Carbon boasts the ability to exist in different forms and phases, and now researchers have discovered Q-carbon, a distinct new solid phase of carbon with the potential to make converting carbon into diamonds as easy as making toast (if you make toast with a high powered laser beam). It's early days yet, but researchers are already claiming that Q-carbon is magnetic, electro-conductive, glows in the dark, is relatively inexpensive to make and has stolen the crown of "world's hardest substance" from diamond.
Scientists are increasingly turning to nanoparticles in search of new ways to treat cancer. Tiny nanorobots that wade through the bloodstream and microscopic particles that blow up diseased cells are a couple of menacing examples. But none sound quite so ominous as a new technique under development at North Carolina State University (NCSU). Its researchers have designed liquid metal particles they describe as "Nano-Terminators" that latch onto cancer cells to more effectively deliver drugs that kill them off.
Humans communicate primarily in a verbal manner, while dogs rely more on visual cues. While this can make communication between the two species challenging at the best of times, it's particularly difficult when the human is unable to see the dog – as is the case with blind people and their guide dogs. As a result, it may not always be possible for owners to know when their guide dogs are stressed. An experimental new harness, however, may be able to help.
Powered prosthetic legs are a bit like supercars – they're brilliant pieces of engineering, but they need regular expert care to keep them at peak performance. That can be an expensive and time-consuming necessity, so biomedical engineer s at North Carolina (NC) State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are developing an algorithm that automatically tunes artificial limbs while walking.
Norovirus is a nasty bug that brings about inflammation in the stomach and intestines leading to pain, nausea, diarrhea and sometimes even death. It affects around 20 million people per year in the US, but despite its rampant nature, questions remain over how exactly it is transmitted. To shed further light on how one of the world's most common pathogens spreads between humans, scientists have built a vomiting machine to study its behaviour when projected into the air.
If someone is wheezing, it usually means that they have a respiratory problem. Soon, however, a wheeze-analyzing wearable device may allow doctors to know what sort of respiratory problem a patient has – and how serious it is.
Radiation generally comes under the heading of "things you want to stay away from," so it's no surprise that radiation shielding is a high priority in many industries. However, current shielding is bulky and heavy, so a North Carolina State University team is developing a new lightweight shielding based on foam metals that can block X-rays, gamma rays, and neutron radiation, as well as withstanding high-energy impact collisions.
According to the International Diabetes Federation, 387 million people around the world suffer from diabetes, with this number expected to rise to 592 million by 2035. That adds up to a lot of blood sugar checks, diet watching and insulin shots, but researchers in the US have developed a patch that could revolutionize how the disease is managed. The patch contains of more than 100 microneedles, each automatically secreting insulin into the bloodstream when required.
A new conductive, transparent, and stretchable nanomaterial that folds
up like an accordion could one day be applied to the development of
flexible electronics and wearable sensors, as well as stretchable
displays. The researchers at North Carolina State University who created
this "nano-accordion" structure caution that it is early days yet, but
they hope to find ways to improve its conductivity and eventually scale
it up for commercial or industrial use.
In modern airliners, much of the structural paneling used in the cabin and wings has a honeycomb-like structure. Although this helps keep the weight down while maintaining strength, it does a poor job at blocking noise within the aircraft. That's why researchers from North Carolina State University and MIT have developed a membrane that helps the panels to do so.