Scientists Transform Barbecue Lighter Into a High-Tech Lab Device
By Josh Brown – Researchers have devised a straightforward technique for building a laboratory device known as an electroporator – which applies a jolt of electricity to temporarily open cell walls – from inexpensive components, including a piezoelectric crystal taken from a butane lighter.
Plans for the device, known as the ElectroPen, are being made available, along with the files necessary for creating a 3D-printed casing.
“Our goal with the ElectroPen was to make it possible for high schools, budget-conscious laboratories, and even those working in remote locations without access to electricity to perform experiments or processes involving electroporation,” said M. Saad Bhamla, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. “This is another example of looking for ways to bypass economic limitations to advance scientific research by putting this capability into the hands of many more scientists and aspiring scientists.”
In a study reported January 10 in the journal PLOS Biology and sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, the researchers detail the method for constructing the ElectroPen, which is capable of generating short bursts of more than 2,000 volts needed for a wide range of laboratory tasks.
One of the primary jobs of a cell membrane is to serve as a protective border, sheltering the inner workings of a living cell from the outside environment.
But all it takes is a brief jolt of electricity for that membrane to temporarily open and allow foreign molecules to flow in — a process called electroporation, which has been used for decades in molecular biology labs for tasks ranging from bacterial detection to genetic engineering. more>
- Robotic Submarine Snaps First-Ever Images at Foundation of Notorious Antarctic Glacier, Ben Brumfield
- While Promoting Diseases Like Cancer, These Enzymes Also Cannibalize Each Other, Ben Brumfield
- $25 Million Project Will Advance DNA-Based Archival Data Storage, John Toon
- Leviathan Polymer Brush Made With E. coli Holds Bacteria at Bay, Ben Brumfield
- Georgia Tech Collaborates with IBM to Develop Software Stacks for Quantum Computers, John Toon
- Georgia Tech Professor Produces ‘The Nerdiest Study of 2019’, Joseph H. Saleh
- Laser Pulse Creates Frequency Doubling in Amorphous Dielectric Material, John Toon
- Tweaks Behind the Rebirth of Nearly Discarded Organic Solar Technologies, Ben Brumfield
- Moths and Perhaps Other Animals Rely on Precise Timing of Neural Spikes, John Toon
- The Incredible Potential of Soft Robotics, Polly Ouellette
- Three Georgia Tech Faculty Named IEEE Fellows, Jackie Nemeth
- ML Model Predicts Migration Resulting from Rising Sea Levels, Allie McFadden
- Georgia Tech Physicists Expand Access to Biophysics Research, Renay San Miguel
Posted in Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, Healthcare, How to, Nature, Science, Technology
Tagged Business improvement, Climate change, Ecology, Georgia Tech, Health, Skills
Tiny Magnetic Particles Enable New Material to Bend, Twist, and Grab
By Josh Brown – A team of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and The Ohio State University has developed a soft polymer material, called magnetic shape memory polymer, that uses magnetic fields to transform into a variety of shapes. The material could enable a range of new applications from antennas that change frequencies on the fly to gripper arms for delicate or heavy objects.
The material is a mixture of three different ingredients, all with unique characteristics: two types of magnetic particles, one for inductive heat and one with strong magnetic attraction, and shape-memory polymers to help lock various shape changes into place.
“This is the first material that combines the strengths of all of these individual components into a single system capable of rapid and reprogrammable shape changes that are lockable and reversible,” said Jerry Qi, a professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech. more>
- Armored With Plastic ‘Hair’ and Silica Shell, New Perovskite Nanocrystals Show Enhanced Durability, Josh Brown
- El Nino Swings More Violently in the Industrial Age, Hard Evidence Says, Ben Brumfield
- Exoplanet Axis Study Boosts Hopes of Complex Life, Just Not Next Door, Ben Brumfield
- Observing a “Cosmic Symphony” Using Gravitational Wave Astronomy, Josh Brown
- Metagenomics Unlocks Unknowns of Diarrheal Disease Cases in Children, John Toon
- Informatics Accelerates Design of Hybrid Membrane Materials for Chemical Separations, Josh Brown
- Atlanta Regional Commission Calls Kendeda Building ‘Groundbreaking Example of Sustainability Leadership’, Joshua Stewart
- Novel Solar Cells Arrive at International Space Station for Testing, John Toon
- National Labs, Georgia Tech, Collaborate on AI Research, John Toon
- Energy Regulation Rollbacks Threaten Progress Against Harmful Ozone, Ben Brumfield
- U.S. Carbon and Pollution Emissions Policies Are ‘Up in the Air’, Ben Brumfield
- Reframing Antarctica’s Meltwater Pond Dangers to Ice Shelves and Sea Level, Ben Brumfield
- 3D-Printed Device Finds ‘Needle in a Haystack’ Cancer Cells by Removing the Hay, John Toon
- Research On Large Storm Waves Could Help Lessen Their Impact On Coasts, Josh Brown
Posted in Business, EARTH WATCH, Economic development, Economy, Education, Energy & emissions, Healthcare, History, How to, Nature, Science, Technology
Tagged Business improvement, Climate change, Earth, Georgia Tech, Skills, Technology
Tiny Vibration-Powered Robots Are the Size of the World’s Smallest Ant
By John Toon – Researchers have created a new type of tiny 3D-printed robot that moves by harnessing vibration from piezoelectric actuators, ultrasound sources or even tiny speakers. Swarms of these “micro-bristle-bots” might work together to sense environmental changes, move materials – or perhaps one day repair injuries inside the human body.
The prototype robots respond to different vibration frequencies depending on their configurations, allowing researchers to control individual bots by adjusting the vibration. Approximately two millimeters long – about the size of the world’s smallest ant – the bots can cover four times their own length in a second despite the physical limitations of their small size.
“We are working to make the technology robust, and we have a lot of potential applications in mind,” said Azadeh Ansari, an assistant professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “We are working at the intersection of mechanics, electronics, biology and physics. It’s a very rich area and there’s a lot of room for multidisciplinary concepts.”
A paper describing the micro-bristle-bots has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering. The research was supported by a seed grant from Georgia Tech’s Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology. In addition to Ansari, the research team includes George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Jun Ueda and graduate students DeaGyu Kim and Zhijian (Chris) Hao. more>
- Soft Wearable Health Monitor Uses Stretchable Electronics, John Toon
- Hackers Could Use Connected Cars to Gridlock Whole Cities, Ben Brumfield
- Reinvented Toilets Could Provide Safe Sanitation for 2.5 Billion People, John Toon
- GTRI Wins $245M Air Force Contract for Engineering, Advanced Technology Support, Joshua Stewart
- Metal Oxide-infused Membranes Could Offer Low-Energy Alternative For Chemical Separations, Josh Brown
- Peanut Plant’s “Chemical Breath” Could Give Clues to Drought and Other Stresses, John Tibbetts
- Georgia Tech Faculty Among Presidential Science and Technology Award Recipients, Denise Ward
- Think Small: Working with clinicians, Georgia Tech researchers develop innovative technology to fill the gaps in pediatric research – and save children’s lives, Kenna Simmons
- Georgia Tech Research Institute Develops and Teaches Tactics to Defend Transport Aircraft, Josh Brown
- What Delayed Earth’s Oxygenation? Maureen Rouhi
- Rising Tundra Temperatures Create Worrying Changes in Microbial Communities, John Toon
- Instability in Antarctic Ice Projected to Make Sea Level Rise Rapidly, Ben Brumfield
- Scientists Discover the Biggest Seaweed Bloom in the World, Josh Brown
Posted in Business, EARTH WATCH, Economic development, Economy, Education, Healthcare, How to, Nature, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Business improvement, Climate change, Georgia Tech, Health, Internet, Skills, Technology
Signals from Distant Lightning Could Help Secure Electric Substations
By John Toon – Side channel signals and bolts of lightning from distant storms could one day help prevent hackers from sabotaging electric power substations and other critical infrastructure, a new study suggests.
By analyzing electromagnetic signals emitted by substation components using an independent monitoring system, security personnel could tell if switches and transformers were being tampered with in remote equipment. Background lightning signals from thousands of miles away would authenticate those signals, preventing malicious actors from injecting fake monitoring information into the system.
The research, done by engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has been tested at substations with two different electric utilities, and by extensive modeling and simulation. Known as radio frequency-based distributed intrusion detection system (RFDIDS), the technique was described February 26 at the 2019 Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS) in San Diego.
“We should be able to remotely detect any attack that is modifying the magnetic field around substation components,” said Raheem Beyah, Motorola Foundation Professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and co-founder of Fortiphyd Logic, Inc. “We are using a physical phenomenon to determine whether a certain action at a substation has occurred or not.”
Opening substation breakers to cause a blackout is one potential power grid attack, and in December 2015, that technique was used to shut off power to 230,000 persons in the Ukraine. Attackers opened breakers in 30 substations and hacked into monitoring systems to convince power grid operators that the grid was operating normally. Topping that off, they also attacked call centers to prevent customers from telling operators what was happening. more>
- Ultra-Low Power Chips Help Make Small Robots More Capable, John Toon
- Researchers Use Machine Learning To More Quickly Analyze Key Capacitor Materials, Josh Brown
- New Grant Award Supports Research on Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer, Elizabeth Thomson
- When Sand-Slithering Snakes Behave Like Light Waves, John Toon
- Urine Test Detects Organ Transplant Rejection, Could Replace Needle Biopsies, Ben Brumfield
- New Grant Award Supports Research on Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer, Elizabeth Thomson
- Novel App Uses AI to Guide, Support Cancer Patients, Elizabeth Thomson
- Mending a Broken Heart, Ben Brumfield
- Snaring Bacteria in DNA-based Nets the Way White Blood Cells Do, Kylie Urban and Ben Brumfield
- Researchers Chart Path to Cheaper Flexible Solar Cells, Josh Brown
- Will Moving to the Commercial Cloud Leave Some Data Users Behind? John Toon
- $25 Million Award Will Support Nuclear Nonproliferation R&D, Education, John Toon
- FDA Taps Georgia Tech to Help Reduce Cost of Making Antibiotics, Josh Brown
Posted in Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, Healthcare, How to, Nature, Net, Science, Technology
Tagged Business improvement, Earth, Electronics, Georgia Tech, Health, Skills, Technology
Brilliant Glow of Paint-On Semiconductors Comes from Ornate Quantum Physics
By Ben Brumfield – LED lights and monitors, and quality solar panels were born of a revolution in semiconductors that efficiently convert energy to light or vice versa. Now, next-generation semiconducting materials are on the horizon, and in a new study, researchers have uncovered eccentric physics behind their potential to transform lighting technology and photovoltaics yet again.
Comparing the quantum properties of these emerging so-called hybrid semiconductors with those of their established predecessors is about like comparing the Bolshoi Ballet to jumping jacks. Twirling troupes of quantum particles undulate through the emerging materials, creating, with ease, highly desirable optoelectronic (light-electronic) properties, according to a team of physical chemists led by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
These same properties are impractical to achieve in established semiconductors.
The particles moving through these new materials also engage the material itself in the quantum action, akin to dancers enticing the floor to dance with them. The researchers were able to measure patterns in the material caused by the dancing and relate them to the emerging material’s quantum properties and to energy introduced into the material.
These insights could help engineers work productively with the new class of semiconductors. more>
- Long-Acting Contraceptive Designed to be Self-Administered Via Microneedle Patch, John Toon
- Flu Vaccine Supply Gaps Can Intensify Flu Seasons, Make Pandemics Deadlier, Ben Brumfield
- Powerful X-ray Beams Unlock Secrets of Nanoscale Crystal Formation, John Toon
- Executive Director Selected at Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines, John Toon
- 3-D Printed Heart Valve Models Honored in International Competition, Josh Brown
- Chemical Separations Researcher Named to National Academy of Inventors, John Toon
- Study Finds Dramatic Growth in Numbers of “Supporting Scientists” on Research Teams, John Toon
- No Bleeding Required: Anemia Detection Via Smartphone, Holly Korschun
- Shape-Shifting Origami Could Help Antenna Systems Adapt On The Fly, Josh Brown
- Swapping Bacteria May Help ‘Nemo’ Fish Cohabitate with Fish-Killing Anemones, Ben Brumfield
- Catalog of Cosmic Cataclysms Helps Establish Gravitational Wave Astronomy, John Toon
- Georgia Tech Researchers Working To Improve Fairness in the ML Pipeline, Tess Malone
- NASA Exobiology Grant to Chris Reinhard, A. Maureen Rouhi
- Researchers Helping Develop Game to Improve STEM Learning in Chronically Ill Children, David Mitchell
Posted in Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, Nature, Science, Technology
Tagged Biology, Business improvement, Georgia Tech, Health, Physics, Technology
Growing Pile of Human and Animal Waste Harbors Threats, Opportunities
By Josh Brown – As demand for meat and dairy products increases across the world, much attention has landed on how livestock impact the environment, from land usage to greenhouse gas emissions.
Now researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are highlighting another effect from animals raised for food and the humans who eat them: the waste they all leave behind.
In a paper published November 13 in Nature Sustainability, the research team put forth what they believe is the first global estimate of annual recoverable human and animal fecal biomass. In 2014, the most recent year with data, the number was 4.3 billion tons and growing, and waste from livestock outweighed that from humans five to one at the country level.
“Exposure to both human and animal waste represent a threat to public health, particularly in low-income areas of the world that may not have resources to implement the best management and sanitation practices,” said Joe Brown, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “But estimating the amount of recoverable feces in the world also highlights the enormous potential from a resource perspective.” more>
- Solving a 75-Year-Old Mystery Might Provide a New Source of Farm Fertilizer, John Toon
- When Boy Fish Build Castles to Impress Girl Fish, Boy Genes Get a Rise, Ben Brumfield
- Cotton-Based Hybrid Biofuel Cell Could Power Implantable Medical Devices, John Toon
- ‘Suicide Handshakes’ Kill Precursor T Cells that Pose Autoimmune Dangers, Ben Brumfield
- Research Raises Awareness of Indoor Air Quality Risk from 3D Printers, Josh Brown
- Stripping the Linchpins From the Life-Making Machine Reaffirms Its Seminal Evolution, Ben Brumfield
- Georgia Tech, UConn, and UMass Lowell Collaborate with Industry, NSF on 3D Printing, Josh Brown
- Open Source Machine Learning Tool Could Help Choose Cancer Drugs, John Toon
- Delivering Antibodies via mRNA Could Prevent RSV Infection, Kenna Simmons
- NASA Pushes Exploration of Oceans in Our Solar System in Georgia Tech-Led Alliance, Ben Brumfield
- Airbus and Georgia Tech Open Center for Overall Aircraft Design, John Toon
- Pilot Project Will Use Campus Wastewater to Grow Vegetables, Kenna Simmons
Posted in Business, Construction, EARTH WATCH, Economic development, Economy, Education, Healthcare, History, Nature, Science, Technology
Tagged Business improvement, Capital, Climate change, Earth, Ecology, Georgia Tech, Health, Jobs
Finally, a Robust Fuel Cell that Runs on Methane at Practical Temperatures
By Ben Brumfield – Fuel cells have not been particularly known for their practicality and affordability, but that may have just changed. There’s a new cell that runs on cheap fuel at temperatures comparable to automobile engines and which slashes materials costs.
Though the cell is in the lab, it has high potential to someday electrically power homes and perhaps cars, say the researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology who led its development. In a new study in the journal Nature Energy the researchers detailed how they reimagined the entire fuel cell with the help of a newly invented fuel catalyst.
The catalyst has dispensed with high-priced hydrogen fuel by making its own out of cheap, readily available methane. And improvements throughout the cell cooled the seething operating temperatures that are customary in methane fuel cells dramatically, a striking engineering accomplishment. more>
- How the Elephant Uses its Trunk to Eat, John Tibbetts
- New Chip Measures Multiple Cellular Responses to Speed Drug Discovery, Kenna Simmons
- Tiny bacteria do a big job for a huge fish tank, Ben Brumfield
- New Material, Manufacturing Use Sun’s Heat for Cheaper Renewable Electricity, Kayla Wiles
- Origami, 3D Printing Merge to Make Complex Structures in One Shot, Elizabeth Thomson
- How Animals Use Their Tails to Swish and Swat Away Insects, Jason Maderer
- How Communication Among Cells Affects Development of Multicellular Tissue, John Toon
- Microfluidic Molecular Exchanger Helps Control Therapeutic Cell Manufacturing, John Toon
- Red Glow Helps Identify Nanoparticles for Delivering RNA Therapies, John Toon
- Georgia Tech Places 34th in World University Ranking, John Toon
- FDA Fueling Cell Manufacturing Research at Georgia Tech, Jerry Grillo
- NSF funds two new projects to understand greenhouse gas emissions from soil, expand microbial big-data analysis tools, Kostas Konstantinidis
- Early Earth Struggled to Make Oxygen for Complex Life, A. Maureen Rouhi
- Georgia Tech Researchers Develop AI That Can Create Entirely New Games, David Mitchell
- New Approach to Alzheimer’s, Jerry Grillo
- Suryanarayana leads new $3M project to unlock the power of tomorrow’s supercomputers for understanding chemical phenomena, Phanish Suryanarayana
Posted in Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, Healthcare, How to, Nature, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Business improvement, Electronics, Georgia Tech, Physics, Productivity, Technology