Scientists put window in fruit fly skull to watch its brain

How do you see what's going on in a fruit fly's mind? Why you build a window to its brain, of course. While that might sound like a bad joke, it's exactly what scientists at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) have just done. Their goal was to understand exactly what happens in the tiny creature's brain as it goes about courting a mate, unencumbered by wires or other attachments usually used to monitor its neural activity. The system they created is called "Flyception" and is amazingly complex and precise.Read More


Mouthy sea urchin inspires engineers to take a bite out of other planets

The sea urchin may be a restaurant delicacy, but it's also well equipped to satisfy its own appetite. The spiny invertebrate has a rock-crushing mouth so powerful that a herd of them can destroy a kelp forest or devastate a coral reef. Now its dinner manglers have inspired a team of engineers and marine biologists at the University of California, San Diego, to create a claw-like manipulator for robotic rovers tasked with collecting soil samples on other planets.Read More


Oscillating electric field used to remove nanoparticles from blood

Nanoparticles as a vehicle for delivering drugs precisely where they are needed promise to be a major revolution in medical science. Unfortunately, retrieving those particles from the body for detailed study is a long and involved process. But that may soon change with a team of engineers at the University of California, San Diego developing a technique that uses an oscillating electric field to separate nanoparticles from blood plasma in a way that may one day make it a routine procedure.
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Aptly-named DucTT robot crawls through ducts – and could one day clean them

Despite what various spy movies may have us believe, sending people into buildings' ductwork isn't a good idea. That said, those ducts do need to be cleaned periodically, otherwise the human inhabitants of the buildings can develop serious respiratory problems. Robots have been designed to do the job, although they've generally been wheeled or tracked devices that can only move horizontally. Now, however, scientists at UC San Diego's Jacob's School of Engineering have created DucTT – a highly-efficient robot that can climb up ducts, and run for up to six hours on one charge of its battery pack.Read More


Mouth guard could continuously monitor diabetes, and more

We've already heard about an electronics-packing mouthguard that can be used to detect serious impacts to the head. Now, scientists at the University of California, San Diego have developed one that could provide continuous readings of users' health markers including lactate, cortisol and uric acid. It may be used to monitor the well-being of people such as diabetics, to track the performance of athletes, or to detect stress in soldiers.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Software objectively assesses children's pain levels

It's important to know how much pain young hospital patients are experiencing, and not just because no one wants them to suffer – additionally, excessive pain can indicate problems that need addressing. That's why scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have developed facial pattern recognition software that objectively assesses children's pain levels based on consistent indicators.Read More


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