science tech nanotechnology biologically_inspired_engineering virus membrane dna nanorobots medicine health cancer

Viral Membrane Protects Medical Nanorobots From Immune System

Scientists say they have developed a cloaking device to spirit medical nanorobots of the future past immune systems into diseased cells. Their innovation comes from stealing a powerful weapon viruses wield to infect their hosts.

Some viruses wrap themselves in a protective membrane to avoid detection by their host’s immune system and enter cells they are trying to infect. A team at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have been able to construct their own version of a viral membrane.

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The Chance To Dance Again

by Michael Keller

We highlighted the TED talk of Hugh Herr a couple of weeks ago. But his work is too important and beautiful to leave to just one post.

The MIT associate professor of media arts and sciences is making prosthetic limbs and exoskeletons that restore function in those who have lost legs from injury or disease. This set of gifs focuses on his team’s BiOM powered ankle and foot prosthesis

"Bionics is not only about making people stronger and faster," he said during the talk. "Our expression, our humanity can be embedded into electromechanics."

To prove his point, Herr and fellow researchers studied dance movement to replace the lower leg that professional dancer Adrianne Haslet-Davis lost after last year’s Boston marathon bombing. He concluded his talk by bringing Haslet-Davis on the stage to perform a bionic rumba. 

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Are Focused Sound Waves Medicine’s Next Big Thing?

by Michael Keller

The pictures on the left above show a patient with a benign bone tumor called an osteoid osteoma. The images on the right show the patient after doctors treated the tumor with focused ultrasound, a therapy that delivers high frequency sound waves inside the body without surgery.

Advocates for the technology say it is proving to be a useful and cost-effective treatment for a number of afflictions, from various cancers to neurological diseases.

“Focused ultrasound is increasingly being considered a game-changing technology,” said Kim Butts Pauly, a Stanford University professor of radiology. 

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App Uses Google Glass To Diagnose Disease

The American Chemical Society has the story of some interesting work that might let healthcare providers use Google Glass for medical testing. 

UCLA researchers have built an app that lets users take pictures of test samples and upload them for remote diagnostic analysis. The system can already perform dozens of different tests, including those for malaria, prostate cancer and HIV. The work effectively removes the need for a nearby brick-and-mortar laboratory to analyze samples.

Watch the video, and read about more breakthrough work being done by UCLA engineer Aydogan Ozcan and his group.

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