Nanorobots hold great potential in the field of medicine. This is
largely due to the possibility of highly-targeted delivery of medical
payloads, an outcome that could lessen side effects and negate the need
for invasive procedures. But how these microscopic particles can best
navigate the body's fluids is a huge area of focus for scientists.
Researchers are now reporting a new technique whereby nanorobots are
made to swim swiftly through the fluids like blood to reach their
The destruction of the pancreatic cells that leads to type 1 diabetes arises when the body's own immune cells identify them as foreign targets and begin to attack them. But a new technique using tiny particles to mimic the form and function of the pancreatic cells is showing promise in halting the onset of the condition.
Researchers from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee have created the world's smallest continuous spirals. Made from gold, the spirals exhibit a set of very specific optical properties that would be difficult to fake, making them ideal for use in identity cards or other items where authenticity is paramount.
Back in 2013, we heard that nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diago (UC San Diego) had successfully used nanosponges to soak up toxins
in the bloodstream. Fast-forward two years and the team is back with
more nanospongey goodness, now using hydrogel to keep the tiny fellas in
place, allowing them to tackle infections such as MRSA, without the need for antibiotics.
Researchers at Purdue University have shown how standard inkjet-printers can be employed to produce flexible electronic circuits from liquid-metal nanoparticle inks. This simple printing solution promises faster, cheaper, and easier production of stretchable, bendable electronics for clothing, soft robotics, and wearable devices.
An experimental nanoparticle therapy cuts in half the time wounds take to heal compared to natural healing. The therapy has already been tested successfully in mice and will soon be tried on pigs, whose skin is similar to that of humans. If it reaches clinical use in humans, this sort of nanoparticle therapy could be used to speed healing of surgical incisions, chronic skin ulcers, and everyday cuts and burns and other wounds.
Because of its sweet flavor and aroma, thousands of wild animals, pets and children are poisoned by drinking automotive antifreeze/coolant every year. Its particularly nasty ingredient is ethylene glycol, which affects the central nervous system, heart and kidneys to the point that it can ultimately prove lethal. Now, however, scientists from Colorado-based ACTA Technology, Inc. have replaced the ethylene glycol with another compound that's not only safe, but that also improves the performance of the antifreeze.
The blood-brain barrier is a highly selective semipermeable barrier running inside almost all vessels in the brain that lets through water, some gases and a few other select molecules, while preventing potentially toxic elements in the blood from entering the brain. Researchers from the University of Montreal, Polytechnique Montréal, and CHU Sainte-Justine say that currently 98 percent of therapeutic molecules are also blocked by the barrier, but they have developed a technique using magnetic nanoparticles that opens the door for such molecules, thereby also opening the door to new treatments for brain diseases.
Mining operations tend not be very good for the environment, nor does the disposal of treated solid waste that still contains potentially-toxic metals. Now, however, scientists are looking into taking that waste and harvesting its trace amounts of metals such as gold, silver and platinum. Doing so could ultimately reduce the need for mining and decrease the amount of metals entering the environment, while also turning sewage into a source of revenue.
When a new lab was recently being set up at Purdue University in Indiana, a lot of the equipment arrived in boxes full of protective packing "peanuts." Unfortunately, few facilities exist for recycling the little pieces of foam, so they typically end up sitting in (or getting blown around) landfills for several decades. A team of Purdue researchers, however, discovered that they could find use in better-performing lithium-ion batteries.