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Artificial muscle contracts and expands with changes in humidity

A small plastic strip can do 'weight training' to effortlessly lifts many times its own weight, driven by cyclic changes in the humidity of the surrounding air. This strong 'artificial arm' is based on the interaction between microgels and a layer of polycations that shrinks as it dries.

Posted: Jul 24th, 2013

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Researchers develop hydrogel for studying deadly brain cancer

Human glioblastoma multiforme, one of the most common, aggressive and deadly forms of brain cancer, is notoriously difficult to study. Now a team of engineers has developed a three-dimensional hydrogel that more closely mimics conditions in the brain than other platforms used to study brain cancer. In a paper in the journal Biomaterials, the researchers describe the new material and their approach, which allows them to selectively tune up or down the malignancy of the cancer cells they study.

Posted: Jul 23rd, 2013

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Chips that mimic the brain

Novel microchips imitate the brain's information processing in real time. Neuroinformatics researchers demonstrate how complex cognitive abilities can be incorporated into electronic systems made with so-called neuromorphic chips: They show how to assemble and configure these electronic systems to function in a way similar to an actual brain.

Posted: Jul 22nd, 2013

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A new method for clicking molecules together

Scientists at EPFL have developed a quick and simple method for connecting and assembling new molecules together, paving a new road for synthetic chemistry, material science, chemical biology, and even drug discovery.

Posted: Jul 22nd, 2013

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New 3D hair follicle model to accelerate cure for baldness

Hair loss is a common disorder that affects many men and women due to aging or medical conditions. Current FDA-approved drugs can minimize further hair loss but are unable to regrow new hair. The Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) has recently engineered a new hair follicle model that could help discover new drugs for hair regeneration.

Posted: Jul 19th, 2013

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A secret to making macrophages (w/video)

Biologists at the Caltech have worked out the details of a mechanism that leads undifferentiated blood stem cells to become macrophages - immune cells that attack bacteria and other foreign pathogens. The process involves an unexpected cycle in which cell division slows, leading to an increased accumulation of a particular regulatory protein that in turn slows cell division further. The finding provides new insight into how stem cells are guided to generate one cell type as opposed to another.

Posted: Jul 18th, 2013

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