Using a matrix of nano-sized memristors, researchers
working at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) and the
University of California, Santa Barbara claim to have constructed the world’s
first electronic memory cell that effectively mimics the analog process of the
human brain. By storing memories as multiple threads of varying information,
rather than a collection of ones and zeroes, scientists believe that this
device may prove to be the first step towards creating a completely artificial,
Establishing and maintaining a permanent human presence on Mars promises
to be one of the most technologically challenging ventures ever
undertaken by our species. A key aspect of the endeavor is to create an
environment in which human beings can survive and flourish – this
requires a ready supply of oxygen. NASA is working with Indiana-based
company Techshot Inc. in order to develop a solution with the potential
to produce an abundant source of oxygen with minimal assistance from
Researchers at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) and the
Institute Ramón y Cajal for Health Research (IRYCIS) have created a new
device that significantly cuts down the time required to perform a skin
biopsy. It doesn't require any specialized skills to use, and could open
the door to faster skin cancer diagnoses.
The bombardier beetle has a unique defensive mechanism. It induces a chemical explosion inside its shell to create a boiling, toxic liquid which it sprays at its aggressor. Now researchers in the US have discovered how it does this, and they hope that further study of the conditions inside the beetle that allow it to produce the jet without harming itself may inform real world technologies.
One thing that space definitely lacks is "down." Zero gravity isn't just disorienting, it also affects astronauts' health. Draper Laboratory's NASA-funded Variable Vector Countermeasure Suit (V2Suit) uses a new spacesuit technology to create a sort of artificial gravity that provides astronauts with a sense of up and down while helping relieve some of the detrimental effects of weightlessness.
NASA has launched a
public challenge with the aim of innovating technologies vital for
the establishment of a colony on Mars. The agency is focused
on a mission to the Red Planet, and has already taken
the first vital steps. However, whilst simply reaching Mars with a
cargo of healthy astronauts would be a monumental triumph,
maintaining a permanent presence on so inhospitable a planet could
prove to be a much greater technological challenge.
A new type of medical device could one day put the minds of chronic pain sufferers at ease by distributing the body's own natural pain relief signals at just the right time. Developed at Linköping University in Sweden, the tiny "ion pump" is made from organic electronics and could be implanted in patients, serving to cut off pain signals in the spinal chord before they make their way to the brain.
Space may be big, but in our neck of the woods it's getting crowded. There are thousands of active and inactive satellites in orbit around Earth, and while Mars may not exactly be Piccadilly Circus, it now has five active satellites circling it. To prevent any unfortunate collisions around the Red Planet, NASA is working on a new traffic management system.
More details have been revealed about the X-37B spaceplane's upcoming OTV-4 mission. When it launches on May 20 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the (not entirely) secret X-37B will carry a NASA experiment called Materials Exposure and Technology Innovation in Space (METIS) designed to test new materials for use in future spacecraft.
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