Apr 17, 2015

An elegantly designed set of stemmed laboratory beaker wine glasses

posted by Larra Morris

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Periodic Tableware has created a set of elegantly designed laboratory beaker stemmed wine glasses that reflect the the clean lines and sturdiness of the scientific glassware used to create the set.
via Laughing Squid

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Image: Periodic Tableware

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Apr 17, 2015

In the future, spider silk may help grow your replacement heart

posted by Larra Morris

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Growing new organs and tissues outside the body is the bleeding edge of biomedical research. Just imagine: if doctors could grow replacement hearts or kidneys from a patient’s own stem cells, that patient would no longer have to face the agonizing prospect of waiting to find a suitable donor. The risk of organ rejection would become nil. But there’s a lot of R&D to be done before we get there. One initial challenge has been finding a scaffold material to grow organ tissues on—something that’s non-toxic, will not impede cell growth, and will not, itself, be rejected by the body. That, it turns out, is a pretty tall order.

But, as described in a study published recently in PLOS ONE, genetically engineered fibers of spidroin—the protein that builds cobweb strands—might just fit the bill when it comes to human heart tissue. Spidroin fibers have already proven themselves a useful substrate for growing tendons and cartilages. Researchers at the Moscow Institute for Physics and Technology decided to see whether spidroin grown in the lab via genetically modified yeast cells can also be used to grow cardiomycetes, the cells that form heart tissue.
via Gizmodo

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Apr 17, 2015

Car safety system monitors your body language to prevent accidents

posted by Larra Morris

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Many collision avoidance systems watch out for other cars or pedestrians to keep you safe. But this new one called Brains4Cars being developed by Cornell and Stanford University researchers adds a camera that monitors you (or the driver's, if it's someone else) body language, as well. The computer that's watching you on cam can detect your face and head movements to find cues on whether you're turning or changing lanes. With data from a radar and another camera keeping an eye on the environment, the system can warn you if it's too dangerous to turn.

For instance, if you're turning left, the left side of the steering wheel or seat can vibrate as a warning -- the researchers believe sound and visual signals could be incorporated into the system, as well. In addition, the system can also pull GPS info and issue a notification if you've taken the wrong turn, or if you're driving the wrong way down a one-way street.
via Engadget

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Apr 16, 2015

A slithering snake robot that can swim underwater with unsettling ease

posted by Larra Morris

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A snake robot swims underwater with vaguely unsettling ease in this video uploaded in 2013 by IEEE Spectrum. The robot in question is an ACM-R5, a waterproof articulated robot designed for underwater inspection and search operations. The robot has a wireless camera and additional sensors can be installed “upon request.” Each modular segment has wheels, which allows the robot to slither out of water as well. It’s much larger than it appears on video–a standard arrangement of nine segments is about five-and-a-half feet long.
via Laughing Squid

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Apr 16, 2015

How brain pacemakers treat Parkinson's disease

posted by Larra Morris

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Doctors know that deep brain stimulation works as a therapy for Parkinson’s disease. But they’re still trying to figure out why and how. A new study sheds some light on the mechanism of action, suggesting that DBS disrupts a pattern of excessively synchronized activity in the brain. 

In DBS, an implanted device sends tiny jolts of electricity through neurons, acting somewhat like a brain pacemaker. The technique is widely accepted as a treatment for Parkinson’s and other movement disorders; more than 100,000 patients have received implants that help control their tremors, rigidity, and other kinetic symptoms.
via IEEE Spectrum

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Image: Alfred Pasieka/Science Photo Library/Corbis

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Apr 15, 2015

New Tesla battery factory will pay $25 per hour–higher wage than nearly all U.S. automakers

posted by Laura Domela

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Elon Musk and Tesla Motors continue to impress:

Tesla Motors plans to pay an average hourly wage of $25 at its huge battery factory under construction near Reno, Nev., the head of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada said.

That is higher than nearly all automakers in the U.S. are paying new hires and nearly double what most parts suppliers pay. It's also above the $17 starting hourly wage of Tesla workers who assemble its Model S sedan in Fremont, Calif., near San Jose.

The plant will be built in Reno, Nevada—which is ranked as "excellent" on the Consumer Price Index because of its low cost of living. The 6,500 people expected to fill those soon-to-be-open Tesla jobs are going to be able to make a fair living wage.
via Daily Kos

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Apr 15, 2015

The International Space Station gets a coffee bar

posted by Laura Domela

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In space, all they have is instant.

"For an instant coffee, it's an excellent instant coffee," says Vickie Kloeris, who manages the space station's food supply for NASA. Astronauts are allotted up to three freeze-dried cups (pouches, actually) a day, and Kloeris says it's "extremely popular."

But, she adds, "Can it compete with brewed espresso? No."

And that is a problem, particularly for the Italian astronauts who occasionally come to the station. In 2013, Luca Parmitano reportedly said the only food he missed from Earth was espresso coffee.

Now a resupply mission with a Space Age espresso maker is coming to the rescue of Italy's current astronaut aboard the space station, Samantha Cristoforetti.

The machine was designed by Argotec, an Aerospace company based in Torino, Italy, together with the Italian coffee company Lavazza.
via NPR

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