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The intestinal worm Pomphorhynchus laevis has provided the inspiration for a new system of...

You’ve gotta love those Pomphorhynchus laevis worms. Although the parasites may feed on fish by attaching themselves to the inside of the host animal’s intestines, they’ve also provided the inspiration for a new system of keeping skin grafts secured over wound sites.  Read More

Scientists have created a material that can be continuously tweaked between hydrophobic an...

Last year, a group of Harvard University scientists led by Dr. Joanna Aizenberg announced the development of a highly-hydrophobic (water-repellant) material known as SLIPS, or Slippery Liquid Porous Surfaces. The material is remarkable, in that it repels virtually any liquid. Now, Aizenberg and colleagues have created a new material inspired by human tears, the repellency of which can be fine-tuned for different applications.  Read More

Harvard's spleen-on-a-chip blood filtration device

The spleen’s job is to filter our blood. When people are critically ill or have received traumatic injuries, however, the spleen alone is sometimes not able to remove enough of the pathogens on its own – potentially-fatal sepsis is the result. In order to help avert such an outcome in those situations, scientists from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University are developing a device known as the spleen-on-a-chip.  Read More

Harvard's soft-bodied robot jumps up to 30 times its own height using internal gas explosi...

Most robots are built out of rigid materials, but a DARPA initiative to build soft-bodied robots that can squeeze into hard-to-reach places has led to the development of new types of the mechanical marvels. Harvard's Whitesides Research Group is working on a soft-bodied solution and has produced a squishy three-legged bot that can jump 30 times its height using the power of internal explosions.  Read More

The Bastard Hogberry was one of the inspirations for the color-changing fibers

Materials scientists at Harvard University and the University of Exeter have invented a new class of polymer fibers that change color when stretched. As is often seen in nature, the color is not the result of pigments, but rather comes from the interference of light within the multilayered fiber. Inspired by Margaritaria nobilis – also known as the Bastard Hogberry – the new fibers may lead to new forms of sensors, and possibly to smart fabrics whose color changes as the fabric is stretched, squeezed, or heated.  Read More

Blue light has been used to kill potentially-lethal Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria (pictu...

Over the past few years, blue light has allowed us to understand heart problems, control brain functions, and activate muscle tissue. Now, another biomedical function can be added to its list – because it’s known to have antimicrobial qualities, it’s been used to stop infections of the skin and soft tissues.  Read More

One hundred Kilobots move towards a light source

Robots by the dozen are prohibitively expensive, so actually testing how large swarms would work together is often limited to computer simulations. That's where Harvard's Kilobots are beginning to bear fruit – at a cost of US$14 each in batches of a thousand, they're a tenth the cost of their cheapest competitor. At such bargain-basement prices, Michael Rubenstein, Christian Ahler, and Radhika Nagpal at the Self-Organizing Systems Research Group have begun to build their own little robot army.  Read More

The swallowable capsule, and its tether

Barrett’s esophagus is a precancerous condition typically caused by chronic exposure to stomach acid, and is usually diagnosed by inserting an endoscope down the patient’s throat. A tool has been developed, however, that should allow for a quicker, easier way of getting a good look at such peoples’ esophagus – it’s a swallowable capsule that contains a spinning laser.  Read More

Researchers have regenerated auditory hair cells in adult mammals for the first time (Imag...

There is new hope for those of us who have overindulged in loud bands and dread the prospect of old age spent with an ear trumpet clamped to the sides of our heads. Researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Harvard Medical School have been able to stimulate resident auditory hair cells to become new ones, resulting in partial hearing recovery in mice whose hearing has been damaged by noise trauma.  Read More

The D-Wave One quantum computing system (Photo: D-Wave)

Many were skeptical when, back in 2007, Canadian company D-Wave announced that it had built the world's first commercially viable quantum computer. Now a study published in the August issue of Nature's Scientific Reports co-authored by D-Wave and Harvard researchers proves the D-Wave One is the real deal.  Read More

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