal and do not possess a Hayflick limit.

Our conversation explores the science, possibilities, and social impacts of finding a cure for aging. He explains his company’s quest to create a safe and affordable drug that will lengthen telomeres in every cell in your body. He believes his research team is one year away from starting human trials if he receives the additional funding necessary to finish his research.

Join us in this fascinating discussion that is sure to change the way you view aging and our future.

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Sep 23, 2015

Scientists Apply for License to Edit Genes in Human Embryos

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

A team from the Francis Crick Institute wants a permit to use so-called CRISPR/Cas 9 technology in basic research.

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Sep 23, 2015

What are Quantum Dots?

Posted by in categories: media & arts, quantum physics

NIBIB’s 60 Seconds of Science explains how quantum dots work and why they glow.

Music by longzijun ‘Chillvolution.’

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Sep 23, 2015

Transparent coating keeps solar cells cool and efficient throughout the day

Posted by in categories: solar power, space, sustainability

Stanford engineers have developed a transparent silicon overlay that can increase the efficiency of solar cells by keeping them cool. The cover collects and then radiates heat directly into space, without interfering with incoming photons. According to a local HVAC Spokane, WA company, “If mass-produced, the development could be used to cool down any device in the open air for instance, to complement air conditioning in cars.”

After a full day in the sun, solar cells in California can approach temperatures of 80° C (175° F), even in winter months. Excessive heat can pose problems because, while the cells need sunlight to harvest energy, they also lose efficiency as they heat up. A standard silicon cell, for example, will drop from 20 to 19 percent efficiency by heating up just 10° C (18° F) or so.

Laptops address the overheating problem with the help of carefully engineered fans and heat sinks, but for solar panels and other devices that work in the open air, space itself could serve as heat sink par excellence. The coolness of space, approaching absolute zero, would negate the need for elaborate and expensive heat dissipation contraptions if only we had a way to access it from the ground.

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Sep 23, 2015

Even computer programmers could be put out of a job by robots

Posted by in categories: computing, robotics/AI

No one is safe.

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Sep 23, 2015

The Emotional Era of Artificial Intelligence

Posted by in categories: innovation, robotics/AI

Have you hugged or told someone that you love them today? Maybe it wasn’t someone — maybe it was your smartphone that you gave an extra squeeze or gave an extra pat as you slipped it into your pocket. Humans have become increasingly invested in their devices, and a new era of emotional attachment to our devices and other AI seems to be upon us. But how does this work itself out on the other end — will or could AI ever respond to humans in an emotional fashion?

Communication Sparks Emotional Response

AI is broad, and clearly not all AI are meant to give and receive in an emotional capacity. Humans seem prone to respond to features that are similar to its own species, or to those to which it can relate to in some sort of communicative way. Most “emotional” or responsive algorithm-based capabilities have been programmed into robots that are in a humanoid – or at least a mammal-like – form.

Think androids in customer-service, entertainment, or companion-type roles. There are also robots like PARO, the baby harbor seal used for therapeutic interaction with those in assisted living and hospital environments.

In a 2003 paper published through the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, Cynthia Breazeal quotes a study by Reeves and Nass (1996), whose research shows humans (whether computer experts, lay people, or computer critics) generally treat computers as they might treat other people.

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Sep 23, 2015

3D printed scaffolds allow for precise release of biomolecules into the human body

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biotech/medical

Just days ago it was announced that a 3D printed guide developed by researchers in Minnesota could help facilitate the regrowth of damaged nerves within the human body. In the wake of this exciting breakthrough, is another progressive use for 3D printing within the medical world, as the same researchers have found a way to release biomolecules into the body through a 3D printed scaffold with more precision than ever before.

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Sep 23, 2015

Permanent data storage with light

Posted by in categories: computing, materials, nanotechnology

The first all-optical permanent on-chip memory has been developed by scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the universities of Münster, Oxford, and Exeter. This is an important step on the way towards optical computers. Phase change materials that change their optical properties depending on the arrangement of the atoms allow for the storage of several bits in a single cell. The researchers present their development in the journal Nature Photonics (10.1038/nphoton.2015.182).

Light determines the future of information and communication technology: With optical elements, computers can work more rapidly and more efficiently. Optical fibers have long since been used for the transmission of data with light. But on a computer, data are still processed and stored electronically. Electronic exchange of data between processors and the memory limits the speed of modern computers. To overcome this so-called von Neumann bottleneck, it is not sufficient to optically connect memory and processor, as the optical signals have to be converted into electric signals again. Scientists, hence, look for methods to carry out calculations and data storage in a purely optical manner.

Scientists of KIT, the University of Münster, Oxford University, and Exeter University have now developed the first all-optical, non-volatile on-chip memory. “Optical bits can be written at frequencies of up to a gigahertz. This allows for extremely quick data storage by our all-photonic memory,” Professor Wolfram Pernice explains. Pernice headed a working group of the KIT Institute of Nanotechnology (INT) and recently moved to the University of Münster. “The memory is compatible not only with conventional optical fiber data transmission, but also with latest processors,” Professor Harish Bhaskaran of Oxford University adds.

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Sep 23, 2015

Super Fast Cameras

Posted by in category: electronics

A new high speed camera can capture light in motion and see around corners.

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