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Polymer

When procuring tissue samples for medical diagnosis, doctors have been confined to bulky and invasive forceps. But with recent successful experiments in pigs, we may see doctors switching from the single forceps to hordes of a thousand "microgrippers." These metal discs, each only 300 micrometers in size, are designed to snip bits of tissue when introduced en masse into the body and then be easily retrieved by a doctor. Their small size, added to the fact that they need no batteries, tethers or wires, belies their complexity and autonomy in function, which could allow the microgrippers to provide diagnoses earlier, more easily, and with less trauma. Read More
First introduced as a concept at the 1995 Frankfurt Auto Show, Audi’s mighty, yet compact TT sport-coupe has changed little since its inception. But with its war-on-weight campaign, Audi decided the already lightweight TT could use a trim. So off to the fat farm went the Ultra Quattro Concept, and when all was said and done, a 300 kg (661 lb) lighter vehicle remained. Read More
Whether sulfur is a by-product or a waste product of oil refinement and coal combustion depends on how you slice it. Certainly, some of that sulfur can be put to use producing sulfuric acid, fertilizer and other chemicals, but much of it is accumulating into stockpiles that are expensive to maintain (due to the need to neutralize acidic run-off). Researchers at the University of Arizona think more of that sulfur could be put to use thanks to a new chemical process that uses sulfur to make plastics that may one day be used to make a new generation of lighter, more efficient lithium-sulfur batteries. Read More
Whatever you personally think of flat pack furniture, it appeals to many people. Thanks to a combination of availability and affordability, it's become insanely popular for those who don't want to spend a fortune on unique pieces for their home. It's these unique pieces we tend to cover here at Gizmag, and the Stratflex Collection from Wintec Innovation offers a form of flat pack furniture that is anything but banal. Read More
Danish company Danfoss PolyPower A/S has designed a new wearable sports sensor that has the potential to measure everything from stance to force. The sensor could prove a veritable technology on its own, but PolyPower technology is also being explored as a means of actuation and energy harvesting. Read More
A research team from the Johannes Kepler University Linz in Austria has developed an image capturing device using a single sheet of polymer that is flat, flexible and transparent. The researchers say the new image sensor could eventually find its way into devices like digital cameras and medical scanners, and that it may help to usher in a new generation of gesture-controlled smartphones, tablets and TVs. Read More
Because they’re known for being effective killers of bacteria, silver nanoparticles have been finding their way into a wide variety of antimicrobial materials. There are concerns, however, regarding the consequences of those nanoparticles being shed by the material and entering the environment. In particular, there are worries that through continuous low-level exposure to the nanoparticles, bacteria could develop a resistance to them. Now, researchers from Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology have announced the development of a new type of antibacterial material, that they claim won’t cause such problems. Read More
Engineers at Duke University have developed a polymer that keeps ships’ bottoms clean by twitching like living skin. The paint-like material combats hull fouling by preventing marine organisms from collecting on hulls by physically moving on the microscopic level and thus dislodging bacteria from the surface without toxic chemicals. Read More
Taking a two-month-old in for vaccination shots and watching them get stuck with six needles in rapid succession can be painful for child and parent alike. If the work of an MIT team of researchers pans out, those needles may be thing of the past thanks to a new dissolvable polymer film that allows the vaccination needle to be replaced with a patch. This development will not only make vaccinations less harrowing, but also allow for developing and delivering vaccines for diseases too dangerous for conventional techniques. Read More
Despite its numerous wondrous properties, a propensity to stick together and be difficult to flatten out once crumpled can make working with graphene difficult and limit its applications. Engineers at Duke University have now found that by attaching graphene to a stretchy polymer film, they are able to crumple and then unfold the material, resulting in a properties that lend it to a broader range of applications, including artificial muscles. Read More
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