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Far-infrared image of a building at night (Image: Robert Gubbins/Shutterstock)

Harvard Professor of Applied Physics Federico Capasso and his collaborators have invented a nearly perfect optical absorber. By coating a piece of sapphire with an exceedingly thin (180 nm) layer of vanadium dioxide (VO2), a surface is created that absorbs 99.75 percent of infrared light with a wavelength of 11.6 micron wavelength. Such optical absorbers can be tailored to enable a wide range of applications.  Read More

MIT engineers have devised a way to stack neurons to form three-dimensional brain tissue (...

A team of researchers from MIT and Harvard Medical School have devised a cheap way of artificially growing three-dimensional brain tissues in the lab. Built layer by layer, the tissues can take on just about any shape and closely mimic the cellular composition of the tissue found in the living brain. The advance could allow scientists to get a closer look at how neurons form connections, predict how cells of individual patients will respond to different drugs, and even lead to the creation of bioengineered implants to replace damaged brain tissue.  Read More

US researchers have quantified how much longer people live when they are physically active...

The benefits of regular exercise are well known, but what exactly are you getting in return for your efforts? A research a collaboration between the U.S.-based Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the National Cancer Institute has attempted to answer this question by quantifying how much longer people live depending on the levels of exercise they engage in.  Read More

The biocompatible cryogel rapidly regains its original memorized shape, size, and volume u...

Biocompatible scaffolds, like those developed to stimulate the repair of heart tissue and bone and cartilage in the body, would normally need to be implanted surgically. Now bioengineers at Harvard University have developed a compressible bioscaffold that can be delivered via a syringe before popping back to its original shape inside the body. The material is also able to be loaded up with drugs or living cells that are gradually released as the material breaks down.  Read More

Gizmag reveals the winners of the World Technology Summit & Awards 2012 (Photo: Ben Chau)

The World Technology Network summoned leading thinkers to New York's TIME Conference Center on Monday and Tuesday to announce the winners of its 2012 World Technology Summit & Awards. The awards showcase the work of innovators across a diverse array of industry sectors and scientific fields. Gizmag reveals the list of winners, which includes no shortage of familiar faces.  Read More

Harvard researchers are developing a feedback controller that should allow the Robobee to ...

Harvard researchers are getting closer to their goal of developing a controllable micro air vehicle called the Robobee. The tiny robot was already capable of taking off under its own power, but until now it was completely out of control. By adding two control actuators beneath its wings, the robot can be programmed to pitch and roll.  Read More

The hydrogel in its relaxed state (left), and stretched by a factor of 21

Scientists at Harvard University have created a hydrogel that’s tough, biocompatible, self-healing, and can be repeatedly stretched to 21 times its regular length without breaking – all of which are qualities that could make it an ideal replacement for damaged cartilage in humans. Being a hydrogel, it’s composed mostly of water, although it also contains calcium ions, and a mix of two common polymers. While each of those polymers are fairly weak on their own, the results are truly impressive when they’re combined.  Read More

Med Sensation's Glove Tricorder is outfitted with numerous sensors to detect breast cancer...

With the way technology is heading, it's a certainty that we'll have a gadget akin to the medical tricorders in Star Trek in the near future - particularly when similar devices like Jansen's Tricorder and the Scanadu are in development right now. But while a device for automatically diagnosing patients would be undoubtedly useful, some people worry that this could have an adverse effect on doctor-patient relationships. When a doctor only needs a to use a machine to scan a person like an item at the grocery store, it seems like the human element of medicine could be lost. That's part of the reason a group of graduate students created the Glove Tricorder, which equips a doctor's hand with numerous sensors to augment the typical physical exam.  Read More

A microscope image of some of the wired tissue (Image: Boston Children's Hospital)

Under its human skin, James Cameron’s Terminator was a fully-armored cyborg built out of a strong, easy-to-spot hyperalloy combat chassis – but judging from recent developments, it looks like Philip K. Dick and his hard-to-recognize replicants actually got it right. In a collaboration between Harvard, MIT and Boston Children's Hospital, researchers have figured out how to grow three-dimensional samples of artificial tissue that are very intimately embedded within nanometer-scale electronics, to such an extent that it is hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. It could lead to a breakthrough approach to studying biological tissues on the nanoscale, and may one day be used as an efficient, real-time drug delivery system – and perhaps, why not, even to build next-generation androids.  Read More

A new ultrathin, flat lens focuses light without imparting the optical distortions of conv...

The miniaturization of electronics, in particular the electronic sensors on which digital images are captured, has seen digital cameras shrink to such a degree that they are now standard equipment on mobile phones. The main thing holding back further downsizing is the lens through which the light is focused onto said image sensor. A team of applied physicists from Harvard University has now overcome this roadblock by creating a lens that, at just 60 nanometers thick, is effectively two-dimensional. Not only that, the ultrathin lens focuses light without the distortions seen in conventional lenses.  Read More

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