Car tires from dandelion rubber can now meet the road

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Rubber can be extracted from the juice of the dandelion. Yet the decisive breakthrough to industrial manufacturing is proving to be a tough step. Working jointly with industry and science, the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME has optimized the cultivation and production engineering over the past few years. Now the researchers – in collaboration with Continental – are building the first ever pilot system to extract vast quantities of dandelion rubber for making tires: an important milestone on the path to rubber procurement in Europe.

See on www.fraunhofer.de

Taking the Internet underwater

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The Internet may soon reach into the depths of the world’s oceans and relay real-time information to smartphones everywhere — about everything from drug-smuggling submarines and the location of untapped oil reserves to the approach of a deadly tsunami.

Researchers are developing a deep-sea computing network to improve how we detect tsunamis, monitor pollution and conduct surveillance.

Wireless networks span the globe. But like a frightened toddler, they don’t go underwater. That may soon change because University at Buffalo researchers are developing a deep-sea Internet. The technological breakthrough could lead to improvements in tsunami detection, offshore oil and natural gas exploration, surveillance, pollution monitoring and other activities.

See on www.buffalo.edu

Smartphone App Brings Genetic Analysis to the Palm of Your Hand

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Until now, understanding and using genetic information has depended on the scientists and doctors who do the testing. No longer.

Tel Aviv startup developed app and website GeneG promises to revolutionize genetic analysis – and usher in an era of personalized medicine.

GeneG allows individuals to access and analyze their genome at any time. After undergoing whole genome sequencing, users can upload their data to the GeneG website for analysis. The results are available via the GeneG app on mobile devices.

GeneG makes genetic analysis as simple as sending a text message or making a phone call. “For the first time you can take your genome home and look at it whenever you want,” according to GeneG creator Noam Shomron. “We are giving you eyes to peer into your genetics.”

Currently, someone who wants a DNA test — for example, a pregnant woman who wants to check for potential genetic issues — needs to donate a separate sample of DNA for each test, as clinics that process the DNA generally test for only one specific item. The process involves traveling to the clinic to have blood drawn, sometimes more than once, and takes weeks to complete.

See on www.aftau.org

Beyond antibiotics: “PPMOs” offer new approach to bacterial infection

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Researchers at Oregon State University and other institutions today announced the successful use of a new type of antibacterial agent called a PPMO, which appears to function as well or better than an antibiotic, but may be more precise and also solve problems with antibiotic resistance.

The new PPMOs offer a fundamentally different attack on bacterial infection, researchers say. They specifically target the underlying genes of a bacterium, whereas conventional antibiotics just disrupt its cellular function and often have broader, unwanted impacts.

See on oregonstate.edu

Stepping Out in Style: Michigan Tech Researchers Developing an Artificial Leg with a Natural Gait

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Walking is tricky business, as any toddler knows. And while most artificial feet and limbs do a pretty good job restoring mobility to people who have lost a leg, they have a ways to go before they equal the intricacy of a natural gait. As a result, over half of all amputees take a fall every year, compared to about one-third of people over 65.

In cooperation with a Mayo Clinic scientist, researchers at Michigan Technological University are taking a giant step toward solving the problem. They are working on a microprocessor-controlled ankle-foot prosthesis that comes close to achieving the innate range of motion of this highly complex joint.

See on www.mtu.edu

Researchers Developing Cheap, Ultra-Lightweight Dye-Based Solar Cells

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University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers are working on next-generation solar cells that are made from organic dyes instead of silicon. The dye solar cells could drive down costs and spread solar energy to small electronics and appliances.

“It turns out that the same fundamental properties that give dye molecules their color also allow them to conduct electricity and generate power,” said assistant chemistry Professor Trisha Andrew. The researchers are working with a dye called copper phthalocyanine, which produces the color blue that is found in plastics, vehicles, clothes and other products.

Dye-based solar cells have an advantage because the materials are cheaper than silicon and more efficient. Instead of using a glass base, the ultra thin films can be laid down on material as light as paper as they are capable of absorbing a tremendous amount of light. A 50 nanometer thick layer of dye is all that is needed to create a solar cell.

See on www.news.wisc.edu

What Real-Time Wi-Fi Feels Like

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Wireless radio communications are about to become nearly real-time with a new 100-gigabit-per-second technology.

Just how fast is “real time” wireless? Imagine an entire Blu-ray disc worth of data could be communicated between a transmitting device and receiving device in about two or three seconds. Or theentire memory contents of your typical iPhone could be dumped to a storage system in about a second or so. News that researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have achieved anexperimental wireless transmission rate of 100 gigabits per second will make it possible.

The prototype system is called Millilink, and as you may expect from an experimental technology, the range was pretty limited–just 20 meters inside the lab. It works in a rather stunning way, combining both radio signals and laser photonics. Two different frequency laser signals are mixed in a “photo mixer” chip by being captured on a sensitive photodiode, which then generates an electrical signal based on the frequency difference of the two incoming signals. The resulting high frequency signal, at 237.5 GHz (basically 2,000 times higher frequency than your typical FM radio channel), is sent on to an antenna. The data signal that is transmitted is encoded on this carrier wave by modulating it, using fairly typical methods.

The team at KIT thinks it can multiplex different streams of data together cleverly and transmit it over multiple antennas, similar to the multi-antenna solution of 802.11 N. With some finesse, this should mean their electro-optical antenna could manage data speeds of about 1 terabit per second.

See on www.kit.edu