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This week on Txchnologist, we got up close and personal with some of the tiniest innovations making huge splashes in the world of science. First, Julia Greer and her Caltech research team has made leaps in the world of nanoscale materials. Using direct laser writing, the team is creating complex microscopic architecture that can be tuned to specific needs by engineers.
Scientists in the Netherlands have designed flat shapes that fold into all kinds of tiny 3-D structures with a drop of water. In addition to cool party tricks, these sand granule-sized pieces of silicon have potentially important uses in medicine.
Genetic engineers looking for better ways to make biofuels have designed bacteria to convert complex carbohydrates found in non food plants directly into ethanol. With rising oil prices across the globe and increasing carbon emissions, a new source of fuel is not only important but necessary. This development may have just steered us into the fast lane.
It’s no secret that advances are moving fast throughout medicine. Now, a Swiss team has taken things a step further and designed medical implants that could potentially last a lifetime using diamond-like carbon coatings and the rare, nonreactive metal tantalum. Meanwhile, Indian Institute of Science engineers are using wasp physiology to design new surgical tools. A species of wasp may be the next muse for less invasive tools that will help recovery times and outcomes.
Now we’re bringing you the news we’ve been following this week in the world of science, technology and innovation.