Tag: Nanotechnology

Biopolitics

Electricity From Plants

Imagine you are spending a nice sunny day at the park. Like all good Society of Simulations inhabitants, you want to take a picture of your friends and the amazing picnic you are having, to post it on your social networks. Bummer! The battery of your mobile phone is dead. And of course, there isn’t any electric socket anywhere near. This difficulty soon might be a problem of the past. Dutch technostarter Plant-e designs and develops products that use living plants to generate electricity.

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Augmented-Bodies

Nano-motors in Living Cells

American scientists made a breakthrough with medical nano-bots. Thanks to nanotechnology in the near future it could be possible for people to operate inside their body, fighting disease and monitoring general health.

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Made-to-debate

Jason Silva and the Dawn of Nanotech

Performance philosopher Jason Silva has inaugurated a powerful new series on AOL called The Future Of Us, with new videos weekly. In this series, Silva shares his excitement about recent discoveries and inventions, describing how they’ll help us today but, more importantly, how they’ll impact our near and distant future. One episode, The Dawn of Nanotechnology, gives us a glimpse of a new world of unbounded imagination. We know a thing or two about that!

Anthropocene

How to Avoid a Global Wine Shortage

A global wine shortage is coming. Rising global consumption is contending with European wine production that has been acutely affected by changing weather patterns. Because wine consumption depends on regional grape varieties that are often climate-specific, poor harvests in Italy and France (the two largest global producers of wine, and among the largest consumers too) will lead to a global wine shortage as the 2012 vintage is released.

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Augmented-Bodies

The Twitter Tooth Implant Becomes a Reality (Again)

Remember the Twitter tooth implant, the handy little (speculative) device that spied on your drinking, eating and smoking habits? The implant made its first debut in real life with a “tattoo” consisting of electrical sensors. Now, a team of Taiwanese researchers have gone beyond surface electronics to create a whole implantable tooth, complete with a tiny accelerometer.

Because everything we do with our mouths, from chatting to chewing, produces a unique motion profile, the team was able to predict what participants’ mouths were getting up to with close to 95% accuracy. Future prototypes of the “wearable oral sensory system” will include Bluetooth (no pun intended) to wirelessly transmit data to a cell phone or computer. Just imagine waking up to a chiding letter from your parents when they find out you’ve been smoking, or a worried note from your doctor if she suspects you’re coming down with a cold. Of course, you can always talk to yourself if you want to fake a healthy dose of social interaction.

Read the paper here. Thanks to Jeffry Braun for the tip.  Photo from here.

Fake-nature

Nanoscale Bouquet of Flowers

About 25 micrometers wide and 100 micrometers tall these “flowers,” created by scientists at Harvard, are made from barium carbonate and silica. Through a complex chemical process, the researchers can induce these tiny flower-like structures to self-assemble. By controlling the environmental temperature different shapes and sizes can be coaxed to spontaneously form.

This method of manufacturing nano-scale structures has implications for the nano-industry in the long run. But for now, I would really love to order a custom made nano-bouquet for my girlfriend, accompanied by a false color image, as the bouquet would be next to invisible to the naked eye.

Story via extremetech.com

 

nanosponge
Augmented-Bodies

Nanosponges “Soak Up” Toxins and Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Engineers at the University of California have developed a “nanosponge” that can safely remove a variety of dangerous toxins from the bloodstream. Unlike other antitoxin platforms, this technology is not limited to a single type of threat. These nanoscale sponges can “soak up” MRSA, E. coli and other antibiotic-resistant bacteria, as well as venom from snakes and bees. Studies performed on mice show that 89% of the test subjects inoculated with the sponges survived a lethal dose of MRSA. Those injected after exposure to a lethal dose still had a high survival rate of 44% .

The nanosponges are made of a biocompatible polymer core. In order to evade the immune system and remain in circulation in the bloodstream, the sponges are wrapped in red blood cell membranes. A single red blood cell membrane can generate thousands of nanosponges. The nanosponges work by outnumbering red blood cells, serving as “decoys” for the bacteria and toxins.

Via Eurekalert.org 

Nano Shots?
Food Technology

Nanotech Shots Take Mice from Drunk to Sober in Minutes

Ever curse the fact that you have to wait hours to sober up after a night at the bar? Now, you can sober up almost instantly  – that is, if you’re a mouse. Researchers at MIT have created an injection of alcohol-digesting enzymes in nanoscale “pills” that can quickly reduce the blood alcohol of mice.

Until now, scientists have struggled with using enzymes as medicine, since it’s difficult to create stable versions with a controlled size and arrangement. Enzymes are a type of protein that act as a catalyst to specific biological processes. In biological washing powder, for example, enzymes are used to catalyse (speed up) the breakdown of fats and proteins, letting us wash our clothes at lower temperatures and still sustain good results.

This effective new method of delivering enzymes might someday lead to medicines that could take humans from drunk to sober within a matter of minutes. Perhaps bars might offer these injections as a complimentary service to patrons. Whether it will cure a hangover remains to be seen.

For the full research report click here.