Monday, December 9, 2013
Friday, October 11, 2013
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
“Mind over matter” has been a saying that was left for mystics and believers of supernatural phenomena. However, with a new break through in bio medical technology, thoughts now have a direct causal reaction to physical objects.
A team of biomedical engineers led by Levi Hargrove at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago in Illinois reported a noteworthy break through in the New England Journal of Medicine. The patient that you see in the video above is a 32 year-old man whose knee and lower leg were amputated in 2009 after a motorcycle accident. The prosthetic leg that you see, isn’t the standard grade prosthetic, but is wired directly into the patient’s muscles giving him full control over his prosthetic simply by thinking about moving his leg. In a sense, hijacking the signal that would be sent down the hamstring and to the missing foot.
The major advancement in this technology is that the patient no longer requires a remote-control switch or exaggerated movements to tell the robotic leg to execute a certain movement.
“To our knowledge, this is the first time that neural signals have been used to control both a motorized knee and ankle prosthesis,” According to Hargrove.
In past experiments of robotic prosthetics researchers have shown that individuals that were paralyzed could move a robotic arm using their thoughts such as Matt Nagle, the first person to control an artificial handusing a BCI as part of the first nine-month human trial of Cyberkinestic’s BrainGate chip-implant. What separates the technology that Matt used and our current prosthetic user is that instead of using a typical BCI, it uses the muscle signals to amplify the messages sent by the brain when the person wants to move.
“In order to use muscles as amplifiers to surgeons redirect the nerves that previously controlled a part of the patient’s lower leg muscles so that they would cause the muscles in his thigh to contract in a technique called targeted muscle reinnervation. “ – Nature
They then used the sensors that were embedded in the robotic leg to calculate the electrical pulse created by the reinnervated muscle contraction and the existing thigh muscles. When researchers combined all of this data with the additional information from the sensors, the patient was able to use the prostatic more accurately than when attempting to control the leg with its sensor alone.
Researchers hope that within the next three to five years this technology should be available to the public to help give mobility back to people who have lost a limb.
Monday, September 30, 2013
Menlo Park, Calif. — In an advance that could dramatically shrink particle accelerators for science and medicine, researchers used a laser to accelerate electrons at a rate 10 times higher than conventional technology in a nanostructured glass chip smaller than a grain of rice.
The achievement was reported today in Nature by a team including scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University.
“We still have a number of challenges before this technology becomes practical for real-world use, but eventually it would substantially reduce the size and cost of future high-energy particle colliders for exploring the world of fundamental particles and forces,” said Joel England, the SLAC physicist who led the experiments. “It could also help enable compact accelerators and X-ray devices for security scanning, medical therapy and imaging, and research in biology and materials science.”
Because it employs commercial lasers and low-cost, mass-production techniques, the researchers believe it will set the stage for new generations of "tabletop" accelerators.
At its full potential, the new “accelerator on a chip” could match the accelerating power of SLAC’s 2-mile-long linear accelerator in just 100 feet, and deliver a million more electron pulses per second.
This initial demonstration achieved an acceleration gradient, or amount of energy gained per length, of 300 million electronvolts per meter. That's roughly 10 times the acceleration provided by the current SLAC linear accelerator.
“Our ultimate goal for this structure is 1 billion electronvolts per meter, and we’re already one-third of the way in our first experiment,” said Stanford Professor Robert Byer, the principal investigator for this research.
This animation explains how the accelerator on a chip uses infrared laser light to accelerate electrons to increasingly higher energies. (Greg Stewart/SLAC)
How It Works
Today’s accelerators use microwaves to boost the energy of electrons. Researchers have been looking for more economical alternatives, and this new technique, which uses ultrafast lasers to drive the accelerator, is a leading candidate.
Particles are generally accelerated in two stages. First they are boosted to nearly the speed of light. Then any additional acceleration increases their energy, but not their speed; this is the challenging part.
In the accelerator-on-a-chip experiments, electrons are first accelerated to near light-speed in a conventional accelerator. Then they are focused into a tiny, half-micron-high channel within a fused silica glass chip just half a millimeter long. The channel had been patterned with precisely spaced nanoscale ridges. Infrared laser light shining on the pattern generates electrical fields that interact with the electrons in the channel to boost their energy. (See the accompanying animation for more detail.)
Turning the accelerator on a chip into a full-fledged tabletop accelerator will require a more compact way to get the electrons up to speed before they enter the device.
A collaborating research group in Germany, led by Peter Hommelhoff at Friedrich Alexander Universityand the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, has been looking for such a solution. Itsimultaneously reports in Physical Review Letters its success in using a laser to accelerate lower-energy electrons.
Applications for these new particle accelerators would go well beyond particle physics research. Byer said laser accelerators could drive compact X-ray free-electron lasers, comparable to SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source, that are all-purpose tools for a wide range of research.
Another possible application is small, portable X-ray sources to improve medical care for people injured in combat, as well as provide more affordable medical imaging for hospitals and laboratories. That’s one of the goals of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Advanced X-Ray Integrated Sources (AXiS) program, which partially funded this research. Primary funding for this research is from the DOE’s Office of Science.
SLAC's Joel England explains how the same fabrication techniques used for silicon computer microchips allowed their team to create the new laser-driven particle accelerator chips. (SLAC)
The study's lead authors were Stanford graduate students Edgar Peralta and Ken Soong. Peralta created the patterned fused silica chips in the Stanford Nanofabrication Facility. Soong implemented the high-precision laser optics for the experiment at SLAC’s Next Linear Collider Test Accelerator. Additional contributors included researchers from the University of California-Los Angeles and Tech-X Corp. in Boulder, Colo.
SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, California, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. To learn more, please visitwww.slac.stanford.edu.
DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.
Citation: E. A. Peralta et al., Nature, 27 Sept 2013 (10.1038/nature12664)
Press Office Contact: Andy Freeberg, SLAC, firstname.lastname@example.org, (650) 926-4359
Press Office Contact: Andy Freeberg, SLAC, email@example.com, (650) 926-4359
Robert Byer, Stanford University, firstname.lastname@example.org, (650) 723-0226
Joel England, SLAC, email@example.com, (650) 926-3706
*This post was taken from http://www6.slac.stanford.edu/news/2013-09-27-accelerator-on-a-chip.aspx*
Michigan Technological University researchers have developed a way to use self-assembled titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanotubes to lower the rate of dental-implant failures.
Dental implants are posts, usually made of titanium, that are surgically placed into the jawbone and topped with artificial teeth.
While most dental implants are successful, a small percentage fail and either fall out or must be removed.
“There are two main issues that concern dentists: infection and separation from the bone,” said Tolou Shokuhfar, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering.
The mouth is a dirty place, so bacterial infections are a risk after implant surgery, and sometimes bone fails to heal securely around the device.
Because jawbones are somewhat thin and delicate, replacing a failed implant can be difficult, not to mention expensive. Generally, dentists charge between $2,000 and $4,000 to install a single implant, and the procedure is rarely covered by insurance.
Shokuhfar is now working with Cortino Sukotjo, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Dentistry on a dental implant with a surface made from TiO2 nanotubes, but she has been making and testing them for several years.
“We have done toxicity tests on the nanotubes, and not only did they not kill cells, they encouraged growth,” she said.
She has already demonstrated that bone cells grow more vigorously and adhere better to titanium coated with TiO2 nanotubes than to conventional titanium surfaces. That could keep more dental implants in place.
The nanotubes can also be a drug delivery system. Shokuhfar’s team, in collaboration with Alexander Yarin, a professor in UIC’s Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, loaded TiO2 nanotubes with the anti-inflammatory drug sodium naproxen and demonstrated that it could be released gradually after implant surgery.
That assures that the medicine gets where it’s needed, and it reduces the chances of unpleasant side effects that arise when a drug is injected or taken orally.
To fight infection, the TiO2 nanotubes can also be laced with silver nanoparticles. Shokuhfar and Craig Friedrich, who holds the Richard and Bonnie Robbins Chair of Sustainable Design and Manufacturing at Michigan Tech, are conducting research, as yet unpublished, that is focused on orthopedic implants, such as artificial hips, but which also applies to dental implants.
“Silver has antimicrobial properties, and we are capable of obtaining a dose that can kill microbes but would not hurt healthy cells and tissues,” she said. In particular, it can help prevent biofilms, vast colonies of bacteria that can cover implants and be very difficult to eradicate. A nanotextured implant surface embedded with silver nanoparticles could prevent infection for the life of the implant.
The TiO2 nanotubes also have a cosmetic advantage: transparency. That’s a plus for any dental implant, but especially for a new type made from zirconia, which some patients choose because it is totally white.
Shokuhfar expects that implants with the new nanotubular surface will be easily assimilated into the market, since titanium implants, both dental and orthopedic, have a long history.
Shokuhfar and Friedrich have received a provisional patent and are working with two hospitals to further develop the technology and eventually license it. “As soon as the related paper work is taken care of and we get the FDA approval, the technology could be applied. However I am not aware how long all that would take,” she told KurzweilAI.
- Tolou Shokuhfar et al., Intercalation of anti-inflammatory drug molecules within TiO2 nanotubes, RSC Advances, 2013, DOI: 10.1039/C3RA42173B
- T. Shokuhfar et al., Biophysical Evaluation of Osteoblasts on TiO2 Nanotubes, Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine, 2011, Under Revision
- Patent: US 2013/0196128, COMPOSITIONS, METHODS AND DEVICES FOR GENERATING NANOTUBES ON A SURFACE
*All credit for this post goes to: http://www.kurzweilai.net/dental-implants-that-heal-faster-and-fight-infection *