Posts Tagged “Technology”

September’s Fascinations of the Month

6 | By Michael A. Robinson

Microscopic materials are extremely hard to work with.

It’s not like you can just use tweezers to pick up two items you can’t see with the naked eye and glue them together.

But soon, we may be able to “program” tiny substances to work like materials “ants” that build their own colonies once someone flips a switch.

At least, a team at the University of Delaware just demonstrated that a group of microscopic particles could be guided to form specific structures at the nanoscale level.

The researchers started with materials as wide as a small fraction of a human hair – materials that became magnetic once an outside source was applied. Team members found that by using the right frequency and strength, they could see the particles change from a random substance into highly organized structures. This breakthrough could help clear a major nanotech hurdle.

Imagine: Computer chips that can build themselves.

If this emerging field of the future sounds out of this world, it actually is. The team got help from NASA so it could watch the process aboard the International Space Station to figure out how gravity affects self-assembly of these cutting-edge materials.

This was far from the only fascinating high-tech advance I came across this month.

Take a look…

Your Kids and Grandkids Will Love This

Scientists are hard at work to perfect pain-free shots and injections.

One team at MIT believes doctors will soon use non-invasive ultrasound technology to give shots. Most people know that doctors use ultrasounds to image the human body, including giving pregnant women an exam to check the health of their babies.

But the MIT team members say ultrasound tech can increase the permeability of skin by lightly wearing away the top layer. The effect only last a few seconds and causes no pain. By combining both high and low frequency sound waves, they can increase the number and amount of drugs that can be delivered using this approach.

But that’s not the only needle-free breakthrough to be excited about.

A team in South Korea has just come up with a new laser-based system that blasts tiny jets of drugs into the skin. Researchers installed a small adaptor that contains the liquid drug to be delivered. It’s designed to make getting a flu or other “shot” as painless as a puff of air. If nothing else, it’s a high-speed process – each laser pulse lasts one-250 millionth of a second.

Oh – and did you hear about the robot that can outrun Usain Bolt?