A new generation of retinal implants could use light to provide power and data, potentially restoring vision in a less-invasive form than existing implants. Researchers at Stanford University previously described how such a system would work, and now they’ve designed implants that can receive infrared signals for power and information processing.
Given a choice between eating chocolate alone and rescuing their pals, rats will apparently save their pals and then share the chocolate with them. Trapping a rat in a cage sparks its cagemate into action, as it figures out how to open the cage and liberate its jailed friend. This is an unusual example of rats expressing empathy, a trait thought to be reserved to us higher mammals, the primates.
Sure, you can buy a flying car from Hammacher Schlemmer. But for truly bizarre catalog collections, turn to America’s laboratory supply companies. It’s a fair bet your favorite holiday catalog will not include a small-animal guillotine, for instance.
Nanowires inside a rat can convert the power of breathing and heartbeats into electricity, according to researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The nano-generator could conceivably lead to nano-scale medical implants and sensors powered by the body, Technology Review reports.
Smokers might get a future reprieve on the damage that cigarettes do to their lungs. Australian scientists have successfully protected mice lungs against the inflammatory effects of smoking, which can lead to health problems such as emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). But the researchers still gave stern warning that this does nothing to alleviate cancer risks, The Register reports.
Ever since Mario Capecchi, Martin Evans, and Oliver Smithies created the first knockout mouse in 1989, genetically engineered animals have steadily increased in popularity for all kinds of biology research: simply pick a gene, turn it off in the mouse, and see what happens.
Rats used for testing drugs and cosmetics might soon be replaced by lab-grown human lungs. “Microlungs” are lung cells harvested from humans and grown onto plastic scaffolding. A handful of drug companies are already testing the technique, which grows cells that mimic functioning lungs. It may one day help end the need for animal testing stages in drug development.
Artificial skin and livers promise to spare the lives of lab rats
By Dawn Stover
Posted 06.25.2008 at 1:51 pm 2 Comments
Awww, how could anyone test experimental pharmaceuticals on that little face? A few new technologies -- substitute tissues, for instance -- aim to take the rat out of the equation, or at least provide other, gentler options for experimenters. Here's a look at three of the best new hopes for rodents.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.