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Science


— Medical

New technique allows for production of drug-delivering silicone microspheres

Scientists are increasingly looking at using medication-filled microspheres for targeted drug delivery within the human body. Silicone would be a particularly good building material for such spheres, as it's biocompatible, waterproof, and chemically stable. Unfortunately, using traditional methods, it can't be made into small enough spheres. Now, however, a new process has allowed for the creation of silicone microspheres that are about one one-hundredth the size of any previously produced.

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— Electronics

MirrorMirror reflects you and your digital info

Doing your hair and brushing your teeth are chores that may become a little more interesting and fun with a new mirror that, besides reflecting, can also display emails, news threads, tweets, public transport times and all kinds of online data. That's because a student team from the College of Science and College of Engineering at Purdue University has created a mirror that doubles as an information interface. Keeping up-to-date with bus schedules inspired the team to come up with the info-mirror.

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— Space

MESSENGER shows Mercury's magnetic field to be almost 4 billion years old

Around one week after it smashed spectacularly into Mercury, NASA's MESSENGER probe has posthumously turned up valuable observations revealing some of the planet's long-held secrets. Using data gleaned from the spacecraft's closest pass of the planet earlier this year, scientists have established its magnetic field to be almost 4 billion years old, shedding new light on how Mercury has evolved over its 4.5 billion year lifespan.

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— Medical

Cardiac events could be diagnosed using a "heart attack thermometer"

In order to confirm that a patient presenting with a heart attack has in fact had one, doctors typically use bulky, expensive lab equipment ... which isn't always available to clinicians in developing nations or rural locations. That's why scientists from Korea's Pohang University of Science and Technology have created a simple thermometer-like device that reportedly does the job.

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— Medical

Smartphone microscope scans blood for parasitic worms in minutes

In Africa, the spread of parasitic worms known as Loa loa is seriously hindering the efforts of health care workers to cure particular rampant diseases. Though there are drugs available to treat both river blindness and lymphatic filariasis, if they are administered to a patient who also happens to also be infected with Loa loa the consequences can be lethal. This is complicated further by the inherent difficulties in screening for the worms, but a newly developed mobile phone microscope needing only a drop of blood to automatically detect the parasite promises to make things a whole lot simpler.

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— Biology

Clingfish could inspire safer surgeries and better whale-tracking

Mussels have an incredible ability to cling to wet surfaces. It's an ability that scientists are trying to replicate for use in man-made adhesives. That adhesion can't be turned on and off as needed, however, limiting its potential applications. That's where the Northern clingfish comes in. It can suck onto rough, slimy surfaces, supporting up to 150 times its own body weight when lifted. That said, it can also just let go and swim away whenever it wants. Scientists from the University of Washington now understand how it's able to do so, and are looking at applying the principle to fields such as surgery and whale-tracking.

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— Space

SpaceX successfully completes Launch Abort System test

SpaceX has carried out a successful test of its Launch Abort System (LAS) for the Crew Dragon spacecraft. The test, which took place at Space Launch Complex 40 of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station represents a major stop towards getting the spacecraft human rated under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract. NASA hopes that commercial spacecraft such as the Crew Dragon will return manned spacecraft launches back to American soil sometime in 2017.

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