World’s first 3D-printed heart-on-a-chip could help end animal testing

October 25, 2016 by  
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When it comes to medical breakthroughs, the most exciting advances tend to involve technology that can lead to better and earlier diagnoses of various health problems , but breakthroughs that save animals are pretty good too. A team of Harvard University researchers has done just that by developing an entirely 3D-printed “heart-on-a-chip” that may some day eliminate animal testing in medical research. The innovation, which makes it possible to monitor heart performance, is the latest in a medical technology trend of building functional, synthetic replicas of living human organs in an effort to better understand how they work, or—more to the point—how they fail. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHhMlL9flMY Each organ-on-a-chip (also known as a “microphysiological system”) is constructed from a translucent, flexible polymer. The 3D-printed organs mimic the biological environment of our internal organs, and give scientists an up-close look at how they function. The heart-on-a-chip developed at Harvard can help researchers collect reliable data for short-term and long-term studies. Because the device is 3D-printed , scientists can easily customize its design to meet the specifications of their research, and the chips can be fabricated quickly. Related: See-through microchip organs help scientists test new drugs “This new programmable approach to building organs-on-chips not only allows us to easily change and customize the design of the system by integrating sensing but also drastically simplifies data acquisition,” said Johan Ulrik Lind, lead author and postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). Other Harvard research teams have developed microphysiological systems that mimic the microarchitecture and functions of lungs, hearts, tongues, and intestines. These synthetic organs could replace animal testing with a customizable and completely humane alternative that may also lead to more accurate results. Unfortunately, the cost for fabricating these organs-on-a-chip is still quite high, and the process is also time-consuming. Researchers are continuously pushing forward to improve their methods, though, in the hopes of making this a viable and cost-effective alternative toward the cruel practice of animal testing. The results of the team’s research were published this week in the journal Nature Materials. Via Gizmodo Images via Harvard University

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World’s first 3D-printed heart-on-a-chip could help end animal testing

The octobot is the worlds first autonomous soft-bodied robot

August 26, 2016 by  
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A silicone robot completely free of electronic parts may sound futuristic, but that’s exactly what researchers at Harvard University have created. Based on the shape and motion of the octopus, the “octobot” is the world’s first completely soft robot , and its motion is completely autonomous. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vkQ3SBwuU4 To create the octobot, Harvard researchers used a combination of 3D printing , soft lithography, and molding to shape the robot’s body from silicone. Rather than a traditional battery or electronic components, the small robot is pneumatic-based, meaning it’s powered by gas under pressure. The robot uses a small amount of hydrogen peroxide as fuel. A chemical reaction to platinum within the bot creates gas which inflates the octobot’s tentacles like balloons. A microfluidic logic circuit controls the flow of fuel in the octobot’s limbs, inflating four at a time to propel the device forward. Related: Tiny robot caterpillar can push objects ten times its size At present, the octobot can’t do much – scientists are not yet able to steer it in any particular direction as it moves, and the liquid fuel only lasts between four and eight minutes. However, future models will include sensors that allow the robot to detect nearby objects and steer toward or away from them. It’s a fascinating proof of concept: the robots of the future may look like nothing like what we’ve envisioned. Via Slashdot Images via Harvard University

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The octobot is the worlds first autonomous soft-bodied robot

The world’s ‘Third Pole’ is melting because of climate-warming black carbon

August 26, 2016 by  
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Global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels is heating up the North Pole and South Pole, causing the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to melt. The rapidly retreating glaciers could have far-reaching consequences for the planet, as they threaten to raise sea levels, change global ocean circulation patterns and alter global atmospheric circulation patterns. But there is another worrisome trend related to climate change that is found in the so-called “Third Pole” located in Central Asia. The snow-covered Himalaya-Hindu-Kush mountains and the Tibetan Plateau contain the largest ice mass on the planet outside of the polar regions and they are also experiencing dramatic melt, threatening the water supply for more than a billion people.

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The world’s ‘Third Pole’ is melting because of climate-warming black carbon

Exceptional prefab alpine shelter overlooks mind-boggling mountain views

September 9, 2015 by  
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Exceptional prefab alpine shelter overlooks mind-boggling mountain views

La Cabine is a pop-up bathroom that folds into a sleek wooden armoire

September 9, 2015 by  
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La Fonction ’s tiny pop-up bathroom may look like a timber armoire, but the fully functioning piece of furniture folds out to reveal all the accoutrements needed for bath and beauty. Designed by French design company Line Art for La Fonction, the sleek La Cabine is literally a room in a box. Complete with storage, vanity and sink, the foldable bathroom is perfect for people who live in  city apartments with limited space but with a lust for design. Read the rest of La Cabine is a pop-up bathroom that folds into a sleek wooden armoire

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La Cabine is a pop-up bathroom that folds into a sleek wooden armoire

Study Finds National Park Ecosystems Threatened by Nutrient Pollution

October 22, 2013 by  
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National parks are protected by the federal government and carefully managed, so it’s easy to assume that they’re safe from the harm of human activity . Unfortunately, new research shows that many parks across the country are vulnerable to nutrient pollution caused by agricultural operations. A study published in the journal  Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics showed that 38 of the 45 national parks examined are saturated with levels of nitrogen past the threshold that can sustain organisms in sensitive ecosystems such as hardwoods, lichens, and prairie grass. Read the rest of Study Finds National Park Ecosystems Threatened by Nutrient Pollution Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: algal blooms , ammonia pollution , cuyahoga national park , daniel jacob , environmental destruction , exotic species competition. atmospheric chemistry and physics , Great Smoky Mountains National Park , harvard university , national parks , nitrogen pollution , nutrient pollution , sequoia national park , united states        

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Study Finds National Park Ecosystems Threatened by Nutrient Pollution

Trees Are Adapting to Climate Change by Using Water More Efficiently

July 11, 2013 by  
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It’s clear that global warming is going to require some serious adaptation . While some life on this planet digs in its heels , other lifeforms– like trees — are already adapting to climate change. A recent study in the journal Nature shows that trees are responding to higher carbon dioxide levels by using water more efficiently. Although this is good news for some areas, it could possibly mean more drought in areas that rely on water transpired from other areas. Read the rest of Trees Are Adapting to Climate Change by Using Water More Efficiently Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: climate change forests , Climate Change trees , drought and forests , drought and trees , global warming forests , Global Warming trees , harvard university , increase temperatures because of trees , Photosynthesis in global warming , tree research , Trees and Carbon Dioxide , Trees Use Water More Efficiently , us forest service , water exchange in trees        

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Trees Are Adapting to Climate Change by Using Water More Efficiently

Embryo Treehouse by Antony Gibbon Designs Takes Biomimicry to New Heights

July 11, 2013 by  
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Harvard Scientists Take Inspiration From Starfish To Create Robots That Disguise Themselves!

August 17, 2012 by  
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A team of researchers from Harvard University led by George Whitesides have developed innovative, soft, silicone-based robots that have the ability to disguise themselves or change their color depending on the situation. The research team took their inspiration from creatures like starfish and squid , who naturally blend into their environment to hide from predators. Read the rest of Harvard Scientists Take Inspiration From Starfish To Create Robots That Disguise Themselves! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 3D printers , 3D printing , biomimicry , dynamic coloration , flexible robots , George Whitesides , harvard university , robots , science , science journal , soft robots

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Harvard Scientists Take Inspiration From Starfish To Create Robots That Disguise Themselves!

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