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Polymer

Microscopes can be expensive pieces of gear, making access difficult – or non-existent – for students and medical staff in isolated and poorer locales. To help address this, researchers at the University of Houston (UH) have fashioned a lens designed to fit on almost any smartphone. It has the ability to magnify images up to 120 times their original size, and at an estimated production cost of just three cents per lens.

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When the Dragon spacecraft is propelled into space atop a Falcon 9 rocket this week on a resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS), it will be carrying an artificial muscle material developed by Lenore Rasmussen and her company RasLabs. In addition to better prosthetic devices, it is hoped the material could find applications in robots on deep space missions. Read More
Scientists have developed a new type of shape-shifting nanoprobe that can perform high-resolution remote biological sensing not possible with current technology. Around one-tenth the size of a single red blood cell, the nanoprobes are designed to provide accurate feedback on internal body conditions by altering their magnetic fields in response to their environment. The researchers predict wide-spread applications for the nanoprobes in the fields of chemistry, biology, engineering and, one day, to aid physicians in high-accuracy clinical diagnostics. Read More
A new approach to 3D printing promises to drastically speed up the 3D manufacturing process by "growing" objects out of a pool of resin rather than printing them layer by layer. Carbon3D announced its Continuous Liquid Interface Production technology (CLIP) on stage at the TED conference this week, claiming it can produce commercial-quality objects from a range of polymer-based material at speeds between 25 and 100 times faster than conventional 3D printing. Read More
With uncontrolled bleeding the major cause of deaths on the battlefield, researchers at the University of Washington have developed an injectable polymer that could stem bleeding and provide extra time to get the injured to medical care. Called PolySTAT, the new polymer stems blood loss by strengthening blood clots. Read More
Scientists have developed targeted, biodegradable nano "drones" to deliver anti-inflammatory drugs that heal and stabilize arterial plaque in mice. Their work could pave the way for more effective prevention of heart attack and stroke in humans caused by atherosclerosis, in which artery walls thicken and suffer reduced plasticity due to an accumulation of white blood cells. Read More
Creating swarms of soft, robotic hands that can safely dissolve within a living body once they've performed surgical procedures or delivered drugs just got a step closer thanks to work done by John Hopkins University scientists. They've created minute biodegradable microgrippers by adding stiff polymers containing magnetic nanoparticles to soft hydrogels, allowing them be magnetically guided to any location in the body. Read More
We've been hearing a lot about the antibacterial qualities of silver, with silver nanoparticles finding use in everything from water filters to food packaging. Unfortunately, there are also concerns about the toxicity of those particles, particularly when they enter our bodies. Now, however, Polish scientists have developed what they claim is a safer alternative – an antibacterial coating that kills microbes using gold. Read More
A team of MIT researchers has developed a new, self-healing hydrogel that doesn’t require surgical implantation, but can be injected using a syringe. The new gel, which can carry two drugs at once, allows for more convenient treatment of numerous conditions. Read More
Whenever foreign objects such as catheters, implants or other devices are placed within the human body, there's a danger that bacterial colonies known as biofilms could collect on them, leading to infections. Now, however, scientists at Harvard University's Wyss Institute have created a material that's too slippery for those biofilms to cling onto. It works by continuously releasing oil. Read More
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