more top stories »


— Electronics

"Neurogrid" circuit modeled on the human brain is the fastest, most energy efficient of its kind

A group of engineers at Stanford have developed an iPad-sized, highly power-efficient way of simulating a million neurons and billions of synapses for as low as US$400. The advancement could both help our understanding of the brain and help develop a new generation of bionic limbs that are controlled by the patient's brain in real time with no effort at all. Read More
— Pets

Implant to protect police dogs from overheating

Police dogs serve many purposes for law enforcement agencies. Often times they are used for their superior sense of smell, and they are also used to apprehend suspects. As such, these animals face many risks. One, though, is not necessarily the first that comes to mind, and that is being left to overheat in police cruisers. A company called Blueforce Development aims to fix this problem with a sensor that alerts police when a K-9's temperature reaches dangerous levels, thus saving the dog's life. Read More
— Medical

Tiny bladder pressure sensor could provide life-saving information

When people have nerve problems such as those caused by spinal injuries, they can lose the ability to feel when their bladder is full. This means that they don't know when it needs to be emptied, resulting in a build-up of pressure that can damage both the bladder and their kidneys. Now, a tiny sensor may offer a better way of assessing their condition, to see if surgery is required or if medication will suffice. Read More
— Medical

Fake muscles put new twist on artificial hearts

When you think of a beating heart, you probably just picture it flexing in and out, sort of like a rubber ball being squeezed by an invisible hand. In fact, though, its motion is more similar to that of a dish rag being wrung out, with the top of the organ twisting in a clockwise direction while the bottom contracts counterclockwise. It's known as the left ventricular twist, and scientists have now replicated it using artificial muscles. The research could lead to better-functioning cardiac implants, among other things. Read More
— Medical

Bionic pancreas could be life-changing for diabetics

For people living with type 1 diabetes, a constant process of monitoring and adjusting blood sugar levels is required. A change may be on the horizon, though. A bionic pancreas trialled among 30 adults has been very well-received by the participants, and has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for three transitional outpatient studies over the next 18 months. Read More
— Science

Tiny fish-tracking "jellyroll" batteries should help protect salmon

In order to better understand and protect wild stocks of salmon, it's necessary to track their whereabouts using implanted acoustic tags. Needless to say, the longer that those tags are able to transmit a signal, the greater the amount of data that can be gathered. Scientists at Washington state's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) are helping make that happen, by developing batteries that have both a smaller size and higher energy density than conventional fish tag batteries. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Cochlear implants may be losing their awkward external hardware

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
— 3D Printing

3D-printed hip implant lets teenager walk again

Much of the fanfare surrounding 3D printing has centered on its enabling consumers to create objects themselves, potentially circumventing traditional production models. Alongside NBA figurines and 3D printed pizza, however, the technology continues to provide valuable solutions in the field of medicine. Mobelife, a Belgium-based implant design company, has 3D printed a custom hip implant and given a once wheelchair-consigned teenager the ability to walk on her own. Read More