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— Health and Wellbeing

Cochlear implants may be losing their awkward external hardware

By - February 10, 2014
Thanks to the development of cochlear implants, many people who would otherwise be quite deaf are able to regain a limited sense of hearing. Unfortunately, the implants also incorporate external components that can get in the user's way, and that look ... well, that look like the user has something hooked up to their ear. Now, however, researchers at MIT, Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary have developed a chip that could lead to cochlear implants that are entirely implanted. Read More
— Science

New stem cell production technique comes as a shock

By - February 3, 2014 2 Pictures
An international research effort has found that mature animal cells can be shocked into an embryonic state simply by soaking them in acid or putting them under physical stress. The fortuitous breakthrough could prove to be massive for many fields of medical research if the method can be replicated using human cells, something researchers are confident will be possible. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Soft pneumatic exoskeleton could be perfect for use in rehab

By - January 21, 2014
We've recently been hearing a lot about how exoskeletons can be used in rehabilitation, guiding patients' disabled limbs through a normal range of motion in order to develop muscle memory. The problem is, most exoskeletons are rigid, limiting their degrees of freedom to less than those of the body part they're moving. A team of scientists are looking at changing that, with a partial "soft exoskeleton" that replicates the body's own muscles, tendons and ligaments. Read More
— Science

Organic flow battery could transform renewable energy storage

By - January 14, 2014 2 Pictures
Researchers at Harvard have developed an inexpensive, high capacity, organic battery that uses carbon-based materials as electrolytes rather than metals. The researchers say the technology stands to be a game-changer in renewable energy storage by solving the intermittent generation problems faced by renewable sources, such as wind and solar. The battery offers large volume electricity storage not possible with solid-state batteries and at a fraction of the cost of existing flow battery technology. Read More
— Science

Cause of aging reversed in mice: Human trials may start next year

By - December 22, 2013
With the wide-ranging benefits of reducing disease and enabling a longer, healthier life, reversing the causes of aging is a major focus of much medical research. A joint project between the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia and Harvard Medical School that restored communication within animal cells has the potential to do just that, and maybe more. With the researchers hoping to begin human clinical trials in 2014, some major medical breakthroughs could be just around the corner. Read More
— Science

New photonic molecules are not unlike lightsabers

By - November 26, 2013 2 Pictures
Scientists from Harvard and MIT have jointly demonstrated that, in specific conditions, photons can be made to interact with each other and form molecules. Such groupings of photons, dubbed “Photonic molecules”, constitute an entirely new form of matter, which until recently was purely theoretical. Combining the properties of light and those of solids, in terms of physics this new form of matter is not unlike a certain material that millions of Star Wars fans are already well familiar with. Lightsaber material. Read More
— Science

Harvard scientists develop a transistor that learns

By - November 7, 2013 3 Pictures
In a development that may enable a wholly new approach to artificial intelligence, researchers at Harvard University's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have invented a type of transistor that can learn in ways similar to a neural synapse. Called a synaptic transistor, the new device self-optimizes its properties for the functions it has carried out in the past. Read More
— Science

Researchers build an audio speaker out of stretchy transparent gel

By - October 8, 2013 2 Pictures
Audio speakers are showing up in a variety of unusual forms these days, from the incredibly tiny to the eye-catchingly bizarre, but a research group at Harvard University may have trumped them all with a new one that's as clear as glass. Scientists at the college's Engineering and Applied Sciences branch recently built a flexible speaker out of ionic gel that is almost invisible to the naked eye and can produce high-quality sound ranging across the full audible spectrum. In doing so, they also provided a proof of concept for electronics that can transfer electric signals in a similar manner to the human nervous system. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

One more use for the iPhone – eye exams

By - October 1, 2013
Given that iPhones can already be used to perform skin exams, perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise that they're now able to do eye exams, too. Researchers from Harvard Medical School's Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary have devised a way of using the phones to perform fundus photography, which is the photographing of the retina. While the iPhone just requires an app and a lens to perform the task, a complete fundus camera can cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Read More
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