Glimpses of the future - happy new year
GLIMPSES OF THE FUTURE
A monthly digest of technologies, developments and trends that will shape our lives.
Gold Nanoparticles Turn Trees Into Streetlights
Nanostructured Materials To Put An End To Icy Surfaces
Scientists at The Research Center for Applied Science
Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are facing yet
another cold winter and that means a return to icy roads,
pavements, power lines and even plane wings.
ultraviolet light, the gold nanoparticles can produce a blue-violet fluorescence that triggers a red emission of the
surrounding chlorophyll. The discovery has opened up the
prospect of using roadside trees as streetlights.
The Taiwanese researchers have emphasised that the
The team got their inspiration from natural models.
technologies and bioluminescence efficiency still need to be
The team turned to the eyes of mosquitoes and the legs of
improved for the trees to replace street lights in the future and
water striders for their inspiration. In both cases, the insects
for them to reach the goal of energy saving and
are able to keep these delicate body parts dry due to an array
of tiny bristles that repel droplets of water by minimizing the available surface area.
'Chip-In-A-Pill' Awaits Approval By Regulators
The researchers proceeded to create silicon surfaces
Giant Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG, based in
incorporating various nanoscale shapes, patterns and
geometries, such as bristles, blades, honeycombs and bricks.
which it hopes to submit for regulatory approval in Europe
When they watched slow-motion videos of supercooled
droplets hitting some of these surfaces, they saw that that the droplets would initially spread out, but then retract back into a
The chip is activated by stomach acid, and transmits
sphere and bounce off before they could freeze. The surfaces
information to a patch attached to the patient's skin, which
with interconnected patterns were particularly effective. On
then sends it on to a doctor via the Internet or a smartphone.
regular smooth surfaces, by contrast, the droplets would simply spread out and freeze.
The first application of the pill-chip - or as it is officially known, the Ingestible Event Marker (IEM) - is expected to be for
Bed Baths Given By Robots
transplant patients, to help avoid organ rejection. A common problem that occurs after transplant operations is the dose
Despite the comedy clichés of attractive young female nurses
and timing of taking anti-rejection drugs has to be monitored
giving older male patients titillating bed baths, most hospital
and frequently adjusted to prevent rejection of the
patients know the real experience to be unpleasant and often
transplanted organ, such as a kidney. The microchip would
overcome this problem since it would closely monitor the patients to determine if the drugs are being taken at the right
In-Car WiFi To Be The Next Big Thing!
Global shipments of built-in car Wi-Fi system
The researchers took Cody, a humanoid robot developed at
view wireless connectivity as a key competitive differentiator,
Segway omnidirectional mobile base, two anthropomorphic
according to research organisation, iSuppli.
arms with seven degrees of freedom and wrists equipped with 6-axis force/torque sensors. The end of the robot’s right arm
Worldwide automotive original equipment manufacturer
is fitted with a specialized 'bath mitt' and the robot gathers
(OEM) shipments of Wi-Fi systems will rise to 7.2 million units
laser range data and images from a laser range finder and
camera mounted above the robot’s torso.
For example, the Ford Motor company is turning its vehicles
After the robot scans the patient, the operator is presented
into Wi-Fi hot spots with the next generation of its Sync in-car
with an image overlaid with a point cloud. Using a mouse, the
connectivity system. 'MyFord' is able to incorporate in-car Wi-
operator selects two points that form the diagonal corners of a
Fi connectivity, powered by any customer's existing USB
rectangular bounding box that the operator wishes to clean.
After the robot transforms the points to 3D Cartesian points the robot autonomously executes the wiping behaviour sequence using the right arm.
(Too little, and far too late, I think.)
Making Tougher Biodegradable Plastics From Plants
I can already hear the clack of the re-energised comedy writers' keyboards.
Replacing petro-chemical-based plastics with plant-based alternatives is a growing area of research. One popular form
Malaysia To Release Anti-Disease GM Mosquitoes Into
of plant-derived plastic is Poly(lactic) acid, or PLA, a type of
Malaysia will soon take the controversial step of
as part of an experiment to test their survival in natural conditions.
Although PLA has similar mechanical properties to PETE polymer, it has significantly lower heat-resistance, which limits
The move was recently approved by the country's National
its uses. Researchers are now developing a new chemical
Biosafety Board and will make the nation the first major
catalyst to improve the properties of PLA, making it stronger
country in the world to release GM Aedes aegypti
and more heat-resistant so it can be used for a wider range of
for field testing — second only after the Cayman Islands in
PLA is made from renewable plant sources such as corn
The mosquitoes, known as OX513A, have been developed by
starch, wheat or sugarcane, and although its been known of
Malaysia's Institute for Medical Research (IMR) and the UK-
for more than a century, it has only gained commercial
interest recently due to its biodegradability. In an effort to
extends the range of uses for PLA to include applications such as engineering plastics for the automotive industry,
A total of 4,000–6,000 male GM mosquitoes are expected to
microwavable trays and hot drink cups, scientists from the
be released within the next couple of months, along with a
similar number of unmodified male mosquitoes.
new chemical catalyst to improve the process of making these plastics.
The male GM mosquitoes mate with normal females to produce larvae that are unusual because of an extra enzyme
Making Old Concrete 'Self Healing'
they produce. This enzyme accumulates in the larvae to a level where it becomes toxic and kills them. The larvae's only
Stories about new materials that can 'heal' themselves when
hope for survival is if the antibiotic tetracycline is present —
they become fractured arrive frequently these days, but what
about all of the old, existing concrete structures used in mission-critical roles (e.g. bridges)?
After The 'Invisibility Cloak', Scientists Now Propose
Making Time Invisible
Now UK researchers have come up with a partial solution to this problem that
Research from Imperial College London is now taking
events, so an object could move from one region of space to
bacteria and programmed the genetically modified microbe to
another, completely unseen by anyone watching.
only start germinating when triggered by the specific pH of concrete.
Research published in the Journal of Optics
explains how the propagation of light can be manipulated to create a 'temporal
The researchers have also built in a self-destruct gene to
void', allowing undetectable moments of invisibility.
ensure bacteria are unable to survive in the environment if they fail to germinate. Once the cells have germinated, they
'Our spacetime "event" cloak works by dividing illuminating
swarm down the fine cracks in the concrete and know they
light into a leading part, which is sped up and passes before
have reached the bottom when they start clumping.
an event, and a trailing part, which is slowed down and passes after,' said Professor Martin McCall from Imperial
This clumping activates the cells to differentiate into three
College. 'Light is then stitched back together seamlessly, so
types: cells which produce calcium carbonate, cells which
become filamentous to act as reinforcing fibers, and cells which produce a 'Levans glue' which acts as a binding agent.
The team's ' proof of concept' design uses customised
The calcium carbonate and bacterial glue combine with the
versions of optical fibers used in telecommunications to
filamentous cells, ultimately hardening to the same strength of
achieve the feat and the researchers are confident that their
the surrounding concrete to form what the researchers have
findings will initiate a race to create a practical spacetime
dubbed 'BacillaFilla' which knits the concrete structure
You may hear some of these terms mentioned by your doctor. Most women don’t like to question their doctor, and leave the session no wiser than when they first made the appointment. This glossary is aimed to simplify some of the medical terms you may hear. Anterior Repair - a gynaecologic surgical procedure designed to treat a cystocele (a bulge of Anticholinergic - a class of drugs which hel
Curriculum vitae Insaf Fadl khalil Education 2000 PhD , graduated from University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Health Science. Thesis: Cotrimoxazole and Fansidar in the treatment of acute uncomplicated falciparum malaria: Efficacy, safety and molecular characterisation of resistance. 1996 Diploma in Tropical Medicine and International Health, University of Copenhagen, MS (Medical