Bioengineering

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Diagnostic tests, although vastly improved in the recent years, seldom identify abnormalities in the body early enough (usually beneficial only in later phases) in order to employ appropriate treatment options and care. Apart from this major issue, challenges such as slow processing, false-negatives, high costs and side effects, pose an incredible danger to patients with life-threatening conditions, who require quick turnover periods.

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3D printing has been around a lot longer than most people realize. Presently, 3D printing is celebrating nearly 30 years of manufacturing technology. In the early 1980s, the technology’s roots were set with stereolithography. Fabrication of models was done using photosensitive acrylics or resins that upon treating with UV radiation would solidify. The models could then be built up layer-by-layer, allowing for the quick production of 3D models.

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A team from Stanford University has been hard at work developing a new brain-to computer hook-up which allows people suffering from paralysis to type via direct brain control. There are millions of sufferers of paralysis across the US, and the goal of this research is to restore function to people with paralysis, thus providing a vital communication link. Paralysis can be caused by a number of factors, including spinal cord injuries and neurodegenerative diseases such as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

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The world is slowly becoming more and more digital; cassette tapes have given way to MP3 players and analog TV antennas have been replaced with streaming video. This is great for preserving media and distributing over the internet, but digitalization still stumbles when it comes to simulating whole organs or biological systems.

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New, state of the art equipment for monitoring neural response is being developed by scientists and engineers from the University of California, San Diego. The researchers at the Jacobs School of Engineering and the Institute for Neural Computation are developing a brain monitoring system that monitors 64-channels and is wearable. The team is headed by Tim Mullen and Mike Yu Chi.

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Biochemists at the University of Montreal have synthesized the world’s smallest thermometer. To do this, they designed and synthesized DNA that had a programmable linear response to temperature. This DNA probe comes with increased sensitivity and response when compared to previous attempts.

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The human brain is a wondrous thing. It can process many different types of complex information nearly instantaneously. In a sense, your brain is the best computer out there—although today’s most powerful computers based on silicon chips can complete mathematical operations far faster than the average human, they are unable to or clumsy at performing certain tasks that our brains can do with ease.

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Touch, one of the most formidable and sophisticated of the five senses, has the ability to allow humans to connect with things on a deeper level and enjoy a sense of empowerment from the sensation. This, unfortunately, leaves behind millions of amputees around the world from experiencing the same, a failure to communicate kinesthetically.

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We’ve all suffered wounds before. For lesser wounds, scrapes and scratches, our bodies will manage to heal in days or weeks. Healing is done in stages. The body’s first response is inflammation; the blood vessels contract to promote clotting, the area warms up, and your immune system mounts an assault with neutrophils and macrophages against the insult.

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What’s inside a computer? The more curious of us have taken apart our favorite gadget. A quick peek and you will see the integrated silicon chips of the motherboard, a power supply, some data ports, and the hard drive. We all cherish our computer’s CPU and RAM, they provide the speed and processing power. And what descent into madness would there be without internet connectivity through a router port or Wi-Fi card? But the most treasured part of the computer is the hard drive. It stores our homework, our photos, our programs, and our secrets

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For people who have lost a limb, prosthetic arms and legs provide a means of gaining independence and feeling that they can achieve tasks on their own. Traditionally though, these prosthetics have been somewhat uncomfortable and clunky; the external electrodes can be affected by nearly devices and there is a lack of fine dexterity. Many amputees report that one of the main reasons for not wearing their prosthesis is because of problems related to the discomfort around the socket.

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