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Scientists have created a tiny artificial muscle, that could be used in motors to propel n...

We've been hearing a lot lately about the possibility of treating medical conditions using nanobots - tiny robots that would be injected into a patient's bloodstream, where they would proceed to travel to their targets, not unlike the microscopic submarine in the movie Fantastic Voyage ... except nanobots wouldn't be crewed by tiny shrunken-down humans. One challenge that still needs to be met, however, is figuring out a way of propelling the devices. Well, we may now be closer to a solution. Yesterday, development of a new type of nanoscale artificial muscle was announced, which works like the muscles in an elephant's trunk. These could conceivably be used in nanobots, to whip them along using a rotating flagellum - a tiny sperm-like tail, in other words.  Read More

A new 'invisibility cloak' utilizes the same effect that causes mirages to appear (Image: ...

You have no doubt seen mirages on the distant surfaces of hot highways before, looking like pools of water shimmering on the asphalt. Such illusions are caused by hot air above the road, which refracts light waves coming down into it from the cooler air above – in other words, the supposed “water” is actually the sky, its image being bent toward you by the low-lying hot air. Well, scientists at the University of Texas at Dallas have put the same principle to work in the lab, and created an invisibility cloak that can be easily switched on and off.  Read More

Researchers simulate schizophrenia in a computer (Image: Yellowcon)

One of the theories regarding the cause of schizophrenia suggests that, due to an excessive release of dopamine, the brain remembers too many irrelevant things. Schizophrenics are then overwhelmed by the vast amounts of facts, thoughts and memories all crammed together in their heads, and start processing them into conclusions that aren't based in reality. It's called the hyperlearning hypothesis, and researchers at the University of Texas in Austin recently tried to see if they could simulate it – in a computer.  Read More

Using commonly-available materials, scientists have created a biosensor that detects acute...

In this age of laser-etched microfluidic lab-on-a-chip devices that analyze samples of bodily fluids on the spot, it's kind of ... fun, perhaps, to hear about a similar device that could conceivably be assembled by a grade school student, using their allowance money. The matchbox-sized sensor, developed by scientists from The University of Texas at Austin, is designed to detect acute pancreatitis using blood samples. Important as its purpose may be, though, the materials used to build the device include things like household aluminum foil, milk, a 12-cent LED bulb, and JELL-O.  Read More

Same-sex couples may soon be able to have their own genetic children (Image: See-ming Lee ...

In what could be the first step towards same-sex couples having their own genetic children, reproductive scientists have produced male and female mice from two fathers using stem cell technology. The achievement of two-father offspring in a species of mammal could also be a step toward preserving endangered species, improving livestock breeds, and advancing human assisted reproductive technology (ART).  Read More

One of the sound-generating carbon nanotube sheets

Two years ago, Chinese scientists coated one side of a flag with a thin sheet of nanotubes, then played a song using the flapping sheet-coated flag as a speaker. It was a demonstration of flexible speaker technology, in which nanotubes can be made to generate sound waves via a thermoacoustic effect – every time an electrical pulse is sent through the microscopic layer of nanotubes, it causes the air around them to heat up, which in turn creates a sound wave. Now, an American scientist has taken that technology underwater, where he claims it could allow submariners to detect other submarines, and to remain hidden themselves.  Read More

Raizan and team used optical tweezers to suspend the bead and observe Brownian motion for ...

Einstein said it couldn't be done. But more than one hundred years later physicists at the University of Texas at Austin have finally found a way to witness “Brownian motion”; the instantaneous velocity of tiny particles as they vibrate. The “equipartition theorem” states that a particle's kinetic energy, that due to motion, is determined only by its temperature and not its size or mass, and in 1907 Einstein proposed a test to observe the velocity of Brownian motion but gave up, saying the experiment would never be possible – not so.  Read More

Cancer cells detected using $400 digital camera - In healthy tissue (left), the nuclei are...

Researchers have detected oral cancer cells using a fiber-optic cable and an off-the-shelf Olympus E-330 camera worth $400. The work by Rice University biomedical engineers and researchers from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center could improve access to diagnostic imaging tools in many parts of the world where these expensive resources are scarce.  Read More

Chemical engineering Professor Brian Korgel tests one of his printed solar cells

Cheaper solar cells – roughly one-tenth the cost of current day prices – could be available within three to five years thanks to a manufacturing procedure that uses nanoparticle ‘inks’ to print them like newspaper or to spray-paint them onto the sides of buildings or rooftops. Even windows could become solar cells thanks to the semi-transparent inks. 'Painting' solar cells on buildings has been an idea in the making for some time – Gizmag investigated the possibilities of 'solar paint' in 2008.  Read More

Atomic structure of the 2-atom thick lead superconductor, as seen through a scanning micro...

Scientists at the University of Texas have developed a superconducting sheet of lead only two atoms thick, a remarkably pliable nanomaterial that could help lead to new breakthroughs in electricity generation and computer processing speeds.  Read More

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