Battery capacity is the main thing keeping our lifestyles tethered: to the wall socket, to the gas pump, etc. But while we can extend our batteries' charges with smarter, low-power tech, we're still leaving a good deal of capacity on the table within current lithium-ion technology.
Carbon nanotubes may not be so bad for you after all. Past studies have suggested that carbon nanotubes are biopersistent -- that the human body cannot break them down -- but a team of Swedish and American researchers has discovered that an enzyme found in white blood cells can break down nanotubes into harmless water and carbon dioxide.
Adorable buckyballs can act as soccer-ball-shaped molecular cages to deliver designer drugs or even radioactive particles to attack diseases such as cancer. Now scientists have found that a certain buckyball configuration can put human skin cells into a sort of suspended animation where they don't die, divide, or grow -- a toxic condition for the human body that might also lead to possible treatments.
The ability of matter to move light underpins such common phenomena as transparency, refraction, and reflection. But light moving matter? That's a bit rarer. So rare, in fact, that University of Michigan researchers refused to believe the results of their experiments for almost four years. As reported in the latest Science, they had discovered special nanoribbons so sensitive that light actually caused them to move.
Scientists have already created mini-cyborgs out of living cells and semiconductor materials, but now biological cells can also contain tiny silicon chips. Those silicon chips could become future intracellular sensors that monitor microscopic activities, deliver drugs to target cells or even repair cell structures, according to Nanowerk.
Tests for toxins or pathogens generally rely on chemical reactions. But a team of researchers at Cornell University have created a sensor that detects the presence of chemicals based on the mechanical disruption of a nanoscale system. The device can instantly detect as little as a single molecule of a substance.
The body is a resilient biological structure, but there's one thing medical science, an increasing number of Baby Boomers, and the majority of professional athletes will all tell you: Take care of your joints, because once you burn up the cartilage you started with, you're not getting any more. But a breakthrough by Northwestern University scientists will now allow adult joints to naturally grow new cartilage for the very first time.
Diabetics are saddled with the unenviable task of checking their blood sugar levels constantly, usually through a repeated ritual of pin-pricks and blood drawing. But a new non-invasive technology developed by a biochemical engineer at the University of Western Ontario lets diabetics keep tabs on their glucose levels with contact lenses that change colors as their blood sugar rises and falls.
Forget all the nanotechnology devoted to fighting cancer, and just consider that nanoparticles have invaded makeup, anti-odor socks, sunscreen, plastic beer bottles and home pregnancy tests. Now scientists have developed a way to assess the health and environmental impact of such nanoparticles: a tiny microresonator that can detect and measure individual particles smaller than a single virus.