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University of British Columbia

— Medical

Enzyme could make any type of donated blood safe for anyone to receive

By - May 1, 2015 1 Picture
When it comes to donated blood, type O is special. It can be given to anyone, regardless of their blood type. By contrast, type A can only go to A or AB patients, and B can only go to B or AB patients. Additionally, type O patients can only receive O. Thanks to new research, however, it may soon be possible to give anyone whatever type of blood happens to be available, with no ill effects. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Scientists developing drug that could prevent sun-related aging of skin

By - December 18, 2014 1 Picture
Excessive exposure to sunlight is the leading cause of skin deterioration, causing it to age prematurely. We need some exposure, however, in order to synthesize vitamin D – plus who wants to stay in the shade all the time? Using a good sunscreen definitely helps, although scientists from the University of British Columbia are taking things a step farther – they're developing a drug that could ultimately prevent the sunlight-related aging of skin. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Researchers develop new B12 testing kit

By - November 4, 2014 2 Pictures
Vitamin B12 is vital to keep a nervous system healthy. Since it is found mainly in meat and dairy, it is common for people to associate B12 deficiency with vegans, who are aware of this issue (in Germany there's even a B12-enriched toothpaste) and often take measures to supplement. In fact, it is the general population of developing countries who are more likely to lack B12, and it is primarily for them that a team of Canadian researchers has developed a simple, cheap B12 test kit. Read More
— Science

Powerful artificial muscles made from ... fishing line?

By - February 24, 2014 2 Pictures
Artificial muscles could find use in a wide range of applications, including prosthetic limbs, robotics, exoskeletons, or pretty much any situation in which hydraulics or electric motors just aren't a practical means of moving objects. Scientists have been working on such muscles for a number of years, using materials like vanadium dioxide, graphene, carbon nanotubes and dielectric elastomers. Now, however, some of those same scientists have discovered that very powerful artificial muscles can be made from much more down-to-earth materials – regular polymer fishing line, and metal-coated nylon sewing thread. Read More
— Science

Who needs a time machine? Scientists reconstruct ancient languages with software

By - February 15, 2013 1 Picture
Imagine the wealth of knowledge we could uncover if it was possible to travel back in time and re-construct ancient languages. While that’s impossible right now, scientists at UC Berkley and the University of British Columbia reckon they’ve managed the next-best thing, by developing new software which uncovers existing fragments of “proto-languages” from languages still in use. Read More
— Automotive

Researchers charge cars with "remote magnetic gears"

By - October 31, 2012 4 Pictures
Wireless charging systems seem like an easy way to keep electric cars running. You just drive up to a charge point and let the system beam power to your battery without ever having to step out into the cold and rain. However, these systems require high-frequency electromagnetic fields that can interfere with electronics and pose potential health hazards. To keep the hands-free advantages of wireless, yet get rid of the high-frequency fields, physics professor Lorne Whitehead and his team at the University of British Columbia (UBC) have developed an electromechanical vehicle charger that uses “remote magnetic gears”s instead of electrical coils Read More
— Good Thinking

Speech synthesizer allows users to form spoken words using hand gestures

By - February 22, 2012 2 Pictures
Whether it’s people who can’t speak, or musicians looking for a new way of expressing themselves, both may end up benefiting from an experimental new gesture-to-voice synthesizer. The system was created at the University of British Columbia, by a team led by professor of electrical and computer engineering Sidney Fels. Users just put on a pair of sensor-equipped gloves, then move their hands in the air – based on those hand movements, the synthesizer is able to create audible speech. Read More
— Science

Tiny twisting muscles developed for propelling nanobots

By - October 14, 2011 5 Pictures
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

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