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Tufts University

Biology

Altering the physiological circuits of flatworms makes them grow the heads of other species

A new research project at Tufts University in Massachusetts has seen biologists successfully induce flatworms of a specific species to grow the head and brain you'd expect to find on another species. Not only does the breakthrough add to our understanding of exactly what governs the growth of anatomy, but the knowledge gained may also have practical uses down the line, helping us better understand and even fix birth defects.Read More

Medical

Electronic implants treat staph infections, and then dissolve

Imagine if there were a remote-control electronic device that could be implanted at an infection site, where it would treat the infection by heating or medicating the affected tissue. While it might be very effective, subsequent infections could result if surgeons went in to remove it, or even if they just left it in place. That's why scientists from Tufts University and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana have developed infection-treating implants that simply dissolve into the body once they've served their purpose. Read More

Drones

Autonomous drones could be used to inspect bridges

When bridges are inspected for cracks and other defects that could lead to their collapse, engineers must either hang beneath those bridges on lines, or view them from elevated platforms. Whichever approach is used, a lot of setup is involved, and defects may get missed. In the future, however, unmanned aircraft may be able to more quickly and thoroughly check out bridges, working with wireless sensors built into the structures. Read More

Science

Creation of functional 3D brain-like tissue could aid in study of the brain

One approach to studying the brain rather than working on the whole thing at once is to examine small bits of it. With that in mind, researchers at the Tissue Engineering Resource Center at Tufts University, Boston have developed a three-dimensional brain-like tissue that is structurally similar to living rat brain tissue, functions enough like it for experimental purposes, and one that scientists have been able to keep alive for up to two months.Read More

Robotics

Scientists try to teach robots morality

A group of researchers from Tufts University, Brown University and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are collaborating with the US Navy in a multi-year effort to explore how they might create robots endowed with their own sense of morality. If they are successful, they will create an artificial intelligence able to autonomously assess a difficult situation and then make complex ethical decisions that can override the rigid instructions it was given.Read More

Medical

Broken bones could be healed with silk

Silk is an amazingly strong material, yet it also harmlessly biodegrades when left in the body. This has led to its use in experimental brain implants, heart patches, and even bio-electronics. According to a new study conducted by scientists at Tufts University School of Engineering and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, it may now also find use in the production of better plates and screws used for securing broken bones. Read More

Around The Home

Uji shower head gives water savings a green light

There are few things that most of us like better than a long, hot shower, but they sure use up a lot of water and power. That’s why Tufts University grads Brett Andler, Sam Woolf and Tyler Wilson have created the Uji illuminated shower head. It gradually changes from green to red while in use, letting users know when it’s time to get out.Read More

Medical

New collagen scaffolding technique to benefit tissue engineering

Collagen is the main component of connective tissues and the most abundant protein in the human body. Biocompatible and biodegradable, it is an excellent material for making scaffolding for tissue engineering. The trouble is, conventional techniques disrupt the fibrous structure of collagen and weaken the end product. Tufts University researchers are aiming to change this with a new technique for fabricating collagen structures that avoids disruption and retains collagen’s strength.Read More

Electronics

"Transient electronics" dissolve once they're not needed

We’ve certainly been hearing a lot lately about tiny electronic devices that can do things such as delivering medication after being implanted in the body, measuring structural stress upon being attached to a bridge, or monitoring pollution after being placed in the environment. In all of these cases, the device has to be retrieved once it’s served its purpose, or just left in place indefinitely. Now, however, an interdisciplinary team of researchers have demonstrated “transient electronics,” which dissolve into nothing after a pre-determined amount of time.Read More

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