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Get a grip

Jellyfish could come in handy at crime scenes. Another marine creature has inspired a British research team currently developing a gripper for objects with dry, complex surfaces. The secret to an octopus’s tight grip is that it fills the tiny gaps between its suction cups and an uneven surface with mucus. Information the team used to build a pneumatically-driven...

Uniform reuse

Beer can be brewed from industrial wastewater. Now a research team from Singapore is using the wastewater from soybean production to create sustainable feed for fish farming. Usually, feed is made from wild-caught fish (sometimes very wild-caught indeed!). The team cultivated a single-cell protein in a bioreactor over four months at 30°C using the protein-rich wastewater and the micro-organisms...

Salvaging principle

In future, circuit boards for PCs could be made from mushrooms. Now, an EU-financed research team is attempting something even more daring. They are building components for mobile machines from edible materials. People in remote places could be given drones for dessert while other drones deliver vaccinations to endangered animals. Work is already underway to create a sprayable sensor...

Resounding report

Anomalies in network traffic can be detected musically. Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) can be devastating too, turning entire coastal areas red and tourists away in the process. Enter a university lecturer in Florida and her data on coral diseases and the impact of HABs on coastal economies. Not for her publishing a series of dull tables and reports. Instead,...

Long-term relief

Vaccination patches could be printed locally. Now, a long-term study is offering hope to those who suffer from bacterial urinary infections. Over a 9-year period, a British medical team observed the effects of a spray (containing different types of bacteria) administered under the tongue to 72 women and 17 men. All had suffered previously from UTIs  and took a...

Alternating conclusion

In future, the Zika virus could be detected using mobile phone cameras. Meanwhile, an American research team has been banking on the phone’s magnetometer - not for navigation, but for reading blood sugar levels. First they created a small sensor containing a double-layered hydrogel embedded with tiny magnetic particles. Then they attached it to the smartphone above the magnetometer....

Constant source

Innovative pacemakers imitate our respiratory patterns. But most device batteries still need replacing. Enter a research team from China which has hit upon an apparently inexhaustible supply of electricity. Using biocompatible materials, the team created a cathode from highly porous gold and an alloy comprising sodium, gallium and tin for the anode. Both react with the oxygen present in...

Releasable contact

Self-dissolving medical aids can heal external wounds or restore defective heart valves. Now, using the body’s natural mechanisms, a Canadian-based research team has developed a similar concept to treat corneal abrasions. A certain amount of the enzyme MMP-9 is found naturally in the eye. Released in quantities that are proportional to the wound’s size, it helps the cornea to...

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