Category Archives: Uncategorized

AI Spacefactory Wins Mars 3D Printed Habitat Challenge

The new york-based ‘multi-planetary’ design agency, AI Spacefactory, gives us a closer look of what life on Mars might actually be like as they receive 1st place in the finale of NASA‘s 3D printed habitat challenge. After , the final phase saw structures built head to head over a duration of 30 hours and 3 days. the winning 15-foot tall prototype, called ‘MARSHA’, prevailed due to its level of autonomy and material performance, seeing the team scoop the prize of $500,000.
In addition to being built with nearly no human assistance, AI spacefactory was also awarded the top place for MARSHA’s innovative biopolymer basalt composite – a biodegradable and recyclable material derived from natural materials found on Mars. After withstanding NASA’s pressure, smoke, and impact testing, this material was found to be stronger and more durable than its concrete competitors.

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‘it’s light, and it’s strong, like an airplane. that’s going to be very important for these types of habitats,’ comments Lex Akers, dean of the caterpillar college of engineering and technology at Bradley university.

AI spacefactory autonomously constructed their prototype Mars entire in-situ, lifting an industrial robot 13-feet into the air on a forklift to 3D print the vertical, egg-shape habitat After spending 2 years developing construction technologies for Mars, AI spacefactory plans to bring its space-driven technologies back to earth this year. demonstrating the sustainable nature of their biopolymer composite, they will recycle the materials from MARSHA and re-use them to 3d print TERA – the first-ever space-tech eco habitat on earth.

‘We developed these technologies for space, but they have the potential to transform the way we build on earth,’ said David Malott, CEO and founder of AI spacefactory. ‘By using natural, biodegradable materials grown from crops, we could eliminate the building industry’s massive waste of unrecyclable concrete and restore our planet.’

Source: https://www.aispacefactory.com/

Transparent and Flexible Battery for Power Generation and Storage at Once

DGIST research group in South Korea  developed single-layer graphene based multifunctional transparent devices  Various use of electronics and skin-attachable devices are expected with the development of transparent battery that can both generate and store power.The scientists in the Smart Textile Research Group developed film-type graphene based multifunctional transparent energy devices.

The team actively used ‘single-layered graphene film’ as electrodes in order to develop transparent devices. Due to its excellent electrical conductivity and light and thin characteristics, single-layered graphene  film is perfect for electronics that require batteries. By using high-molecule nano-mat that contains semisolid electrolyte, the research team succeeded in increasing transparency (maximum of 77.4%) to see landscape and letters clearly.

Furthermore, the researchers designed structure for electronic devices to be self-charging and storing by inserting energy storage panel inside the upper layer of power devices and energy conversion panel inside the lower panel. They even succeeded in manufacturing electronics with touch-sensing systems by adding a touch sensor right below the energy storage panel of the upper layer.

We decided to start this research because we were amazed by transparent smartphones appearing in movies. While there are still long ways to go for commercialization due to high production costs, we will do our best to advance this technology further as we made this success in the transparent energy storage field that has not had any visible research performances”, explains Changsoon Choi from the Smart Textile Research Group, and co-author of the paper published on the online edition of ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

The findings were also conducted as a joint research with various organisations such as Yonsei University, Hanyang University, and the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH).

Source:  https://www.dgist.ac.kr/

How To Collect And Harvest More Solar Energy

In an article published in the SPIE Journal of Nanophotonics (JNP), researchers from a collaboration of three labs in Mexico demonstrate aninnovative nanodevice for harvesting solar energy. The paper,Thermoelectric efficiency optimization of nanoantennas for solar energy harvesting,reports that evolutive dipole nanoantennas (EDNs) generate a thermoelectric voltage three times larger than the classic dipole nanoantenna (CDN).

Capturing visible and infrared radiation using nanodevices is anessential aspect of collecting solar energy: solar cells and solar panels are common devices that utilize nanoantennas, which link electromagnetic radiation to specific optical fields. The EDNcan be useful in many areas where high thermoelectric efficiency is needed from energy harvesting to applications across the aerospace industry.

“The paper reports on a novel design and demonstration of a nanoantenna for efficient thermoelectric energy harvesting,” says Professor Ibrahim Abdulhalim, JNP Associate Editor, SPIE Fellow and a professor in the Electrooptics and Photonics Engineering Department at Ben-Gurion Universityof the Negev. “They demonstrated thermoelectric voltage three times larger than a classical antenna. This type of antenna can be useful in many fields from harvesting of energy from waste heat, in sensing and solar thermal energy harvesting.”

The nanoantennas are bimetallic, using nickel and platinum, and were fabricated using e-beam lithography. The nanoantenna design wasoptimized using simulations to determine the distance between the elements. In comparing their thermoelectric voltage to the classic dipole nanoantenna, the EDNs were 1.3 times more efficient. The characterization was done using a solar simulator analyzing the I-V curves. The results indicate that EDN arrays would be good candidates for the harvesting of waste heat energy.

Source: http://spie.org/

Early-Stage Detection Of Alzheimer’s In The Blood

Two major studies with promising antibodies have recently failed – possibly because they have been administered too late. A new very early-detection test gives rise to hope. Using current techniques, Alzheimer’s disease, the most frequent cause of dementia, can only be detected once the typical plaques have formed in the brain. At this point, therapy seems no longer possible. However, the first changes caused by Alzheimer’s take place on the protein level up to 20 years sooner. A two-tier method developed at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) can help detect the disease at a much earlier stage. The researchers from Bochum published their report in the March 2019 edition of the journal “Alzheimer’s and Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring”.

This has paved the way for early-stage therapy approaches, where the as yet inefficient drugs on which we had pinned our hopes may prove effective,” says Professor Klaus Gerwert from the Department of Biophysics at RUB.

In Alzheimer’s patients, the amyloid beta protein folds incorrectly due to pathological changes long before the first symptoms occur. A team of researchers headed by Klaus Gerwert successfully diagnosed this misfolding using a simple blood test; as a result, the disease can be detected approximately eight years before the first clinical symptoms occur. The test wasn’t suitable for clinical applications however: it did detect 71 per cent of Alzheimer’s cases in symptomless stages, but at the same time provided false positive diagnoses for nine per cent of the study participants. In order to increase the number of correctly identified Alzheimer’s cases and to reduce the number of false positive diagnoses, the researchers poured a lot of time and effort into optimising the test.

As a result, they have now introduced the two-tier diagnostic method. To this end, they use the original blood test to identify high-risk individuals. Subsequently, they add a dementia-specific biomarker, namely tau protein, to run further tests with those test participants whose Alzheimer’s diagnosis was positive in the first step. If both biomarkers show a positive result, there is a high likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease. “Through the combination of both analyses, 87 of 100 Alzheimer’s patients were correctly identified in our study,” summarises Klaus Gerwert. “And we reduced the number of false positive diagnoses in healthy subjects to 3 of 100. The second analysis is carried out in cerebrospinal fluid that is extracted from the spinal cord.

Now, new clinical studies with test participants in very early stages of the disease can be launched,” points out Gerwert. He is hoping that the existing therapeutic antibodies will still have an effect. “Recently, two major promising studies have failed, especially Crenezumab and Aducanumab – not least because it had probably already been too late by the time therapy was taken up. The new test opens up a new therapy window.”

Source: https://news.rub.de/

Exoskeletons Assist Individuals With Spinal Cord Injury

(from Inverse.com) Green Lantern’s ring, Wonder Woman’s bracelets, Captain America’s shield, and, of course, Batman’s batsuit:  30 years later, as National Superhero Day approaches, I’d be designing components of my own supersuits.

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I didn’t really notice this until a few months ago. On that day, my childhood dreams were at once destroyed and fulfilled. Standing in a line, I noticed that everyone was focused on their smartphones’ screens. Suddenly it hit me: I already had Sword of Omens superpowers. With my smartphone, I can see video of faraway events and text my friends to meet up. Billions of people now have what used to be considered superpowers.

But what about the physical superpowers? I wanted those, too — like superhuman endurance or strength. Those may not be too far behind. I’m working on them in Vanderbilt’s Center for Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology. Humanity has begun to enter the age of wearable exoskeletons and exosuits thatoffer support and strength to people’s bodies. Over the past five years, wearable exoskeletons that assist and aid movement have begun to shift out of research labs and into public use. They’re still early versions, and the science is still emerging, but they include the first of several FDA-approved exoskeletons to assist individuals with spinal cord injury or after stroke, as well as exoskeletons to help keep workers safe and reduce the fatigue of physically demanding jobs.

Source: https://engineering.vanderbilt.edu/
AND
https://www.inverse.com/

How To Create See-through Human Organs

Researchers in Germany have created transparent human organs using a new technology that could pave the way to print three-dimensional body parts such as kidneys for transplants. The organ is then scanned by lasers in a microscope that allows researchers to capture the entire structure, including the blood vessels and every single cell in its specific location. Using this blueprint, researchers print out the scaffold of the organ. They then load the 3D printer with stem cells which act as “ink” and are injected into the correct position making the organ functional.

The team led by Ali Erturk at Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich have developed a technique that uses a solvent to make organs such as the brain and kidneys transparent. While 3D printing is already used widely to produce spare parts for industry, Erturk said the development marks a step forward for 3D printing in the medical field. Until now 3D-printed organs lacked detailed cellular structures because they were based on images from computer tomography or MRI machines, he said.

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3D transparent mouse

We can see where every single cell is located in transparent human organs. And then we can actually replicate exactly the same, using 3D bioprinting technology to make a real functional organ,” he said. “Therefore, I believe we are much closer to a real human organ for the first time now.”

Erturk’s team plan to start by creating a bioprinted pancreas over the next 2-3 years and also hope to develop a kidney within 5-6 years. The researchers will first test to see whether animals can survive with the bioprinted organs and could start clinical trials within 5-10 years, he said.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/

AI Detects Alzheimer’s Six Years In Advance

Using a common type of brain scan, researchers programmed a machine-learning algorithm to diagnose early-stage Alzheimer’s disease about six years before a clinical diagnosis is made – potentially giving doctors a chance to intervene with treatment. No cure exists for Alzheimer’s disease, but promising drugs have emerged in recent years that can help stem the condition’s progression. However, these treatments must be administered early in the course of the disease in order to do any good. This race against the clock has inspired scientists to search for ways to diagnose the condition earlier.

A PET scan of the brain of a person with Alzheimer’s disease

One of the difficulties with Alzheimer’s disease is that by the time all the clinical symptoms manifest and we can make a definitive diagnosis, too many neurons have died, making it essentially irreversible,” says Jae Ho Sohn, MD, MS, a resident in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at UC San Francisco.

 

Positron emission tomography (PET) scans, which measure the levels of specific molecules, like glucose, in the brain, have been investigated as one tool to help diagnose Alzheimer’s disease before the symptoms become severe. Glucose is the primary source of fuel for brain cells, and the more active a cell is, the more glucose it uses. As brain cells become diseased and die, they use less and, eventually, no glucose.

Other types of PET scans look for proteins specifically related to Alzheimer’s disease, but glucose PET scans are much more common and cheaper, especially in smaller health care facilities and developing countries, because they’re also used for cancer staging.

Radiologists have used these scans to try to detect Alzheimer’s by looking for reduced glucose levels across the brain, especially in the frontal and parietal lobes of the brain. However, because the disease is a slow progressive disorder, the changes in glucose are very subtle and so difficult to spot with the naked eye. To solve this problem, Sohn applied a machine learning algorithm to PET scans to help diagnose early-stage Alzheimer’s disease more reliably.

This is an ideal application of deep learning because it is particularly strong at finding very subtle but diffuse processes. Human radiologists are really strong at identifying tiny focal finding like a brain tumor, but we struggle at detecting more slow, global changes,” says Sohn. “Given the strength of deep learning in this type of application, especially compared to humans, it seemed like a natural application.

To train the algorithm, Sohn fed it images from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), a massive public dataset of PET scans from patients who were eventually diagnosed with either Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment or no disorder. Eventually, the algorithm began to learn on its own which features are important for predicting the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and which are not.

Once the algorithm was trained on 1,921 scans, the scientists tested it on two novel datasets to evaluate its performance. The first were 188 images that came from the same ADNI database but had not been presented to the algorithm yet. The second was an entirely novel set of scans from 40 patients who had presented to the UCSF Memory and Aging Center with possible cognitive impairment.

The algorithm performed with flying colors. It correctly identified 92 percent of patients who developed Alzheimer’s disease in the first test set and 98 percent in the second test set. What’s more, it made these correct predictions on average 75.8 months – a little more than six yearsbefore the patient received their final diagnosis.

Source: https://www.ucsf.edu/

Hypothalamic Stem Cells May Reverse The Human Ageing Process

A study published in the Nature Journal by Dongsheng Cai, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, talks about how stem cells, that determines how fast aging occurs in the body, can help reverse the human ageing process. Stem cells reside in Hypothalamus, a pea-sized part of the brain that contains a bundle of neurons. It is responsible for a wide array of growth, development, digestion, reproduction, and metabolism related processes in the body. As the human body starts to age, these neural stem cells in the body begins to deteriorate and accelerates the human ageing process. So, if you stop these stem cells from wearing away, you can possibly stop the human body from ageing.

The lab tests were conducted on mice, where it was observed that as the mice grew 10 months or older, the stem cells begin to deplete (earlier than the usual time for stem cells to deteriorate in mice). By the time, these mice turn two years and older, the stem cells start to disappear, causing death. However, to prove their hypothesis that stem cells deterioration truly accelerates the ageing process, scientists ‘artificially disrupted’ the stem cells in middle-aged mice, and observed that it significantly grew their rate of ageing.

Once the hypothesis that stem cells depletion leads to accelerated ageing was proved, scientists further injected the hypothalamic stem cells into the brains of older and middle-aged mice, where a sudden decrease in their ageing process was observed. This happens because the hypothalamic stem cells release molecules called microRNAs (miRNAs) which play an important role in regulation of gene expression. These miRNAs (which are bundled inside tiny particles called exosomes) released by the stem cells were then further injected into the cerebrospinal fluid of mice.

After this experiment, the ageing process significantly slowed down, in terms of tissue analysis and behavioral analysis where different changes in animals’ muscle endurance, coordination, social behavior and cognitive ability also showed signs of anti-ageing. Scientists are now looking into exploring the study further and analyze other factors related to microRNAs that might be responsible for the anti-ageing miracle!

Source: https://www.nature.com/
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https://in.mashable.com/

DNA Folds Into A Smart Nanocapsule For Drug Delivery

Researchers from University of Jyväskylä and Aalto University in Finland have developed a customized DNA nanostructure that can perform a predefined task in human body-like conditions. To do so, the team built a capsule-like carrier that opens and closes according to the pH level of the surrounding solution. The nanocapsule can be loaded—or packed—with a variety of cargo, closed for delivery and opened again through a subtle pH increase.

DNA folds into a smart nanocapsule for drug delivery
The pH-responsive DNA origami nanocapsule (blue) loaded with an enzyme (yellow color, high pH). 

The function of the DNA nanocapsule is based on pH-responsive DNA residues.To make this happen, the team designed a capsule-like DNA origami structure functionalized with pH-responsive DNA strands. Such dynamic DNA nanodesigns are often controlled by the simple hydrogen-bonding of two complementary DNA sequences. Here, one half of the capsule was equipped with specific double-stranded DNA domains that could further form a DNA triple helix — in other words a helical structure comprised of three, not just two DNA molecules — by attaching to a suitable single-stranded DNA in the other half.

Source: https://www.jyu.fi/

AI Closer To The Efficiency Of The Brain

Computers and artificial intelligence continue to usher in major changes in the way people shop. It is relatively easy to train a robot’s brain to create a shopping list, but what about ensuring that the robotic shopper can easily tell the difference between the thousands of products in the store?

Purdue University researchers and experts in brain-inspired computing think part of the answer may be found in magnets. The researchers have developed a process to use magnetics with brain-like networks to program and teach devices such as personal robots, self-driving cars and drones to better generalize about different objects.

Our stochastic neural networks try to mimic certain activities of the human brain and compute through a connection of neurons and synapses,” said Kaushik Roy, Purdue’s Edward G. Tiedemann Jr. Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “This allows the computer brain to not only store information but also to generalize well about objects and then make inferences to perform better at distinguishing between objects.

The stochastic switching behavior is representative of a sigmoid switching behavior of a neuron. Such magnetic tunnel junctions can be also used to store synaptic weights. Roy presented the technology during the annual German Physical Sciences Conference earlier this month in Germany. The work also appeared in the Frontiers in Neuroscience.

The switching dynamics of a nano-magnet are similar to the electrical dynamics of neurons. Magnetic tunnel junction devices show switching behavior, which is stochastic in nature.  The Purdue group proposed a new stochastic training algorithm for synapses using spike timing dependent plasticity (STDP), termed Stochastic-STDP, which has been experimentally observed in the rat’s hippocampus. The inherent stochastic behavior of the magnet was used to switch the magnetization states stochastically based on the proposed algorithm for learning different object representations. “The big advantage with the magnet technology we have developed is that it is very energy-efficient,” said Roy, who leads Purdue’s Center for Brain-inspired Computing Enabling Autonomous Intelligence. “We have created a simpler network that represents the neurons and synapses while compressing the amount of memory and energy needed to perform functions similar to brain computations.

Source: https://www.purdue.edu/