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Thubber??? Exoskeletons Electro-Muscles and other Artificial Physical Aids
#1
Researchers engineer 'thubber,' a stretchable rubber that packs a thermal conductive punch
February 13, 2017

[Image: 8-researcherse.jpg]
A nano-CT scan of "thubber," showing the liquid metal microdroplets inside the rubber material. Credit: Carnegie Mellon University


Carmel Majidi and Jonathan Malen of Carnegie Mellon University have developed a thermally conductive rubber material that represents a breakthrough for creating soft, stretchable machines and electronics. The findings were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week.



The new material, nicknamed "thubber," is an electrically insulating composite that exhibits an unprecedented combination of metal-like thermal conductivity, elasticity similar to soft, biological tissue, and can stretch over six times its initial length.
"Our combination of high thermal conductivity and elasticity is especially critical for rapid heat dissipation in applications such as wearable computing and soft robotics, which require mechanical compliance and stretchable functionality," said Majidi, an associate professor of mechanical engineering.
Applications could extend to industries like athletic wear and sports medicine—think of lighted clothing for runners and heated garments for injury therapy. Advanced manufacturing, energy, and transportation are other areas where stretchable electronic material could have an impact.
"Until now, high power devices have had to be affixed to rigid, inflexible mounts that were the only technology able to dissipate heat efficiently," said Malen, an associate professor of mechanical engineering. "Now, we can create stretchable mounts for LED lights or computer processors that enable high performance without overheating in applications that demand flexibility, such as light-up fabrics and iPads that fold into your wallet."

The key ingredient in "thubber" is a suspension of non-toxic, liquid metal microdroplets. The liquid state allows the metal to deform with the surrounding rubber at room temperature. When the rubber is pre-stretched, the droplets form elongated pathways that are efficient for heat travel. Despite the amount of metal, the material is also electrically insulating.
To demonstrate these findings, the team mounted an LED light onto a strip of the material to create a safety lamp worn around a jogger's leg. The "thubber" dissipated the heat from the LED, which would have otherwise burned the jogger. The researchers also created a soft robotic fish that swims with a "thubber" tail, without using conventional motors or gears.
[Image: 7-researcherse.jpg]
Navid Kazem (left), Jonathan Malen (center), and Carmel Majidi (right) demonstrate the elasticity of a strip of 'thubber,' a thermally conductive rubber material that represents a breakthrough for creating soft, stretchable machines and electronics. Navid is a Ph.D. student and Malen/Majidi are associate professors of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Credit: Lisa Kulick
"As the field of flexible electronics grows, there will be a greater need for materials like ours," said Majidi. "We can also see it used for artificial muscles that power bio-inspired robots."
Majidi and Malen acknowledge the efforts of lead authors Michael Bartlett, Navid Kazem, and Matthew Powell-Palm in performing this multidisciplinary work. They also acknowledge funding from the Air Force, NASA, and the Army Research Office.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Breakthrough soft electronics fabrication method is a first step to DIY smart tattoos
More information: High thermal conductivity in soft elastomers with elongated liquid metal inclusions, Proceedings of the National Academy of Scienceswww.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1616377114 
Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: Carnegie Mellon University



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-02-thubber-st...l.html#jCp[/url][url=https://phys.org/news/2017-02-thubber-stretchable-rubber-thermal.html#jCp]



Exosuits and Exoskeletons will be hitting milestones and ramping up from 2017-2026
The DARPA Warrior Web program aims to significantly lower the “metabolic cost” — or energy expenditure — of troops operating in the field, and reduce the physiological burden of the gear that they carry, which can exceed 100 pounds.


They are developing soft robotic exosuits that are designed to provide power and torque to critical body joints. At least 15 Warrior Web prototypes have been tested in laboratories and outdoor settings.
The amount of reduction depends on the individual wearing the suit, but researchers have seen greater than 10 percent in some cases, he said.
Conor Walsh, a leading robotics expert at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, said the goal is to achieve a reduction of 25 percent or more. “The exciting thing is that you’re able to now kind of say … it’s possible to make it easier for a healthy person to walk when carrying a load,” he said. “Now we’re kind of at this next juncture … to say, ‘How do we make the benefit as big as possible?’”
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley is bullish about the potential of robotic exosuits.
“They’re not ready for prime time today but … I think within 10 years things like that [soft exosuis) are going to be very, very possible on the battlefield,” he said at a recent conference.
For the Warrior Web program, DARPA has set the maximum power consumption from the battery source at 100 watts. But the equipment would probably need to consume less than that for it to be viable in the field, Girolamo said

Weight is also a concern. A heavy exosuit would add to the warfighter’s load burden and offset any metabolic reduction gains that it could generate. A system would likely need to weigh 6 kilograms or less to be effective, said Tom Sugar, an engineering professor and the co-founder of Arizona State University’s Human Machine Integration Lab, which has received DARPA funding for exosuit development.
Army officials recently held a preliminary design review of a Wyss Institute robotic system and discussed improvements that could be made. The metabolic reduction numbers “looked good,” and a limited user evaluation is slated for spring 2017, Girolamo said. 



Walsh expects to demonstrate the “optimized version” of his team’s prototype suit next summer.
Development efforts undertaken thus far have put Army scientists and engineers in a strong position to take the project to the next level, Girolamo said.
Modular Exoskeletons are being used to reduce workplace injuries and some modules cost less than $10,000

SuitX, a spin-off of the University of California, Berkeley, that makes exoskeletons for those with disabilities, has launched a trio of devices that use robotic technologies to enhance the abilities of able-bodied workers and prevent common workplace injuries.



The Modular Agile eXoskeleton, or MAX, consists of three components—backX, shoulderX, and legX—that lower the forces on different joints and muscles. They can be worn individually or together to help with lifting, carrying, squatting, and other repetitive manual tasks.

The MAX system is designed to provide a flexible exoskeleton solution that can be adapted for a variety of different workplace tasks. The result is a versatile system that can allow workers to complete shoulder, lower back, and leg intensive tasks with reduced injury risk while remaining comfortable enough to wear all day. MAX is composed of three exoskeleton modules: backX, shoulderX, and legX. Each module can be worn independently and in any combination depending on need. All modules intelligently engage when you need them, and don’t impede you otherwise. Ascending and descending stairs and ladders, driving, and biking are completely unimpeded.

Countless field evaluations conducted at construction, material handling, shipbuilding, foundry, and airport baggage handling sites in the US and Japan, as well as research in Berkeley led to the development of MAX modules. Extensive laboratory evaluations on MAX at the University of California indicate the MAX system reduces muscle force required to complete tasks by as much as 60 percent. MAX won two Saint Gobain Nova Innovation Awards for its intelligent design, effectiveness, affordability, outstanding ergonomic features and ease of use.

Designed for all-day wear, backX never impedes natural movements and the wearer can walk, ascend and descend stairs and ladders, drive automobiles, ride bicycles, run and perform any maneuver with absolutely no restriction.
ShoulderX supports 15 pounds per arm and shoulder

BackX reduces 30 lbs from back load
The shoulder, back and legs are where 90% of workplace injuries occur.
The Medical FDA approval should be in early 2018.

The workplace exosuit is available this month.
  • Adjustable Support: Support capacity can be quickly changed to accommodate different users, tools, tasks, and fatigue level.

  • Optimized Support: Support force gradually increases as the user lifts his arms and becomes near zero when the arms are lowered, allowing the user to rest arms naturally or reach for tools on their tool belt.

  • Load Distribution: shoulderX transfers forces from the arms to the hips when worn alone, or to the ground when worn in conjunction with legX

  • Adjustable Size: Fits range of worker height, waist size, shoulder width, chest depth, and arm length (5%-95% of human dimensions)

  • Anthropometric Profile: Follows user's body to fit in tight spaces and changing environments

  • Lightweight: shoulderX weighs 10.6 lbs (4.8 kg) with one arm attached and 12.4 lbs (5.6 kg) with two arms attached

  • No Batteries Required: Cleverly designed to reduce the risk of shoulder and arm injuries without the use of actuators and computers

  • Rugged: Waterproof, dustproof, and easy to maintain

  • Comfortable: Minimal inhibition of arm and torso range of motion. Designed for all-day wear

  • Modular: One or two arm use, compatible with backX and legX.

  • Compatible: Compatible with standard construction safety harnesses and tool belts, allowing workers normal equipment to retain functionality

  • Quick Donning and Doffing: Less than 1 minute to put on or take off
Marine Mojo - Knee injury protection
The company Twenty Knots Plus (20KTS+) is developing a creative new exoskeleton: the Marine Mojo. The Marine Mojo is a passive, single task exoskeleton with a specialized target market. It absorbs the shocks and vibrations from standing on fast moving, small water crafts. These types of speed boats are often used by the military, Coastguard, police and wildlife government agencies to patrol bays and rivers.
US Special Forces should see liquid armor TALOS exoskeleton prototypes by 2018
US Special Ops Command plans to have some initial TALOS exoskeleton suit prototypes by 2018.
Progress is being made on exoskeletons for US special forces. The exoskeletons are designed to increase strength and protection and help keep valuable operators alive when they kick down doors and engage in combat.
The Australian army is working with US special ops command on exoskeletons that will give soldiers superhuman strength. Trials of the latest powered titanium ­exoskeletons likely to take place in 2017. The custom-made titanium suit clips around the body, with its spine taking the weight of a soldier’s pack.
“Version one is not powered but we are currently working on a powered version for the US,” he said. “In the US, it’s called the Iron Man Project.”
The powered suits sense ­muscle reflexes and activate to take the weight of the soldier’s movement.
While the company featured its exoskeleton at a major gathering of military and defense industries in Adelaide in August, it could not be photographed, Mr Graham said.
The technologies currently being developed include 
  • body suit-type exoskeletons

  • strength and power-increasing systems and

  • additional protection.
Liquid Piston high efficiency engine
Liquid Piston is developing several small rotary internal combustion engines developed to operate on the High Efficiency Hybrid Cycle (HEHC). The cycle, which combines high compression ratio (CR), constant-volume (isochoric) combustion, and overexpansion, has a theoretical efficiency of 75% using air-standard assumptions and first-law analysis. This innovative rotary engine architecture shows a potential indicated efficiency of 60% and brake efficiency of over 50%. As this engine does not have poppet valves and the gas is fully expanded before the exhaust stroke starts, the engine has potential to be quiet. Similar to the Wankel rotary engine, the ‘X’ engine has only two primary moving parts – a shaft and rotor, resulting in compact size and offering low-vibration operation. Unlike the Wankel, however, the X engine is uniquely configured to adopt the HEHC cycle and its associated efficiency and low-noise benefits. The result is an engine which is compact, lightweight, low-vibration, quiet, and fuel-efficient.
  • High power density – up to 2 HP / Lb (3.3 kW / kg)

  • 30% smaller and lighter for spark-ignition (SI) gasoline engines

  • Up to 75% smaller and lighter for compression-ignition (CI) diesel engines
In an exoskeleton the engines would only be run to recharge batteries.
Liquid Armor
A SOCOM statement said some of the potential technologies planned for TALOS research and development include 
  • advanced armor,

  • command and control computers,

  • power generators, and

  • enhanced mobility exoskeletons.


The TALOS program is costing an estimated $80 million.



TALOS will have a physiological subsystem that lies against the skin that is embedded with sensors to monitor core body temperature, skin temperature, heart rate, body position and hydration levels



MIT and Poland working on liquid body armor



MIT is developing a next-generation kind of armor called “liquid body armor.”



Liquid body armor transforms from liquid to solid in milliseconds when a magnetic field or electrical current is applied.



Scientists at a Polish company that produce body armor systems are working to implement a non-Newtonian liquid in their products.



The liquid is called Shear-Thickening Fluid (STF). STF does not conform to the model of Newtonian liquids, such as water, in which the force required to move the fluid faster must increase exponentially, and its resistance to flow changes according to temperature. Instead STF hardens upon impact at any temperature, providing protection from penetration by high-speed projectiles and additionally dispersing energy over a larger area



The exact composition of the STF is known only to Moratex and its inventors at the Military Institute of Armament Technology in Warsaw, but ballistic tests proved its resistance to a wide range of projectiles.



"We needed to find, design a liquid that functions both with projectiles hitting at the velocity of 450 meters per second and higher. We have succeeded," said Deputy Director for Research at the Moratex institute, Marcin Struszczyk.



Struszczyk said the liquid's stopping capability, combined with the lower indentation of its surface, provides a higher safety level for the user compared with traditional, mostly Kevlar-based, solutions.



"If a protective vest is fitted to the body, then a four centimeter deep deflection may cause injury to the sternum, sternum fracture, myocardial infarction, lethal damage to the spleen," Struszczyk said.



"Thanks to the properties of the liquid, thanks to the proper formation of the insert, we eliminate one hundred percent of this threat because we have reduced the deflection from four centimeters to one centimeter."



When hit by a high-speed projectile, a wide area of the STF hardens instantly, causing the usually massive energy to be dispersed away from the wearer's internal organs.



Implementing the solution in body armor required designing special inserts, but the company says those are lighter than standard ballistic inserts and broader range of movement for their users in the police and military.



The laboratory is also working on a magnetorheological fluid, which they hope can be also applied in their products.


According to the researchers, both liquids can find applications beyond body armor, such as in the production of professional sports inserts, and even entire outfits. Another use could be in car bumpers or road protective barriers.
http://www.nextbigfuture.com/2016/12/exo...ll-be.html


'Knitted muscles' provide power: Normal fabric with electroactive coating adds 'muscle'January 25, 2017

Researchers have coated normal fabric with an electroactive material, and in this way given it the ability to actuate in the same way as muscle fibres. The technology opens new opportunities to design "textile muscles" that could, for example, be incorporated into clothes, making it easier for people with disabilities to move. The study, which has been carried out by researchers at Linköping University and the University of Borås in Sweden, has been published in Science Advances.

Developments in robot technology and prostheses have been rapid, due to technological breakthroughs. For example, devices known as "exoskeletons" that act as an external skeleton and muscles have been developed to reinforce a person's own mobility.
"Enormous and impressive advances have been made in the development of exoskeletons, which now enable people with disabilities to walk again. But the existing technology looks like rigid robotic suits. It is our dream to create exoskeletons that are similar to items of clothing, such as "running tights" that you can wear under your normal clothes. Such device could make it easier for older persons and those with impaired mobility to walk," says Edwin Jager, associate professor at Division of Sensor and Actuator Systems, Linköping University.
Current exoskeletons are driven by motors or pressurised air and develop power in this way. In the new study, the researchers have instead used the advantages provided by lightweight and flexible fabrics, and developed what can be described as "textile muscles". The researchers have used mass-producible fabric and coated it with an electroactive material. It is in this special coating that the force in the textile muscles arises. A low voltage applied to the fabric causes the electroactive material to change volume, causing the yarn or fibres to increase in length. The properties of the textile are controlled by its woven or knitted structure. Researchers can exploit this principle, depending on how the textile is to be used.
"If we weave the fabric, for example, we can design it to produce a high force. In this case, the extension of the fabric is the same as that of the individual threads. But what happens is that the force developed is much higher when the threads are connected in parallel in the weave. This is the same as in our muscles. Alternatively, we can use an extremely stretchable knitted structure in order to increase the effective extension," says Nils-Krister Persson, associate professor in the Smart Textiles Initiative at the Swedish School of Textiles, University of Borås.
The researchers show in the article that the textile muscles can be used in a simple robot device to lift a small weight. They demonstrate that the technology enables new ways to design and manufacture devices known as "actuators", which - like motors and biological muscles - can exert a force.
"Our approach may make it possible in the long term to manufacture actuators in a simple way and hopefully at a reasonable cost by using already existing textile production technologies. What's more interesting, however, is that it may open completely new applications in the future, such as integrating textile muscles into items of clothing," says Edwin Jager.

###

The research has received financial support from, among others, the Carl Trygger Foundation, the Swedish Research Council, the Smart Textiles Initiative (VINNOVA), the European Scientific Network for Artificial Muscles and the EU's 7th Framework Programme.

Linköping University. "'Knitted muscles' provide power: Normal fabric with electroactive coating adds 'muscle'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 January 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170125145944.htm>.




Material can turn sunlight, heat and movement into electricity -- all at once

Extracting energy from multiple sources could help power wearable technologyFebruary 7, 2017



Many forms of energy surround you: sunlight, the heat in your room and even your own movements. All that energy -- normally wasted -- can potentially help power your portable and wearable gadgets, from biometric sensors to smart watches. Now, researchers from the University of Oulu in Finland have found that a mineral with the perovskite crystal structure has the right properties to extract energy from multiple sources at the same time.

Perovskites are a family of minerals, many of which have shown promise for harvesting one or two types of energy at a time -- but not simultaneously. One family member may be good for solar cells, with the right properties for efficiently converting solar energy into electricity. Meanwhile, another is adept at harnessing energy from changes in temperature and pressure, which can arise from motion, making them so-called pyroelectric and piezoelectric materials, respectively.
Sometimes, however, just one type of energy isn't enough. A given form of energy isn't always available -- maybe it's cloudy or you're in a meeting and can't get up to move around. Other researchers have developed devices that can harness multiple forms of energy, but they require multiple materials, adding bulk to what's supposed to be a small and portable device.
This week in Applied Physics Letters, from AIP Publishing, Yang Bai and his colleagues at the University of Oulu explain their research on a specific type of perovskite called KBNNO, which may be able to harness many forms of energy. Like all perovskites, KBNNO is a ferroelectric material, filled with tiny electric dipoles analogous to tiny compass needles in a magnet.
When ferroelectric materials like KBNNO undergo changes in temperature, their dipoles misalign, which induces an electric current. Electric charge also accumulates according to the direction the dipoles point. Deforming the material causes certain regions to attract or repel charges, again generating a current.
Previous researchers have studied KBNNO's photovoltaic and general ferroelectric properties, but they did so at temperatures a couple hundred degrees below freezing, and they didn't focus on properties related to temperature or pressure. The new study represents the first time anyone has evaluated all of these properties at once above room temperature, Bai said.
The experiments showed that while KBNNO is reasonably good at generating electricity from heat and pressure, it isn't quite as good as other perovskites. Perhaps the most promising finding, however, is that the researchers can modify the composition of KBNNO to improve its pyroelectric and piezoelectric properties. "It is possible that all these properties can be tuned to a maximum point," said Bai, who, with his colleagues, is already exploring such an improved material by preparing KBNNO with sodium.
Within the next year, Bai said, he hopes to build a prototype multi-energy-harvesting device. The fabrication process is straightforward, so commercialization could come in just a few years once researchers identify the best material.
"This will push the development of the Internet of Things and smart cities, where power-consuming sensors and devices can be energy sustainable," he said.
This kind of material would likely supplement the batteries on your devices, improving energy efficiency and reducing how often you need to recharge. One day, Bai said, multi-energy harvesting may mean you won't have to plug in your gadgets anymore. Batteries for small devices may even become obsolete.


American Institute of Physics. "Material can turn sunlight, heat and movement into electricity -- all at once: Extracting energy from multiple sources could help power wearable technology." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 February 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170207142711.htm>.
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
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#2
Researchers apply textile fabrication principles to the production of microactuators
February 7, 2017

[Image: 5-researchersa.jpg]
Credit: Shutterstock
The EU funded POLYACT project applied textile fabrication principles to the production of microactuators, offering a range of biomedical applications both inside and outside the body.


There are a range of advances in biotechnology which take advantage of the ability to manipulate biology at the microscopic level. Yet those fields which rely on optimum dexterity and materials compliance face significant hurdles in realising their full potential. For example, being able to grasp cells and tissues for microsurgery has typically relied on the suction power provided by micropipettes, with the risk of actually causing damage due to their rigid design and little or no force control. Additionally, microrobotic devices driven by electric motors or pneumatic systems, are often bulky, heavy, noisy and crucially when exploited for human interfaces, feel highly artificial to the user.
The EU funded POLYACT project set out to address these limitations through the microfabrication of polymer microactuators. By exerting power in the same manner as that of muscles and motors, these actuators when patterned could then be exploited for soft, flexible micromanipulations applied to a variety of tasks. The micro-sized actuators were smaller than existing technology to 1-2 orders of magnitude.
Small scale production
POLYACT was able to develop, fabricate and evaluate two generations of soft and flexible microactuators, and two new fabrication methods. The team first fabricated individually controlled polyvinylidene difluoride solid polymer electrolyte (PVDF SPE) thin film based milli-actuators, but found that without a high enough ionic conductivity, the required flexibility was not achieved. The team then had to redesign the layout of the actuator and try alternatives to PVDF SPE, with interpenetrating polymer networks (IPN) proving to be the most suitable candidate. The team also had to adapt their technique of patterning highly conductive polymer electrodes, moving from a metal based approach to that which uses electronic conducting polymer layers, which were electrochemically synthesised. The resulting actuators required only a small amount of electric power as low as 20-30 mW, and low potentials (~1-2 V); allowing these micromanipulation tools, which carried their own power source, to be individually controlled.
At the beginning of the project the team highlighted the contribution that the POLYACT project offers for internal biomedicine. They cited its application in biomedical interventions such as optical shutters and diaphragms, but especially for the use of remote controlled microrobotic technology inside a patient's body, as it reduces the risk of surgery induced trauma. However, soft manipulator technology holds out promises for a wider paradigm shift based around its characteristic of better matching the texture and consistency of biological objects, than available alternatives.
Back to the future with textuators
Last year members of the project team published an article in the journal Science Advances which explained how fabricating patterned actuators was a process that could be likened to textiles production and so they dubbed their creations, 'textuators'. This paradigm allowed the team to utilise knowledge from textiles production about the relative properties - such as strength, flexibility and strain - accruing to design, depending on how it is woven and/or knitted. When combined with the feasibility of mass fabrication, the POLYACT technology holds out promise for a range of human interface applications.
The Science Advances article points to innovations in the field of assistive devices such as exoskeleton-like suits, hidden under clothes, with integrated wearable actuators that feel natural and lifelike. Here the textuators could provide muscle functions, aiding people with restricted movement such as the aged or people living with disabilities. Further down the line, the team speak of adding 'sensing yarns into the fabric' which would enable a feedback mechanism that would increase user control.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: 'Knitted muscles' provide power
More information: Project page: cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/187974_en.html 
Journal reference: Science Advances [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: CORDIS



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-02-textile-fa...s.html#jCp[url=https://phys.org/news/2017-02-textile-fabrication-principles-production-microactuators.html#jCp][/url]
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#3
Biomedical researchers suggest using robots to grow human tissue

March 3, 2017 by Bob Yirka

[Image: biomedicalre.jpg]
(Tech Xplore)—A pair of biomedical researchers with Oxford University is suggesting that human-like robots might provide the best platform for growing tissue to be transplanted into human patients. In a recent issue ofScience Robots, Pierre-Alexis Mouthuy and Andrew Carr offer a Focus piece outlining the way that human tissue is now grown and explain why they think moving the process to a robot would provide a better product.

Anyone who has suffered an injury or illness serious enough to force them to be bedridden for a length of time knows that without constant use, muscles do not grow or work properly—that is why Mouthuy and Carr are suggesting that if we are to grow functional humantissue, such as muscles, sinew or tendons, we need to do it in an environment that is as close to the human ideal as possible—and currently, that means robots. Growing muscle tissue on a scaffold, the current standard, does not provide a way to allow the tissue to move as it grows and to move in a way that it would if it were inside of a human body. That means it will never grow into tissue that is ready for use; instead, it will be a reasonable facsimile—one that requires the recipient to undergo extensive physical therapy to coax weak tissue into strong muscles and connectors.
Mouthuy and Carr suggest the time is now for considering robots as tissue growing platforms (bioreactors) because both technologies have matured to the point that it is now possible—and because an aging population is creating a strong demand for it. They note that extremely lifelike robots such as Eccerobot could provide the ideal platform—with some obvious modifications. The biggest hurdle, they note, is figuring out how to apply wet tissue to dry robot parts, some of which contain sensitive electronics. Such a robot would also have to move the same ways a person does, obviously, to ensure that the tissue grows to meet the right demands. To that end, the robot would have to engage in physical activities that stress the growing tissue appropriately. To make sure things are going well, sensors could be embedded inside.
Moving tissue growth to robot bioreactors would offer another benefit as well, the researchers point out—the promotion of the development of robots that look just like us, because they would have real human skin and other tissue.


[Image: img-dot.gif] Explore further: A way to magnetically control individual members of a robot swarm
More information: Pierre-Alexis Mouthuy et al. Growing tissue grafts on humanoid robots: A future strategy in regenerative medicine?, Science Robotics (2017). DOI: 10.1126/scirobotics.aam5666
Abstract 
Humanoid robots may enhance growth of musculoskeletal tissue grafts for tissue transplant applications. 

https://techxplore.com/news/2017-03-biom...issue.html
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Reply
#4
...
It's amazing to see the developing technologies go exponential in new discovery.
But just like the space program getting recent stated goals possibly accomplished 5-10-15-20 years from now,
I don't see a lot of this new tech making it into the mainstream before I die.  Cry

I am amazed that somehow somewhere free clean energy discovery still hasn't been fulfilled.
Or antigrav and whatever propulsion breakthroughs.

The cure for cancer Nonono
... been hearing about that for 40 years now ...

... ain't gonna happen ... just like free clean energy ... no money to be made in either solution.

It almost feels like you can reach out with your hands,
and fingertip feel the moment of impending discovery for free clean energy -- cold fusion -- 
or interstellar warp drive ...
what
the 
heck
where's my time travel machine?

Sure seems like a lot of the remanufactured car parts these days are failing.
Sheets of 4 inch foam for couches and such were 140$ at the hardware store today.
They were 20-40$ a sheet just 11 years ago. 

The global social technological infrastructure seems to be on the verge of absolute great discovery,
and complete total collapse at the same time.
...
Reply
#5
'Synthetic skin' could lead to advanced prosthetic limbs capable of returning sense of touch to amputees
March 23, 2017 by Ross Barker

[Image: 58d39aeaa56e3.jpg]
Engineers from the University of Glasgow, who have previously developed an 'electronic skin' covering for prosthetic hands made from graphene, have found a way to use some of graphene's remarkable physical properties to use energy from the sun to power the skin.



Graphene is a highly flexible form of graphite which, despite being just a single atom thick, is stronger than steel, electrically conductive, and transparent. It is graphene's optical transparency, which allows around 98% of the light which strikes its surface to pass directly through it, which makes it ideal for gathering energy from the sun to generate power.
A new research paper, published today in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, describes how Dr Dahiya and colleagues from his Bendable Electronics and Sensing Technologies (BEST) group have integrated power-generating photovoltaic cells into their electronic skin for the first time.
Dr Dahiya, from the University of Glasgow's School of Engineering, said: "Human skin is an incredibly complex system capable of detecting pressure, temperature and texture through an array of neural sensors which carry signals from the skin to the brain.
"My colleagues and I have already made significant steps in creating prosthetic prototypes which integrate synthetic skin and are capable of making very sensitive pressure measurements. Those measurements mean the prosthetic hand is capable of performing challenging tasks like properly gripping soft materials, which other prosthetics can struggle with. We are also using innovative 3-D printing strategies to build more affordable sensitive prosthetic limbs, including the formation of a very active student club called 'Helping Hands'.

video:https://phys.org/news/2017-03-synthetic-skin-advanced-prosthetic-limbs.html
Credit: Advanced Functional Materials. DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201606287
"Skin capable of touch sensitivity also opens the possibility of creating robots capable of making better decisions about human safety. A robot working on a construction line, for example, is much less likely to accidentally injure a human if it can feel that a person has unexpectedly entered their area of movement and stop before an injury can occur."
The new skin requires just 20 nanowatts of power per square centimetre, which is easily met even by the poorest-quality photovoltaic cells currently available on the market. And although currently energy generated by the skin's photovoltaic cells cannot be stored, the team are already looking into ways to divert unused energy into batteries, allowing the energy to be used as and when it is required.

video:https://phys.org/news/2017-03-synthetic-skin-advanced-prosthetic-limbs.html
Credit: Advanced Functional Materials. DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201606287
Dr Dahiya added: "The other next step for us is to further develop the power-generation technology which underpins this research and use it to power the motors which drive the prosthetic hand itself. This could allow the creation of an entirely energy-autonomous prosthetic limb.
"We've already made some encouraging progress in this direction and we're looking forward to presenting those results soon. We are also exploring the possibility of building on these exciting results to develop wearable systems for affordable healthcare. In this direction, recently we also got small funds from Scottish Funding Council."
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Research team finds way to produce large-area graphene 100 times cheaper
More information: Energy‐Autonomous, Flexible, and Transparent Tactile Skin. Advanced Functional MaterialsDOI: 10.1002/adfm.201606287 
Journal reference: Advanced Functional Materials [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: University of Glasgow



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-03-synthetic-...s.html#jCp[url=https://phys.org/news/2017-03-synthetic-skin-advanced-prosthetic-limbs.html#jCp][/url]
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#6
New stem cell method produces millions of human brain and muscle cells in days
March 23, 2017

[Image: 58d3f6ba4b991.jpg]
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute scientists and their collaborators at the University of Cambridge have created a new technique that simplifies the production of human brain and muscle cells - allowing millions of functional cells to be generated in just a few days. The results published today (23 March) in Stem Cell Reports open the door to producing a diversity of new cell types that could not be made before in order to study disease.


Human pluripotent stem cells offer the ability to create any tissue, including those which are typically hard to access, such as brain cells. They hold huge potential for studying human development and the impact of diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer's, Multiple Sclerosis, and heart disease.
In a human, it takes nine to twelve months for a single brain cell to develop fully. To create human brain cells, including grey matter (neurons) and white matter (oligodendrocytes) from an induced pluripotent stem cell, it can take between three and twenty weeks using current methods. However, these methods are complex and time-consuming, often producing a mixed population of cells.
The new platform technology, OPTi-OX, optimises the way of switching on genes in human stem cells. Scientists applied OPTi-OX to the production of millions of nearly identical cells in a matter of days. In addition to the neurons, oligodendrocytes, and muscle cells the scientists created in the study, OPTi-OX holds the possibility of generating any cell type at unprecedented purities, in this short timeframe.











 

These stem cells are being grown in to muscle cells (myocytes), using a new technique, OPTi-OX, that can grow them in a few days instead of months. The resulting muscle cells are fully functional and contract normally. The OPTi-OX method could be …more
To produce the neurons, oligodendrocytes, and muscle cells, scientists altered the DNA in the stem cells. By switching on carefully selected genes, the team "reprogrammed" the stem cells and created a large and nearly pure population of identical cells. The ability to produce as many cells as desired combined with the speed of the development gives an advantage over other methods. The new method opens the door to drug discovery, and potentially therapeutic applications in which large amounts of cells are needed.
An author of the study, Dr Ludovic Vallier from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute said: "What is really exciting is we only needed to change a few ingredients - transcription factors - to produce the exact cells we wanted in less than a week. We over-expressed factors that make stem cells directly convert into the desired cells, thereby bypassing development and shortening the process to just a few days."
OPTi-OX has applications in various projects, including the possibility to generate new cell types which may be uncovered by the Human Cell Atlas. The ability to produce human cells so quickly means the new method will facilitate more research.
Joint first author, Daniel Ortmann from the University of Cambridge, said: "When we receive a wealth of new information on the discovery of new cells from large scale projects, like the Human Cell Atlas, it means we'll be able to apply this method to produce any cell type in the body, but in a dish."
Mark Kotter, lead author and Clinician from the University of Cambridge, said: "Neurons produced in this study are already being used to understand brain development and function. This method opens the doors to producing all sorts of hard-to-access cells and tissues so we can better our understanding of diseases and the response of these tissues to newly developed therapeutics."
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Researchers turn stem cells into somites, precursors to skeletal muscle, cartilage and bone
More information: Matthias Pawlowski et al. (2017) Inducible and deterministic forward programming of human pluripotent stem cells. Stem Cell ReportsDOI: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2017.02.016 
Journal reference: Stem Cell Reports [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute



Read more at: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-03-stem-cell-method-millions-human.html#jCp[url=https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-03-stem-cell-method-millions-human.html#jCp][/url]
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Quote:Despite being made of rigid micro-rocks, the resulting 3D-painted material is flexible, elastic, and tough—similar to rubber. This is the first example of rubber-like or soft materials resulting from lunar and Martian simulant materials. The material can be cut, rolled, folded, and otherwise shaped after being 3D painted, if desired.

"We even 3D-printed interlocking bricks, similar to Legos, that can be used as building blocks," Shah said.


Shah and David Dunand, the James N. and Margie M. Krebs Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, are currently collaborating to optimize ways to fire these 3D-painted structures in a furnace, which is an optional process that can transform the soft, rubbery objects into hard, ceramic-like structures.




Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-04-method-d-extraterrestrial-materials.html#jCp


New method for 3-D printing extraterrestrial materials
April 12, 2017

[Image: 4-newmethodfor.jpg]
Tools and building blocks made by 3D printing with lunar and Martian dust. Credit: Northwestern University
When humans begin to colonize the moon and Mars, they will need to be able to make everything from small tools to large buildings using the limited surrounding resources.



Northwestern University's Ramille Shah and her Tissue Engineering and Additive Manufacturing (TEAM) Laboratory have demonstrated the ability to 3D-print structures with simulants of Martian and lunar dust. This work uses an extension of their "3D-painting process," a term that Shah and her team use for their novel 3D inks and printing method, which they previously employed to print hyperelastic "bone", 3D graphene and carbon nanotubes, and metals and alloys.
"For places like other planets and moons, where resources are limited, people would need to use what is available on that planet in order to live," said Shah, assistant professor of materials science and engineering at Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering and of surgery in the Feinberg School of Medicine. "Our 3D paints really open up the ability to print different functional or structural objects to make habitats beyond Earth."
Partially supported by a gift from Google and performed at Northwestern's Simpson Querrey Institute, the research was recently published in Nature Scientific Reports. Adam Jakus, a Hartwell postdoctoral fellow in Shah's TEAM lab, was the paper's first author.
Shah's research uses NASA-approved lunar and Martian dust simulants, which have similar compositions, particle shapes, and sizes to the dusts found on lunar and Martian surfaces. Shah's team created the lunar and Martian 3D paints using the respective dusts, a series of simple solvents, and biopolymer, then 3D printed them with a simple extrusion process. The resulting structures are over 90 percent dust by weight.
Despite being made of rigid micro-rocks, the resulting 3D-painted material is flexible, elastic, and tough—similar to rubber. This is the first example of rubber-like or soft materials resulting from lunar and Martian simulant materials. The material can be cut, rolled, folded, and otherwise shaped after being 3D painted, if desired.
"We even 3D-printed interlocking bricks, similar to Legos, that can be used as building blocks," Shah said.
Shah and David Dunand, the James N. and Margie M. Krebs Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, are currently collaborating to optimize ways to fire these 3D-painted structures in a furnace, which is an optional process that can transform the soft, rubbery objects into hard, ceramic-like structures. In the context of the broader 3D-painting technology, this work highlights the potential to use a single 3D printer on another planet to create structures from all kinds of materials.
Even though colonizing other planets might take a while, Shah believes that it's never too soon to start planning.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Printing 3-D graphene structures for tissue engineering
More information: Adam E. Jakus et al. Robust and Elastic Lunar and Martian Structures from 3D-Printed Regolith Inks, Scientific Reports (2017). DOI: 10.1038/srep44931 



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-04-method-d-e...s.html#jCp[/url]



Toyota shows robotic leg brace to help paralyzed people walk

April 12, 2017 by Yuri Kageyama



[Image: toyotashowsr.jpg]
A model demonstrates the Welwalk WW-1000, a wearable robotic leg brace designed to help partially paralyzed people walk at the main system with treadmill and monitor, at Toyota Motor Corp.'s head office in Tokyo, Wednesday, April 12, 2017. Toyota Motor Corp.'s Welwalk WW-1000 system is made up of a motorized mechanical frame that fits on a person's leg from the knee down. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Toyota is introducing a wearable robotic leg brace designed to help partially paralyzed people walk.


The Welwalk WW-1000 system is made up of a motorized mechanical frame that fits on a person's leg from the knee down. The patients can practice walking wearing the robotic device on a special treadmill that can support their weight.
Toyota Motor Corp. demonstrated the equipment for reporters at its Tokyo headquarters on Wednesday.
One hundred such systems will be rented to medical facilities in Japan later this year, Toyota said. The service entails a one-time initial charge of 1 million yen ($9,000) and a 350,000 yen ($3,200) monthly fee.
The gadget is designed to be worn on one leg at a time for patients severely paralyzed on one side of the body due to a stroke or other ailments, Eiichi Saito, a medical doctor and executive vice president at Fujita Health University, explained.
The university joined with Toyota in developing the device.
A person demonstrating it strapped the brace to her thigh, knee, ankle and foot and then showed how it is used to practice walking on the treadmill. Her body was supported from above by a harness and the motor helped to bend and straighten her knee. Sensors in the device monitor the walking and adjust quickly to help out. Medical staff control the system through a touch panel screen.
[Image: 1-toyotashowsr.jpg]
A model demonstrates the Welwalk WW-1000, a wearable robotic leg brace designed to help partially paralyzed people walk at the main system with treadmill and monitor, at Toyota Motor Corp.'s head office in Tokyo, Wednesday, April 12, 2017. Toyota Motor Corp.'s Welwalk WW-1000 system is made up of a motorized mechanical frame that fits on a person's leg from the knee down. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Japanese automakers have been developing robotics both for manufacturing and other uses. Honda Motor Co.'s Asimo humanoid can run and dance, pour a drink and carry on simple conversations, while WelWalk is more of a system that uses robotics than a stand-alone robot.
Given how common paralysis due to strokes is in fast-aging Japan, Toyota's device could be very helpful, Saito said. He said patients using it can recover more quickly as the sensitive robotic sensor in Welwalk fine-tunes the level of support better than a human therapist can.
"This helps just barely enough," said Saito, explaining that helping too much can slow progress in rehabilitation.
The field of robotic aids for walking and rehabilitation is growing quickly. A battery-powered wearable exoskeleton made by Israeli manufacturer ReWalk Robotics enables people relying on a wheelchair to stand upright and walk.
[Image: 2-toyotashowsr.jpg]
A model demonstrates the Welwalk WW-1000, a wearable robotic leg brace designed to help partially paralyzed people walk at the main system with treadmill and monitor, at Toyota Motor Corp.'s head office in Tokyo, Wednesday, April 12, 2017. Toyota Motor Corp.'s Welwalk WW-1000 system is made up of a motorized mechanical frame that fits on a person's leg from the knee down. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Such systems also can aid therapists in monitoring a patient's progress, Luke Hares, chief technology officer at Cambridge Medical Robotics in Britain, said in a phone interview.

"They can be so much more precise," he said.
Previously, Toyota has shown robots that play the violin and trumpet. It plans to start sales in Japan of a tiny boy-like robot for conversational companionship. It is also investing in artificial intelligence and developing self-driving vehicles.
[Image: 3-toyotashowsr.jpg]
A medical assistant helps to attach a model to demonstrate the Welwalk WW-1000, a wearable robotic leg brace designed to help partially paralyzed people walk at the main system with treadmill and monitor, at Toyota Motor Corp.'s head office in Tokyo, Wednesday, April 12, 2017. Toyota Motor Corp.'s Welwalk WW-1000 system is made up of a motorized mechanical frame that fits on a person's leg from the knee down.(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Toshiyuki Isobe, Toyota's chief officer for research, said Welwalk reflects the company's desire to apply robotics in medicine and other social welfare areas, not just entertainment. The company also has an R2-D2-like machine, called the Human Support Robot, whose mechanical arm can help bed-ridden people pick things up.
"Our vision is about trying to deliver mobility for everybody," said Isobe. "We have been developing industrial robotics for auto manufacturing, and we are trying to figure out how we can use that technology to fill social needs and help people more."
[Image: 4-toyotashowsr.jpg]
A model demonstrates the Welwalk WW-1000, a wearable robotic leg brace designed to help partially paralyzed people walk at the main system with treadmill and monitor, at Toyota Motor Corp.'s head office in Tokyo, Wednesday, April 12, 2017. Toyota Motor Corp.'s Welwalk WW-1000 system is made up of a motorized mechanical frame that fits on a person's leg from the knee down. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

[Image: 5-toyotashowsr.jpg]
A model demonstrates the Welwalk WW-1000, a wearable robotic leg brace designed to help partially paralyzed people walk at the main system with treadmill and monitor, at Toyota Motor Corp.'s head office in Tokyo, Wednesday, April 12, 2017. Toyota Motor Corp.'s Welwalk WW-1000 system is made up of a motorized mechanical frame that fits on a person's leg from the knee down. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Toyota harbors big ambitions for "partner robot" business


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-04-toyota-rob...d.html#jCp[url=https://phys.org/news/2017-04-toyota-robotic-leg-brace-paralyzed.html#jCp]
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#8
Just Add Heat: New 4D-Printed Objects Morph on Cue

By Tereza Pultarova, Live Science Contributor | April 14, 2017 12:00pm ET

[Image: aHR0cDovL3d3dy5saXZlc2NpZW5jZS5jb20vaW1h...UuanBlZw==]

A "4D-printed" structure can be transformed from its permanent shape into many different shapes that are structurally stiff at room temperature and then returned to its permanent shape by applying heat.
Credit: Ding et al.
Objects that can change shape within seconds after being exposed to heat demonstrate a novel 4D-printing technique that could one day be used to create medical devices that unfurl on their own in the body during surgical procedures.
Engineers created a 3D-printed plastic lattice that quickly expands when submerged in hot water and an artificial flower that can close its petals similar to the way plants do in nature as experiments designed to demonstrate this method of 4D printing.  
The new technique significantly simplifies the process of "teaching" 3D-printed materials to change their shape when triggered to do so, said study co-author Jerry Qi, a professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. [7 Cool Uses of 3D Printing in Medicine]
"Previously, we had to train and program the material after we 3D-printed it," Qi told Live Science. "We had to heat it up and stretch it and then cool it down again for the material to learn the new form. It was relatively tedious. With this new approach, we do all the programming already in the printer."
The researchers are using two types of materials that are carefully combined in the 3D-printed structure to create the desired shape-shifting effect. A soft material holds the energy that drives the shape-change but in the cool state, the energy of the soft polymer is contained by another, glass-like stiff material. This stiff material, however, softens when exposed to heat, allowing the soft polymer to take over. The material is designed to remember the second shape and default to it when it's heated.
"You can heat it up and deform the structure into a new, third shape and it will keep that shape until you heat it up again," Qi said. "Then it transforms back into the second shape."
Previous 4D-printing techniques were able to create materials that change their shape only temporarily, and then after a while, return to the original printed shape.
In the new study, the researchers used a material that changes shape when it is heated to about 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius), but Qi said that by engineering the characteristics of the stiff material, the researchers can choose the temperature at which the object transforms.Previous 4D-printing techniques were able to create materials that change their shape only temporarily, and then after a while, return to the original printed shape.
"It promises to enable myriad applications across biomedical devices, 3D electronics and consumer products," said Martin Dunn, a professor of mechanical engineering at Singapore University of Technology and Design, who worked with the Georgia team.
For example electronic components could be printed in the flat form and then once they are assembled into devices, they could "inflate" into their useful 3D shapes.
"It even opens the door to a new paradigm in product design, where components are designed from the onset to inhabit multiple configurations during service," Dunn said in a statement.
Qi thinks biomedical devices such as stents, which are tiny tubes that are used to widen clogged up arteries to prevent strokes, could be created using the technique. These 4D-printed stents would expand inside a blood vessel, automatically triggered just by exposure to the heat of the human body. Currently, surgeons have to inflate the stents with balloons attached to the end of the catheter through which the device is being inserted.
Qi said the new technique is more suitable for practical applications than approaches that rely on hydrogels. The objects described in the new study could transform completely in less than 10 seconds, compared to about 7 minutes required for a hydrogel-based material that was presented a few years ago by a team of researchers from MIT.
Hydrogel-based 4D printing relies on the combination of hydrogels and non-swelling polymer filaments. When immersed in water, the hydrogel swells, forcing the filaments into a new shape.
"In hydrogel-based materials, the shape-change is driven by the absorption of water," Qi said. "But that's a relatively slow process. It takes time, especially if you have large structures."
Engineers from China's Xi'an Jiaotong University also collaborated on the study, which was funded by the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Singapore National Research Foundation.
The study was published online April 12 in the journal Science Advances.
Original article on Live Science.

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#9
Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics
April 24, 2017

[Image: 38-researchersi.jpg]
'Our team combined a catalyst we recently discovered with new and exciting chemistry to find the first high-yield, low-cost method of manufacturing butadiene,' says Dionisios Vlachos, Director of the University of Delaware's Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation. Credit: University of Delaware/ Jeffrey Chase
Synthetic rubber and plastics - used for manufacturing tires, toys and myriad other products - are produced from butadiene, a molecule traditionally made from petroleum or natural gas. But those manmade materials could get a lot greener soon, thanks to the ingenuity of a team of scientists from three U.S. research universities.



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-04-sustainabl...s.html#jCp


Simple technique produces stronger polymers

April 24, 2017 by Anne Trafton



[Image: simpletechni.jpg]
Researchers have found a new approach for reducing the number of loops (red) in a polymer. The method could offer an easy way for manufacturers of industrially useful materials such as plastics or gels to strengthen their materials. Credit: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Plastic, rubber, and many other useful materials are made of polymers—long chains arranged in a cross-linked network. At the molecular level, these polymer networks contain structural flaws that weaken them.





Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-04-simple-tec...s.html#jCp



Engineers Develop Prosthetic Arm That Allows Girl to Play Violin 

[Image: prosthetic-arm-violin-AP-640x480.jpg]

Bioengineering students at George Mason University created a prosthetic arm that allows a young girl to play the violin.

The New York Post reports that ten-year-old Isabella Nicola Cabrera was born with no left hand, but thanks to a specialized prosthesis created by a team of bioengineering students at the George Mason University, Cabrera can once again play the violin.



Cabrera’s music teacher and her school had previously built a rudimentary prosthesis that she used successfully for years, but ABC News reports “the prosthetic was heavy.” The instructor contacted the bioengineering students at the George Mason University, where he had graduated from, to see if they could develop something more advanced for the young musician.

Bioengineering students Abdul Gouda, Mona Elkholy, Ella Novoselsky, Racha Salha, and Yasser Alhindi decided to take on designing the prosthetic as a project required of them for their senior year. “It’s sort of a lot of pressure,” Gouda told ABC News. “You’ve got this young girl who’s counting on you and you’re expected to deliver.”
At a test fitting on Thursday, the team of bioengineers also surprised Cabrera with a secondary attachment for the prosthesis which would allow her to ride a bicycle.  LilD
http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2017/04/24...ay-violin/
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Quote:"We believe this work has produced one of the 'holy grails' in the field of aerogels," says Leventis. "I see a lot of biomimetic applications for these aerogels in the future. Their flexibility, combined with elasticity, greatly enhance the range of possible uses."

Researchers create shape-memory aerogels with rubber-like elasticity
May 3, 2017

[Image: 20-researchersc.jpg]
Time-lapse of an aerogel flexing back to its original shape. Credit: Sam O'Keefe, Missouri S&T
Polymeric aerogels are nanoporous structures that combine some of the most desirable characteristics of materials, such as flexibility and mechanical strength. It is nearly impossible to improve on a substance considered the final frontier in lightweight materials. But chemists from Missouri University of Science and Technology have done just that by making aerogels that have rubber-like elasticity and can "remember" their original shapes.


Aerogels are created by replacing liquids with gases in a silica, metal oxide or polymer gel. They are used in a wide variety of products, from insulation of offshore oil pipelines to NASA space missions.
"The specific kind of polyurethane aerogels we have created are superelastic, meaning that they can be bent in any direction or be smashed flat and still return to their original shape," says Dr. Nicholas Leventis, lead researcher on the project and Curators' Distinguished Professor of chemistry at Missouri S&T. "Our superelastic aerogels are different from rubber in that they can on-command return to a specific form. That is, they also show a strong shape memory effect, meaning that they can be deformed and cooled and keep the deformed shape forever.
"However, when the temperature rises back to room temperature, they recover their original un-deformed shape," Leventis explains. "The shape memory effect is not new. Shape memory metallic alloys and polymers are known for many years, however, shape memory aerogels are the last frontier in lightweight."
Leventis and his group have demonstrated this unique property by shaping a "bionic hand" that is capable of mimicking coordinated muscle functions. The aerogel hand can clasp a pencil and, when stimulated, can clasp a pencil form its stretched open-palm shape.
"We believe this work has produced one of the 'holy grails' in the field of aerogels," says Leventis. "I see a lot of biomimetic applications for these aerogels in the future. Their flexibility, combined with elasticity, greatly enhance the range of possible uses."
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Polymer-reinforced aerogel found resilient for space missions
More information: Suraj Donthula et al. Shape Memory Superelastic Poly(isocyanurate-urethane) Aerogels (PIR-PUR) for Deployable Panels and Biomimetic Applications, Chemistry of Materials (2017). DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.7b01020 
Journal reference: Chemistry of Materials [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: Missouri University of Science and Technology



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-05-shape-memo...y.html#jCp[/url]



Hand that 'sees' offers new hope to amputees

May 3, 2017



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Prototype of the hand that sees. Credit: Newcastle University
A new generation of prosthetic limbs which will allow the wearer to reach for objects automatically, without thinking—just like a real hand—are to be trialled for the first time.


Led by biomedical engineers at Newcastle University, UK, and funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the bionic hand is fitted with a camera which instantaneously takes a picture of the object in front of it, assesses its shape and size and triggers a series of movements in the hand.
Bypassing the usual processes which require the user to see the object, physically stimulate the muscles in the arm and trigger a movement in the prosthetic limb, the hand 'sees' and reacts in one fluid movement.
A small number of amputees have already trialled the new technology and now the Newcastle University team are working with experts at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to offer the 'hands with eyes' to patients at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital.
Publishing their findings today in the Journal of Neural Engineering, co-author on the study Dr Kianoush Nazarpour, a Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering at Newcastle University, explains:
"Prosthetic limbs have changed very little in the past 100 years—the design is much better and the materials' are lighter weight and more durable but they still work in the same way.
All-Seeing Hand  LilD


"Using computer vision, we have developed a bionic hand which can respond automatically—in fact, just like a real hand, the user can reach out and pick up a cup or a biscuit with nothing more than a quick glance in the right direction.
"Responsiveness has been one of the main barriers to artificial limbs. For many amputees the reference point is their healthy arm or leg so prosthetics seem slow and cumbersome in comparison.
"Now, for the first time in a century, we have developed an 'intuitive' hand that can react without thinking."
Artificial vision for artificial hands
Recent statistics show that in the UK there are around 600 new upper-limb amputees every year, of which 50% are in the age range of 15-54 years old. In the US there are 500,000 upper limb amputees a year.

Current prosthetic hands are controlled via myoelectric signals - that is electrical activity of the muscles recorded from the skin surface of the stump.
Controlling them, says Dr Nazarpour, takes practice, concentration and, crucially, time.
Using neural networks—the basis for Artificial Intelligence—lead author on the study Ghazal Ghazaei showed the computer numerous object images and taught it to recognise the 'grip' needed for different objects.
"We would show the computer a picture of, for example, a stick," explains Miss Ghazaei, who carried out the work as part of her PhD in the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Newcastle University. "But not just one picture, many images of the same stick from different angles and orientations, even in different light and against different backgrounds and eventually the computer learns what grasp it needs to pick that stick up.
"So the computer isn't just matching an image, it's learning to recognise objects and group them according to the grasp type the hand has to perform to successfully pick it up. "It is this which enables it to accurately assess and pick up an object which it has never seen before—a huge step forward in the development of bionic limbs."
Grouping objects by size, shape and orientation, according to the type of grasp that would be needed to pick them up, the team programmed the hand to perform four different 'grasps': palm wrist neutral (such as when you pick up a cup); palm wrist pronated (such as picking up the TV remote); tripod (thumb and two fingers) and pinch (thumb and first finger).
Using a 99p camera fitted to the prosthesis, the hand 'sees' an object, picks the most appropriate grasp and sends a signal to the hand—all within a matter of milliseconds and ten times faster than any other limb currently on the market.
"One way would have been to create a photo database of every single object but clearly that would be a massive task and you would literally need every make of pen, toothbrush, shape of cup—the list is endless," says Dr Nazarpour.
"The beauty of this system is that it's much more flexible and the hand is able to pick up novel objects—which is crucial since in everyday life people effortlessly pick up a variety of objects that they have never seen before."
First step towards a fully connected bionic hand
The work is part of a larger research project to develop a bionic hand that can sense pressure and temperature and transmit the information back to the brain.
Led by Newcastle University and involving experts from the universities of Leeds, Essex, Keele, Southampton and Imperial College London, the aim is to develop novel electronic devices that connect to the forearm neural networks to allow two-way communications with the brain.
Reminiscent of Luke Skywalker's artificial hand, the electrodes in the bionic limb would wrap around the nerve endings in the arm. This would mean for the first time the brain could communicate directly with the prosthesis.
The 'hand that sees', explains Dr Nazarpour, is an interim solution that will bridge the gap between current designs and the future.
"It's a stepping stone towards our ultimate goal," he says. "But importantly, it's cheap and it can be implemented soon because it doesn't require new prosthetics—we can just adapt the ones we have."
Anne Ewing, Advanced Occupational Therapist at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has been working with Dr Nazarpour and his team.
"I work with upper limb amputee patients which is extremely rewarding, varied and at times challenging," she said.
"We always strive to put the patient at the heart of everything we do and so make sure that any interventions are client centred to ensure patients' individual goals are met either with a prosthesis or alternative method of carrying out a task.
"This project in collaboration with Newcastle University has provided an exciting opportunity to help shape the future of upper limb prosthetics, working towards achieving patients' prosthetic expectations and it is wonderful to have been involved."
Case Study—Doug McIntosh, 56, from Aberdeen, Scotland
"For me it was literally a case of life or limb," says Doug McIntosh, who lost his right arm in 1997 through cancer.
"I had developed a rare form of cancer called epithelial sarcoma, which develops in the deep tissue under the skin, and the doctors had no choice but to amputate the limb to save my life.
"Losing an arm and battling cancer with three young children was life changing. I left my job as a life support supervisor in the diving industry and spent a year fund-raising for cancer charities.
"It was this and my family that motivated me and got me through the hardest times."
Since then, Doug has gone on to be an inspiration to amputees around the world. Becoming the first amputee to cycle from John O'Groats to Land's End in 100hrs, cycle around the coast line of Britain, he has run three London Marathons, cycled The Dallaglio Flintoff Cycle Slam 2012 and 2014 and in 2014 cycled with the British Lions Rugby Team to Murrayfield Rugby Stadium for "Walking with Wounded" Charity. He is currently preparing to do Mont Ventoux this September, three cycle climbs in one day for Cancer Research UK and Maggie's Cancer Centres. Involved in the early trials of the first myoelectric prosthetic limbs, Doug has been working with the Newcastle team to trail the new hand that sees.
"The problem is there's nothing yet that really comes close to feeling like the real thing," explains the father-of-three who lives in Westhill, Aberdeen with his wife of 32 years, Diane.
"Some of the prosthetics look very realistic but they feel slow and clumsy when you have a working hand to compare them to.
"In the end I found it easier just to do without and learn to adapt. When I do use a prosthesis I use a split hook which doesn't look pretty but does the job."
But he says the new, responsive hand being developed in Newcastle is a 'huge leap forward'.
"This offers for the first time a real alternative for upper limb amputees," he says.
"For me, one of the ways of dealing with the loss of my hand was to be very open about it and answer people's questions. But not everyone wants that and so to have the option of a hand that not only looks realistic but also works like a real hand would be an amazing breakthrough and transform the recovery time—both physically and mentally—for many amputees."
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Bionic hand that is 'sensitive' to touch and temperature
More information: G. Ghazaei, A. Alameer, P. Degenaar, G. Morgan, and K. Nazarpour, "Deep learning-based artificial vision for grasp classification in myoelectric hands," Journal of Neural Engineering, 17(3): 036025, 2017. 
Journal reference: Journal of Neural Engineering [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: Newcastle University



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-05-amputees.html#jCp[url=https://phys.org/news/2017-05-amputees.html#jCp]
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#11
Quote: These flexible 3D printed sensors can stretch up to three times their original size.
"This is a completely new way to approach 3D printing of electronics," McAlpine said. "We have a multifunctional printer that can print several layers to make these flexible sensory devices. This could take us into so many directions from health monitoring to energy harvesting to chemical sensing."
Researchers say the best part of the discovery is that the manufacturing is built into the process.
"With most research, you discover something and then it needs to be scaled up. Sometimes it could be years before it ready for use," McAlpine said. "This time, the manufacturing is built right into the process so it is ready to go now."

3-D-printed 'bionic skin' could give robots the sense of touch
May 11, 2017

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A one-of-a-kind 3D printer built at the University of Minnesota can print touch sensors directly on a model hand. Credit: Shuang-Zhuang Guo and Michael McAlpine, University of Minnesota, "3D Printed Stretchable Tactile Sensors," Advanced Materials. 2017. Copyright Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.
Engineering researchers at the University of Minnesota have developed a revolutionary process for 3D printing stretchable electronic sensory devices that could give robots the ability to feel their environment. The discovery is also a major step forward in printing electronics on real human skin.



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-05-d-printed-bionic-skin-robots.html#jCp






Robotic 'exoskeleton' prevents elderly falls: study
May 11, 2017

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Scientists unveiled a lightweight, robotic, outer "skeleton" Thursday that can detect when someone loses their balance, correct their gait, and prevent their fall.


Designed to limit stumbles among the elderly, the device has sensors that can discern in real time when a limb starts to buckle or flail, and lightweight motors which exert instant force on both legs to restore balance.
"Wearable machines that enhance your movement and endurance no longer belong to the realm of science fiction," the device's creators said in a statement.
According to the World Health Organization, falls are the second cause of death from accidental or unintentional injuries worldwide.
Every year, more than 420,000 people die from falls—most of those are older than 65.
Nearly 40 million falls that require medical attention are reported annually, says the WHO, and this number is likely to skyrocket as people live to become ever older.
Dubbed the Active Pelvis Orthosis or APO, the new device could also help disabled people and amputees, said its designers from the Scuola Sant'Anna, an Italian University, and Switzerland's EPFL polytechnical school.




"It's technology that will actually help people with their daily activities," they added.
The team published the results of their lab experiments in the journal Scientific Reports.
The "exoskeleton" is worn from the waist down, its creators explained, "and is vastly different from the armoured stuff you see in today's science fiction movies".
More confident
It is attached to a belt worn around the middle that holds small motors at the hips, and soft braces strapped to the thighs.
The device weighs about five kilogrammes (11 pounds), can be easily adjusted to a person's individual height and girth, and does not interfere with normal walking, the team said.
The "assistive mode" is activated only when balance loss is detected.
"The robotic exoskeleton is able to identify an unexpected slippage and counteract it," Peppino Tropea, one of the study authors, told AFP.
The APO "increases stiffness at hip joints against limb movements, indeed, the slipping leg is slowed down, while the other one is forced towards the ground. This strategy is effective for balance recovery."
Tropea and the rest of the team tested their creation on eight elderly people and two amputees with prosthetic limbs—two groups particularly vulnerable to potentially devastating falls.
They were made to walk on a treadmill with a platform that would unexpectedly slip sideways, causing the walker to lose balance.
Repeated tests showed that the device "effectively" aided balance recovery, the paper reported.
"I feel more confident when I wear the exoskeleton," a statement quoted 69-year-old Fulvio Bertelli, one of the trial participants, as saying.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Researchers developing robotic prosthetics to help restore balance in fall victims
Journal reference: Scientific Reports


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-05-robotic-exoskeleton-elderly-falls.html#jCp


Battery-free implantable medical device draws energy directly from human body
May 11, 2017 by Meghan Steele Horan

[Image: batteryfreei.jpg]
The supercapacitor invented by researchers from UCLA and the University of Connecticut could lead to pacemakers and other implantable medical devices that last a lifetime. Credit: Islam Mosa/University of Connecticut and Maher El-Kady/UCLA
Researchers from UCLA and the University of Connecticut have designed a new biofriendly energy storage system called a biological supercapacitor, which operates using charged particles, or ions, from fluids in the human body. The device is harmless to the body's biological systems, and it could lead to longer-lasting cardiac pacemakers and other implantable medical devices.

The UCLA team was led by Richard Kaner, a distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and of materials science and engineering, and the Connecticut researchers were led by James Rusling, a professor of chemistry and cell biology. A paper about their design was published this week in the journal Advanced Energy Materials.
Pacemakers—which help regulate abnormal heart rhythms—and other implantable devices have saved countless lives. But they're powered by traditional batteries that eventually run out of power and must be replaced, meaning another painful surgery and the accompanying risk of infection. In addition, batteries contain toxic materials that could endanger the patient if they leak.  
The researchers propose storing energy in those devices without a battery. The supercapacitor they invented charges using electrolytes from biological fluids like blood serum and urine, and it would work with another device called an energy harvester, which converts heat and motion from the human body into electricity—in much the same way that self-winding watches are powered by the wearer's body movements. That electricity is then captured by the supercapacitor.
"Combining energy harvesters with supercapacitors can provide endless power for lifelong implantable devices that may never need to be replaced," said Maher El-Kady, a UCLA postdoctoral researcher and a co-author of the study.
Modern pacemakers are typically about 6 to 8 millimeters thick, and about the same diameter as a 50-cent coin; about half of that space is usually occupied by the battery. The new supercapacitor is only 1 micrometer thick—much smaller than the thickness of a human hair—meaning that it could improve implantable devices' energy efficiency. It also can maintain its performance for a long time, bend and twist inside the body without any mechanical damage, and store more charge than the energy lithium film batteries of comparable size that are currently used in pacemakers.
"Unlike batteries that use chemical reactions that involve toxic chemicals and electrolytes to store energy, this new class of biosupercapacitors stores energy by utilizing readily available ions, or charged molecules, from the blood serum," said Islam Mosa, a Connecticut graduate student and first author of the study.
The new biosupercapacitor comprises a carbon nanomaterial called graphene layered with modified human proteins as an electrode, a conductor through which electricity from the energy harvester can enter or leave. The new platform could eventually also be used to develop next-generation implantable devices to speed up bone growth, promote healing or stimulate the brain, Kaner said.
Although supercapacitors have not yet been widely used in medical devices, the study shows that they may be viable for that purpose.
"In order to be effective, battery-free pacemakers must have supercapacitors that can capture, store and transport energy, and commercial supercapacitors are too slow to make it work," El-Kady said. "Our research focused on custom-designing our supercapacitor to capture energy effectively, and finding a way to make it compatible with the human body."
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Innovative device could offer new hope for heart patients
More information: Islam M. Mosa et al. Ultrathin Graphene-Protein Supercapacitors for Miniaturized Bioelectronics, Advanced Energy Materials (2017). DOI: 10.1002/aenm.201700358 
Journal reference: Advanced Energy Materials [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: University of California, Los Angeles



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-05-battery-free-implantable-medical-device-energy.html#jCp
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#12
Quote: Explore further: Innovative device could offer new hope for heart patients

Maybe I can get one of those next time my pacemaker must swapped out. The current one I have is NOT permanent !!!

Maybe one of these would act more normally, or allow me to have those 20 heart beats/min orgasms that allowed me to 'astral-travel' to the "The Cydonia Smoker" for up to 15 to 30 min using about 1 complete breath every 5-10 seconds Angel

Bob... Ninja Mellow
"The Light" - Jefferson Starship-Windows of Heaven Album
I'm an Earthling with a Martian Soul wanting to go Home.   
You have to turn your own lightbulb on. ©stevo25 & rhw007
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#13
After several tests the breakthrough finally came. A conductive plastic named PEDOT:PSS was the solution. With this, the researchers could print the tattoo to be thinner than a hair's breadth, and therefore they could ensure that it would not only fit onto knuckles and wrinkles, but also be so flexible that it could withstand compression and stretching.

Electronic tattoos: Using distinctive body locations to control mobile devices intuitively
May 17, 2017

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Using ultra-thin, electronic tattoos at distinctive body locations, users can control mobile devices. Credit: Universität des Saarlandes
Computer scientists from Saarland University and Google are giving wrinkles, knuckles and birthmarks a whole new meaning. Similarly to temporary tattoos for children, the researchers are placing ultra-thin, electronic tattoos on distinctive body locations. The user can touch, squeeze or pull them, and thereby intuitively control mobile devices such as a music player, or easily make indicators light up.




Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-05-electronic...e.html#jCp



Severed limbs and wooden feet—how the ancients invented prosthetics

May 17, 2017 by Jane Draycott, The Conversation



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We are living through an incredibly exciting period for prosthetics. A pioneering brain computer interface that will allow veterans to control artificial body parts with their minds was recently announced by researchers in Virginia in the US. Meanwhile, Newcastle University in the UK is developing limbs which "see" objects in front of them and react at speeds more comparable with the real thing.



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-05-severed-li...s.html#jCp




Exoskeleton helps soldiers carry heavy gear

May 17, 2017



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Lockheed Martin developed the Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC) for the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC). In a series of tests, NSRDEC evaluated the potential for exoskeleton technology to alleviate strain and fatigue for soldiers who carry heavy loads over long distances. We are building on this experience to innovate further in the realm of exoskeleton technology. Credit: Lockheed Martin
Their demanding missions often require soldiers to carry heavy equipment packs long distances over rough terrain, or up and down stairs and underground infrastructure in urban environments. Exhaustion and injury are frequently a consequence of these challenging operational scenarios. A new exoskeleton from Lockheed Martin offers a solution.


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-05-exoskeleton-soldiers-heavy-gear.html#jCp



The legs are made up of three parallel, connected sealed inflatable chambers, or actuators, 3D-printed from a rubber-like material. The chambers are hollow on the inside, so they can be inflated. On the outside, the chambers are bellowed, which allows engineers to better control the legs' movements. For example, when one chamber is inflated and the other two aren't, the leg bends. The legs are laid out in the shape of an X and connected to a rigid body.


3-D-printed, soft, four legged robot can walk on sand and stone
May 16, 2017

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Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed the first soft robot that is capable of walking on rough surfaces, such as sand and pebbles. The 3-D-printed, four-legged robot can climb over obstacles and walk on different terrains. Credit: Jacobs School of Engineering/UC San Diego
Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed the first soft robot that is capable of walking on rough surfaces, such as sand and pebbles. The 3D-printed, four-legged robot can climb over obstacles and walk on different terrains.



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-05-d-printed-...d.html#jCp[url=https://phys.org/news/2017-05-d-printed-soft-legged-robot-sand.html#jCp][/url]
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#14
New form of carbon that's hard as a rock, yet elastic, like rubber
June 9, 2017

[Image: newformofcar.jpg]
Visualization of the different types of diamond-like linkages (red spheres) formed at curved surfaces or between the layers of graphene (black spheres) in this new type of compressed glassy carbon. Credit: Timothy Strobel.
A team including several Carnegie scientists has developed a form of ultrastrong, lightweight carbon that is also elastic and electrically conductive. A material with such a unique combination of properties could serve a wide variety of applications from aerospace engineering to military armor.



Carbon is an element of seemingly infinite possibilities. This is because the configuration of its electrons allows for numerous self-bonding combinations that give rise to a range of materials with varying properties. For example, transparent, superhard diamonds, and opaque graphite, which is used for both pencils and industrial lubricant, are comprised solely of carbon.
In this international collaboration between Yanshan University and Carnegie—which included Carnegie's Zhisheng Zhao, Timothy Strobel, Yoshio Kono, Jinfu Shu, Ho-kwang "Dave" Mao, Yingwei Fei, and Guoyin Shen—scientists pressurized and heated a structurally disordered form of carbon called glassy carbon. The glassy carbon starting material was brought to about 250,000 times normal atmospheric pressure and heated to approximately 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit to create the new strong and elastic carbon. Their findings are published by Science Advances.
Scientists had previously tried subjecting glassy carbon to high pressures at both room temperature (referred to as cold compression) and extremely high temperatures. But the so-called cold-synthesized material could not maintain its structure when brought back to ambient pressure, and under the extremely hot conditions, nanocrystalline diamonds were formed.
[Image: 1-newformofcar.jpg]
Visualization of ultrastrong, hard and elastic compressed glassy carbon. The illustrated structure is overlaid on an electron microscope image of the material. Credit: Timothy Strobel.
The newly created carbon is comprised of both graphite-like and diamond-like bonding motifs, which gives rise to the unique combination of properties. Under the high-pressure synthesis conditions, disordered layers within the glassy carbon buckle, merge, and connect in various ways. This process creates an overall structure that lacks a long-range spatial order, but has a short-range spatial organization on the nanometer scale.

Video:  https://phys.org/news/2017-06-carbon-har...ubber.html
Compressed glassy carbon is an ultrastrong, hard and elastic type of carbon that consists of interpenetrating graphene networks. This video summary shows an example indentation hardness test, scratch hardness test, and provides a description of the specific strength and local atomic structure. Credit: Zhisheng Zhao and Timothy Strobel
"Light materials with high strength and robust elasticity like this are very desirable for applications where weight savings are of the utmost importance, even more than material cost," explained Zhisheng Zhao a former Carnegie fellow, who is now a Yanshan University professor. "What's more, we believe that this synthesis method could be honed to create other extraordinary forms of carbon and entirely different classes of materials."
[Image: 593ab5db7809c.jpg]
View through the channels of a mixed sp2 / sp3, interpenetrating graphene network in compressed glassy carbon. Graphene‐like sheets (blue spheres) are crosslinked at diamond‐like nodes (red spheres). Credit: Timothy Strobel
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: New extremely hard carbon nitride compound created
More information: "Compressed glassy carbon: An ultrastrong and elastic interpenetrating graphene network," Science Advances (2017). advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/6/e1603213 



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-06-carbon-har...r.html#jCp[/url]





New technique enables 3-D printing with paste of silicone particles in water

June 7, 2017 by Mick Kulikowski



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New technique published in Advanced Materials shows the process of 3-D printing silicone rubber. Credit: Orlin Velev, NC State University
Using the principles behind the formation of sandcastles from wet sand, North Carolina State University researchers have achieved 3-D printing of flexible and porous silicone rubber structures through a new technique that combines water with solid and liquid forms of silicone into a pasty ink that can be fed through a 3-D printer. The finding could have biomedical applications and uses in soft robotics.




In a paper published this week in Advanced Materials, corresponding author Orlin Velev and colleagues show that, in a water medium, liquid silicone rubber can be used to form bridges between tiny silicone rubber beads to link them together—much as a small amount of water can shape sand particles into sandcastles.
Interestingly, the technique can be used in a dry or a wet environment, suggesting that it has the potential to be used in live tissue - think of an ultraflexible mesh encapsulating a healing droplet, or a soft bandage that can be applied or even directly printed on some portion of the human body, for example.
"There is great interest in 3-D printing of silicone rubber, or PDMS, which has a number of useful properties," said Velev, INVISTA Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at NC State. "The challenge is that you generally need to rapidly heat the material or use special chemistry to cure it, which can be technically complex.
"Our method uses an extremely simple extrudable material that can be placed in a 3-D printer to directly prototype porous, flexible structures - even under water," Velev added. "And it is all accomplished with a multiphasic system of just two materials - no special chemistry or expensive machinery is necessary. The 'trick' is that both the beads and the liquid that binds them are silicone, and thus make a very cohesive, stretchable and bendable material after shaping and curing."
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Sandcastles inspire new nanoparticle binding technique
More information: Sangchul Roh et al, 3D Printing by Multiphase Silicone/Water Capillary Inks, Advanced Materials (2017). DOI: 10.1002/adma.201701554 
Journal reference: Advanced Materials [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: North Carolina State University



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-06-technique-...s.html#jCp




Chinese team develops skin-like triboelectric nanogenerator

June 2, 2017 by Bob Yirka [url=https://phys.org/weblog/]report



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A transparent electronic skin for tactile sensing. Credit: Xiong Pu
(Phys.org)—A team of researchers with the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology in China has developed what it is calling a skin-like triboelectric nanogenerator (STENG). In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group describes the nanogenerator they built and offer suggestions for its use.





Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-06-chinese-te...r.html#jCp




'Harder, better, faster, stronger'-tethered soft exosuit reduces metabolic cost of running

May 31, 2017



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A system of actuation wires attached to the back of the exosuit provides assistive force to the hip joint during running. Credit: The Wyss Institute at Harvard University
What if running the 26.2 miles of a marathon only felt like running 24.9 miles, or if you could improve your average running pace from 9:14 minutes/mile to 8:49 minutes/mile without weeks of training? Researchers at the Wyss Institute and John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) at Harvard University have demonstrated that a tethered soft exosuit can reduce the metabolic cost of running on a treadmill by 5.4% compared to not wearing the exosuit, bringing those dreams of high performance closer to reality. "Homo sapiens has evolved to become very good at distance running, but our results show that further improvements to this already extremely efficient system are possible," says corresponding author Philippe Malcolm, Ph.D., former Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Wyss Institute and SEAS, and now Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, where he continues to collaborate on this work. The study appears today in Science Robotics.





Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-05-harder-faster-stronger-tethered-soft-exosuit.html#jCp
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#15
New design improves performance of flexible wearable electronics
June 22, 2017 by Mehmet Ozturk

[Image: newdesignimp.jpg]
NC State's thermoelectric harvester has the material quality of rigid devices inside a flexible package. Credit: Mehmet Ozturk, NC State University.
In a proof-of-concept study, North Carolina State University engineers have designed a flexible thermoelectric energy harvester that has the potential to rival the effectiveness of existing power wearable electronic devices using body heat as the only source of energy.



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-06-flexible-w...s.html#jCp



Researchers develop landmark achievement in walking technology

June 22, 2017 by Lisa Kulick



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Human-in-the-loop optimization combines a software doink-headwith versatile emulator hardware to automatically identify optimal assistance strategies for individuals. Credit: Kirby Witte, Katie Poggensee, Pieter Fiers, Patrick Franks and Steve Collins
Researchers at the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a novel design approach for exoskeletons and prosthetic limbs that incorporates direct feedback from the human body. The findings were published this week in Science.





Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-06-landmark-technology.html#jCp
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#16
Superstretchable, supercompressible supercapacitors
July 3, 2017

[Image: 595a180a6691b.gif]
Flexible, wearable electronics require equally flexible, wearable power sources. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, Chinese scientists have introduced an extraordinarily stretchable and compressible polyelectrolyte which, in combination with carbon nanotube composite paper electrodes, forms a supercapacitor that can be stretched to 1000 percent in length and compressed to 50 percent in thickness with even gaining, not losing capacity.


Supercapacitors bridge the gap between batteries, which are merely energy-storing devices, and normal capacitors, which release and take up electric energy very quickly but cannot store so much energy. With their ability to charge and release large amounts of electric power in a very short time, supercapacitors are preferably used in regenerative braking, as power buffers in wind turbines, and, increasingly, in consumer electronics such as laptop computers and digital cameras. To make supercapacitors fit for future electrics demands like, for example, wearables and paper electronics, Chunyi Zhi from the City University of Hong Kong and his colleagues are searching for ways to endow them with mechanical flexibility. It can be achieved with a new electrolyte material: they developed a polyelectrolyte that can be stretched more than 10 times its length and compressed to half its thickness retaining full functionality, without breakage, cracking, or other damage to its material.
Electrolytes in supercapacitors are often based on polyvinyl alcohol gels. To make such gels mechanically more flexible, elastic components like rubber or fibers must be added. Zhi's new electrolyte is based on a different principle: It is composed of a polyacrylamide (PAM) hydrogel reinforced with vinyl-functionalized silica nanoparticles (VSPNs). This material is both very stretchable thanks to the cross-links by the vinyl-silica nanoparticle and highly conductive thanks to the nature of the polyelectrolyte, which swells with water and both holds and transfers ions. "VSNPs cross-linkers serve as stress buffers to dissipate energy and homogenize the PAM network. These synergistic effects are responsible for the intrinsic super-stretchability and compressibility of our supercapacitor," says Zhi.
To assemble a working supercapacitor with this polyelectrolyte, two identical carbon nanotube composite paper electrodes were directly paved on each side of the pre-stretched polyelectrolyte film. Upon release, a wavy, accordion-like structure developed, showing surprising electrochemical behavior. "The electrochemical performance gets enhanced with the increase of strain," the scientists found out. And the strain was enormous, the supercapacitor sustained 1000 percent stretch and 50 percent compression at even higher or equal capacity. This flexibility makes this polyelectrolyte very attractive for new developments including wearable electronics.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Researchers develop stretchable wire-shaped supercapacitor
More information: Yan Huang et al. An Intrinsically Stretchable and Compressible Supercapacitor Containing a Polyacrylamide Hydrogel Electrolyte, Angewandte Chemie International Edition (2017). DOI: 10.1002/anie.201705212 
Journal reference: Angewandte Chemie International Edition


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-07-superstretchable-supercompressible-supercapacitors.html#jCp[url=https://phys.org/news/2017-07-superstretchable-supercompressible-supercapacitors.html#jCp][/url]
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#17
New superglue allows for bonding stretchable hydrogels
July 6, 2017 by Bob Yirka report

[Image: 595e36c4109f1.jpg]
A hydrogel electronic skin worn on a human wrist with continuous control and data logging via a mobile phone. The hydrogel smart skin consists of a flexible and reusable unit bearing power supply, control, readout and wireless communication, and a stretchable, disposable transducer batch with four heating elements and temperature sensors. Hydrogels can transport liquids to and from the skin, for example supplying water-soluble medication or removing sweat. Credit: Soft Electronics Laboratory, Linz Institute of Technology
(Phys.org)—A team of researchers at Johannes Kepler University Linz has developed a new type of glue that can be used to bond hydrogels to other hard or soft objects. In their paper published on the open-access site Science Advances, the group explains their development process, the structure of the glue, how it works and in what ways.


Hydrogels, as the name suggests, are materials made mainly out of water. They are typically rubbery and are often elastic. Many of them have been developed to allow for the creation of materials that are more like those found in living creatures. Some examples include soft contact lenses, soft bone replacement in the vertebrae and even jelly-like robots. But one thing that has been holding back more advanced applications is the inability to glue or bond hydrogels with other objects in ways that allow for bending or stretching, or even for attaching well to hard objects. In this new effort, the researchers report they have developed a glue that solves this problem.
The researchers started by investigating the possibility of using superglue, the common household adhesive. But they found it would not work because when it dries, it becomes hard—that means that when two stretchy materials are bonded together, the glue cracks when both are stretched. That led them to conclude that what was needed was a non-solvent—a material that would not dissolve into the glue and would prevent it from becoming hard. The result, the team reports, is a glue made with cyanoacrylates (the adherents in superglue) diluted with a non-solvent. When it is applied to two surfaces, the researchers explain, it diffuses into their outer layers and is triggered to polymerize by the water content, such as in a hydrogel. Put another way, they say that the glue becomes tangled with the polymer chains in a gel, creating a very tight bond—and thus far, it has worked really well.



The team has tested their glue on a variety of products—gluing a hydrogel to a vertebrae model, for example. They found that it would also bond especially well with an elastomer. They used their glue to create a patch of electronic skin upon which they were able to glue such things as a processor, battery and temperature sensor.
[Image: 595e36ff31145.jpg]
The hydrogel electronic skin. Hydrogels can transport liquids to and from the skin, for example supplying water-soluble medication or removing sweat. Credit: Soft Electronics Laboratory, Linz Institute of Technology

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Demonstration of flexing, curling, stretching and compressing of the hydrogel with sensors and actuators. Credit: Soft Electronics Laboratory, Linz Institute of Technology
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The hydrogel e-skin is controlled and data is read out continuously via a mobile phone, here mounted on a custom-made stretching unit with all heaters activated. Credit: Soft Electronics Laboratory, Linz Institute of Technology
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The pictures show a peeling test, with a hydrogel (green) instantly tough bonded to a PMMA (Polymethylmethacrylat) substrate. A liner serves as stiff backing. Cracking in the hydrogel occurs perpendicular to the peeling direction. Credit: Soft Electronics Laboratory, Linz Institute of Technology
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: New way to reduce skin scarring relies on a glue-like substance secreted by mussels
More information: Daniela Wirthl et al. Instant tough bonding of hydrogels for soft machines and electronics, Science Advances (2017). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700053
Abstract 
Introducing methods for instant tough bonding between hydrogels and antagonistic materials—from soft to hard—allows us to demonstrate elastic yet tough biomimetic devices and machines with a high level of complexity. Tough hydrogels strongly attach, within seconds, to plastics, elastomers, leather, bone, and metals, reaching unprecedented interfacial toughness exceeding 2000 J/m2. Healing of severed ionic hydrogel conductors becomes feasible and restores function instantly. Soft, transparent multilayered hybrids of elastomers and ionic hydrogels endure biaxial strain with more than 2000% increase in area, facilitating soft transducers, generators, and adaptive lenses. We demonstrate soft electronic devices, from stretchable batteries, self-powered compliant circuits, and autonomous electronic skin for triggered drug delivery. Our approach is applicable in rapid prototyping and in delicate environments inaccessible for extended curing and cross-linking. 

Journal reference: Science Advances


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-07-superglue-bonding-stretchable-hydrogels.html#jCp[/url]

Mechanical third thumb offers extended hand abilities

July 7, 2017 by Bob Yirka

[url=https://3c1703fe8d.site.internapcdn.net/newman/gfx/news/hires/2017/mechanicalth.jpg][Image: mechanicalth.jpg]

Credit: Dani Clode
(Tech Xplore)—Dani Clode, a grad student at the Royal College of Art in London, has created what she calls the "Third Thumb"—a system that adds a mechanical thumb to the opposite side of a natural thumb on a human hand. She showcased her invention at this year's RCA graduate exhibition.

What is perhaps most intriguing about the prosthesis are the reactions of the people trying it in the video Clode made to demonstrate how people can use it—everyone smiles in delight, as if suddenly realizing they have been missing that extra thumb their entire lives. As she notes, people adapt to it rather quickly and soon use it to hold extra playing cards, eggs when cooking or for making up new chords when playing guitar.
Perhaps just as interesting is how simple the system is. It is made of a bracelet to hold the servo motors, tiny ropes that connect to the thumb that control its movement, the thumb, and sensors that sit in the user's shoes. The user exerts different amounts of pressure with either foot to activate the thumb. Signals are sent from the sensors to the bracelet via Bluetooth. The thumb was made via 3-D printing, which allows for customization—users can print one to fit the size of their hand. The material is a type of plastic called Ninjaflex.
Clode has told members of the press that her intention in creating the thumb was to extend the concept of a prosthesis, noting that the original meaning of the word meant to add something new, not to replace something lost. The thumb she has created not only adds a sixth digit to the hand, it adds functionally that people discover gradually as they grow accustomed to wearing the device. It is not difficult to imagine smaller future iterations as engineers set to work on it, or sensors placed in different locations to move the thumb. But most of all, it is not difficult at all to imagine the Third Thumb going mainstream—a game-changing device like the first iPhone.

[Image: 1-mechanicalth.jpg]
Credit: Dani Clode

[Image: 2-mechanicalth.jpg]
Credit: Dani Clode
[Image: img-dot.gif] Explore further: 'Lab-on-a-glove' could bring nerve-agent detection to a wearer's fingertips
More information: www.daniclodedesign.com/thethirdthumb 
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https://techxplore.com/news/2017-07-mech...ities.html
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#18
Phosphorus Rubber

Phubber??? Doh


A chemically functional phosphorus version of natural rubber
July 10, 2017

[Image: 596360c33706f.gif]
Goodyear's 1839 discovery of the vulcanization of natural rubber obtained from rubber trees marks the beginning of the modern rubber industry. A variety of synthetic rubber products were subsequently developed. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, scientists have now introduced a new, interesting variant: a phosphorus-containing rubber with a structure that corresponds to that of natural rubber.



The similar properties of double bonds between carbon atoms (C=C) and phosphorus–carbon double bonds (P=C) led to the idea to try general polymerization techniques on the latter. After a number of successful attempts, researchers working with Derek P. Gates at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) wanted to apply this concept to molecules that contain both P=C and C=C double bonds: phosphorus analogs of the building block of rubber, isoprene (2-methylbuta-1,3-diene) and its close relative, 1,3-butadiene.
Starting with phosphorus-containing precursors, the team was able to synthesize the first examples of poly(1-phospha-isoprene) and poly(1-phospha-1,3-butadiene). Precise characterization with a variety of spectrometric techniques gave some insight into the molecular structures of the resulting polymers. Like in the polymerization of isoprene and related dienes (compounds with two carbon-carbon double bonds), one of the double bonds in each building block is retained. The polymerization mainly occurs through the C=C double bonds and only a tiny proportion happens at the P=C double bonds. This means that only a few phosphorus atoms are incorporated into the polymer backbone. The majority of the phosphorus atoms form side chains in which the P=C double bonds are maintained, leaving them available for further reactions or alterations to the polymers.
"Our functional phosphorus-containing materials are rare examples of polymers containing phosphaalkene moieties and offer many prospects for further derivatization and crosslinking," according to Gates. For example, the researchers were able to bind gold ions to the polymers. "As a macromolecular ligand for gold ions, the new polymers may be of future interest in catalysis and nanochemistry. Furthermore, the successful polymerization of P=C/C=C hybrid monomers opens the door to incorporate P-functionalities into commercial rubbers such as butyl rubber or styrene-butadiene rubber that traditionally use isoprene or butadiene comonomers. Such new copolymers promise unique architectures, properties, and functionality when compared to their carbon-only analogues."
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Clue for efficient usage of low-cost nickel catalysts
More information: Klaus Dück et al. Polymerization of 1-Phosphaisoprene: Synthesis and Characterization of a Chemically Functional Phosphorus Version of Natural Rubber, Angewandte Chemie International Edition (2017). DOI: 10.1002/anie.201703590 
Journal reference: Angewandte Chemie [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif] Angewandte Chemie International Edition


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-07-chemically...l.html#jCp[url=https://phys.org/news/2017-07-chemically-functional-phosphorus-version-natural.html#jCp][/url]
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#19
Soft robotics: self-contained soft actuator three times stronger than natural muscle, without the need of externals
September 19, 2017

[Image: 3-onestepclose.jpg]
(L) The electrically actuated muscle with thin resistive wire in a rest position; ® The muscle is expanded using low power characteristics (8V). Credit: Aslan Miriyev/Columbia Engineering
Researchers at Columbia Engineering have solved a long-standing issue in the creation of untethered soft robots whose actions and movements can help mimic natural biological systems. A group in the Creative Machines lab led by Hod Lipson, professor of mechanical engineering, has developed a 3D-printable synthetic soft muscle, a one-of-a-kind artificial active tissue with intrinsic expansion ability that does not require an external compressor or high voltage equipment as previous muscles required. The new material has a strain density (expansion per gram) that is 15 times larger than natural muscle, and can lift 1000 times its own weight.


Their findings are outlined in a new study, "Soft Material for Soft Actuators," published today by Nature Communications.
Previously no material has been capable of functioning as a soft muscle due to an inability to exhibit the desired properties of high actuation stress and high strain. Existing soft actuator technologies are typically based on pneumatic or hydraulic inflation of elastomer skins that expand when air or liquid is supplied to them. The external compressors and pressure-regulating equipment required for such technologies prevent miniaturization and the creation of robots that can move and work independently.
"We've been making great strides toward making robots minds, but robot bodies are still primitive," said Hod Lipson. "This is a big piece of the puzzle and, like biology, the new actuator can be shaped and reshaped a thousand ways. We've overcome one of the final barriers to making lifelike robots."
Inspired by living organisms, soft material robotics hold great promise for areas where robots need to contact and interact with humans, such as manufacturing and healthcare. Unlike rigid robots, soft robots can replicate natural motion - grasping and manipulation - to provide medical and other types of assistance, perform delicate tasks, or pick up soft objects.


video: https://phys.org/news/2017-09-soft-robot...onger.html

The soft composite actuator and its performance in a series of experiments. Credit: Aslan Miriyev/Columbia Engineering
To achieve an actuator with high strain and high stress coupled with low density, the lead author of the study Aslan Miriyev, a postdoctoral researcher in the Creative Machines lab, used a silicone rubber matrix with ethanol distributed throughout in micro-bubbles. The solution combined the elastic properties and extreme volume change attributes of other material systems while also being easy to fabricate, low cost, and made of environmentally safe materials.
After being 3D-printed into the desired shape, the artificial muscle was electrically actuated using a thin resistive wire and low-power (8V). It was tested in a variety of robotic applications where it showed significant expansion-contraction ability, being capable of expansion up to 900% when electrically heated to 80°C. Via computer controls, the autonomous unit is capable of performing motion tasks in almost any design.
"Our soft functional material may serve as robust soft muscle, possibly revolutionizing the way that soft robotic solutions are engineered today," said Miriyev. "It can push, pull, bend, twist, and lift weight. It's the closest artificial material equivalent we have to a natural muscle."
[Image: 4-onestepclose.jpg]
The artificial muscle in use as a bicep lifts a skeleton's arm to a 90 degree position. Credit: Aslan Miriyev/Columbia Engineering
The researchers will continue to build on this development, incorporating conductive materials to replace the embedded wire, accelerating the muscle's response time and increasing its shelf life. Long-term, they will involve artificial intelligence to learn to control the muscle, which may be a last milestone towards replicating natural motion.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Configuration and manipulation of soft robotics for on-orbit servicing
More information: "Soft Material for Soft Actuators" Nature Communications (2017). DOI: 10.1038/10.1038/s41467-017-00685-3 
Journal reference: Nature Communications [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-09-soft-robotics-self-contained-actuator-stronger.html#jCp[url=https://phys.org/news/2017-09-soft-robotics-self-contained-actuator-stronger.html#jCp][/url]
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Reply
#20
...
Great posts!
...
that third thumb is absolutely excellent. {3 posts back}
https://techxplore.com/news/2017-07-mech...ities.html

Quote:everyone smiles in delight, 
as if suddenly realizing they have been missing that extra thumb their entire lives. 
As she notes, 
people adapt to it rather quickly and soon use it to hold extra playing cards, 
eggs when cooking 
or for making up new chords when playing guitar.


Just imagining using the second thumb as part of my hand here,
and I can envision multiple advantages.
4 thumbs ... how about 4 testicles ... Hmm2 never need viagra.
then I might have a dominant ... alpha testicle ... Rofl

Maybe a properly placed second big toe would make for better stability,
and running capacity.
Your foot would need clown shoes.
Look, the fucking clown has two big toes.
Better to kick your ass with, he said.
...
Reply
#21
Quote:The artificial muscle in use as a bicep lifts a skeleton's arm to a 90 degree position. Credit: Aslan Miriyev/Columbia Engineering

If they made these as condoms - they'd make a BILLIONS of old men happy to part with money to try that on.

Bob... Ninja Alien2
"The Light" - Jefferson Starship-Windows of Heaven Album
I'm an Earthling with a Martian Soul wanting to go Home.   
You have to turn your own lightbulb on. ©stevo25 & rhw007
Reply
#22
3D-printed live bacteria creates world's first "living tattoo"

Rich Haridy    December 5th, 2017


[Image: living-tattoos-1.jpg?auto=format%2Ccompr...0c747b25a7]
Researchers used a 3D-printed patch of bacteria cells to create a "living tattoo" that changes color in the presence of certain chemical stimuli(Credit: MIT)

A team at MIT has genetically modified bacteria cells and developed a new 3D printing technique to create a "living tattoo" that can respond to a variety of stimuli.

Electronic tattoos and smart ink technologies are showing exciting potential for reframing how we think of wearable sensor devices. While many engineers are experimenting with a variety of responsive materials the MIT team wondered if live cells could be co-opted into a functional use.

The first step was to look at what organic cells could be utilized, and it turned out that the strong cell walls of bacteria were the best target for use as they could survive the force of a 3D printer's nozzle. Bacteria also proved to be perfectly compatible with the hydrogels needed for accurate 3D printing.

To test out the technique the team created a 3D-printed patch of bacteria cells on an elastomer layer designed to resemble a tree. The bacteria in each branch of the tree was engineered to respond to a different chemical stimuli. When the patch was tested on a human hand that had been applied with different target chemicals the bacteria successfully illuminated its branches when sensing the corresponding chemical.

[Image: living-tattoos-2.jpg?auto=format%2Ccompr...eb2aed96b5]

The ultimate outcomes for the technology are incredibly futuristic, with the team suggesting the technique could conceivably lead to the development of a kind of "living computer." Complex structures could be created that contain many different types of engineered cells that communicate with each other in the same way as transistors on a microchip.

"This is very future work, but we expect to be able to print living computational platforms that could be wearable," say Hyunwoo Yuk, a graduate student at MIT and one of the co-authors on the study.

More immediate, pragmatic uses include the development of warning stickers that contain cells engineered to respond to a certain environment or chemical stimuli, or health-monitoring wearables that activate signals in accordance with a specific temperature or pH change.

The study was published in the journal Advanced Materials.

Take a closer look at the technology in the video below.

Source: MIT




Bob... Ninja Assimilated
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I'm an Earthling with a Martian Soul wanting to go Home.   
You have to turn your own lightbulb on. ©stevo25 & rhw007
Reply
#23
Bob.

That means you could 3-d tattoo protective bio-spaceskins to compliment spacesuits and long duration voyages(Mars)

You simply shed the Skin when the built in bio-sensors say the skin is 'dead' like a snake's.

Print ANU one and discard it again when over-exposed to cosmic radiation. slough off,print,repeat...

A living layer of Cosmic Shielding! Alien2



She's got Nice Big Bio- Tatts
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Reply
#24
DNA Has Gone Digital — What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

By Jenna E. Gallegos and Jean Peccoud, Colorado State University | December 7, 2017

[Image: aHR0cDovL3d3dy5saXZlc2NpZW5jZS5jb20vaW1h...1kbmEuanBn]

Modern advances come with new liabilities.
Credit: Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock

This article was originally published at The Conversation. The publication contributed the article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

Biology is becoming increasingly digitized. Researchers like us use computers to analyze DNA, operate lab equipment and store genetic information. But new capabilities also mean new risks – and biologists remain largely unaware of the potential vulnerabilities that come with digitizing biotechnology.

The emerging field of cyberbiosecurity explores the whole new category of risks that come with the increased use of computers in the life sciences.

University scientists, industry stakeholders and government agents have begun gathering to discuss these threats. We've even hosted FBI agents from the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate here at Colorado State University and previously at Virginia Tech for crash courses on synthetic biology and the associated cyberbiosecurity risks. A year ago, we participated in a U.S. Department of Defense-funded project to assess the security of biotechnology infrastructures. The results are classified, but we disclose some of the lessons learned in our new Trends in Biotechnology paper.

Along with co-authors from Virginia Tech and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, we discuss two major kinds of threats: sabotaging the machines biologists rely on and creating dangerous biological materials.

Computer viruses affecting the physical world

In 2010, a nuclear plant in Iran experienced mysterious equipment failures. Months later, a security firm was called in to troubleshoot an apparently unrelated problem. They found a malicious computer virus. The virus, called Stuxnet, was telling the equipment to vibrate. The malfunction shut down a third of the plant's equipment, stunting development of the Iranian nuclear program.

Unlike most viruses, Stuxnet didn't target only computers. It attacked equipment controlled by computers.
The marriage of computer science and biology has opened the door for amazing discoveries. With the help of computers, we're decoding the human genome, creating organisms with new capabilities, automating drug development and revolutionizing food safety.

Stuxnet demonstrated that cybersecurity breaches can cause physical damages. What if those damages had biological consequences? Could bioterrorists target government laboratories studying infectious diseases? What about pharmaceutical companies producing lifesaving drugs? As life scientists become more reliant on digital workflows, the chances are likely rising.

Messing with DNA

The ease of accessing genetic information online has democratized science, enabling amateur scientists in community laboratories to tackle challenges like developing affordable insulin.

But the line between physical DNA sequences and their digital representation is becoming increasingly blurry. Digital information, including malware, can now be stored and transmitted via DNA. The J. Craig Venter Institute even created an entire synthetic genome watermarked with encoded links and hidden messages.

Twenty years ago, genetic engineers could only create new DNA molecules by stitching together natural DNA molecules. Today scientists can use chemical processes to produce synthetic DNA.

The sequence of these molecules is often generated using software. In the same way that electrical engineers use software to design computer chips and computer engineers use software to write computer programs, genetic engineers use software to design genes.

That means that access to specific physical samples is no longer necessary to create new biological samples. To say that all you need to create a dangerous human pathogen is internet access would be an overstatement – but only a slight one. For instance, in 2006, a journalist used publicly available data to order a fragment of smallpox DNA in the mail. The year before, the Centers for Disease Control used published DNA sequences as a blueprint to reconstruct the virus responsible for the Spanish flu, one of the deadliest pandemics of all time.

With the help of computers, editing and writing DNA sequences is almost as easy as manipulating text documents. And it can be done with malicious intent.

First: Recognize the threat

The conversations around cyberbiosecurity so far have largely focused on doomsday scenarios. The threats are bidirectional.

On the one hand, computer viruses like Stuxnet could be used to hack into digitally controlled machinery in biology labs. DNA could even be used to deliver the attack by encoding malware that is unlocked when the DNA sequences are translated into digital files by a sequencing computer.

On the other hand, bad actors could use software and digital databases to design or reconstruct pathogens. If nefarious agents hacked into sequence databases or digitally designed novel DNA molecules with the intent to cause harm, the results could be catastrophic.

And not all cyberbiosecurity threats are premeditated or criminal. Unintentional errors that occur while translating between a physical DNA molecule and its digital reference are common. These errors might not compromise national security, but they could cause costly delays or product recalls.

Despite these risks, it is not unusual for researchers to order samples from a collaborator or a company and never bother to confirm that the physical sample they receive matches the digital sequence they were expecting.
Infrastructure changes and new technologies could help increase the security of life science workflows. For instance, voluntary screening guidelines are already in place to help DNA synthesis companies screen orders for known pathogens. Universities could institute similar mandatory guidelines for any outgoing DNA synthesis orders.

There is also currently no simple, affordable way to confirm DNA samples by whole genome sequencing. Simplified protocols and user-friendly software could be developed, so that screening by sequencing becomes routine.
The ability to manipulate DNA was once the privilege of the select few and very limited in scope and application. Today, life scientists rely on a global supply chain and a network of computers that manipulate DNA in unprecedented ways. The time to start thinking about the security of the digital/DNA interface is now, not after a new Stuxnet-like cyberbiosecurity breach.

Jenna E. Gallegos, Postdoctoral Researcher in Chemical and Biological Engineering, Colorado State University and Jean Peccoud, Professor, Abell Chair in Synthetic Biology, Colorado State University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Source: https://www.livescience.com/61131-digital-dna-cyberbiosecurity-risks.html

----

Hey EA I agree with you about shedding skin and other Bio-Cybernetic Design Cloning and the above opinion piece is just that opinion.  I'd trade my 2nd pacemaker for a Bio-Cybernetic heart in half a heart beat...ANY DAY they offer it.

I also told Elon I'd ride his Big Frackin Rocket all the way to Mars being kept alive by slowing my metabolism down to 20 hb/min since I lived like that for 8 months for short periods of time.  When I was in that state...my SOUL was HOME on the Smoker looking out over the D&M and the Ares Face.  My bodily senses were attuned to what I was seeing, feeling sand on my face and in my toes, smelling the "SPICEY" air in the gentle winds, and it was WARM. 

Besides he'd know how his suits held up to a decaying corpse in keeping the planet "pristine" from those NASA/JPL 'pristine' idiots. Sheep Pennywise


He's going to land just north of Cydonia.  THAT is where ALL his requests from the HiRise are being acquired.  And he is now going to bring his Red Electric Corvette along this time. If not December for a HUGE X-MAS present; it'll be a BIG FRACKIN NEW YEAR'S ROCKETING to North Cydonia !!! He'll be the FIRST to go and investigate Cydonia properly; along with a small city as a SOLID BASE to peer into the depths of the Mystery that is there -- waiting for US to come HOME.

He will land humans there a decade before the government does.

Bob... Ninja [Image: ET-movie-girl-tv-theyre-back200.gif]
"The Light" - Jefferson Starship-Windows of Heaven Album
I'm an Earthling with a Martian Soul wanting to go Home.   
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Reply
#25
Bob.

That means you could 3-d tattoo protective  bio-spaceskins to compliment spacesuits and long duration voyages(Mars)

You simply shed the Skin when the built in bio-sensors say the skin is 'dead' like a snake's.

Print ANU one and discard it again when over-exposed to cosmic radiation. slough off,print,repeat...

A living layer of Cosmic Shielding!




She's got Nice Big Bio- Tatts
T & A
[Image: 0f672e7d69c32d9b658638545174626d.jpg]
Terminal Impact Tensile Sheild.
&
Astro Snake Skin.

"Development is starting to become a canvas for engineering, and by breaking the complexity of development down into simpler engineering principles, scientists are beginning to better understand, and ultimately control, the fundamental biology," says senior author Zev Gartner, part of the Center for Cellular Construction at the University of California, San Francisco. "In this case, the intrinsic ability of mechanically active cells to promote changes in tissue shape is a fantastic chassis for building complex and functional synthetic tissues."

Engineers hack cell biology to create 3-D shapes from living tissue
December 28, 2017, Cell Press


[Image: engineershac.jpg]
The shapes made of living tissue made by the researchers. By patterning mechanically active mouse or human cells to thin layers of extracellular fibers, the researchers could create bowls, coils, and ripple shapes. Credit: Alex Hughes
Many of the complex folded shapes that form mammalian tissues can be recreated with very simple instructions, UC San Francisco bioengineers report December 28 in the journal Developmental Cell. By patterning mechanically active mouse or human cells to thin layers of extracellular matrix fibers, the researchers could create bowls, coils, and ripples out of living tissue. The cells collaborated mechanically through a web of these fibers to fold themselves up in predictable ways, mimicking natural developmental processes.

[Image: goatse-wolverine.jpg]

"Development is starting to become a canvas for engineering, and by breaking the complexity of development down into simpler engineering principles, scientists are beginning to better understand, and ultimately control, the fundamental biology," says senior author Zev Gartner, part of the Center for Cellular Construction at the University of California, San Francisco. "In this case, the intrinsic ability of mechanically active cells to promote changes in tissue shape is a fantastic chassis for building complex and functional synthetic tissues."
Labs already use 3D printing or micro-molding to create 3D shapes for tissue engineering, but the final product often misses key structural features of tissues that grow according developmental programs. The Gartner lab's approach uses a precision 3D cell-patterning technology called DNA-programmed assembly of cells (DPAC) to set up an initial spatial template of a tissue that then folds itself into complex shapes in ways that replicate how tissues assemble themselves hierarchically during development.
"We're beginning to see that it's possible to break down natural developmental processes into engineering principles that we can then repurpose to build and understand tissues," says first author Alex Hughes, a postdoctoral fellow at UCSF. "It's a totally new angle in tissue engineering."
"It was astonishing to me about how well this idea worked and how simply the cells behave," Gartner says. "This idea showed us that when we reveal robust developmental design principles, what we can do with them from an engineering perspective is only limited by our imagination. Alex was able to make living constructs that shape-shifted in ways that were very close to what our simple models predicted."
Gartner and his team are now curious to learn whether they can stitch the developmental program that control tissue folding together with others that control tissue patterning. They also hope to begin to understand how cells differentiate in response to the mechanical changes that occur during tissue folding in vivo, taking inspiration from specific stages of embryo development.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: 3-D printed microfibers could provide structure for artificially grown body parts
More information: Developmental Cell, Hughes et al.: "Engineered Tissue Folding by Mechanical Compaction of the Mesenchyme" http://www.cell.com/developmental-cell/f...17)30989-9 , DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2017.12.004



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-12-hack-cell-...e.html#jCp

[/url]

Monday, December 18th, 2017,
Imagine a material as flexible and lightweight as foil that becomes stiff and hard enough to stop a bullet on impact.
[Image: roswell-ufo-crash_newspaper+aluminum.jpg] 1947 Roswell, NM


Process to transition two-layer graphene into diamond-hard material on impact discovered
December 18, 2017


[url=https://3c1703fe8d.site.internapcdn.net/newman/gfx/news/2017/processtotra.jpg][Image: processtotra.jpg]

By applying pressure at the nanoscale with an indenter to two layers of graphene, each one-atom thick, CUNY researchers transformed the honeycombed graphene into a diamond-like material at room temperature.  Credit: Ella Maru Studio

Imagine a material as flexible and lightweight as foil that becomes stiff and hard enough to stop a bullet on impact. In a newly published paper in Nature Nanotechnology, researchers across The City University of New York (CUNY) describe a process for creating diamene: flexible, layered sheets of graphene that temporarily become harder than diamond and impenetrable upon impact.


Scientists at the Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC) at the Graduate Center, CUNY, worked to theorize and test how two layers of graphene—each one-atom thick—could be made to transform into a diamond-like material upon impact at room temperature. The team also found the moment of conversion resulted in a sudden reduction of electric current, suggesting diamene could have interesting electronic and spintronic properties. The new findings will likely have applications in developing wear-resistant protective coatings and ultra-light bullet-proof films.
"This is the thinnest film with the stiffness and hardness of diamond ever created," said Elisa Riedo, professor of physics at the ASRC and the project's lead researcher. "Previously, when we tested graphite or a single atomic layer of graphene, we would apply pressure and feel a very soft film. But when the graphite film was exactly two-layers thick, all of a sudden we realized that the material under pressure was becoming extremely hard and as stiff, or stiffer, than bulk diamond."

[Image: snakkraftdetail3.jpg?format=500w]

Angelo Bongiorno, associate professor of chemistry at CUNY College of Staten Island and part of the research team, developed the theory for creating diamene. He and his colleagues used atomistic computer simulations to model potential outcomes when pressurizing two honeycomb layers of graphene aligned in different configurations. Riedo and other team members then used an atomic force microscope to apply localized pressure to two-layer graphene on silicon carbide substrates and found perfect agreement with the calculations. Experiments and theory both show that this graphite-diamond transition does not occur for more than two layers or for a single graphene layer.
"Graphite and diamonds are both made entirely of carbon, but the atoms are arranged differently in each material, giving them distinct properties such as hardness, flexibility and electrical conduction," Bongiorno said. "Our new technique allows us to manipulate graphite so that it can take on the beneficial properties of a diamond under specific conditions."
The research team's successful work opens up possibilities for investigating graphite-to-diamond phase transition in two-dimensional materials, according to the paper. Future research could explore methods for stabilizing the transition and allow for further applications for the resulting materials.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: New form of carbon discovered that is harder than diamond but flexible as rubber
More information: Yang Gao et al, Ultrahard carbon film from epitaxial two-layer graphene, Nature Nanotechnology (2017). DOI: 10.1038/s41565-017-0023-9





Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-12-transition...l.html#jCp

More T.I.T.S. & A.S.S.!
[Image: 54d243f7e7bcf2ae1539587e_jennifer-lawren...ier-vf.jpg]
Terminal Impact Tensile Sheild.
&
Astro Snake Skin.

[Image: latest?cb=20140907021002]
Ripley believe it or not.

A living layer of Cosmic sheilding for long duration spaceflight and expeditions.

When itz dead it sheds.
You simply 3-d bio-print ANU one!!!

[Image: two-ohio-artists-3d-printing-to-create-s...rns-13.jpg] [Image: skindeep_leg_3D-684x1024.jpg]

[Image: 18ggvbq6ttarujpg.jpg]


[Image: 0d460fc82adac4b4cb63f7d67d8cc107.jpg]
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Reply
#26
New class of soft, electrically activated devices mimics the expansion and contraction of natural muscles
January 4, 2018, University of Colorado at Boulder

[Image: softselfheal.jpg]
HASEL actuators can be designed as soft grippers to handle and manipulate delicate objects. Credit: Keplinger Lab / University of Colorado Boulder

In the basement of the Engineering Center at the University of Colorado Boulder, a group of researchers is working to create the next generation of robots. Instead of the metallic droids you may be imagining, they are developing robots made from soft materials that are more similar to biological systems. Such soft robots contain tremendous potential for future applications as they adapt to dynamic environments and are well-suited to closely interact with humans.

A central challenge in this field known as "soft robotics" is a lack of actuators or "artificial muscles" that can replicate the versatility and performance of the real thing. However, the Keplinger Research Group in the College of Engineering and Applied Science has now developed a new class of soft, electrically activated devices capable of mimicking the expansion and contraction of natural muscles. These devices, which can be constructed from a wide range of low-cost materials, are able to self-sense their movements and self-heal from electrical damage, representing a major advance in soft robotics.
The newly developed hydraulically amplified self-healing electrostatic (HASEL) actuators eschew the bulky, rigid pistons and motors of conventional robots for soft structures that react to applied voltage with a wide range of motions. The soft devices can perform a variety of tasks, including grasping delicate objects such as a raspberry and a raw egg, as well as lifting heavy objects. HASEL actuators exceed or match the strength, speed and efficiency of biological muscle and their versatility may enable artificial muscles for human-like robots and a next generation of prosthetic limbs.
Three different designs of HASEL actuators are detailed today in separate papers appearing in the journals Science and Science Robotics.
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HASEL actuators can be scaled up to deliver large forces. Credit: Image courtesy of Keplinger Research Group and Science/AAAS
"We draw our inspiration from the astonishing capabilities of biological muscle," said Christoph Keplinger, senior author of both papers, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and a Fellow of the Materials Science and Engineering Program. "HASEL actuators synergize the strengths of soft fluidic and soft electrostatic actuators, and thus combine versatility and performance like no other artificial muscle before. Just like biological muscle, HASEL actuators can reproduce the adaptability of an octopus arm, the speed of a hummingbird and the strength of an elephant."
One iteration of a HASEL device, described in Science, consists of a donut-shaped elastomer shell filled with an electrically insulating liquid (such as canola oil) and hooked up to a pair of opposing electrodes. When voltage is applied, the liquid is displaced and drives shape change of the soft shell. As an example of one possible application, the researchers positioned several of these actuators opposite of one another and achieved a gripping effect upon electrical activation. When voltage is turned off, the grip releases.

Another HASEL design is made of layers of highly stretchable ionic conductors that sandwich a layer of liquid, and expands and contracts linearly upon activation to either lift a suspended gallon of water or flex a mechanical arm holding a baseball.
In addition to serving as the hydraulic fluid which enables versatile movements, the use of a liquid insulating layer enables HASEL actuators to self-heal from electrical damage. Other soft actuators controlled by high voltage, also known as dielectric elastomer actuators, use a solid insulating layer that fails catastrophically from electrical damage. In contrast, the liquid insulating layer of HASEL actuators immediately recovers its insulating properties following electrical damage. This resiliency allows researchers to reliably scale up devices to exert larger amounts of force.

Seek% buffered00:00Current time01:07Volume The Keplinger Research Group at the University of Colorado Boulder has developed a new class of soft electrically activated devices, called HASEL (Hydraulically Amplified Self-Healing Electrostatic) actuators, which mimic natural muscle in both …more
"The ability to create electrically powered soft actuators that lift a gallon of water at several times per second is something we haven't seen before. These demonstrations show the exciting potential for HASEL" said Eric Acome, a doctoral student in the Keplinger group and the lead author of the Science paper. "The high voltage required for operation is a challenge for moving forward. However, we are already working on solving that problem and have designed devices in the lab that operate with a fifth of the voltage used in this paper."
HASEL actuators can also sense environmental input, much like human muscles and nerves. The electrode and dielectric combination in these actuators forms a capacitor. This capacitance - which changes with stretch of the device - can be used to determine the strain of the actuator. The researchers attached a HASEL actuator to a mechanical arm and demonstrated the ability to power the arm while simultaneously sensing position.
A third design, detailed in Science Robotics and known as a Peano-HASEL actuator, consists of three small rectangular pouches filled with liquid, rigged together in series. The polymer shell is made from the same low-cost material as a potato chip bag, and is thin, transparent, and flexible. Peano-HASEL devices contract on application of a voltage, much like biological muscle, which makes them especially attractive for robotics applications. Their electrically-powered movement allows operation at speeds exceeding that of human muscle.
The versatility and simplicity of the HASEL technology lends itself to widespread industrial applications, both now and in the future.

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Credit: Footage courtesy of Keplinger Research Group, Video produced by Tim Morrissey
"We can make these devices for around ten cents, even now," said Nicholas Kellaris, also a doctoral student in the Keplinger group and the lead author of the Science Robotics study. "The materials are low-cost, scalable and compatible with current industrial manufacturing techniques."
Future research will attempt to further optimize materials, geometry and explore advanced fabrication techniques in order to continue improving the HASEL platform and to rapidly enable practical applications.
The researchers have secured patents for the technology and are currently exploring commercial opportunities with the assistance of CU Boulder's Technology Transfer Office.
"The research coming out of Dr. Keplinger's lab is nothing short of astounding," said Bobby Braun, dean of CU Boulder's College of Engineering and Applied Science. "He and his team of students are helping create the future of flexible, more-humanlike robots that can be used to improve people's lives and well-being. This line of research is a core, interdisciplinary strength of our college."
[Image: img-dot.gif] Explore further: New soft robots really suck
More information: E. Acome el al., "Hydraulically amplified self-healing electrostatic actuators with muscle-like performance," Science (2018). science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi … 1126/science.aao6139
N. Kellaris el al., "Peano-HASEL actuators: Muscle-mimetic, electro-hydraulic transducers that linearly contract on activation," Science Robotics (2018). robotics.sciencemag.org/lookup … /scirobotics.aar3276

Provided by University of Colorado at Boulder

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#27
Quote:
Friday, December 8th, 2017, 11:54 pm


Bob.

That means you could 3-d tattoo protective bio-spaceskins to compliment spacesuits and long duration voyages(Mars)

You simply shed the Skin when the built in bio-sensors say the skin is 'dead' like a snake's.

Print ANU one and discard it again when over-exposed to cosmic radiation. slough off,print,repeat...

A living layer of Cosmic Shielding! [Image: alien2.gif]




Recall: T&A

T
erminal Impact Tensile Sheild.
&
Astro Snake Skin.
[Image: Gold-Silver-Black-Faux-Leather-Snakeskin...ngerie.jpg]
3 dressed up as a nine                  3 dressed up as a nine                            3 dressed up as a nine      

 Team develops new surface design inspired by snake skin

February 2, 2018 by Julia Stackler, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


[Image: illinoisrese.jpg]
Seok Kim Lab develops new surface design inspired by snake skin. Credit: University of Illinois Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering
Assistant Professor Seok Kim and graduate students Zining Yang and Jun Kyu Park have developed a design construct inspired in part by the surface of butterflies and snakes, where flexible skins are fully covered by rigid, discrete scales.


Their work, "Magnetically Responsive Elastomer-Silicon Hybrid Surfaces for Fluid and Light Manipulation," was recently featured on the cover of Small.
Their new surface design features rigid scales assembled into soft, ferromagnetic micropillars on a flexible substrate in a predesigned manner by transfer printing-based deterministic assembly. The nanostructured silicon scales on the magnetically responsive elastomer micropillar array enables fluid and light manipulation. The functional properties of the surface are dictated by the scales' patterns, while the micropillar array is magnetically actuated with large-range, instantaneous, and reversible deformation.
Kim and his researchers were able to design, characterize, and analyze a wide range of functions, such as tunable wetting, droplet manipulation, tunable optical transmission, and structural coloration, by incorporating a wide range of scales—bare silicon, black silicon, and photonic crystal scales—in both in-plane and out-of-plane configurations.
Magnetically response materials like soft elastomers loaded with magnetic particles, are desirable for their real-time manipulation of fluid, light, solid particles, and living cells—thanks to their instantaneous structural tenability under a magnetic field. However, due to the fabrication process, most existing surfaces of this kind are limited in their functional ability.

Directional droplet spreading
Compared with common responsive surface with simple design (the magnetic micropillar array), the surface developed in our work not only has enhanced performance in directional liquid spreading and optical transmission tuning, but also enables novel functions such as droplet manipulation and dynamic structural coloration," said Yang, Ph.D. candidate and first author of the study.
Their results suggest a versatile platform for both fluid and light manipulations at both the micro and macroscale. Potential applications can be found in digital microfluidics, biomedical devices, virtual blinds, camouflage surfaces, and micromirror arrays. Further work could also result in more biomimetic functionalities such as robotic locomotion, swimming, self-cleaning, and solid object manipulation. Their design could also be integrated with active devices such as solar cells, light emitting diodes, and lasers as scales to form novel flexible optoelectronics.
Video:https://phys.org/news/2018-02-team-surface-snake-skin.html
Droplet self-propulsion
Kim is a leading scientist in advanced transfer printing and transfer printing-based microassembly.
Video:https://phys.org/news/2018-02-team-surface-snake-skin.html
Droplet trapping, .3x speed
Video:https://phys.org/news/2018-02-team-surface-snake-skin.html
New surface design inspired by snake skin
Video:https://phys.org/news/2018-02-team-surface-snake-skin.html


[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Exciting silicon nanoparticles
More information: Zining Yang et al, Responsive Surfaces: Magnetically Responsive Elastomer-Silicon Hybrid Surfaces for Fluid and Light Manipulation, Small (2018). DOI: 10.1002/smll.201870007

Journal reference: Small [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-02-team-surfa...n.html#jCp

[url=https://phys.org/news/2018-02-team-surface-snake-skin.html#jCp][/url]
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
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#28
Quote:EA:
Recall: T&A

T
erminal Impact Tensile Sheild.
&
Astro Snake Skin.
[Image: Gold-Silver-Black-Faux-Leather-Snakeskin...ngerie.jpg]
3 dressed up as a nine                  3 dressed up as a nine                            3 dressed up as a nine    
Ahh if I only could I would.  In half a heart beat my mind's made up.  THREE synesthetic Astro woman to accompany me.   Holycowsmile 
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#29
New malleable 'electronic skin' self-healable, recyclable
February 9, 2018, University of Colorado at Boulder

[Image: 1-newmalleable.jpg]
Section of "e-skin." Credit: Jianliang Xiao / University of Colorado Boulder

University of Colorado Boulder researchers have developed a new type of malleable, self-healing and fully recyclable "electronic skin" that has applications ranging from robotics and prosthetic development to better biomedical devices.

Electronic skin, known as e-skin, is a thin, translucent material that can mimic the function and mechanical properties of human skin. A number of different types and sizes of wearable e-skins are now being developed in labs around the world as researchers recognize their value in diverse medical, scientific and engineering fields.
The new CU Boulder e-skin has sensors embedded to measure pressure, temperature, humidity and air flow, said Assistant Professor Jianliang Xiao, who is leading the research effort with CU Boulder chemistry and biochemistry Associate Professor Wei Zhang. It has several distinctive properties, including a novel type of covalently bonded dynamic network polymer, known as polyimine that has been laced with silver nanoparticles to provide better mechanical strength, chemical stability and electrical conductivity.
"What is unique here is that the chemical bonding of polyimine we use allows the e-skin to be both self-healing and fully recyclable at room temperature," said Xiao. "Given the millions of tons of electronic waste generated worldwide every year, the recyclability of our e-skin makes good economic and environmental sense."
A paper on the subject was published today in the journal Science Advances. Co-authors on the study include Zhanan Zou and Yan Li of mechanical engineering and Chengpu Zhu and Xingfeng Lei of chemistry and biochemistry. The study was funded in part by the National Science Foundation.
Many people are familiar with the movie The Terminator, in which the skin of film's main villain is "re-healed" just seconds after being shot, beaten or run over, said Zhang. While the new process is not nearly as dramatic, the healing of cut or broken e-skin, including the sensors, is done by using a mix of three commercially available compounds in ethanol, he said.
Another benefit of the new CU Boulder e-skin is that it can be easily conformed to curved surfaces like human arms and robotic hands by applying moderate heat and pressure to it without introducing excessive stresses.
"Let's say you wanted a robot to take care of a baby," said Zhang. "In that case you would integrate e-skin on the robot fingers that can feel the pressure of the baby. The idea is to try and mimic biological skin with e-skin that has desired functions."
To recycle the skin, the device is soaked into recycling solution, making the polymers degrade into oligomers (polymers with polymerization degree usually below 10) and monomers (small molecules that can be joined together into polymers) that are soluble in ethanol. The silver nanoparticles sink to the bottom of the solution.
"The recycled solution and nanoparticles can then be used to make new, functional e-skin," said Xiao.
[Image: img-dot.gif] Explore further: E-skin for manipulating virtual objects without touching them
More information: "Rehealable, fully recyclable, and malleable electronic skin enabled by dynamic covalent thermoset nanocomposite" Science Advances (2018). advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/2/eaaq0508

Provided by University of Colorado at Boulder

https://techxplore.com/news/2018-02-mall...lable.html

Quote:...

Amputee controls individual prosthetic fingers via ultrasound technology
December 12, 2017 by Jason Maderer, Georgia Institute of Technology

[Image: amputeecontr.jpg]
Jason Barnes lost part of his right arm in 2012. He can now play the piano by controlling each of his prosthetic fingers. Credit: Georgia Institute of Technology
Luke Skywalker's bionic hand is a step closer to reality for amputees in this galaxy. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have created an ultrasonic sensor that allows amputees to control each of their prosthetic fingers individually. It provides fine motor hand gestures that aren't possible with current commercially available devices.

The first amputee to use it, a musician who lost part of his right arm five years ago, is now able to play the piano for the first time since his accident. He can even strum the Star Wars theme song.
"Our prosthetic arm is powered by ultrasound signals," said Gil Weinberg, the Georgia Tech College of Design professor who leads the project. "By using this new technology, the arm can detect which fingers an amputee wants to move, even if they don't have fingers."
Jason Barnes is the amputee working with Weinberg. The 28-year-old was electrocuted during a work accident in 2012, forcing doctors to amputate his right arm just below the elbow. Barnes no longer has his hand and most of his forearm but does have the muscles in his residual limb that control his fingers.
Barnes' everyday prosthesis is similar to the majority of devices on the market. It's controlled by electromyogram (EMG) sensors attached to his muscles. He switches the arm into various modes by pressing buttons on the arm. Each mode has two programmed moves, which are controlled by him either flexing or contracting his forearm muscles. For example, flexing allows his index finger and thumb to clamp together; contracting closes his fist.

Credit: Georgia Institute of Technology
"EMG sensors aren't very accurate," said Weinberg, director of Georgia Tech's Center for Music Technology. "They can detect a muscle movement, but the signal is too noisy to infer which finger the person wants to move. We tried to improve the pattern detection from EMG for Jason but couldn't get finger-by-finger control."
But then the team looked around the lab and saw an ultrasound machine. They partnered with two other Georgia Tech professors – Minoru Shinohara, Chris Fink (College of Sciences) and Levent Degertekin (Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering)—and attached an ultrasound probe to the arm. The same kind of probe doctors use to see babies in the womb could watch how Barnes' muscles moved.
"That's when we had a eureka moment," said Weinberg.
When Barnes tries to move his amputated ring finger, the muscle movements differ from those seen when he tries to move any other digit. Weinberg and the team fed each unique movement into an doink-headthat can quickly determine which finger Barnes wants to move. The ultrasound signals and machine learning can detect continuous and simultaneous movements of each finger, as well as how much force he intends to use.

The new Georgia Tech prosthesis is similar to Luke Skywalker's Star Wars hand. The wearer can control of his fingers individually. Credit: Georgia Institute of Technology
"It's completely mind-blowing," said Barnes. "This new arm allows me to do whatever grip I want, on the fly, without changing modes or pressing a button. I never thought we'd be able to do this."

This is the second device Weinberg's lab has built for Barnes. His first love is the drums, so the team fitted him with a prosthetic arm with two drumsticks in 2014. He controlled one of the sticks. The other moved on its own by listening to the music in the room and improvising.
The device gave him the chance to drum again. The robotic stick could play faster than any drummer in the world. Worldwide attention has sent Barnes and Weinberg's robots around the globe for concerts across four continents. They've also played at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and Moogfest.

The Center for Music Technology's video that explains how the arm works. Credit: Georgia Institute of Technology
That success pushed Weinberg to take the next step and create something that gives Barnes the dexterity he's lacked since 2012.
"If this type of arm can work on music, something as subtle and expressive as playing the piano, this technology can also be used for many other types of fine motor activities such as bathing, grooming and feeding," said Weinberg. "I also envision able-bodied persons being able to remotely control robotic arms and hands by simply moving their fingers."
[Image: 1-amputeecontr.jpg]
The arm has an ultrasound sensor, allowing it to watch the muscles as they move. Credit: Georgia Institute of Technology
[Image: img-dot.gif] Explore further: Researchers discover new use for ultrasound technology to help amputees
Provided by Georgia Institute of Technology

https://techxplore.com/news/2017-12-ampu...sound.html
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#30
Invisible, stretchable circuits to shape next-gen tech
February 12, 2018, Carnegie Mellon University Mechanical Engineering


[Image: invisiblestr.jpg]
The displays and touchscreens used in next-generation technologies will require transparent conductors that are soft, elastic, and highly stretchable. Credit: Soft Materials Laboratory, Carnegie Mellon University
Electrically conductive films that are optically transparent have a central role in a wide range of electronics applications, from touch screens and video displays to photovoltaics. These conductors function as invisible electrodes for circuit wiring, touch sensing, or electrical charge collection and are typically composed of transparent conductive oxides. But, they have a weakness.

video at: Arrow  https://phys.org/news/2018-02-invisible-stretchable-circuits-next-gen-tech.html#jCp

Most transparent conductors are mechanically stiff. Stretching the inelastic material causes it to break apart and lose electrical functionality. This inability to support strain greatly limits the role of these existing materials for emerging applications in wearable computing, soft bioelectronics, and biologically-inspired robotics. The displays and touchscreens used in these next-generation technologies will require transparent conductors that are soft, elastic, and highly stretchable.

Carnegie Mellon University's Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Carmel Majidi and his research team have developed conductive thin-films that have the unique combination of properties needed for these next-generation technologies: high electrical conductivity, visual imperceptibility, low mechanical stiffness, and high elasticity.

Using a laser-based microfabrication technique, the team achieved these properties by coating the surface of a thin rubber film with a fine grid of metal (a eutectic alloy of gallium and indium, EGaIn) that is liquid at room temperature.




Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-02-invisible-...h.html#jCp
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Reply
#31
Quote:That means you could 3-d tattoo protective bio-spaceskins to compliment spacesuits and long duration voyages(Mars)

You simply shed the Skin when the built in bio-sensors say the skin is 'dead' like a snake's.

Print ANU one and discard it again when over-exposed to cosmic (NOT only UV) radiation. slough off,print,repeat...

A living layer of Cosmic Shielding! [Image: alien2.gif]

World's smallest wearable device monitors UV exposure
January 9, 2018 by Jon Yates, Northwestern University

[Image: 5-researchersd.jpg]
Credit: Northwestern University
A Northwestern University professor, working in conjunction with the global beauty company L'Oréal, has developed the smallest wearable device in the world. The wafer-thin, feather-light sensor can fit on a fingernail and precisely measures a person's exposure to UV light from the sun.

The device, as light as a raindrop and smaller in circumference than an M&M, is powered by the sun and contains the world's most sophisticated and accurate UV dosimeter. It was unveiled Sunday, Jan. 7, at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and will be called UV Sense.
"We think it provides the most convenient, most accurate way for people to measure sun exposure in a quantitative manner," said Northwestern engineer John A. Rogers. "The broader goal is to provide a technology platform that can save lives and reduce skin cancers by allowing individuals, on a personalized level, to modulate their exposure to the sun."
UV Sense has no moving parts, no battery, is waterproof and can be attached to almost any part of the body or clothing, where it continuously measures UV exposure in a unique accumulation mode.
Rogers said the device, created in a partnership with L'Oréal, is meant to stick on a thumbnail—a stable, rigid surface that ensures robust device adherence. It's also an optimal location to measure exposure to the sun.
"It is orders of magnitude smaller than anything else out there," Rogers said. "It also is one of the few sensors that directly measures the most harmful UV rays. Further, it simultaneously records body temperature, which is also very important in the context of sun exposure."
Users need only to download an app on their smartphone, then swipe the phone over the device to see their exposure to the sun, either for that day or over time. The app can suggest other, less UV-intense times for outdoor activities or give peace of mind to individuals who are concerned about overexposure.
"UV Sense is transformative technology that permits people to receive real-time advice via mobile phone messages when they exceed their daily safe sun limit," said June K. Robinson, M.D., research professor of dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
[Image: 6-researchersd.jpg]
The wearable tech can be customized with different coatings and designs over the electronic interface. Credit: Northwestern University
Roger's research group at Northwestern, in collaboration with Robinson and researchers at Feinberg, have received a roughly $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to deploy the fingernail UV sensors in human clinical studies of sun exposure in cohorts of subjects who are at risk for melanoma. The first pre-pilot field trials launched in December.

"Sunlight is the most potent known carcinogen," Rogers said. "It's responsible for more cancers than any other carcinogen known to man, and it's everywhere—even in Chicago."
On average, half the U.S. population experiences a sunburn once a year or more, he said, and there are more than a million melanoma survivors in the U.S. alone.
Guive Balooch, Global Vice President of L'Oréal's Technology Incubator, said the company's research shows that overexposure to UV rays is a top health and beauty concern of consumers worldwide.
"With this knowledge, we set out to create something that blends problem-solving technology with human-centered design to reach even more consumers who require additional information about their UV exposure," Balooch said. "Whenever we develop a new technology, our goal is to make an enormous global impact by enhancing consumers' lives."
Rogers said the aesthetic design features of UV Sense are also important because they can help break down barriers to adoption. The device can be produced in any color with any pattern, logo or branding.
Last year, Rogers' cutting-edge invention, the "Microfluidic System on the Skin," was selected as an exhibit at New York's Museum of Modern Art. As the Rogers Lab at Northwestern continues to develop new products, Rogers believes the technology his team developed will have other applications that can help consumers better monitor their health.
"What also excites me is that there's novelty at the level of the academic science," said Rogers, the Louis Simpson and Kimberly Querrey Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and Neurological Surgery in the McCormick School of Engineering and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "The resulting technology has strong potential for positive impact on human health."
[Image: img-dot.gif] Explore further: L'Oreal turns to stretchable electronics for patch to monitor UV exposure
Provided by Northwestern University

https://techxplore.com/news/2018-01-worl...ce-uv.html




Japanese researchers develop ultrathin, highly elastic skin display
February 17, 2018, University of Tokyo

[Image: japaneserese.jpg]
The soft, flexible skin display is about 1 millimeter thick, and consists of a 16 x 24 array of micro LEDs and stretchable wiring mounted on a rubber sheet. It can withstand repeated stretching, by as much as 45 percent of its original …more
A new ultrathin elastic display that fits snugly on the skin can show the moving waveform of an electrocardiogram recorded by a breathable, on-skin electrode sensor. Combined with a wireless communication module, this integrated biomedical sensor system, called "skin electronics," can transmit biometric data to the cloud.

This latest research by a Japanese academic-industrial collaboration, led by Professor Takao Someya at the University of Tokyo's Graduate School of Engineering, is slated for a news briefing and talk at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas on February 17th.
Thanks to advances in semiconductor technology, wearable devices can now monitor health by measuring vital signs or taking an electrocardiogram, and then transmitting the data wirelessly to a smartphone. The readings or electrocardiogram waveforms can be displayed on the screen in real time, or sent to the cloud or a memory device where the information is stored.
The newly developed skin electronics system goes a step further by enhancing information accessibility for people such as the elderly or the infirm, who tend to have difficulty operating and obtaining data from existing devices and interfaces. It promises to ease the strain on home healthcare systems in aging societies through continuous, non-invasive health monitoring and self-care at home.
The new integrated system combines a flexible, deformable display with a lightweight sensor composed of a breathable nanomesh electrode and wireless communication module. Medical data measured by the sensor, such as an electrocardiogram, can either be sent wirelessly to a smartphone for viewing or to the cloud for storage. In the latest research, the display showed a moving electrocardiogram waveform that was stored in memory.
[Image: 1-japaneserese.jpg]
An integrated "skin electronics" system allows health monitoring at home and gives doctors remote access to biometric data transmitted wirelessly to a medical cloud. It promises to enhance self-care and accessibility of medical information to various segments of the population, including children and the elderly. A thumbs-up image on the skin display serves as an indicator of good health. Credit: 2018 Takao Someya Research Group.
The skin display, developed by a collaboration between researchers at the University of Tokyo's Graduate School of Engineering and Dai Nippon Printing (DNP), a leading Japanese printing company, consists of a 16 x 24 array of micro LEDs and stretchable wiring mounted on a rubber sheet.
"Our skin display exhibits simple graphics with motion," says Someya. "Because it is made from thin and soft materials, it can be deformed freely."
The display is stretchable by as much as 45 percent of its original length.
It is far more resistant to the wear and tear of stretching than previous wearable displays. It is built on a novel structure that minimizes the stress resulting from stretching on the juncture of hard materials, such as the micro LEDs, and soft materials, like the elastic wiring—a leading cause of damage for other models.

It is the first stretchable display to achieve superior durability and stability in air, such that not a single pixel failed in the matrix-type display while attached snugly onto the skin and continuously subjected to the stretching and contracting motion of the body.

Seek% buffered01:11Current time01:32Volume
The University of Tokyo's Professor Takao Someya presents the future of skin electronics. Credit: 2018 Takao Someya Research Group.
The nanomesh skin sensor can be worn on the skin continuously for a week without causing any inflammation. Although this sensor, developed in an earlier study, was capable of measuring temperature, pressure and myoelectricity (the electrical properties of muscle), it successfully recorded an electrocardiogram for the first time in the latest research.
The researchers applied tried-and-true methods used in the mass production of electronics—specifically, screen printing the silver wiring and mounting the micro LEDs on the rubber sheet with a chip mounter and solder paste commonly used in manufacturing printed circuit boards. Applying these methods will likely accelerate the commercialization of the display and help keep down future production costs.
DNP is looking to bring the integrated skin display to market within the next three years by improving the reliability of the stretchable devices through optimizing its structure, enhancing the production process for high integration, and overcoming technical challenges such as large-area coverage.
"The current aging society requires user-friendly wearable sensors for monitoring patient vitals in order to reduce the burden on patients and family members providing nursing care," says Someya. "Our system could serve as one of the long-awaited solutions to fulfill this need, which will ultimately lead to improving the quality of life for many."
[Image: img-dot.gif] Explore further: New conductive ink for electronic apparel
Provided by University of Tokyo
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With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
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#32
I'd like to get some of those to attach to my electronic sensor pads I just bought with 8 pads instead of 6.

I used the 6 pads bio-pulses for the cannabis soil; and bought this 8 pad configuration that states :

DO NOT USE WITH PACEMAKERS !!!

Ahh but I do use them; but just cant get them to STICK in spots I want the electrical energy to go.

And I am NOT cutting my beard or hair for this experiment.

I haven't used Duck tape...yet.

Bob... Ninja Assimilated
"The Light" - Jefferson Starship-Windows of Heaven Album
I'm an Earthling with a Martian Soul wanting to go Home.   
You have to turn your own lightbulb on. ©stevo25 & rhw007
Reply
#33
I think they use an EMG (ElectroMyoGram) to specifically target nerve/muscle networks.
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