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March 1, 2013
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Essential news for the global engineering community

  Today's Tech Buzz 
  • Micro-barrier to bio-electronics may be about to fall
    The "greasy barrier" blocking electron flows between micro-organisms and electronic devices may be about to fall, opening the way to new types of bio-electronics. Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are using E. coli to test a pathway made up of a complex of proteins that allows electrons to cross the cell membrane and get to metal oxides or minerals. CleanTechnica (3/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • NASA launches cargo capsule to supply space station
    NASA launched a Falcon 9 rocket today at Cape Canaveral, Fla., to deploy a Dragon capsule to deliver supplies to the space station. It's the second cargo run for Space Exploration Technologies. NASA turned to private companies to supply the space station after the shuttle program was ended. Reuters (3/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Spotlight on Biotechnology 
  • DuPont Pioneer working on biotech wheat
    DuPont Pioneer is looking to develop a more disease-resistant, drought-tolerant and higher-yielding wheat using biotechnology and other tools. The firm put the hybrid wheat project on its list of crop research programs slated for deeper development. "We have an opportunity now with the technology," said John Soper, vice president for crop genetics/research and development. Reuters (2/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Engineered shape boosts effectiveness of cancer drugs
    A simple change in shape makes a difference in how well anti-cancer drugs work on breast tumors, bioengineering researchers at University of California, Santa Barbara have found. Rod-shaped nanoparticles of the chemotherapeutic drug camptothecin were engineered and coated with an antibody that targets certain types of cancer cells. The development may lead to less toxic and more effective cancer treatments, avoiding the accumulation of drugs in vital organs due to poor ability to penetrate cancer cell membranes. R&D Magazine online (2/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Magnetic resonance tapped to reveal brain tissue stiffness
    Subtle vibrations are all that's required with magnetic resonance elastography to help researchers gauge the stiffness of brain tissue for disease diagnosis and treatment. MRE goes a step beyond magnetic resonance imaging that reveals structure to measure displacements in three dimensions using multishot spiral imaging. "Spiral imaging is uniquely suited for MRE and we have been able to acquire high-quality datasets with improved spatial resolution, without a significant increase in scan time," said Brad Sutton, a bioengineering professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (1/30) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Innovations & Trends 
  • Researchers plumb mystery of bat flight with 3D printed wing
    An answer to the mystery of how bats have such maneuverability in flight without the presence of a tail have may be within reach with the use of a 3D printed robotic bat wing. A Brown University team used the printer to produce a framework of a bat wing's bone structure and then stretched a silicone elastomer web over it. Initial tests revealed the web would break in flight, leading to reinforcements that resembled those in an actual bat's wing. Popular Science (2/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Record 18.7% solar cell efficiency achieved in test
    A world record of 18.7% efficiency has been achieved in cadmium-telluride photovoltaic solar cell conversion, the company First Solar announced. The test result, using only processes and materials suitable for commercial production, were confirmed by the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The development will "further enhance the performance of our future production modules and power plants," said Raffi Garabedian, First Solar's chief technology officer. Power Engineering (2/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  ASME News 
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He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator."
--Francis Bacon,
British author and statesman

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