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Researchers create the first artificial vision system for both land and water

Researchers created the first artificial vision system that can see both on land and underwater. Here, the "eye" is shown with a measurement setup for panoramic imaging. Image courtesy: Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology.

CAMBRIDGE, MASS.- Giving our hardware sight has empowered a host of applications in self-driving cars, object detection, and crop monitoring. But unlike animals, synthetic vision systems can’t simply evolve under natural habitats. Dynamic visual systems that can navigate both land and water, therefore, have yet to power our machines — leading researchers from MIT, the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST), and Seoul National University in Korea to develop a novel artificial vision system that closely replicates the vision of the fiddler crab and is able to tackle both terrains. The semi-terrestrial species — known affectionately as the calling crab, as it appears to be beckoning with its huge claws — has amphibious imaging ability and an extremely wide field of view, as all current systems are limited to hemispherical. The new artificial eye, resembling a s ... More

When particles move: A deep dive into the relationship between cohesion and erosion   Yale-developed technology restores cell, organ function in pigs after death   Optimizing SWAP networks for quantum computing

Associate professor Alban Sauret in the lab, with theexperimental setup behind him. Image courtesy: UC Santa Barbara.

SANTA BARBARA, CA.- Landslides are one striking example of erosion. When the bonds that hold particles of dirt and rock together are overwhelmed by a force—often in the form of water—sufficient to pull the rock and soil apart, that same force breaks the bonds with other rock and soil that hold them in place. Another type of erosion involves using a small air jet to remove dust from a surface. When the force of the turbulent air is strong enough to break the bonds that hold the individual dust particles, or grains, together and cause them to stick to the surface, that's erosion, too. In the pharmaceutical industry, cohesion/erosion dynamics are immensely important to successfully process powders to make medicines. They also play a key role in another, rather far-removed, example: landing a spacecraft on a surface, such as the moon. As the spacecraft lowers, the exhaust of its engines causes the granular material on the surface to erode and be transported. The displaced material forms a crater, wh ... More

Illustration of organ perfusion and cellular recovery with OrganEx technology. The cell-saving blood analog is delivered to vital organs one hour after death. Image courtesy: Marin Balaic.

NEW HAVEN, CT.- Within minutes of the final heartbeat, a cascade of biochemical events triggered by a lack of blood flow, oxygen, and nutrients begins to destroy a body’s cells and organs. But a team of Yale scientists has found that massive and permanent cellular failure doesn’t have to happen so quickly. Using a new technology the team developed that delivers a specially designed cell-protective fluid to organs and tissues, the researchers restored blood circulation and other cellular functions in pigs a full hour after their deaths, they report in the Aug. 3 edition of the journal Nature. The findings may help extend the health of human organs during surgery and expand availability of donor organs, the authors said. “All cells do not die immediately, there is a more protracted series of events,” said David Andrijevic, associate research scientist in neuroscience at Yale School of Medicine and co-lead author of the study. & ... More

Akel Hashim, lead AQT researcher on the experiment. Image courtesy: Akel Hashim/Berkeley Lab.

BERKELEY, CA.- A research partnership at the Advanced Quantum Testbed (AQT) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Chicago-based (acquired by ColdQuanta in May 2022) demonstrated how to optimize the execution of the ZZ SWAP network protocol, important to quantum computing. The team also introduced a new technique for quantum error mitigation that will improve the network protocol's implementation in quantum processors. The experimental data was published this July in Physical Review Research, adding more pathways in the near term to implement quantum algorithms using gate-based quantum computing. Quantum processors with two- or three-dimensional architectures have limited qubit connectivity where each qubit interacts with only a limited number of other qubits. Furthermore, each qubit's information can only exist for so long before noise and errors cause decoherence, limiting the runtime and fidelity of quantum algorithms. Therefore, ... More

Air pollution and stress alter brain development and social behavior in male mice   No trace of dark matter halos   New chip-based beam steering device lays groundwork for smaller, cheaper lidar

Environmental and housing stress rewires the brains of developing male mice, which may explain similar findings in humans. Image courtesy: Carina Block, Duke University.

DURHAM, NC.- Naval oceanographer Carina Block had a hunch that the jet exhaust fumes she and her fellow female sailors were regularly exposed to, combined with unavoidable job stress, was leading to adverse health outcomes for their children. A new study in mice backs up Block's suspicion, finding that air pollution along with housing insecurity while pregnant leads to autism-like social behavior and differently wired brains in male, but not female, pups. The immune system seems to be at fault. "I was pregnant, stressed, and worked near planes," Block recalled. "I walked past jet fuel exhaust every day. And my child ended up developing a neurodevelopmental disorder, hydrocephalus." Block's daughter is now thriving, as is Block, who is now Dr. Block after earning her doctorate degree at Duke University in the labs of psychology and neuroscience professor Staci Bilbo, Ph.D. and cell biology professor Cagla Eroglu, Ph.D. However, Block's new publication ... More

The dwarf galaxy NGC1427A flies through the Fornax galaxy cluster and undergoes disturbances which would not be possible if this galaxy were surrounded by a heavy and extended dark matter halo, as required by standard cosmology. Image: ESO.

BONN.- According to the standard model of cosmology, the vast majority of galaxies are surrounded by a halo of dark matter particles. This halo is invisible, but its mass exerts a strong gravitational pull on galaxies in the vicinity. A new study led by the University of Bonn (Germany) and the University of Saint Andrews (Scotland) challenges this view of the Universe. The results suggest that the dwarf galaxies of Earth's second closest galaxy cluster—known as the Fornax Cluster—are free of such dark matter halos. The study appeared in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Dwarf galaxies are small, faint galaxies that can usually be found in galaxy clusters or near larger galaxies. Because of this, they might be affected by the gravitational effects of their larger companions. "We introduce an innovative way of testing the standard model based on how much dwarf galaxies are disturbed by gravitational ... More

Hao Hu and Yong Liu developed a chip-based OPA that accomplishes beam steering with a wide field of view without compromising beam quality. Image courtesy: Hao Hu, Technical University of Denmark.

KONGENS LYNGBY.- Researchers have developed a new chip-based beam steering technology that provides a promising route to small, cost-effective and high-performance lidar (or light detection and ranging) systems. Lidar, which uses laser pulses to acquire 3D information about a scene or object, is used in a wide range of applications such as autonomous driving, free-space optical communications, 3D holography, biomedical sensing and virtual reality. "Optical beam steering is a key technology for lidar systems, but conventional mechanical-based beam steering systems are bulky, expensive, sensitive to vibration and limited in speed," said research team leader Hao Hu from the Technical University of Denmark. "Although devices known as chip-based optical phased arrays (OPAs) can quickly and precisely steer light in a non-mechanical way, so far, these devices have had poor beam quality and a field of view typically below 100 degrees." In Optica, Hu and ... More

New global map of ant biodiversity reveals areas that may hide undiscovered species   Researchers visualize the intricate branching of the nervous system   Bacterial membrane transporter helps pathogens to hide from immune system

An ant species: (Ectatomma tuberculatum) photographed in Costa Rica. Image courtesy: Dr. Benoit Guénard.

OKINAWA.- They are hunters, farmers, harvesters, gliders, herders, weavers, and carpenters. They are ants, and they are a big part of our world, comprising over 14,000 species and a large fraction of animal biomass in most terrestrial ecosystems. Like other invertebrates, ants are important for the functioning of ecosystems. They play vital roles from aerating soil and dispersing seeds and nutrients, to scavenging and preying on other species. Yet a global view of their diversity is lacking. Now, researchers from the Biodiversity and Biocomplexity Unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, in collaboration with multiple institutes around the world, have developed a high-resolution map that combines existing knowledge with machine learning to estimate and visualize the global diversity of ants. The maps and dataset were published in an article in Science Advances. "This study helps to add ants, and terrestrial invertebrates in gener ... More

The complex and highly variable dendritic morphologies emerge from the stochastic dynamics of dendrite tips. This maximum intensity projected image is pseudo colored based on the intensity value. Image courtesy: Howard Lab.

NEW HAVEN, CT.- Our nervous system is composed of billions of neurons that speak to one another through their axons and dendrites. When the human brain develops, these structures branch out in a beautifully intricate yet poorly understood way that allows nerve cells to form connections and send messages throughout the body. And now, Yale researchers have discovered the molecular mechanism behind the growth of this complex system. Their findings were published in Science Advances. Neurons are highly branched cells, and they're like this because each neuron makes a connection with thousands of other neurons," says Joe Howard, Ph.D., Eugene Higgins Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and professor of physics, and senior researcher of the study. "We're working on this branching process—how do branches form and grow? That is what's underlying the whole way the nervous system works." The team studied neuronal growth in fruit flies as th ... More

(From left) PD Dr. Gregor Hagelueken and Dr. Martin Peter are on the trail of a bacterial freight elevator in the laboratory that helps pathogens hide from our immune system. Image courtesy: University Hospital Bonn (UKB)/ Johann Saba.

BONN.- The transport of substances across the membrane into the cell is linked to specific membrane transport proteins. Researchers at the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) and the University of Bonn, in collaboration with an international team, have now succeeded in elucidating the molecular structure of a completely new class of such membrane transporters. In addition to the Bonn scientists, researchers from the University of York were also involved. The study has now been published in the journal Nature Communications. Like all cells, bacteria are surrounded by a cell membrane. This thin layer of fat holds together the cell's nutrients, genetic material and proteins, thus enabling it to survive. On the other hand, nutrients or molecules that serve as building blocks for the cell, for example, must be able to cross the membrane, otherwise the bacterium would literally starve to death. For this purpose, cells make use of so-called membran ... More

Ditching the toothbrush for whiter teeth, fewer cavities   Machine learning enables optimal design of anti-biofouling polymer brush films   New method mass-produces antitumor cells to treat blood diseases and cancer

A new hydrogel treatment breaks apart cavity-forming biofilms and whitens teeth without damaging enamel. Image courtesy: American Chemical Society.

WASHINGTON, DC.- The first thing people notice when they meet you is your smile. To be more confident when giving wide-mouthed, eye-crinkling smiles, people want healthy, pearly white teeth. But toothpastes only remove surface stains, and whitening treatments can harm enamel, leading to cavities and discoloration. Now, researchers in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces report a new hydrogel treatment that breaks apart cavity-forming biofilms and whitens teeth without damaging them. Daily toothbrushing and flossing are good ways to prevent cavities from forming, according to the American Dental Association. However, these methods don't effectively whiten teeth. For better whitening, consumers often turn to over-the-counter or professional treatments that combine hydrogen peroxide-containing gels and blue light, producing a chemical reaction that removes stains. This combination removes most of the discoloration, but generates reactive ... More

As anti-biofouling coatings, polymer brushes have been designed based primarily on the interaction between monomers and water molecules. Image courtesy: Tokyo Institute of Technology.

TOKYO.- Polymer brush films consists of monomer chains grown in close proximity on a substrate. The monomers, which look like "bristles" at the nanoscale, form a highly functional and versatile coating, such that it can selectively adsorb or repel a variety of chemicals or biological molecules. For instance, polymer brush films have been used as a scaffold to grow biological cells and as protective anti-biofouling coatings that repel unwanted biological organisms. As anti-biofouling coatings, polymer brushes have been designed based primarily on the interaction between monomers and water molecules. While this makes for simple design, quantitative prediction of the adsorption of biomolecules such as proteins onto monomers has proven challenging, owing to the complex interactions involved. Now, in a recent study published in ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering, a research group led by Associate Professor Tomohiro Hayashi from ... More

Xiaoping Bao, Purdue University assistant professor from the Davidson School of Chemical Engineering. Image courtesy: Xiaoping Bao.

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN.- A Purdue University chemical engineer has improved upon traditional methods to produce off-the-shelf human immune cells that show strong antitumor activity, according to a paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Cell Reports. Xiaoping Bao, a Purdue University assistant professor from the Davidson School of Chemical Engineering, said CAR-neutrophils, or chimeric antigen receptor neutrophils, and engraftable HSCs, or hematopoietic stem cells, are effective types of therapies for blood diseases and cancer. Neutrophils are the most abundant white cell blood type and effectively cross physiological barriers to infiltrate solid tumors. HSCs are specific progenitor cells that will replenish all blood lineages, including neutrophils, throughout life. "These cells are not readily available for broad clinical or research use because of the difficulty to expand ex vivo to a sufficient number required for infusion after isolation from dono ... More

More News
Unlocking the recipe for designer magnetic particles for next generation computing technologies
SINGAPORE.- Traditional computing is increasingly being replaced by artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to achieve pattern recognition capabilities across many domains, including healthcare, manufacturing and personal computing. The increasing complexity of "neural networks" required for AI capabilities causes an exponential rise in energy consumption. In the face of ever-shrinking energy budgets, there is a growing need for data processing at the collection point, known as the edge, especially for real-time applications. Enter small but mighty skyrmions—tiny, winding arrangements of electron spins that form in certain magnetic thin films. These energy-efficient information carriers are stable at room temperature, and can be moved by electrical currents to potentially mimic how signals are sent ... More

Neural networks and 'ghost' electrons accurately reconstruct behavior of quantum systems
NEW YORK, NY.- Physicists are (temporarily) augmenting reality to crack the code of quantum systems. Predicting the properties of a molecule or material requires calculating the collective behavior of its electrons. Such predictions could one day help researchers develop new pharmaceuticals or design materials with sought-after properties such as superconductivity. The problem is that electrons can become "quantum mechanically" entangled with one another, meaning they can no longer be treated individually. The entangled web of connections becomes absurdly tricky for even the most powerful computers to unravel directly for any system with more than a handful of particles. Now, quantum physicists at the Flatiron Institute's Center for Computational Quantum Physics in New York City and the École Polytech ... More

Understanding cooperation and conflict in plant symbionts
CHAMPAIGN, IL.- The traditional idea of symbiosis-long-term interactions between two organisms—is that the participants mutually benefit each other. However, researchers have debated whether the interests of the symbionts always line up with the hosts they inhabit, or whether genes that benefit symbionts might come at the expense of their hosts. A new study investigates this question through genomic sequencing and infecting plant hosts with their microbial symbionts. "It's become obvious that crop health and our own health is governed by the microbes that we interact with. In agriculture, for example, there's a big movement to try to engineer microbes to make happier plants," said Katy Heath (IGOH), an associate professor of plant biology. "Our approach is a little different because we can measure all the geno ... More

The value of seagrass to the planet's future is far greater than appreciated
SWANSEA.- Experts at the forefront of efforts to restore the U.K.'s coastal seagrass meadows say the remarkable plant's contribution to the most important to-do list in the history of humankind should be reassessed. Seagrass—the world's only underwater flowering plant—is not only vital for biodiversity, but also absorbs carbon dioxide, which helps to tackle climate change. In a new paper, just published in the journal Science, Swansea University researchers argue for considering the value of seagrasses beyond carbon in the context of the UN Sustainable Development goals—the shared blueprint for achieving a better and more sustainable future. Conserving and restoring seagrass meadows actually contributes to achieving 16 out of the 17 goals. The authors, including Dr. Richard Unsworth and Dr. Leanne Cull ... More

New study calculates retreat of glacier edges in Alaska's Kenai Fjords National Park
SEATTLE, WA.- As glaciers worldwide retreat due to climate change, managers of national parks need to know what’s on the horizon to prepare for the future. A new study from the University of Washington and the National Park Service measures 38 years of change for glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park, a stunning jewel about two hours south of Anchorage. The study, published Aug. 5 in The Journal of Glaciology, finds that 13 of the 19 glaciers show substantial retreat, four are relatively stable, and two have advanced. It also finds trends in which glacier types are disappearing fastest. The nearly 670,000-acre park hosts various glaciers: some terminate in the ocean, others in lakes or on land. “These glaciers are a big draw for tourism in the park — they’re one of the main things that people come to see,” said lead author T ... More

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On a day like today, Kenyan-English palaeontologist Louis Leakey was born
August 07, 1903. Louis Seymour Bazett Leakey (7 August 1903 - 1 October 1972) was a Kenyan-British paleoanthropologist and archaeologist whose work was important in demonstrating that humans evolved in Africa, particularly through discoveries made at Olduvai Gorge with his wife, fellow paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey. Having established a program of palaeoanthropological inquiry in eastern Africa, he also motivated many future generations to continue this scholarly work. Another of Leakey's legacies stems from his role in fostering field research of primates in their natural habitats, which he saw as key to understanding human evolution. He personally focused on three female researchers, Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas, calling them The Trimates. Each went on to become an important scholar in the field of primatology.


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