The medicine industry is booming, thanks to new technologies like bendable batteries and injectable bandages. While these new discoveries can treat cancer and repair organs, some researchers are working on improving older remedies. The US National Institutes of Health and Sanofi have combined antibodies into tri-specific antibodies targeting HIV infection.
“They are more potent and have greater breadth than any single naturally occurring antibody that’s been discovered.” [said Dr. Gary Nabel of Sanofi.]
“We’re getting 99% coverage, and getting coverage at very low concentrations of the antibody,”
HIV strains mutate faster than immune systems can adapt, making resistance almost futile. Animal trials saw a 100% success rate in monkeys, while human trials will begin next year.
“Combinations of antibodies that each bind to a distinct site on HIV may best overcome the defences of the virus in the effort to achieve effective antibody-based treatment and prevention.”
Further testing may prove the usefulness of tri-specific antibodies in other fields. The battle against HIV is far from over, but it’s safe to say we’re getting there, one antibody at a time.
If all it takes to generate energy nowadays is a walk and a bit of sweat, it should come as no surprise that it’s also possible to create electricity out of thin air. Or, rather, air that is slightly humid.
[Biophysicist professor Ozgur Sahin’s] laboratory has developed one kind of ‘evaporation engine’, which works by using the movement of bacteria in response to changes in humidity.
Shutters either opened or closed to control moisture levels, prompting bacterial spores to expand or contract. This motion is then transferred to a generator and turned into electricity.
With technologies to convert wind, water, and heat into energy, it seems anything has the potential to do the same. As with anything in its early stages, researchers are treading carefully so as not to affect water resources. However, the machines may be a saving grace to drought-prone areas, as they reduce water loss.
“Some… regions suffer from periods of water stress and scarcity, which might favour implementation of these energy harvesting systems due to the reduction of evaporative losses.”
According to recent calculations, the technology could save 25 trillion gallons of water a year. It’s a godsend, considering how many people aren’t willing to give up hot, hourlong showers. It’s also a harsh reminder that we ought to do our part as consumers.
A mere month ago, locked-in patients were given the opportunity to communicate via a computer interface. Now, researchers are using nerve therapy to revive the consciousness of patients in a persistent vegetative state.
The vagus nerve, which the treatment targeted, connects the brain to almost all the vital organs in the body, running from the brain stem down both sides of the neck, across the chest and into the abdomen. In the brain, it is linked directly to two regions known to play roles in alertness and consciousness.
The study, led by French scientists, brought a 35-year-old man out of PVS after being unresponsive for nearly 15 years. He can now track objects with his eyes and even turn his head when asked. Head of study Angela Sirigu believes the research can provide hope for families of locked-in patients.
“Personally I think it’s better to be aware, even if it’s a bad state, to be conscious of what’s happening. Then you can have a decision if you want to go on or if you want [euthanasia].”
At the very least, those in a locked-in state can be in control, which eliminates the nightmare of muscle loss.
Since Margot Krasojevic’s conceptualization of the dragonfly bridge, it was only about time that flying vehicles came to light. Dubai is fast-tracking this reality, test-flying a two-seater taxi drone that transports passengers autonomously.
The [Autonomous Air Taxi] is environmentally friendly, powered by electricity, and the prototype version has a maximum flight time of 30 minutes, at a cruising speed of 50 km/h (31 mph), and a maximum airspeed of 100 km/h (62 mph).
As it would, the notion of a crew-less flying taxi may be somewhat petrifying. However, the AAT comes with emergency parachutes and batteries, so you can rest — or fly — easy. Developers also plan to create an accompanying booking app, much like Uber, but for the skies.
“Encouraging innovation and adopting the latest technologies contribute not only to the country’s development but also build bridges into the future,” Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed said in a statement.
Dubai hopes that by 2030, 25% of transportation methods will be autonomous. With many organizations working towards a more efficient traveling system, there is much to look forward to in the future.
Since developing a surgical robot, engineers across the globe have been pushing the limits of machines in medicine. This Chinese dental robot can perform implant surgery without any human assistance.
The implants were fitted to within a margin of error of 0.2-0.3mm, reaching the required standard for this kind of operation.
The robot addresses the shortage of dental technicians as well as frequent surgical errors. China imports roughly 1 million implants annually, which hardly satisfies the 400 million patients needing new teeth. The Fourth Military Medical University’s hospital takes care of 3D printing dentures.
[Dental staff] programmed the robot to move into the correct position to carry out the operation, and determined the movements, angle and depth needed to fit the new teeth inside a cavity in the patient’s mouth.
The robot adjusts to patients’ movement, which is definitely a plus. It also makes the experience a lot less intimidating, knowing your gums won’t be in for a prickly surprise. It seems surgeons are in for some serious competition.
The human brain knows no limits. The fact that we only use 10% of it remains a myth, as antennas and bendable batteries are furthering biomedical engineering. Lately, researchers at Wits University in Johannesburg have made the greatest breakthrough yet with the “Brainternet.” (But it’s not exactly what you might think!)
The project works by taking brainwave EEG signals gathered by an Emotiv EEG device connected to the user’s head. The signals are then transmitted to a low cost Raspberry Pi computer, which live streams the data to an application programming interface and displays the data on an open website where anyone can view the activity.
In essence, you can download information about your brain and pretty much study the thing. So, no, you can’t update your Twitter in your sleep. However, the technology is still potentially valuable in transferring brain data.
“Brainternet can be further improved to classify recordings through a smart phone app that will provide data for a machine-learning algorithm. In [the] future, there could be information transferred in both directions – inputs and outputs to the brain,”
Sorry to disappoint you, millennials, but keep in mind that understanding brain functions could make mind-controlling Facebook possible eventually. For now, stick to a MacBook.
It’s not only cars that are getting a sustainable makeover — manufacturers are also developing new tires. From self-healing rubber to airless frames, consumers are in for a smooth ride. What we can expect next is a smart adaptable tire that can easily adjust to road conditions.
Specifically, this is all about two technologies called ContiSense and ContiAdapt. In simple terms you are looking at a tire that (1) could monitor and report on its health and (2) adjust its characteristics to road conditions.
Monitors measure tread depth and temperature, and its electrically-conductive rubber adjusts accordingly. It’s also completely wireless (can we get some wifi on there?).
“Depending on the tire pressure and rim width, different tread zones are activated and the concept tire adopts the required ‘footprint’ in each case.”
Like the Michelin projects, it’s going to be some time before the tires roll in. But with all this new technology, I can’t imagine slowing down would be too much of a bad idea.
I wouldn’t be surprised if one day AI systems ruled the world. While there are skeptics, most people in the technological industry remain pretty optimistic. And with good reason. A system built by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology can recreate video games by observing them for only 2 minutes.
The team did this by training the AI on footage of two distinct types of players making their way through Level 1 of Super Mario Brothers. One that adopted an “explorer” style of play and the other a “speedrunner” style, where they headed straight for the goal.
The system managed to rebuild an accurate representation of the game with only minor deviations. It’s impressive and also far less creepy than an AI creating its own language.
“Our AI creates the predictive model without ever accessing the game’s code, and makes significantly more accurate future event predictions than those of convolutional neural networks,”
Okay, so its capabilities are still sort of spooky, but useful, nonetheless. The program, which is algorithm-based, could be vital in pattern recognition, among other things. In the end, the model is an effective training method that can also be easily controlled by users — phew!
Things are looking up for cancer patients — from gene editing to the humble avocado, various forms of treatment are manifesting all over the world. Now, virtual reality systems are making it easier for doctors to treat cancerous tumors.
Once wearing the Oculus VR headset, the wearer can clearly see how the drug combats certain DNA strands inside the cell of a cancerous growth.
The wearer can then look around 360 degrees inside the tumor to see how the drug attaches itself to DNA strands to help dismantle the cancer.
The Oculus VR can eliminate the need of replica training, which is less practical and more expensive. It also provides users with feedback, allowing surgeons to perform more accurately.
“It is helpful in engaging the brain through interacting with a personalized animation someone is familiar with, so it feels real.”
I suppose this means virtual reality can escape its video game bubble and transition into the education industry. After all, there is always value in new technology.
It seems we’ve been underestimating the power of plastic. After the material was repurposed into makeshift lamps in the Philippines, it’s proving there is little it can’t do. Grey Dhaka in Bangladesh is taking plastic to new limits with a plastic bottle air conditioner that is completely electricity-free.
Repurposed plastic bottles are cut in half and mounted on a board or a grid in accordance with the window size with the bottlenecks facing the inside of the house. The board is then installed on the window… Hot air enters the open end of the bottle and is compressed at the neck of the bottle, turning the air cooler before it is released inside the house.
The device, called the Eco-Cooler, can reduce indoor temperatures by up to 5 degrees Celsius. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think regular-running electric air conditioners may now be facing a promising contender.
Today, more than 25,000 households have an Eco-Cooler in their homes. It has been installed in places such as Nilphamari, Daulatdia, Paturia, Modonhati and Khaleya.
Inventor Ashis Paul claims his daughter’s physics tutor inspired the Eco-Cooler. If simple DIY projects can combat climate change at no cost, maybe kids should reconsider paying attention in class.