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Microfluidic

Medical

Device for detecting glucose levels in saliva comes a step closer

Two years ago, we first heard about how scientists at Rhode Island's Brown University were developing a biochip for detecting very low concentrations of glucose in saliva. Such a device could make life much easier for diabetics, as it would save them from having to perform fingerprick blood tests. At the time, it was limited to detecting glucose in water. Now, however, it's able to do so within a mixture of water, salts and select enzymes – also known as artificial saliva. Read More

Science

Stamp of approval for new living cell printing technique

Researchers in Houston have developed a cost effective method for printing living cells, claiming almost a 100 percent survival rate. The method, which is akin to a modern version of ancient Chinese wood block printing, allow cells to be printed on any surface and in virtually any two dimensional shape. And while current inkjet printers adapted to print living cells can cost upwards of US$10,000 with a cell survival rate of around 50 percent, this simple new technique could see the cell stamps produced for around $1.Read More

Medical

Implant measures medication levels in bloodstream, in real time

Figuring out how much medication a patient should be taking can be a tricky business. Although things like age and weight are used as guidelines, factors such as the individual person's metabolism can have a marked effect on how effective the drugs are. With that in mind, scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara have developed an implantable device that provides continuous real-time readings on how much medication is currently in a person's bloodstream. Read More

Science

Scientists developing a seawater-desalination chip

Although various alternative technologies are being developed, the large-scale desalination of seawater typically involves forcing it through a membrane that allows the water to pass through, but that traps the salt. These membranes can be costly, they can get fouled, and powerful pumps are required to push the water through. Now, however, scientists from the University of Texas at Austin and Germany’s University of Marburg are taking another approach. They’ve developed a chip that separates salt from water. Read More

Good Thinking

New fabric sucks out sweat and remains completely dry

Unsightly underarm sweat patches could soon be a thing of the past thanks to a new fabric developed at the University of California, Davis. Instead of simply soaking up sweat like conventional fabrics, the new fabric is threaded with tiny channels that pull the sweat from one side to the other where it forms into droplets that drain away.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Spleen-on-a-chip could treat bloodstream infections

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

Electronics

Stretchable electrical wires heal back together after being severed

Last month, we heard about how a team led by North Carolina State University’s Dr. Michael Dickey had created an electrical wire that could be stretched up to eight times its regular length ... and still carry a current. This was possible thanks to a conductive liquid metal alloy of gallium and indium, contained inside the wire’s elastic polymer outer housing. Now, Dickey's team has developed a new wire that not only can be stretched, but that will heal itself when severed. Read More

Medical

Inexpensive card-sized device runs 50 blood tests in seconds

Ordinarily, when medical clinicians are conducting blood tests, it’s a somewhat elaborate affair. A full vial of blood must be drawn, individual portions of which are then loaded into large, expensive machines such as mass spectrometers. The results are usually quite accurate, but they’re not instantaneous, and require the services of trained personnel in a well-equipped lab. That may be about to change, however. Scientists from Houston’s Methodist Hospital Research Institute and MD Anderson Cancer Center have created a credit card-sized gadget, that can instantly check a single drop of blood for up to 50 different substances – and it costs about US$10.Read More

Science

New microscopy technique lets scientists see live viruses in their natural habitat

Traditionally, in order to view tiny biological structures such as viruses, they must first be removed from their natural habitats and frozen. While this certainly keeps them still for the microscope, it greatly limits what we can learn about them – it’s comparable to an ichthyologist only being able to study dead fish in a lab, instead of observing live ones in the ocean. Now, however, researchers at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have devised a technique for observing live viruses in a liquid environment. It could have huge implications for the development of treatments for viral infections.Read More

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