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Biodegradable

Medical

Electronic implants treat staph infections, and then dissolve

Imagine if there were a remote-control electronic device that could be implanted at an infection site, where it would treat the infection by heating or medicating the affected tissue. While it might be very effective, subsequent infections could result if surgeons went in to remove it, or even if they just left it in place. That's why scientists from Tufts University and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana have developed infection-treating implants that simply dissolve into the body once they've served their purpose. Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Goodwell open-source toothbrush is built to last a lifetime

If we assume everybody is acting on the advice of their dentist and replacing their toothbrush every few months, then there's likely a lot of frayed bristles laying in landfill right now. But must our dental care devices take on such as short lifespan? The Goodwell open-source toothbrush is a modern take on oral hygiene, built from eco-friendly materials and made to last until you haven't got any teeth left to brush. Read More

3D Printing

POP3D to be Europe's first 3D printer in space

ESA is set to send a 3D printer up to the International Space Station (ISS) for a preliminary round of orbital testing in the first half of next year. The Portable On-Board Printer (POP3D), was designed and manufactured in Italy and will be one of the focusses of ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti's Futura mission. The results of the study will be instrumental in informing us on the potential uses of 3D printing in microgravity.Read More

Environment

Diaper-grown mushrooms to cut down waste

While the contents of a diaper could easily be considered an environmental hazard by many, disposable diapers themselves pose a more significant problem for the environment. According to the EPA, the average baby will work their way through 8,000 of them before the underwear makes its way to landfill, where it takes centuries to break down. In an effort to reduce the problem, scientists at Mexico's Autonomous Metropolitan University, Azcapotzalco (UAM-A), have turned used diapers to the task of growing mushrooms.Read More

Science

Biodegradable fibers as strong as steel made from wood cellulose

A team of researchers working at Stockholm's KTH Royal Institute of Technology claim to have developed a way to make cellulose fibers stronger than steel on a strength-to-weight basis. In what is touted as a world first, the team from the institute's Wallenberg Wood Science Center claim that the new fiber could be used as a biodegradable replacement for many filament materials made today from imperishable substances such as fiberglass, plastic, and metal. And all this from a substance that requires only water, wood cellulose, and common table salt to create it.Read More

Medical

Broken bones could be healed with silk

Silk is an amazingly strong material, yet it also harmlessly biodegrades when left in the body. This has led to its use in experimental brain implants, heart patches, and even bio-electronics. According to a new study conducted by scientists at Tufts University School of Engineering and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, it may now also find use in the production of better plates and screws used for securing broken bones. Read More

Science

Plant-based magnetic microswimmers to deliver drugs more precisely

If you remember the 1966 science fiction film Fantastic Voyage, you'll recall how miniaturized government agents traveled through blood vessels in a tiny submarine, in their attempt remove a blood clot from a scientist's brain. Synthetic nanomotors that can do the same job have been the subject of numerous research efforts and now University of California, San Diego (UCSD) researchers report that they've created powerful biodegradable "microswimmers" that can deliver drugs more precisely, derived from common plants like passion fruit and wild banana.Read More

New wrapping paper can be used to grow vegetables

As the holiday season gets into full swing, one inevitable byproduct of the widespread cheer will be masses of waste wrapping paper. One interesting idea to reduce this comes via Eden's Paper, which is billed as a "100 percent plantable wrapping paper," and can be used to grow vegetables by simply placing the paper into some soil, adding water, and waiting for nature to do its thing.Read More

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