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Northwestern University

Gold nanostars like these are able to deliver drugs directly into the nucleus of cancer ce...

While effective at killing cancer cells, chemotherapy is currently a shotgun approach that can also harm healthy cells and cause serious side effects in patients. The ability to deliver drugs directly into cancer cells would provide a more targeted approach to more effectively treat the disease with lower doses of drugs and less side effects. Researchers at Northwestern University are claiming to be the first to develop gold nanostars that provide a much more precise approach by delivering a drug directly to a cancer cell’s nucleus.  Read More

Smartphone apps are currently being developed to keep people from turning to drugs, or soc...

Some day, perhaps soon, it's possible that your smartphone could stop you from shutting yourself off from the world, or turning to illicit substances to deal with the stresses of life. Two separate studies are currently under way, looking at how smartphone-enabled technologies could be used to monitor peoples' levels of stress or depression, and then take action to keep them from making the wrong choices.  Read More

Squid uses EMG sensors to keep track of the electrical activity of muscles during a workou...

Unless you have a personal fitness instructor following you around with a notepad, keeping track of your progress at the gym can be a real nuisance. Luckily, thanks to a group of students from from Northeastern University in Boston, you can now count on your squid-equipped shirt to do the statistical heavy lifting for you. Squid is essentially a set of electromyography (EMG) sensors attached to a box that pushes your workout data to a smartphone app. This is synchronized with a web-based management panel, to give you a detailed overview of your progress.  Read More

Scientists have created a new type of lithium-ion battery that is said to hold a charge te...

For those of us using smart phones, an all-too-familiar problem is that of a dead battery. The computing power, as well as the multi-purpose abilities of modern-day phones is nothing short of amazing. However, until battery life catches up with the functionality, we're still forced to carry multiple devices. For example, what good is 32GB of memory to store music and movies if it leaves me with a dead phone after an hour or two of my favorite tunes? Even though my phone can easily handle the music and movie abilities of my iPod, I still carry the iPod. I still have a GPS in my car, even though my phone is more than capable. New technology from Northwestern University is aiming to change all that. Engineers there have created an electrode for lithium-ion batteries - the rechargeables commonly found in our devices - that allows them to run ten times longer, while only taking only one-tenth of the time to charge.  Read More

A crumpled graphene ball created by Northwestern University researchers inspired by a tras...

We've written a lot about the potential of using graphene in electronics and materials science, but there are challenges when it comes to producing and utilizing these one-atom-thick sheets of carbon on a large scale. While a lack of an internal structure provides graphene with an abundance of surface area, sheets of the material tend to stick together like a stack of paper, resulting in a reduction in surface area and effectiveness. Now, taking inspiration from a trashcan of crumpled-up papers, Northwestern University researchers have developed a new form of graphene that can't be stacked.  Read More

Using an approach already used to treat autoimmune diseases, researchers have manged to tu...

A few years ago I was rushed to hospital suffering anaphylaxis after eating a satay in peanut sauce. Although I'd previously experienced an itchy throat from eating nuts, I didn't realize at the time that this was an allergic reaction that could actually kill me. Luckily, friends got me to the hospital where I was shot full of adrenalin and everything was fine but, unfortunately, this is not always the result for many allergy sufferers. Now researchers have managed to rapidly turn off the allergic response to peanuts in mice by tricking the immune system into thinking the nut proteins aren't a threat.  Read More

Scientists at Northwestern University have published details of a new method for detection...

Scientists at Northwestern University, Illinois, have outlined a new method for detecting electromagnetic radiation at the high energy end of the spectrum. The work could lead to the development of a small, hand held device able to detect this "hard radiation" and has implications for the detection of radioactive materials which could potentially be employed in terrorist weapons, such as nuclear bombs or radiological dispersion devices, as well as materials employed in clandestine nuclear programs.  Read More

By applying electrical pulses to the new nanomaterial, a sea of small negatively charged i...

By now, we’re all fairly used to electronic devices such as smartphones, which can act as a mobile phone, computer, camera and navigation unit all at once. These devices, while multi-functional, still use different hard-wired electrical circuits for their different functions. Thanks to research being carried out at Chicago’s Northwestern University, however, all those functions may one day be able to utilize the same physical piece of electronic material – the electrical current would simply be “steered” through it differently, depending on what was needed. This means that a single section of the material could act as a resistor, rectifier, diode or transistor, as instructed by a computer.  Read More

The Northwestern filter changes color when full of carbon dioxide, then changes back after...

As concerns continue to rise over man-made carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere, various groups of scientists have begun developing filters that could remove some or all of the CO2 content from smokestack emissions. Many of these sponge-like filters incorporate porous crystals known as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Unfortunately, most MOFs are derived from crude oil, plus some of them contain toxic heavy metals. Researchers from Illinois’ Northwestern University, however, recently announced that their nontoxic MOF sponge – made from sugar, salt and alcohol – is fully capable of capturing and storing CO2. As an added bonus, should you be really hungry, you can eat the thing.  Read More

An ultrathin, electronic patch with the mechanics of skin, applied to the wrist for EMG an...

Wearable electronics generally take the form of clothing embedded with electronics or miniature electronic devices that can be worn close to the body for purposes such as medical monitoring and communications. Now engineers have developed a device that places electronic components onto an ultra-thin skin-like patch that can be mounted directly onto the skin, paving the way for skin-mounted electronics that could be used for sensing, medical diagnostics, communications and human-machine interfaces.  Read More

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