Portable 3D skin printer can form skin tissue to heal deep wounds in minutes

May 3, 2018 by  
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Need medical assistance after a blaster fight on a spaceship? This new handheld, portable 3D printer could help. Scientists at the University of Toronto created the 3D skin printer that feels like it came straight from a science fiction movie. The device, according to the university , “forms tissue in situ, depositing and setting in place, within two minutes or less.” This new portable 3D skin printer looks like a white-out tape dispenser, in the description of the university, but instead of a tape roll, the printer includes “a microdevice that forms tissue sheets.” Bio ink comprised of protein-based biomaterials like collagen and fibrin runs along the tissue sheets in vertical stripes. Collagen is the most abundant protein found in the dermis, and fibrin, another protein, is part of wound healing. Navid Hakimi, study lead author and PhD student, said in the statement, “Our skin printer promises to tailor tissues to specific patients and wound characteristics.” Related: New 3D-printed algae could revolutionize the way we make things Many current 3D bioprinters are “bulky, work at low speeds, are expensive, and are incompatible with clinical application,” according to associate professor Axel Guenther. In contrast, this handheld printer is about as big as a small shoe box and weighs under one kilogram. The university said the device “also requires minimal operator training and eliminates the washing and incubation stages required by many conventional bioprinters.” The journal Lab on a Chip published the research last month; researchers from the Ross Tilley Burn Center at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center contributed. The team’s work isn’t finished — they aim to add multiple capabilities to the skin printer such as “expanding the size of the coverable wound areas.” They’re also planning further in vivo studies with the Sunnybrook team, and are shooting for clinical trials in humans in the future. + University of Toronto + Lab on a Chip Images via Liz Do and courtesy of Navid Hakimi via GIPHY

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Portable 3D skin printer can form skin tissue to heal deep wounds in minutes

Developing nations want to dim the sun using a giant chemical sunshade

April 5, 2018 by  
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Scientists around the world want to create a giant sunshade in the sky to help reverse  climate change . “Solar engineering” involves spraying tiny reflective particles into the atmosphere to cool the Earth by reflecting and filtering incoming sunlight. The idea is controversial because no one knows what consequences we may suffer from altering the atmosphere, but some developing nations are ramping up research efforts and they want developed nations to do the same.  Poorer countries stand to suffer the most from climate change, and they argue that geoengineering may be less dangerous for them than the impacts of global warming. In a high-profile experiment, researchers at Harvard University have been studying what they’ve called the “stratospheric controlled perturbation effect” thanks to the launch of an observation balloon over ten miles into the air in order to study the effect of controlled sprays of water molecules on cloud cover reflectivity. Scientists from Bangladesh, Brazil , China, Ethiopia, India, Jamaica, and Thailand have now joined the debate in a new study published in Nature , arguing that if there is to be geoengineering, developing countries must lead the way. “ Solar geoengineering is outlandish and unsettling,” the scientists wrote. “It invokes technologies that are redolent of science fiction – jets lacing the stratosphere with sunlight-blocking particles, and fleets of ships spraying seawater into low-lying clouds to make them whiter and brighter to reflect sunlight. Yet, if such approaches could be realized technically and politically, they could slow, stop or even reverse the rise in global temperatures within one or two years.” Related: Scientists have a plan to cool the Earth with a sprinkle of salt The scientists do not approach geoengineering lightly. “The technique is controversial, and rightly so,” they wrote. “It is too early to know what its effects would be: it could be very helpful or very harmful. Developing countries have most to gain or lose. In our view, they must maintain their climate leadership and play a central part in research and discussions around solar geoengineering .” Lead author Atiq Rahman emphasized that the scientists are not taking a stand that geoengineering will necessarily work, only that it should be researched in collaboration with those most affected by climate change. “Developing countries must be in a position to make up their own minds. Local scientists, in collaboration with others, need to conduct research that is sensitive to regional concerns and conditions,” the authors wrote. “Clearly [geoengineering] could be dangerous, but we need to know whether, for countries like Bangladesh , it would be more or less risky than passing the 1.5C warming goal,” Rahman said. “This matters greatly to people from developing countries and our voices need to be heard.” Via The Guardian Images via NASA/ISS and Depositphotos  ( 2 )

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Developing nations want to dim the sun using a giant chemical sunshade

The world’s first 3D-printed steel bridge looks like it came from another planet

April 4, 2018 by  
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Dutch technology company MX3D  just officially unveiled the world’s first  3D-printed stainless steel bridge . It took four robots , nearly 10,000 pounds of stainless steel , about 684 miles of wire, and six months of printing to build the sinuous, undulating structure, which looks like it’s straight out of a science-fiction movie. The MX3D Bridge, designed by Joris Laarman Lab , is around 41 feet by 20 feet, and it’s made from a new kind of steel. 3D-printing created a ribbed surface as robots added layers upon layers; Gizmodo said it could be buffed out, but MX3D plans to keep the unique, rough look. Related: World’s first 3D-printed bridge opens in the Netherlands Laarman told Gizmodo it’s strange to glimpse the bridge in their workshop: “It’s a little bit like being in a science fiction story because it looks so different than everything else around. We work in a highly industrial shipyard where everything is geometric in shape, but this bridge doesn’t have a single straight line.” MX3D’s goal for the bridge project is “to showcase the potential applications of our multi-axis 3D-printing technology,” according to their website. They say they serve architecture , maritime and offshore, and heavy duty industry markets. There’s that spark of sci-fi on their About page too: their ultimate vision is robots creating lightweight constructions — not just bridges, or buildings, but Mars colonies as well. The company credits Arup for structural engineering, Heijmans as their construction expert, and AcelorMittal for metallurgical expertise, to name a few; several other companies and universities have been involved in the bridge project. MX3D’s bridge is to be installed over the Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal in Amsterdam , possibly in 2019. Before that, the bridge will undergo load tests. Co-founder Gijs van der Velden told Gizmodo they recently tested it with 30 people, and it behaved as it should. He told Gizmodo, “[Amsterdam city officials] have collaborated with us, Arup, and Imperial College London to define a method for evaluating the safety of the bridge as, of course for a novel production like this, there is no standard code. Their open attitude towards such a new and unconventional project was essential to make this project a success.” + MX3D + MX3D Bridge + Joris Laarman Lab Via Gizmodo Images courtesy of MX3D, Joris Laarman Lab, Adriaan de Groot, Thijs Wolzak, and Olivier de Gruijter

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The world’s first 3D-printed steel bridge looks like it came from another planet

Antibiotic-resistant "nightmare" bacteria are spreading across the US

April 4, 2018 by  
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A new breed of “nightmare” bacteria resists pretty much all of our antibiotics – and it’s rapidly spreading across the US. The bacteria – called carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) – is different from your run-of-the-mill antibiotic-resistant bacteria because it is incredibly deadly, with 50 percent of infected patients dying. Not only that, but it is spreading like “wildfire” with over 200 cases identified in 27 states. Researchers at the CDC said that last year they tested  5,700 samples of resistant bacteria, and of those samples, 221 were CRE or similar bacteria. That’s a full 15 percent. “I was surprised by the numbers” of bacteria with unusual antibiotic resistance, Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, said. “This was more than I was expecting.” Once researchers detected these bacteria, they tested other patients in the same facility to see if the bacteria had spread. It turned out that 1 in 10 people had what scientists call a “silent” infection, where they have the bacteria in their bodies but aren’t showing symptoms. Related: Flesh-eating bacteria might be spread by mosquitoes in Australia Fortunately, doctors have a plan. They are working hard to stop the spread before it becomes common. To that end, the CDC created the Antibiotic Resistance Laboratory Network (ARLN) to test and track for these dangerous bacteria. Using an aggressive containment strategy, researchers have been able to control the infection. But the danger isn’t over – doctors and scientists will have to be vigilant to stay ahead of the antibiotic-resistance trend as bacteria continue to evolve and change to evade our efforts. Via Live Science Images via Deposit Photos ( 1 , 2 )

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Antibiotic-resistant "nightmare" bacteria are spreading across the US

Uravu’s zero-electricity Aqua Panels produce gallons of water from thin air

April 4, 2018 by  
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Uravu , a startup based in Hyderabad, India, has created a device that can produce water from an unlikely source–the air itself. The company’s affordable, electricity-free Aqua Panels use solar thermal energy to convert vapor into usable water – and they should be available to the public within two years. “There’s no need of any electricity or moving parts,” Uravu co-founder Swapnil Shrivastav told Quartz India . “It is just a passive device that you can leave on your rooftop and it will generate water. The process starts at night, and by evening next day you’ll have water.” Uravu is named after a Malayalam word that sometimes refers to freshwater springs and can be translated as “source.” While the technology behind Uravu’s system is not new, it did have some problems. “You need high humidity and energy consumption (involved) is high,” said Shrivastav, referring to the outdated technology. “There are a lot of moving parts. What we wanted to do was have a simple modular device.” The company found inspiration in the fact that the atmosphere is constantly holding various amounts of moisture. “So that got us thinking why this resource isn’t being utilised,” said Shrivastav. “[Water vapor] also doesn’t limit itself to desalination which happens only in the coast. Or rainfall which doesn’t happen everywhere.” Related: Giant curtain built in Peru to study climate change in the cloud forests To produce drinking water , users will have to supplement their device with an attachable mineral cartridge. The current prototype generates approximately 50 liters (13.20 gallons) daily, though the team hopes to someday develop a machine capable of producing 2,000 liters (528.34 gallons) per day. “Initially we’ll be working with governments and strategic partners, and we want to reach places where there is water scarcity , such as parts of Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh, and rural areas,” explained Shrivastav. “We will be trying to start with a household device and aim at community-level projects.” + Uravu Via Quartz India Images via Depositphotos and Uravu

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Uravu’s zero-electricity Aqua Panels produce gallons of water from thin air

MIT engineers just unveiled living, glowing plants

December 13, 2017 by  
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Glowing plants might sound like the stuff of science fiction – but a team of MIT researchers just grew a crop of watercress that emits emit dim light for almost four hours. Postdoctoral researcher Seon-Yeong Kwak led a team of engineers and scientists to instill the plants with the same enzyme that makes fireflies sparkle. MIT chemical engineering professor Michael Strano said, “The vision is to make a plant that will function as a desk lamp – a lamp that you don’t have to plug in. The light is ultimately powered by the energy metabolism of the plant itself.” Plant lamps or even tree street lights could brighten our world in the future thanks to recent research on glowing plants. The plants are illuminated by luciferase – the same enzyme that helps fireflies shine. Luciferase acts on the molecule luciferin to give off light. The team put these three components into nanoparticle carriers to get them to the correct part of a plant. The scientists showed they can also turn off the light by adding nanoparticles with a luciferase inhibitor, so they think they could eventually create plants that stop emitting light in response to conditions like sunlight. Related: 5 Bioluminescent Species that Light Up the World Past experiments to create light-emitting plants attempted to genetically engineer plants to express the gene for luciferase, according to MIT . But it’s a process that takes a lot of work for very dim light – and it’s often limited to just one plant type. The new MIT process can work on any kind of plant; so far the scientists have demonstrated it with watercress, kale, arugula, and spinach. They hope to be able to spray or paint the nanoparticles on leaves with future iterations, so trees or large plants could serve as light sources. The journal Nano Letters published the research online in November. Scientists from the University of California, Riverside and the University of California, Berkeley contributed to the work. + Nano Letters + MIT News Images via Seon-Yeong Kwak

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MIT engineers just unveiled living, glowing plants

Elon Musk shows first glimpse of the Boring Company tunnel beneath LA

November 1, 2017 by  
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Elon Musk just gave us a peek into the future with a new picture of The Boring Company’s tunnel under Los Angeles . He shared the picture snapped recently on social media, and it seems the project started less than a year ago is well underway. In an image that looks straight out of science fiction, Musk shared a glimpse of what The Boring Company has been up to in Los Angeles. They’ve been anything but idle: the startup has built a tunnel for transportation beneath the city notorious for traffic woes. Musk shared the picture of the tunnel on Twitter on October 28, and said it had been taken the day before. Related: Elon Musk’s Boring Company receives green light to dig a two-mile test tunnel Picture of The Boring Company LA tunnel taken yesterday pic.twitter.com/TfdVKyXFsJ — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 28, 2017 Musk said on Twitter the tunnel is 500-feet-long right now, and in three to four months, will be two miles long, “and hopefully stretch the whole 405 N-S corridor from LAX to the 101 in a year or so.” Musk provided more detail on his Instagram, according to Twitter user Kilian/0strich, who shared a screenshot of Musk’s Instagram comment saying, “First route will go roughly parallel to the 405 from LAX to the 101, with on/offramps every mile or so. It will work like a fast freeway, where electric skates carrying vehicles and people pods on the main artery travel at up to 150mph, and the skates switch to side tunnels to exit and enter. This is a big difference compared to subways that stop at every stop, whether you’re getting off or not.” The Boring Company explains on their Frequently Asked Questions page that an electric skate is a “fast plate on wheels propelled by an electric motor.” The zero-emissions, autonomous vehicles can transport goods or automobiles – and if a vacuum shell is added, can become a Hyperloop pod. + The Boring Company Images via The Boring Company and Depositphotos

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Elon Musk shows first glimpse of the Boring Company tunnel beneath LA

Solar Impulse co-founder aims to make electric aviation a reality with new company

April 19, 2017 by  
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Electric high-speed trains have been zipping passengers across Europe and Asia for decades. Now the era of affordable electric cars is beginning with the introduction of the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3. But what about aviation? Could the friendly skies one day join electric trains and cars as an alternative to fossil-fueled transportation, which is polluting the air and contributing to climate change?  Solar Impulse ’s co-founder André Borschberg is aiming to make electric propulsion in the aviation industry a reality with a new company he co-founded, H55 . “Electric air transport will undoubtedly disrupt the aviation industry,” said Borschberg. “15 years ago, when I started with Solar Impulse, electric propulsion was anecdotal. Today it is a major development path of every large aeronautical organisation as well as attracting many start-ups and new players. What is science fiction today will be the reality of tomorrow.” Related: Solar Impulse successfully completes solar-powered flight around the world The Switzerland-based venture will focus on the entire propulsion chain — from the energy source to thrust and power to pilot interface and control systems. H55 has already successfully completed more than 50 hours of flight testing with its electric demonstrator aircraft, aEro1. Borschberg piloted eight of the 17 legs of Solar Impulse 2’s around-the-world flight, including flying for five days and five nights non-stop over the Pacific Ocean — the longest flight ever recorded in a single-pilot airplane. Solar Impulse 2 departed Abu Dhabi in March 2015, returning there in July 2016 after flying around the world (including a nine-month delay for technical repairs). + H55 Images via H55

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Solar Impulse co-founder aims to make electric aviation a reality with new company

Scientists use Martian dust to 3D print tools

April 19, 2017 by  
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Food and transportation aren’t the only aspects of a mission to Mars scientists must consider. Limited cargo space means to obtain tools or similar items, astronauts may need to make use of resources available on the red planet – like dirt. Four Northwestern University researchers were recently able to utilize a Martian dust simulant to 3D print building blocks and tools . NASA started looking into space 3D printers back in 2013 to manufacture repair parts or tools. Now Northwestern scientists have used lunar and Martian dust simulants approved by NASA to 3D print tools in a process the university described as simple, scalable, and sustainable. Related: 6 space farming projects that could save the human race The researchers drew on a technique they call a 3D-painting process; engineer Ramille Shah said using 3D paints “really open up the ability to print different functional or structural objects to make habitats beyond Earth.” They’ve created a 3D ink and printing method they’ve used to print 3D graphene and hyperelastic “bone.” They made their 3D paints for this project with simple solvents, biopolymer, and the dusts, which are similar to real Martian and lunar dust in terms of composition and particle size and shape. The structures they printed are more than 90 percent dust by weight. The 3D-printed material is flexible, tough, and elastic, kind of like rubber. It can be shaped, folded, cut, or rolled. In addition to tools the team 3D-printed interlocking bricks Shah said are like LEGOS . According to Northwestern, “…this work highlights the potential to use a single 3D printer on another planet to create structures from all kinds of materials.” The journal Nature Scientific Reports published the research online in late March. Shah and another Northwestern professor, who was not a co-author on this paper, are working together on ways to fire the 3D-painted objects in a furnace to make them harder – more like ceramic. Via Treehugger and Northwestern University Images via Northwestern University and Wikimedia Commons

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Scientists use Martian dust to 3D print tools

Petey Ulatans cubic landscapes reimagine the world full of sharp angles

August 8, 2016 by  
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Ulatan’s artistic interpretation of the world as a cube is not the same treatment as taking other round objects and making them cubic, such as the cube-shaped watermelons grown in Japan. Rather, his vision reflects something closer to science fiction, where Earth’s corners face inward to create exceptionally geometric valleys that defy gravity. Ulatan, who unveiled his cubist world in a series of curious images on Instagram , bends a number of familiar scenes at 90-degree angles, making for some very interesting—and head turning—possibilities. Related: Artist uses spider webs to create spellbinding cubes of eerie art The squared-off world of Ulatan’s creations takes everything we know about the Earth’s physical attributes and turns them, well, sideways. A sailboat can now not only glide along the water’s surface, but can also take a 90-degree turn up or down. Smoke flowing up from a factory’s stacks might spew from two different planes, intersecting at a sharp angle. A relaxing day by the lake may require folks to crane their neck in order to get a view across the water, as the vantage point reaches straight down from a drop-off. Ulatan’s cubic world doesn’t need to explain its bizarre physics or impossible gravity . It doesn’t require an explanation of how its shape came to be. Rather, his series of manipulated images serves a more esoteric purpose, which is to inspire people to look at the world in a different way. + Petey Ulatan’s website + Petey Ulatan on Instagram Via Architectural Digest Images via Petey Ulatan

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Petey Ulatans cubic landscapes reimagine the world full of sharp angles

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