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Max Planck Institute

The results of a years-long study with patients on antidepressants may help doctors predict one of the most severe side effects those medications can produce: treatment-emergent suicidal ideation (TESI). The condition is estimated to affect between four and 14 percent of patients, who typically present symptoms of TESI in the first weeks of treatment or following dosage adjustments. So far doctors haven’t had indicators to predict which patients are more likely to develop TESI, but a new test based on research carried out by the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, Germany, could change that. Read More
In the old days, astronomy was simple – comets had tails and asteroids didn’t. Now, as if to not only disprove such established views, but drive the point home, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope took images in September of an asteroid called P/2013 P5 that has not one, but six comet-like tails. Read More
Given the low costs and extensive applications that could be possible with flexible paper circuit boards, we've seen many ideas for their production, from printing with silver ink to embedding chips within paper. Now, however, scientists have developed an elegant method for selectively changing the very nature of the paper itself into conductive graphite. Unlike polymer-based flexible circuits, these paper circuits are, ironically, able to withstand the high temperatures generally used in the production of electronics. Read More
It there’s one thing that has stood the test of time while being continually confronted by challenger after challenger, it’s the QWERTY keyboard. A quick look at some of the many keyboards we've covered in the past reveals just how competitive this area is, and the number of options has exploded with the advent of the onscreen virtual keyboard. The latest challenger comes from Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Informatics and is aimed at speeding up thumb-centric typing on mobile touchscreen devices. Read More
Actors may soon say good-bye to those humbling Lycra body suits commonly used in the visual effects industry, thanks to a group of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Informatics (MPII). They've formed a start-up called The Captury that is set to deliver its proprietary markerless motion capture software later this year. Their software can even capture a costume's surface detail in three dimensions, like the draping folds in a ballroom dress. Read More
Chances are that if you were heading into battle, you wouldn’t wish that you were covered in sponges. It turns out that the sea sponge, however, has a unique structure that allows it to be flexible while remaining relatively impervious to predators. Scientists have now simulated this structure, in a lab-created material that may someday find use in body armor. Read More
In a development sure to send conspiracy theorists into a tizzy, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics (MPII) have developed video inpainting software that can effectively delete people or objects from high-definition footage. The software analyzes each video frame and calculates what pixels should replace a moving area that has been marked for removal. In a world first, the software can compensate for multiple people overlapped by the unwanted element, even if they are walking towards (or away from) the camera. See the incredible video demonstration after the break. Read More
According to just about every consumer electronics manufacturer on the planet, 3D TV is on its way to becoming mainstream – perhaps ultimately even ending up as the norm. That’s not good news for people who experience headaches or motion sickness when watching 3D video, or who simply don’t want to put on a pair of glasses every time they watch TV. Help may be on the way, however ... researchers have now devised a system known as “Backward-compatible Stereo 3D.” It allows some people to put on glasses and watch 3D video in its intended three-dimensional format, while others can watch that same video at the same time, in distortion-free 2D. Read More
One of the more promising developments in the field of medical technology involves the use of microspheres for targeted drug delivery. In a nutshell, this encompasses creating tiny hollow balls that are filled with a specific drug, which travel directly to a specific organ or area of diseased tissue. Once there, the spheres release their medication, keeping it concentrated where it’s needed while sparing other tissue from any harmful side effects. Recently, a team of scientists from Germany’s Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces devised a new method of manufacturing such microspheres, which is said to offer several advantages over existing techniques. Read More
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster, Germany, have broken new ground by reprogramming skin cells from mice into neurons without regressing the cells through a pluripotent stage. The skin cells were reprogrammed directly into multipotent neuronal stem cells - that is, into cells which could only turn into new neurons. This procedure avoids the significant risk that pluripotent stem cells, which can grow into any type of tissue, may accidentally form tumors rather than the desired replacement tissue. Read More