Shining lasers on human blood could help detect tumors

September 6, 2016 by  
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A team of University of Michigan researchers have discovered how to use lasers to see intricate cell structure and activity in human blood. Shining laser light on whole human blood combined with a fluorescent dye reveals incredible detail, according to the researchers, leading to hope the technology can improve how doctors monitor cell activity in the body, including how to identify tumors. The researchers, led by Biomedical Engineering professor Xudong (Sherman) Fan, tested out their technique by shining a laser into a cavity containing whole human blood mixed with Indocyanine green, a medical dye used in diagnostic tests. By examining the light reflected back at them, they discovered they could see changes happening to the cells all the way down to the molecular level. Related: Scientists reprogram E. coli bacteria to attack tumor cells The precise picture allows observers to see the even smallest changes and to tune out unnecessary background details. Even though the technique has only been used outside the human body, the researchers are hopeful it can be applied in the future to living tissue . Medical teams could be able to more accurately monitor cell activity in the body, as well as see how widely blood vessel-fed tumors expand when performing surgery to remove them. + University of Michigan Via Daily Mail Images via Pixabay , University of Michigan

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Shining lasers on human blood could help detect tumors

Giant paper boats use holographic photovoltaic cells to boost California coral growth

September 6, 2016 by  
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A team from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania envisions a bold new world where giant paper boats float off Santa Monica Pier, harnessing solar energy to revitalize California’s coastal ecology. Another finalist of LAGI 2016: Santa Monica , an international design competition that promotes renewable energy and public art, Paper Boats is designed to harness solar energy using concentrated photovoltaics (CPV), reflectors, and Holographic Planar Concentrator (HPC) technology. Unlike other energy and water-generating designs, this energy is redirected to accelerate coral growth. And if you are weary of designs that don’t yet exist, note that LAGI’s competition guidelines require all entries to be technologically and physically feasible. In this way, Paper Boats, The Pipe, and other LAGI designs symbolize potential applications of existing technology . “Throughout the years, over-hunting and over-fishing of some key species have allowed purple urchin to graze on the kelp without competition, Christopher Makrinos, Stephen Makrinos, and Alexander Bishop write in their design brief. “This has led to “urchin barrens,” which offer little in the way of genetic diversity, food, or nesting habitats. Paper Boats has reversed this trend by establishing pockets of coral and kelp (once commonplace here) within underwater “shipwreck” frames that anchor each boat to the historic breakwater.” The team adds that in a process known as accretion, the “shipwrecks” mirror the sculptures above, promoting coral growth . A trickle of direct current electricity produced by the sails, or solar collectors, flows through the rebar, and accelerates coral growth that is said to be five times faster than normal. Paper Boats designers say that accretion was first observed by Wolf Hilbertz. Related: Solar-powered pipe desalinizes 1.5 billion gallons of drinking water for California Every boat has four sails. The outer shell uses Fresnel lenses to direct light, while the sail as a whole acts as a concentrated photovoltaic collector . It has an annual capacity of 2,400 MWh. Holographic photovoltaic cells beneath the sails use laser-etched glazing and bi-facial silicone panels to harness sunlight from both directions “with incredible efficiency.” The iridescent sails refract light, a special bonus for people visiting Santa Monica Pier during sunset. “The solar panels are attached to a ceramic-cladded aluminum framework,” the designers continue. “The structure conceals the CPV conduits and acts as a passive heat sink. A trickle of energy is diverted to the “shipwrecks” before entering the main conduit.” “This small charge provides a catalyst for coral growth, strengthening the local marine ecosystem .” + LAGI 2016: Santa Monica

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Giant paper boats use holographic photovoltaic cells to boost California coral growth

Artificial surfing parks expected to flood the world ahead of 2020 Olympic Games

September 6, 2016 by  
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Since the announcement of surfing being added to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games , surf parks are expected to become a growing attraction , riding the sport’s rising wave of popularity. Encouraging newbies to learn how to surf on artificial waves is similar to using manmade or maintained snowboarding and skiing slopes. And the technology just keeps getting better. Surfing is a skill which takes years to master. And not everyone has access to the ocean to practice their craft. Fernando Aguerre, president of the International Surfing Association , told The New York Times , “If you’re in the ocean for an hour, and you get six, seven waves, you’re very lucky. Learning to surf is like learning to play the guitar when you can only strum once every 30 seconds.” Related: $8M artificial floating surf park proposed for Melbourne’s waterfront Surf parks are not a new invention, but the technology behind creating the perfect waves continues to improve. Doug Coors, developer of the NLand Surf Park in Austin, Texas, told the New York Times his park utilizes a hydrofoil to make waves, a large blade that cuts through the water. He calls it “a chairlift motor with a snowplow on it.” The water is sourced from a rain catchment and filtration system, and the system overall is less energy-intensive than previous generations of wave-makers. As technology improves, companies are finding ways to fit attractions into smaller spaces in cities all over the world, increasing accessibility and ramping up interest in the sport. Coors acknowledges some surfers may be excited about the expanding attractions, but others worry it will diminish the beauty of the sport. He says, “Surfing the way it is today is fantastic and I really don’t want to get in the way of that. The idea is to introduce more people and grow the sport, but do it in a responsible manner.” Head over to The New York Times for the full story. Images via Pixabay , Wikimedia

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Artificial surfing parks expected to flood the world ahead of 2020 Olympic Games

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