Latest advances in science and technology

Researchers perform largest human disease gene sequencing to date

According to reports published on May 23, 2013, researchers at the University of London, England, have carried out the largest human disease sequencing study to date. In their study, the scientists investigated the genetic basis of six autoimmune diseases. The exact cause of these diseases—autoimmune thyroid diseases, Celia’s disease, Cohn’s disease, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes—is not known, but is believed to be a complex combination of genetic and environmental factors.

The scientists, who published their findings in the journal Nature, estimate that rare variants of risk genes account for only about 3 percent of the heritability of these conditions that can be explained by common variants. They say the genetic risk for these diseases likely involves a complex combination of hundreds of weak-effect variants, each of which is common in people.

Bioengineers Create Sweatproof Fabric

Bioengineers at the University of California, USA, said on May 21, 2013 that they had invented a waterproof fabric that can wick away sweat using microfluidic technology. The new tissue works like human skin. Converts excess sweat into droplets that drain themselves. In their research, they developed a new microfluidic platform using water-attracting (hydrophilic) yarns that were sewn into a highly water-repellent fabric. They were able to create patterns of threads that suck water droplets from one side of the fabric, propel them along the threads, and eventually expel them from the other side.

It is not just that the threads conduct water by capillarity. The water repellent properties of the surrounding fabric also help to push water down the channels. Unlike conventional fabrics, the water-pumping effect continues to work even when the water-conducting fibers are fully saturated, due to the pressure generated by the surface tension of the droplets. The rest of the fabric remains completely dry. By adjusting the pattern of the water-conducting fibers and how they are sewn into each side of the fabric, researchers can control where sweat collects and where it drains to the outside.

Human skin cells turned into embryonic stem cells

According to a report published on May 16, 2013, in a major medical breakthrough, scientists have turned human skin cells into embryonic stem cells for the first time. These newly created stem cells are capable of transforming into any other type of cell in the human body. The cloned embryos, created by scientists at the National Primate Health Center in Oregon, USA, can produce new heart muscle and new bone in addition to brain tissue or any other type of cell in the body. The scientists used the same cloning technique that had created Dolly the sheep (the first cloned mammal) in 1996, overcoming technical problems that had frustrated them for more than a decade about how to create batches of super body cells from skin. donated.

The new technique devised by the scientists is a variation on a commonly used method called somatic cell nuclear transfer. It involves transplanting the nucleus of a cell, which contains the DNA of an individual, into an egg from which its genetic material has been extracted. The fertilized egg then develops and eventually produces stem cells. The process is relatively efficient and requires a relatively small number of human eggs to produce each cell line, making it practical and feasible.

A mask that grants “superhuman” powers to the wearer

The Royal College of Art in London announced on May 9, 2013 that its researchers had developed two 3D-printed masks that can give the wearer “superhuman” sight and hearing. One of the masks covers the ears, mouth and nose of the wearer and uses a directional microphone to give them the ability to hear isolated sound in a noisy environment. With the mask on, the user could select a person in a crowd and hear their words without any surrounding noise.

The other prototype should be worn over the eyes. A camera captures video and sends it to a computer, which can apply a set of effects to it in real time and send it back to the user. The user can use the mask to see patterns of movement, similar to the effects of long exposure photography.

According to the developers, the technology has many possible applications. The user could use the visual mask to analyze movement and technique in sports. Concertgoers could wear the ear mask to focus on a certain artist.

Scientists find an eco-friendly way to forge steel

According to a report published on May 8, 2013, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, have developed a technique to reduce smoke emissions during the steel forging process. This can go a long way in changing the image of steelmaking as one of the most polluting industries. In addition, there may be other secondary benefits, since the resulting steel, according to the scientists, could be of higher purity. The process can also be cheaper than existing ones.

The researchers discovered that a process known as molten oxide electrolysis could use iron oxide from lunar soil to create oxygen without special chemistry. They tested the process using moon-like soil from a meteorite crater in Arizona, USA, where there are sufficient traces of iron oxide, and found that it produced steel as a by-product. The researchers’ method used an iridium anode, which is expensive and in limited supply, making it not viable for bulk steel production. However, after further investigation, they identified an inexpensive metal alloy that can replace the iridium anode in molten oxide electrolysis.

An insect-inspired camera with a 180-degree view

According to reports published on May 2, 2013, scientists from the University of Illinois and North-western University, USA, have developed a new insect-inspired camera that can take 180-degree photos and deliver exceptionally sharp images. . The camera features 180 miniature lenses and an exceptionally wide field of view. Humans capture images using the two lenses of our relatively flat eyes, whereas a high-quality SLR camera has only one flat lens. The new camera, a rounded half-bubble, similar to a fly’s bulging eye, has 180 microlenses mounted, allowing it to take pictures at almost 180 degrees. This is only possible for a bug-eye shaped camera.

With its wide-angle field of view, the new technology could be used in future surveillance devices or for imaging in medical procedures (such as endoscopic procedures). Its developers say it would be quite simple to combine two of the hemispheres they’ve shown to get a 360-degree view. This is because the procedure basically involves mounting many small eyes into one large eye. Each small eye, made up of a microlens and a microscale photodetector, is an independent imaging system. When all these eyes are taken together, they will be able to take a clear image, with just a snap, in almost 360 degrees.

New fly-inspired aerial robot

Researchers at Harvard University, USA, have successfully designed, built and flown a small, fly-inspired robot. The demonstration of the first controlled flight of an insect-sized robot marks the culmination of more than a decade of work. It was jointly created by the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard.

The project is called Robbie. It’s inspired by the biology of a fly, with submillimeter-scale anatomy and two wafer-thin wings that flap almost invisibly (about 120 times per second). The tiny device represents the absolute cutting edge of micromanufacturing and control systems.

Scientists develop technology that can turn any surface into a touch screen

Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University, USA, have developed a new technology that allows users to turn any surface into a touch screen with just a wave of the hand. Demonstrated that the based interface can be created almost anywhere at will. This is a significant improvement over previous technologies that required some depth camera systems to be combined with a projector to turn any surface into a touch screen.

The new system is known as World Kit. It allows a person to rub the arm of a sofa to “paint” a TV remote control or slide a hand through an office door to post a calendar that subsequent users can “download” from. “an extended version. These temporary interfaces can be moved, modified, or removed with similar gestures, making them highly customizable.

The researchers used a ceiling-mounted camera and projector to record room geometries, detect hand gestures, and project images onto desired surfaces. Users can invoke switches, message boards, indicator lights, and a variety of other interface designs from a menu. The developers say that users will finally be able to design custom interfaces with gestures.

A robot that can accurately predict human actions

Scientists at Cornell University’s Personal Robotics Laboratory, USA, said on May 4, 2013 that they had developed a new “intelligent” robot that can predict human actions with amazing accuracy. The robot can refill her master’s empty coffee cup and can also hold the door open for him/her. In addition, you can perform various other tasks. Basically, the robot learns to anticipate human actions and then adjusts accordingly.

Using a database of 120 3D videos of people doing common household activities, the robot has been trained to identify human activities by tracking body movements. Observing a new scene with its 3D camera, the robot identifies the activities it sees, considers what uses are possible with the objects in the scene, and how those uses fit with the activities.

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