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Txch This Week: Artificial Life Wiggles Into Digital Existence

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by Ysabel Yates

This week on Txchnologist, we learned about advances in transparent electronics that could one day lead to implantable devices that give us real-time status updates on our health. 

We also examined the development of algae biofuels after researchers announced they could create crude oil from the plants in under an hour,  and saw what happens when you unleash YouTube’s Slow Mo guys at GE laboratories.

Now, we’re bringing you the top science, tech and innovation news we’ve been following this week.

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3-D Heart Models Help Save Children’s Lives

by Karin Heineman, Inside Science

Fixing heart defects in children can be complicated, and the more information doctors can get before surgery the better.

To help provide that information, Justin Ryan, an artist turned biomedical engineer, is using his technical skills as an artist to make three-dimensional models of a heart to help doctors operate on children’s hearts.

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tech 3d_printing makerbot halloween pumpkin

Happy Halloween! We just 3-D printed this fine grumpy pumpkin in the Txchnologist lab’s brand new MakerBot Replicator 2. It’s so cool, it’s scary.
Now with spooky theme music. Check it out, if you dare. 
Thanks to Thingiverse maker Steve Campbell for uploading the model.[[MORE]]

Happy Halloween! We just 3-D printed this fine grumpy pumpkin in the Txchnologist lab’s brand new MakerBot Replicator 2. It’s so cool, it’s scary.

Now with spooky theme music. Check it out, if you dare.

Thanks to Thingiverse maker Steve Campbell for uploading the model.

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Is That A Lab In Your Pocket?
by Txchnologist staff
A recently unveiled half-pound smartphone attachment lets users peer into the microscopic world to see objects as small as viruses and bacteria. The innovation promises to bring the imaging and diagnostic power of a laboratory into the field.
It hooks directly to a smartphone and uses the device’s camera to detect particles as small as 90 nanometers wide, which is less than a thousandth the diameter of a human hair. Built on a 3-D printer by Aydogan Ozcan, a UCLA professor of electrical engineering and bioengineering, and his team, the unit also includes a color filter, an external lens and a laser diode.[[MORE]]
"This cellphone-based imaging platform could be used for specific and sensitive detection of sub-wavelength objects, including bacteria and viruses and therefore could enable the practice of nanotechnology and biomedical testing in field settings and even in remote and resource-limited environments," Ozcan said in a statement. “These results also constitute the first time that single nanoparticles and viruses have been detected using a cellphone-based, field-portable imaging system.” 
The unit works by illuminating fluid or solid samples at a steep 75-degree angle. This helps the fluorescent microscope attachment avoid interference from scattered light that would degrade the image.
The team’s new device, explained in research published in the journal ACS Nano, is just the latest to come out of Ozcan’s lab. The group is producing a mobile smartphone-based laboratory that so far includes another sensor that attaches to the camera to detect allergens in food and a another tool that can conduct common kidney tests.

(Imaging of 100 nm fluorescent particles on the cell phone. (a) Cellphone fluorescence image of 100 nm polystyrene nanoparticles detected over an area of 0.6 mm0.6 mm. (b,c) Enlarged regions of interest from the dashed squares in (a). (d,e) Scanning electron micrographs that correspond to the dashed boxes in (b) and (c), respectively. (f-h) High-magnification SEM images of individual fluorescent nanoparticles as indicated by the solid boxes in (d) and (e). Image courtesy ACS Nano.)
Top Image: Photographs and schematics of the Ozcan group’s cellphone-based fluorescence microscope. The screen of the cellphone in (a) shows the fluorescence image of 1 μm diameter green fluorescent beads. A back view of the same cellphone attachment is shown in (b), and its schematic illustration is provided in (c). Ray-tracing diagram of the cell phone microscope is shown in (d), where excitation and scattered beams are indicated with solid blue rays, while the fluorescent emission is highlighted with solid green rays. Image courtesy ACS Nano/UCLA.

Is That A Lab In Your Pocket?

by Txchnologist staff

A recently unveiled half-pound smartphone attachment lets users peer into the microscopic world to see objects as small as viruses and bacteria. The innovation promises to bring the imaging and diagnostic power of a laboratory into the field.

It hooks directly to a smartphone and uses the device’s camera to detect particles as small as 90 nanometers wide, which is less than a thousandth the diameter of a human hair. Built on a 3-D printer by Aydogan Ozcan, a UCLA professor of electrical engineering and bioengineering, and his team, the unit also includes a color filter, an external lens and a laser diode.

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