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Aug 11, 2016

Researchers Use E.coli to Engineer Improved Biofuels

Posted by in categories: engineering, sustainability


Although E. coli bacteria is often considered as a bad bug, laboratory-adapted E. coli that do not harm human beings and can multiply fast have been commonly used for various research purposes.

The same property allows the bacteria to rebuild into the smallest of factories when their chemical producing ability is utilized. E. coli possesses the ability to crank out pharmaceuticals, biofuels, and various other useful products.

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Aug 11, 2016

DARPA builds pop-up liquid cooled data center in 29 hours

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, security

Got visitors coming in 2 days to check out your IT operations and need a data center popped up quickly to show off in front of the potential customers; well, now you can do it in 29 hours.

Defense team sets up AI-based security for the Cyber Grand Challenge.

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Aug 11, 2016

Forget concrete and cement. DARPA thinks skin and bone make better building blocks

Posted by in categories: futurism, materials

Have you ever seen the movie called “The Haunting” with Liam Neeson and Catherine Zeta-Jones? If you have; you will appreciate this article. A living building.

The US’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is attempting to build living, self-healing, programmable buildings.

DARPA’s Engineered Living Materials (ELM) program imagines that materials like bone, skin, bark and coral could form future building blocks as they provide advantages over non-living materials built with today, in that they can be grown where needed, self-repair when damaged and respond to changes in their surroundings.

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Aug 11, 2016

Long-term brain-machine interface use could lead to recovery in paraplegic patients

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, engineering, neuroscience, robotics/AI

I know so many people who will benefit from this.

During the 2014 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony, a young Brazilian man, paralyzed from the chest down, delivered the opening kickoff. He used a brain-machine interface, allowing him to control the movements of a lower-limb robotic exoskeleton.

This unprecedented scientific demonstration was the work of the Walk Again Project (WAP), a nonprofit, international research consortium that includes Alan Rudolph, vice president for research at Colorado State University, who is also an adjunct faculty member at Duke University’s Center for Neuroengineering.

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Aug 11, 2016

DNA dominos on a chip: Carriers of genetic information packed together on a biochip like in nature

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, nanotechnology, physics

Abstract: Normally, individual molecules of genetic material repel each other. However, when space is limited DNA molecules must be packed together more tightly. This case arises in sperm, cell nuclei and the protein shells of viruses. An international team of physicists has now succeeded in artificially recreating this so-called DNA condensation on a biochip.

Recreating important biological processes in cells to better understand them currently is a major topic of research. Now, physicists at TU Munich and the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot have for the first time managed to carry out controlled, so-called DNA condensation on a biochip. This process comes into play whenever DNA molecules are closely packed into tight spaces, for example in circumstances that limit the available volume.

This situation arises in cell nuclei and in the protein shells of viruses, as well as in the heads of sperm cells. The phenomenon is also interesting from a physical perspective because it represents a phase transition, of sorts. DNA double helices, which normally repel each other because of their negative charges, are then packed together tightly. “In this condensed state they take on a nearly crystalline structure,” says co-author and TU professor Friedrich Simmel.

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Aug 11, 2016

New Technique Reveals Black Phosphorus’ Properties and How to Control Them

Posted by in category: futurism

Researchers can turn ‘on’ or ‘off’ the mechanical anisotropy of black phosphorus.

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Aug 11, 2016

UW research fuels mini solar cells

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, solar power, sustainability

Scientist looks to tap the sun to power adjustable contact lenses, other medical devices.

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Aug 11, 2016

Electroluminescent diamonds could serve as the heart of quantum networks

Posted by in categories: quantum physics, space

Believe me there are more things coming in this diamond space.

Doped, carefully point-flawed diamonds are crucial to this quantum communications architecture.

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Aug 11, 2016

National Science Foundation

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, education, life extension, science, singularity

Interesting read; like the plug by Rajeev Alur about how the insights from the ExCAPE project has helped advance making QC programmable. Like Alur, I too see many synergies across multiple areas of science & tech. For example, the work on singularity is being advance by the work performed around anti-aging, cancer research, etc. and vice versa. Truly one of my biggest enjoyments of research and innovation is taking a accept or vision, and guessing where else can the concept be leveraged or even advancing other industries.

NSF’s mission is to advance the progress of science, a mission accomplished by funding proposals for research and education made by scientists, engineers, and educators from across the country.

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Aug 11, 2016

Remote control of the brain is coming: how will we use it?

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics, neuroscience

Controlling the minds of others from a distance has long been a favourite science fiction theme – but recent advances in genetics and neuroscience suggest that we might soon have that power for real. Just over a decade ago, the bioengineer Karl Deisseroth and his colleagues at Stanford University published their paper on the optical control of the brain – now known as optogenetics – in which the firing pattern of neurons is controlled by light. To create the system, they retrofitted neurons in mouse brains with genes for a biomolecule called channelrhodopsin, found in algae. Channelrhodopsin uses energy from light to open pathways so that charged ions can flow into cells. The charged ions can alter the electrical activity of neurons, influencing the animal’s behaviour along the way.

Soon researchers were using implants to guide light to channelrhodopsin in specific neurons in the brains of those mice, eliciting behaviour on demand. At the University of California the team of Anatol Kreitzer worked with Deisseroth to disrupt movement, mimicking Parkinson’s disease and even restoring normal movement in a Parkinsonian mouse. Deisseroth and his colleague Luis de Lecea later demonstrated that it was possible to wake up mice by activating a group of neurons in the brain that control arousal and sleep.

But optogenetics has been challenging. Since light does not easily penetrate dense fatty brain tissue, researchers must implant a fibre-optic cable to bring light into the brain. This limitation led to the development of another, less intrusive technique known as DREADD (designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs). In this case, a receptor normally activated by the neurotransmitter acetylcholine is modified to respond to a designer drug not normally found in the body. When the designer drug is delivered, neurons can be manipulated and behaviour changed over a number of hours. The major drawback here: the slow course of drug administration compared with the rapid changes in brain activity that occur during most tasks.

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