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Harvard


— Medical

Airway muscle-on-a-chip to aid in search for new asthma treatments

By - September 24, 2014 3 Pictures
Unfortunately for asthma sufferers and those looking to develop new treatments to help them, animal models traditionally used to test potential new drugs don't always mimic human responses. Joining lungs and guts, scientists at Harvard's Wyss Institute have now developed a human airway muscle-on-a-chip that could help in the search for new treatments for asthma. The device accurately mimics the way smooth muscle contracts in the human airway, both under normal circumstances and when exposed to asthma triggers. Read More
— Robotics

Soft robotics "toolkit" features everything a robot-maker needs

By - September 24, 2014 1 Picture
Harvard University labs, working in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin, are offering a comprehensive online toolkit to help in the design, creation, and control of soft robots made from flexible materials. Aimed at skilled and novice researchers alike, the Soft Robotics Toolkit provides a veritable cornucopia of downloadable, open-source plans, step-by-step tutorial videos, and real world studies for users to apply to their own soft robot project. Read More
— Medical

Handheld device offers high-tech medical testing for developing countries

By - August 16, 2014 1 Picture
A device that transmits the results of many forms of electrochemical analysis directly to a computer anywhere in the world using a standard mobile phone has been developed by Harvard researchers working at Flowers University. Created as an inexpensive detector for use in the world’s most impoverished areas where medical testing equipment is scarce and costly, the handheld device can be used to monitor diabetes, detect malaria, and analyze drinking water for environmental pollutants – all in the one compact unit. Read More
— Robotics

Over 1,000 robots swarm together in Harvard lab

By - August 15, 2014 3 Pictures
Ants, schooling fish and flocking birds all have something in common – they can achieve things by working together that they could never do on their own. With that in mind, researchers are now looking into ways of allowing "swarms" of communicating robots to accomplish tasks that are difficult or even impossible for single robots. Harvard University recently performed an unprecedented demonstration of that behavior, in which a batch of over 1,000 tiny Kilobots arranged themselves into a variety of pre-assigned two-dimensional shapes. Read More
— Medical

Organs-on-Chips emulate human organs, could replace animals in tests

By - August 13, 2014 1 Picture
The search for more efficient tests of pharmaceuticals without animal models is taking a stride forward, with a new technology being developed in the US called Organs-on-Chips. The new miniature platform and software, which mimic the mechanical and molecular characteristics of human organs, were developed by bioengineers from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Read More
— Space

New study highlights the importance of understanding sleep deprivation in astronauts

By - August 12, 2014 2 Pictures
The recently-released results of a study carried out by researchers from the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, and the University of Colorado have revealed the extent of the sleep deprivation suffered by astronauts over the course of a long-term mission in Earth-orbit. This study and others like it are the result of an increasing effort undertaken by agencies around the world to study the physiological and psychological impacts of a permanent human presence in space. Read More
— Robotics

Origami-style transformer self-assembles before scuttling away

By - August 10, 2014 4 Pictures
An origami-inspired robot that self-assembles and then scuttles away under its own power has been revealed by researchers from Harvard University and MIT. Still in the experimental stage, the prototype is able to transform itself from a flat structure into a moving, functional machine in around four minutes before scrambling away under its own power at a speed of about 2 in (5 cm) per second. Read More
— Science

Detecting industrial pollution could be an effective approach to finding ET

By - July 31, 2014 1 Picture
According to researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), we might soon be able to detect hints of technologically advanced alien civilizations by measuring high levels of polluting gases in the atmospheres of distant exoplanets. The approach should become viable soon after the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is launched in late 2018. Read More
— Science

Artist creates a living copy of Vincent Van Gogh's ear with relative's DNA

By - July 11, 2014 2 Pictures
If you thought cloning mice, frogs and extinct mammoths to be challenging, how about cloning Vincent Van Gogh's ear? Dutch artist Diemut Strebe has grown a living replica of the ear that Vincent Van Gogh reportedly sliced off in a troubled episode, using genetic material from one of Van Gogh's direct descendants. With a lifespan of 80 years or more, the ear could live as long as any one of us, says Strebe, who is investigating the idea of replicating people from historical DNA. Read More
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