Researchers have introduced a new nanogenerator capable of collecting energy from biological contractile movements, such as a beating heart, for use in powering medical implants like pacemakers. From Nanotechweb:
Implanted biomedical devices, such as heart-rate monitors, pacemakers, defibrillators and neural stimulators, rely on some form of battery power to work. And although these batteries have become smaller and much more efficient in recent years, they still only last a few years and need to be regularly replaced – something that requires the patient to undergo surgery. Not exactly an ideal situation.
The best solution to this problem would be to do away with batteries altogether. A team led by John Rogers has now gone some way in addressing this issue with its new device based on lead zirconate titanate (PZT) nanoribbons. PZT has a high piezoelectric voltage and dielectric constant – ideal properties for converting mechanical energy into electrical energy. The material is also highly bendable and mechanically strong.
The device works by harnessing the natural contractile and relaxation motions of the heart, lung and diaphragm, and converting these into electricity. And the good news is that the generator produces more than enough electricity to power implants such as pacemakers, for example. As well as being deployed inside the body, the same technology might even be used to make wearable health monitors if placed directly on the skin, says Rogers.
SynDaver™ Labs manufactures the world’s most sophisticated synthetic human tissues, body parts, and cadavers. Our patented technologies employ replaceable muscles, tendons, veins, arteries, and organs, all made from materials that mimic the physico-chemical properties of live tissue. These award-winning products are used to replace live animals in medical device design validation studies, surgical simulation, advanced clinical task training, and military product development. Synthetic human tissues, Medical mannequins, Surgical simulation, Medical device development models
From a science fiction dream to an FDA approved reality, PillCams are now a real life technology! Via Paleofuture.
The Jetsons was one of the most important cartoons of all time, having helped shape the way that we talk about the future here in the 21st century. The show predicted many of the technologies we have today. And this week, Americans can check another crazy Jetsonian prediction off the list.
After nine long years, the FDA just recently approved the swallowable PillCam. Developed in Israel, the PillCam is used as a way to examine a patient’s colon without a colonoscopy. The patient swallows the small device and it slowly makes its way through the digestive tract in about 8 hours. The information is beamed to a receiver device carried on the patient’s waist, and a doctor can then review the results later.
The December 30, 1962 episode of The Jetsons featured a device that was strikingly similar—even if it was admittedly an over-the-top joke.
The “peek-a-boo capsule” is swallowed by George (or more accurately shot into his mouth) and starts its journey through his body. The doctor can then see what’s happening (through the cartoon logic of being able to see this capsule device by way of an invisible second camera) and communicate with the device to make a diagnosis. This being The Jetsons, everything goes wrong, and the doctor tells George he doesn’t have much time left to live.
You can watch the entire 1962 episode below, complete with cheesy Cold War jokes. Let’s hope that when the real PillCam goes into effect, it’s a little more reliable.
David Benjamin’s “Hy-Fi” selected as the winning project for MoMA PS1′s annual Young Architects Program. His temporary installation is set to open in late June, via fastcodesign:
Benjamin’s bio-design concept will consist of two kinds of brick: some made out of live organic material, and some reflective bricks. For the organic bricks, chopped up corn husks are recycled to combine with mycelium, a kind of mushroom root material. The mixture is then packed into a mold. The reflective bricks, placed at the top of the tubular structure, bounce light off a daylight mirror film coating onto the organic material below, helping them self-assemble into a brick shape and solidify. The shape of the structure pushes hot air out the top, drawing in cool air below.
The outdoor installation, required by the contest rules to provide outdoor seating, shade and water, will, at the end of the summer, be disassembled with no waste. The organic bricks will be composted, and the reflective bricks returned to 3M, the company that makes the mirror film, for further research.
Engineers, inspired by the counterintuitive toughness of the brittle mineral makeup of mollusk shells, have developed a new type of glass 200 times stronger than an ordinary pane.
Taking what they learnt, the team used a 3D laser to engrave microscopic fissures into glass slides, filled them with a polymer, and found it made them 200 times tougher.
The glass could absorb impacts better—yielding and bending slightly instead of shattering.
“A container made of standard glass will break and shatter if it is dropped on the floor.
“In contrast, a container made of our bio-inspired glass has the possibility to deform a little, without completely fracturing,” study co-author Francois Barthelat told AFP.
“That container could therefore be used again after one or several drops.”
The engraved glass can “stretch” by almost five percent before snapping—compared to a strain capacity of only 0.1 percent for standard glass.
The stronger glass may find application in bullet-proof windows, glasses, or even smartphone screens.
South Korean scientists have developed a nanorobot that both detects and treats cancer using protein sensitive bacteria.
The nanorobot is powered by a special, genetically-modified bacteria that can detect substances and proteins associated with cancer growth. Once it reaches a cancer cell, the 3-micrometer robotic device automatically sprays anticancer drugs. The robot opens the doors for a more targeted approach to fighting cancer, which is likely to have fewer side effects than conventional treatments like chemo or radiation, which attack the entire body.
Along with his company Eco-leather Corp, green chemist and professor at the University of Delaware Richard Wool has developed a process to create leather using chicken feathers as a non-toxic alternative to the standard leather production process, via fastcoexist:
…As for his process, Wool makes bio-composites using techniques developed by aerospace engineers to process the scraped, downy fibers from chicken feathers into the hardy soles of shoes. With heat and pressure, the feathers are combined with natural fibers and plant oil resins, which can be made soft or rigid. Wool’s lab has also developed a bio-based foam that can replace polyurethane, a widely used petroleum-based material that releases airborne pollutants.
The goal of his work, Wool explains, is to provide alternatives to the toxic leather production process. The Blacksmith Institute, a nonprofit environmental think tank, regards pollution from leather tanneries in Hazaribagh, Bangladesh, as one of the top toxic threats in the world. Various chemicals used in leather tanning can cause cancer in humans, as well as skin and respiratory diseases. They include toxic heavy metals like chromium as well as hormone-disrupting PFCs….
Via OMNI Reboot, Lisa Park’s Eunoia uses brainwave sensing to manipulate water with sound. From her website:
“Eunoia” is a performance that uses my brainwaves — collected via EEG sensor– to manipulate the motions of water. It derives from the Greek word “ey” (well) + “nous” (mind) meaning “beautiful thinking”. EEG is a brainwave detecting sensor. It measures frequencies of my brain activity (Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, Theta) relating to my state of consciousness while wearing it. The data collected from EEG is translated in realtime to modulate vibrations of sound with using software programs. EEG sends the information of my brain activity to Processing, which is linked with Max/MSP to receive data and generate sound from Reaktor.
…Shamees Aden’s Protocells trainer would be 3D-printed to the exact size of the user’s foot from a material that would fit like a second skin. It would react to pressure and movement created when running, puffing up to provide extra cushioning where required.
Aden developed the project in collaboration with Dr Martin Hanczyc, a professor at the University of Southern Denmark who specialises in protocell technology. Protocells are very basic molecules that are not themselves alive, but can be combined to create living organisms.
By mixing different types of these non-living molecules, scientists are attempting to produce artificial living systems that can be programmed with different behaviours, such as responsiveness to pressure, light and heat.
“The cells have the capability to inflate and deflate and to respond to pressure,” Aden told Dezeen at the Wearable Futures conference in London. “As you’re running on different grounds and textures it’s able to inflate or deflate depending on the pressure you put onto it and could help support you as a runner.”
After a run, the protocells in the material would lose their energy and the shoes would be placed in a jar filled with protocell liquid, which would keep the living organisms healthy. The liquid could also be dyed any colour, causing the shoes to take on that colour as the cells rejuvenate…
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!
“In ‘The Future Was at Her Fingertips’ Aleksandra Domanović (b. 1981, Novi Sad) explores the circulation and reception of images and information, relating specifically to the history of the Internet and technology in the former Yugoslavia. The exhibition draws attention to one of the earliest attempts to develop an artificial limb with the sense of touch – known as the ‘Belgrade Hand’. Invented by Rajko Tomović at the end of the Second World War as a prosthetic device intended for soldiers who had lost their hands in the war, it was then further developed by scientists at MIT. The prosthetic later stared in Donald Cammell’s 1977 Hollywood movie Demon Seed where a scientist created ‘Proteus’ – an organic super computer with artificial intelligence who became obsessed with human beings.” – Tanya Leighton, Berlin
As a first big step, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology (IGB) in Stuttgart recently announced that they’ve created a bio-ink suitable for printing a number of tissue types.
The key to the new ink’s versatility is its gelatin base. Gelatin, a derivative of collagen, is one of the main constituents of human tissues. While gelatin is normally in a gelatinous state at room temperature, the IGB researchers have created a way to keep the material in a liquid form. This makes it easier for the 3D printer to manipulate the material, depositing it onto a sterile sheet where it can then be cured with a UV light and rendered solid.
According to the IGB, “researchers can control the chemical modification of the biological molecules so that the resulting gels have differing strengths and swelling characteristics. The properties of natural tissue can therefore be imitated – from solid cartilage to soft adipose tissue.”
After many years of working as a molecular biologist in the biotechnology industry, Ellen Jorgensen needed a change. So, in 2009, bolstered by her belief in public science literacy, education, and outreach, together with TED Fellow Oliver Medvedik, she founded Genspace, the world’s first government-compliant DIY biotech lab.
Despite criticism that some research should be left to the experts, the Brooklyn-based lab continues to thrive. Amateur and professional scientists conduct award-winning research there on projects as diverse as identifying microbes that live in Earth’s atmosphere and (Jorgensen’s own pet project) DNA-barcoding plants from Alaska, to distinguish between species that look alike but may not be closely related evolutionarily.
October 15th is Ada Lovelace Day! Today the world celebrates all of the accomplishments of women in science, art, design, technology, engineering, and math. Each year, Adafruit highlights a number of women who are pioneering their fields and inspiring women of all ages to make their voices heard. Today we will be sharing the stories of women that we think are modern day “Adas”. We will also be referencing women from history that have made impacts in science and math. Please promote and share #ALD13 with your friends and family so we can promote and share with all of the world wide web!
Today everything in the Adafruit store is 10% off, just use the code ALD13 on checkout! Today’s the perfect day to spark the imagination of a future “Ada” with a gift from the Adafruit store!