Archive for ‘skin disease’

Illumina Offers Personalized Eco Real-Time PCR System

Illumina Offers Personalized Eco Real-Time PCR System

Illumina Offers Personalized Eco Real-Time PCR System

The Eco Real-Time PCR System is sold direct by Illumina in the United States and via distributor partners elsewhere. Other Illumina systems continue to be sold via our standard channels. For a complete list of Eco Real-Time PCR partners, view our Eco Distributors page.

Once you get your own, you want to make it your own and we make it easy for you to do that with Eco System Skins.

The Eco Real-Time PCR System from Illumina Inc., San Diego, CA, offers four-color multiplex analysis of 48 samples per run, and more important, it can be styled with any of your favorite skins. Just peel and apply a new skin when you are ready for a change.

A stable temperature control is essential for the amplification process, especially during denaturation and annealing steps. The Eco Real-Time PCR System provides complete uniform control and quickly cycles form one temperature step to the next.

The heating system consists of a hollow silver block that is heated and cooled by a single Peltier device. This hermetically sealed hollow block contains a conductive fluid and two opposing agitators driven by electromagnetic motors. During thermocycling, these agitators rapidly circulate the fluid throughout the block, transferring heat from the Peltier device evenly across the block. This new method eliminates thermal variation at block edges, providing a thermal performance of ± 0.1°C well-to-well uniformity across the whole sample plate. Typical run time for a 40-cycle PCR protocol average is less than 40 minutes.

The optical system for fluorescence detection facilitates four-color multiplex applications. It’s calibrated for use with SYBR, FAM, HEX, VIC, ROX, and Cy5, but can be used with other real-time PCR chemistry.

For excitation, two panels of 48 fixed LEDs provide fluorescent dye excitation over a broad spectrum. Each of the samples is individually illuminated to minimize cross-talk between wells. On the detection side, the optical system enables real-time detection of up to four targets in a single reaction. Standard melt curve and HRM analysis protocols support continuous data acquisition in a single dye channel during the melt for increased data collection and reduced run times.

United States customer orders for Illumina’s qPCR portfolio through VWR will be accepted starting December 1, 2012.

Source : http://www.ecoqpcr.com/index.ilmn

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Stanford’s Artificial Skin Project – Now Self-Healing!

Stanford’s Artificial Skin Project – Now Self-Healing!

Stanford’s Artificial Skin Project – Now Self-Healing!

A team of Stanford chemists and engineers has created the first synthetic material that is both sensitive to touch and capable of healing itself quickly and repeatedly at room temperature. The advance could lead to smarter prosthetics or resilient personal electronics that repair themselves.

By Kelly Servick

L.A. Cicero A small piece of the self-healing material is sliced with a scalpel. The researchers say the material repairs itself in about 30 minutes.

A small piece of the self-healing material is sliced with a scalpel. The researchers say the material repairs itself in about 30 minutes.

Nobody knows the remarkable properties of human skin like the researchers struggling to emulate it. Not only is our skin sensitive – sending the brain precise information about pressure and temperature – but it also heals efficiently to preserve a protective barrier against the world. Combining these two features in a single synthetic material presented an exciting challenge for Stanford chemical engineering Professor Zhenan Bao and her team.

Now, they have succeeded in making the first material that can both sense subtle pressure and heal itself when torn or cut. Their findings will be published Nov. 11 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

In the last decade, there have been major advances in synthetic skin, said Bao, the study’s principal investigator, but even the most effective self-healing materials had major drawbacks. Some had to be exposed to high temperatures, making them impractical for day-to-day use. Others could heal at room temperature, but repairing a cut changed their mechanical or chemical structure, so they could heal themselves only once. Most important, no self-healing material was a good bulk conductor of electricity, a crucial property.

“To interface this kind of material with the digital world, ideally you want it to be conductive,” said Benjamin Chee-Keong Tee, a researcher on the project.

A new recipe

The researchers succeeded by combining two ingredients to get what Bao calls “the best of both worlds” – the self-healing ability of a plastic polymer and the conductivity of a metal.

They started with a plastic consisting of long chains of molecules joined by hydrogen bonds – the relatively weak attractions between the positively charged region of one atom and the negatively charged region of the next.

“These dynamic bonds allow the material to self-heal,” said Chao Wang, another member of the research team. The molecules easily break apart, but then when they reconnect, the bonds reorganize themselves and restore the structure of the material after it gets damaged, he said. The result is a bendable material, which even at room temperature feels a bit like saltwater taffy left in the fridge.

To this resilient polymer, the researchers added tiny particles of nickel, which increased its mechanical strength. The nanoscale surfaces of the nickel particles are rough, which proved important in making the material conductive. Tee compared these surface features to “mini-machetes,” with each jutting edge concentrating an electrical field and making it easier for current to flow from one particle to the next.

The result was a polymer with uncommon characteristics. “Most plastics are good insulators, but this is an excellent conductor,” Bao said.

Bouncing back

The next step was to see how well the material could restore both its mechanical strength and its electrical conductivity after damage.

L.A. CiceroPost doctoral scholar Chao Wang cuts through a sample of the self-healing plastic material developed in the Bao lab.

Post doctoral scholar Chao Wang cuts through a sample of the self-healing plastic material developed in the Bao lab.

The researchers took a thin strip of the material and cut it in half with a scalpel. After gently pressing the pieces together for a few seconds, the researchers found the material gained back 75 percent of its original strength and electrical conductivity. The material was restored close to 100 percent in about 30 minutes. “Even human skin takes days to heal. So I think this is quite cool,” Tee said.

What’s more, the same sample could be cut repeatedly in the same place. After 50 cuts and repairs, a sample withstood bending and stretching just like the original.

The composite nature of the material created a new engineering challenge for the team. Bao and her co-authors found that although nickel was key to making the material strong and conductive, it also got in the way of the healing process by preventing the hydrogen bonds from reconnecting as well as they should.

For future generations of the material, Bao said, the team might adjust the size and shape of the nanoparticles, or even the chemical properties of the polymer, to get around this trade-off.

Nonetheless, Wang said the extent of these self-healing properties was truly surprising: “Before our work, it was very hard to imagine that this kind of flexible, conductive material could also be self-healing.”

Sensitive to the touch

The team also explored how to use the material as a sensor. For the electrons that make up an electrical current, trying to pass through this material is like trying to cross a stream by hopping from stone to stone. The stones in this analogy are the nickel particles, and the distance separating them determines how much energy an electron will need to free itself from one stone and move to another.

Twisting or putting pressure on the synthetic skin changes the distance between the nickel particles and, therefore, the ease with which electrons can move. These subtle changes in electrical resistance can be translated into information about pressure and tension on the skin.

Tee said that the material is sensitive enough to detect the pressure of a handshake. It might, therefore, be ideal for use in prosthetics, Bao added. The material is sensitive not only to downward pressure but also to flexing, so a prosthetic limb might someday be able to register the degree of bend in a joint.

Tee pointed out other commercial possibilities. Electrical devices and wires coated in this material could repair themselves and get electricity flowing again without costly and difficult maintenance, particularly in hard-to-reach places, such as inside building walls or vehicles.

Next up, Bao said, is the team’s goal to make the material stretchy and transparent, so that it might be suitable for wrapping and overlaying electronic devices or display screens.

Ranulfo Allen, a graduate student in chemical engineering, also contributed to this research. The research was supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

Pressure sensitivity and mechanical self-healing are two vital functions of the human skin. A flexible and electrically conducting material that can sense mechanical forces and yet be able to self-heal repeatably can be of use in emerging fields such as soft robotics and biomimetic prostheses, but combining all these properties together remains a challenging task. Here, we describe a composite material composed of a supramolecular organic polymer with embedded nickel nanostructured microparticles, which shows mechanical and electrical self-healing properties at ambient conditions. We also show that our material is pressure- and flexion-sensitive, and therefore suitable for electronic skin applications. The electrical conductivity can be tuned by varying the amount of nickel particles and can reach values as high as 40 S cm-1. On rupture, the initial conductivity is repeatably restored with ~90% efficiency after 15 s healing time, and the mechanical properties are completely restored after ~10 min. The composite resistance varies inversely with applied flexion and tactile forces. These results demonstrate that natural skin’s repeatable self-healing capability can be mimicked in conductive and piezoresistive materials, thus potentially expanding the scope of applications of current electronic skin systems.

The artificial electronic skin project at Stanford University has come a long ways since we first wrote about it back in 2010. It was amazing enough that the synthetic dermis they developed was so sensitive to changes in pressure that it could detect when a fly landed on it. Newer versions included chemical and biological sensors that can detect certain kinds of DNA. Early last year, head researcher and associate professor of chemical engineering, Zhenan Bao, succeeded in creating stretchable solar cells that would power the artificial skin.

The latest skin that Bao and her team have created features some amazing self-healing properties. However, unlike self-healing polymers currently out, the features of Bao’s skin make it stand far apart from the rest. Some self-healing materials require them to be exposed to high temperatures or UV light to activate the healing properties; the Stanford skin healed itself at room temperature by simply pressing the cut pieces together for no more than 30 minutes. Other self-healing materials heal, but their mechanical and/or chemical structures are actually permanently altered, so they can only heal themselves once. The Stanford skin was cut in the same place 50 times and managed to repair itself close to 100 percent of its original strength each time and managed to be an excellent conductor of electricity both before and after the cuts were made.

The secret behind this amazing material, according to the team, is a special combination of a self-healing polymer and a conductive metal:

They started with a plastic consisting of long chains of molecules joined by hydrogen bonds – the relatively weak attractions between the positively charged region of one atom and the negatively charged region of the next.

“These dynamic bonds allow the material to self-heal,” said Chao Wang, another member of the research team. The molecules easily break apart, but then when they reconnect, the bonds reorganize themselves and restore the structure of the material after it gets damaged, he said. The result is a bendable material, which even at room temperature feels a bit like saltwater taffy left in the fridge.

To this resilient polymer, the researchers added tiny particles of nickel, which increased its mechanical strength. The nanoscale surfaces of the nickel particles are rough, which proved important in making the material conductive. Tee compared these surface features to “mini-machetes,” with each jutting edge concentrating an electrical field and making it easier for current to flow from one particle to the next.

If self-healing artificial skin wasn’t amazing enough, it is also pressure and flex sensitive! According to the research team, the material can detect the pressure of a handshake and, if used in a prosthetic, may provide information on a joint’s angle of bend.

Source : http://news.stanford.edu/news/2012/november/healing-plastic-skin-111112.html

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New Bandages Peel Off Without Tugging on Sensitive Skin

New Bandages Peel Off Without Tugging on Sensitive Skin

New Bandages Peel Off Without Tugging on Sensitive Skin

Ripping off a Band-Aid may sting for a few seconds, but the pain is usually quickly forgotten. However, for newborns’ sensitive skin, tearing off any kind of adhesive can pose a serious risk.

Newborns lack an epidermis — the tough outermost layer of skin — so medical tape used to secure respirators or monitoring devices critical for the survival of premature babies can wreak havoc: Every year, more than 1.5 million people suffer scarring and skin irritation from medical tape, and the majority of those are infants or elderly people, who also have fragile skin.

“This is just a huge unmet need,” says Jeffrey Karp, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-director of the Center for Regenerative Therapeutics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Bryan Laulicht, a postdoc in MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, and MIT Institute Professor Robert Langer have now joined Karp in developing a new type of medical tape that can be removed without damaging delicate skin. The new tape could be produced by adapting current adhesive-manufacturing systems, according to the researchers.

Although originally designed for infants, the tape could also be useful for elderly patients. The new adhesive is described this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Quick release

Starting in 2006, the Institute for Pediatric Innovation (IPI) surveyed doctors and nurses in neonatal intensive care units on their greatest needs. One of the biggest problems, according to the clinicians, was injury caused by adhesives when medical devices are removed.

“When you take the tape off, you take the skin off,” says Don Lombardi, CEO of the IPI. “It’s very painful, obviously, and it scars them. Some end up with months of aftercare for lesions on their skin due to the tape.”

Using research funding from Children’s Medical Ventures, a subsidiary of Philips, the IPI asked the researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women’s to work on a new design for easily removable tape.

Like most other tape, medical tape has an adhesive side, which sticks to the skin, and a backing, which is non-sticky and gives the tape its strength and resistance to being pulled off.

Working with input from clinicians at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, and additional funding from the National Institutes of Health, the research team came up with a new tape that incorporates a third layer, sandwiched between the adhesive and the backing. This quick-release middle layer allows easy removal of the backing, without pulling any skin off.

Previous efforts have focused on making weaker adhesives. However, while they are less damaging to skin, those adhesives don’t hold devices securely enough. The new tape incorporates existing adhesive and backing materials, ensuring that it is still strong and sticky.

A standard medical tape backing is made of a thin sheet of polymer such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET). To create the new middle layer, the researchers coated the side that contacts the adhesive with a thin layer of silicone, forming what is called a release liner. This liner is very similar to the strips of slick paper that you have to peel from a Band-Aid before putting it on your skin.

The researchers found that adding this layer alone made it too easy for the tape to be pulled off, so they etched grid lines into the silicone with a laser, exposing some of the PET backing. The PET sticks to the adhesive layer more strongly, so the researchers can control the adhesiveness of the release liner by altering how much of the PET is revealed by the grid lines.

“It’s a good example of using materials science and engineering to create new and hopefully better medical products,” Langer says.

In tests on paper, and on other model surfaces, the researchers showed that the tape remains securely in place until you try to rip it off, and then it will quickly detach, leaving most of the adhesive strip behind. This stickiness can be eliminated by sprinkling baby powder on it, which will cover it up until the adhesive naturally wears away.

“You end up with just a very fine coating of powder,” Laulicht says. “But when the residual powder has been washed off, you can go ahead and place another adhesive on top immediately, and it sticks just as well as if you had stuck it directly onto the skin.”

Scaling up

Because the adhesive and the backing are made from materials already used in medical tapes, it should be a straightforward process to scale up the manufacturing of the new tape, the researchers say.

“All of the processes are already in place: to place the adhesive layer, to place release liners onto surfaces, and to assemble the adhesive,” Karp says. “We really see this as a solution that can be rapidly translated to the clinic, to immediately reduce complications from adhesives in neonates.”

Kahp-Yang Suh, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Seoul National University, says the new material could offer great benefits. “What is innovative here is to create a dual functional adhesive interface, while generating no skin irritation upon detachment. Also, the ability to control peeling force via release-layer micropatterning will offer a versatile route to other types of adhesives,” says Suh, who was not part of the research team.

The researchers have filed for a patent on the new tape and are now working to secure regulatory approval for safety tests on human adults.

Medical tape that provides secure fixation of life-sustaining and -monitoring devices with quick, easy, damage-free removal represents a longstanding unmet medical need in neonatal care. During removal of current medical tapes, crack propagation occurs at the adhesive–skin interface, which is also the interface responsible for device fixation. By designing quick-release medical tape to undergo crack propagation between the backing and adhesive layers, we decouple removal and device fixation, enabling dual functionality. We created an ordered adhesive/antiadhesive composite intermediary layer between the medical tape backing and adhesive for which we achieve tunable peel removal force, while maintaining high shear adhesion to secure medical devices. We elucidate the relationship between the spatial ordering of adhesive and antiadhesive regions to create a fully tunable system that achieves strong device fixation and quick, easy, damage-free device removal. We also described ways of neutralizing the residual adhesive on the skin and have observed that thick continuous films of adhesive are easier to remove than the thin islands associated with residual adhesive left by current medical tapes.

neonatal injury

We’ve all experienced the unpleasant feeling of removing stuck-on bandages. If you have sensitive or hairy skin it can be particularly painful, but for some patients it’s an even more acute problem. Infants, for example, who have yet to develop the epidermis layer of their skin can be particularly susceptible to injury from bandages.

Researchers from MIT and Harvard Medical School took on the challenge of creating a gentler bandage. Their first step was realizing that the adhesive can be left on the skin as long as the bandage itself is removed. To actually implement the separation of the bandage from the adhesive they introduced an intermediate layer of silicone that peels off the adhesive. Once removed, the glue left on the skin can be gently washed off or allowed to pop off on its own.

Some details from the article abstract in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:

During removal of current medical tapes, crack propagation occurs at the adhesive–skin interface, which is also the interface responsible for device fixation. By designing quick-release medical tape to undergo crack propagation between the backing and adhesive layers, we decouple removal and device fixation, enabling dual functionality. We created an ordered adhesive/antiadhesive composite intermediary layer between the medical tape backing and adhesive for which we achieve tunable peel removal force, while maintaining high shear adhesion to secure medical devices. We elucidate the relationship between the spatial ordering of adhesive and antiadhesive regions to create a fully tunable system that achieves strong device fixation and quick, easy, damage-free device removal. We also described ways of neutralizing the residual adhesive on the skin and have observed that thick continuous films of adhesive are easier to remove than the thin islands associated with residual adhesive left by current medical tapes.

Source : http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2012/new-medical-tape-for-sensitive-skin-1029.html

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geneOnyx DNA Testing Kit Helps Select Optimal Skin Care Products

geneOnyx DNA Testing Kit Helps Select Optimal Skin Care Products

geneOnyx DNA Testing Kit Helps Select Optimal Skin Care Products

London, United Kingdom, October 11th 2012 – geneOnyx™, a provider of over-the-counter cloud based genetic analytics services for cosmetics and skincare applications, today announces the world’s first on-the-spot DNA skincare test, debuted at The Organic Pharmacy’s flagship UK store. geneOnyx™ has partnered with DNA Electronics Ltd., a developer of semiconductor solutions for real-time DNA and RNA detection, to apply the geneOnyx™ cloud recommendations system to a range of highly active anti-ageing skincare products at the leading health and beauty clinic and store – providing rapid results, without the need to send genetic samples away to a lab. The service is available as an in-store treatment to The Organic Pharmacy customers at the Kings Road store in London. The service preview is being made available to The Organic Pharmacy ahead of a global launch early next year.

The Organic Pharmacy was founded in 2002 by pharmacist Margo Marrone and specialises in products, advice and treatments that are free from toxic ingredients. In addition to its six London stores, the leading health and beauty clinic and retail operation opened its first store in Los Angeles in 2008.

geneOnyx™ is harnessing patented rapid DNA detection technology from Imperial College London spin-out DNA Electronics to provide an individually-tailored recommendation service for selecting the optimal skincare and cosmetic products for individuals based on a scientific analysis of the person’s unique genetic variations and how well a person’s body will react to active product ingredients. geneOnyx™’s revolutionary recommendations system leverages DNA Electronics’ Genalysis® technology to deliver accurate recommendations of the most suitable anti-ageing products for an individual’s skin by detecting the tiny genetic variations in DNA. By matching these unique genetic variations through CosMos™, geneOnyx™’s online skincare products recommendations engine, the result is a personalised skincare recommendation that is tailored to the individual – giving clear guidance on which skincare products best match a person’s skin type and which will deliver optimal results.

The on-the-spot service works via a simple saliva sample test, which delivers purified DNA to a computer microchip that simultaneously amplifies and detects genetic signatures in the DNA using the biological process of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). The DNA computer microchip is plugged into a cloud-connected gateway device linked to CosMos™, geneOnyx™’s cloud-based analysis engine. The genetic test results are analysed to provide a personalised shortlist of skincare products most appropriate and effective to the individual. Results are ready within 30 minutes. CosMos™ includes a comprehensive SMP™ library, a unique mapping database based on geneOnyx™’s extensive research into cosmetic product active ingredients, our genes and how these compounds are metabolised. Following the results, the DNA computer microchip is then immediately and securely disposed of, ensuring that no genetic information is retained or stored.

While most genetic tests available today require the sending of saliva or other biological tissue to a laboratory for testing, the geneOnyx™ system harnesses state-of-the-art on-the-spot DNA detection technology developed by world-leading medical technology pioneer Professor Chris Toumazou FRS, FREng, CEO and Founder of DNA Electronics. Leveraging DNA Electronics’ Genalysis® technology, geneOnyx is now delivering the world’s first commercial application of a lab-free DNA test – bringing on-site, over-the-counter genetic analytics to the consumer cosmetic industry. This approach is set to change the way we purchase and understand skincare with fast, tailored results.

Commenting on the launch of the geneOnyx solution, Dr. John Fleming, London Dermatologist said: “The geneOnyx™ concept addresses a number of user’s concerns when selecting a skincare product. It helps identify those topical agents an individual may need (or metabolise better). One will derive more benefit from this approach rather than merely relying on the non-specific claims of a product.”

Commenting on today’s launch, Mandy Siu, Regional Head of Marketing Asia Pacific for geneOnyx™ said: “This is the first phase of a global commercial roll-out for this solution, and we are proud to be bringing this revolutionary service to prestigious skincare clinic The Organic Pharmacy. geneOnyx has a talented team of world-class dermatologists,

geneticists, scientists and engineers who have been working together to create this world first – fast and meaningful product recommendations that are scientifically analysed from each individual’s unique genetics. By harnessing geneOnyx’s innovative skin consultation solution, The Organic Pharmacy continues to serve its customers with an unprecedented level of assurance of beauty results prior to purchase. We as the service provider, as well as skincare end-users, are excited to witness the contribution of geneOnyx and initially The Organic Pharmacy in creating a new era in personal care retail marketing.”

Margo Marrone, Founder of The Organic Pharmacy said: “Our DNA determines when we start showing the signs of ageing and how quickly our skin ages. This is unique to each of us. The technological advances unique to the geneOnyx™ system now mean that we can assess how likely you are to age early and also your ability to metabolise active anti-ageing ingredients used in our products. This is set to revolutionise our skincare consultations and product recommendations as we can now deliver the most accurate advice to our customers backed by scientific results in just 30 minutes.”

Professor Chris Toumazou, Chairman and CEO of DNA Electronics and Professor of Imperial College London added: “This is a major milestone for consumerised DNA testing solutions and one that the whole world will be watching. DNA Electronics’ technology is the power behind an entirely new class of semiconductor sequencing and DNA analysis products that are distilling sophisticated laboratory-based genetic testing equipment and making it both very affordable and easy-to-use. Today’s launch has huge significance for the application of true point-of-care DNA testing solutions across medical and non-medical markets alike. The same semiconductor platform technology has been successfully used in the medical industry to sequence the DNA of some of them most severe human diseases.”

The Organic Pharmacy Anti-Ageing DNA service is available at the Kings Road store from 11th October priced £295. It is a one hour consultation including a personalised skincare prescription based on your genetic profile.

The CMOS microchip that runs the Genalysis® system performs simultaneous amplification and detection of nucleic acids. This enables fast, simple, multiplexed nucleic acid tests (NATs) that can go from sample to answer in under 30 minutes.

Because the disposable microchip is both the thermocycler and detector, you don’t need a lab to run the test! There are no optics, no pumps, and no heat block. This means the chip can be run directly from a USB stick!

Near realtime DNA testing, for the masses? Yes, though we were disappointed at the expense and frivolity of this early implementation: UK firm geneOnyx is launching the first in-store DNA test that’s aimed at helping patients choose skin care products most compatible with their genes. To be offered at the Organic Pharmacy chain of stores, the test requires a bit of spit from the customer, a few seconds of prep to get the DNA to a little microchip that amplifies and performs PCR on it, and a thirty minute wait time for results to come in.

The technology in the kit, called Genalysis, comes from DNA Electronics, a London, UK company. It requires no pipetting or expensive lab time, but relies on a platform that looks just like a standard USB memory stick that works off a pharmacy laptop. Once results are obtained, they are cross referenced with geneOnyx’s database of skin care product ingredients and advice is provided immediately to the client. If it works as promised, the £295 ($475) price tag of the kit may be reasonable for a lot of people with a variety of skin issues.

The DNA computer microchip is plugged into a cloud-connected gateway device linked to CosMos™, geneOnyx™’s cloud-based analysis engine. The genetic test results are analysed to provide a personalised shortlist of skincare products most appropriate and effective to the individual. Results are ready within 30 minutes. CosMos™ includes a comprehensive SMP™ library, a unique mapping database based on geneOnyx™’s extensive research into cosmetic product active ingredients, our genes and how these compounds are metabolised. Following the results, the DNA computer microchip is then immediately and securely disposed of, ensuring that no genetic information is retained or stored.

While most genetic tests available today require the sending of saliva or other biological tissue to a laboratory for testing, the geneOnyx™ system harnesses state-of-the-art on-the-spot DNA detection technology developed by world-leading medical technology pioneer Professor Chris Toumazou FRS, FREng, CEO and Founder of DNA Electronics. Leveraging DNA Electronics’ Genalysis® technology, geneOnyx is now delivering the world’s first commercial application of a lab-free DNA test – bringing on-site, over-the-counter genetic analytics to the consumer cosmetic industry. This approach is set to change the way we purchase and understand skincare with fast, tailored results.

Source : http://www.neondrum.com/public/public_release.php?id=1369

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Automatic Sperm Extractor for Automatic Sperm Extraction (video)

Automatic Sperm Extractor for Automatic Sperm Extraction (video)

Automatic Sperm Extractor for Automatic Sperm Extraction (video)

Chinese hospitals are introducing a new machine which can extract sperm for donors.

According to China’s Weibo social platform the automatic sperm extractors are being introduced in a Nanjing hospital, capital of Jiangsu province.

The pink, grey and white machine has a massage pipe at the front which apparently can be adjusted according to the height of its user.

New experience: A visitor explores the machine at an exhibition, left. The small screen, right, also plays films for the user

Speed, frequency, amplitude and temperature are also controllable.

It has a small screen on the top which plays films for the user to help them with the extraction process.

The director of the urology department at Zhengzhou Central Hospital said the machine was being used by infertility patients who are finding it difficult to retrieve sperm the old fashioned way.

A website which is selling the machine for $2,800 promoting it stating ‘it can give patients very comfortable feeling.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2206613/Chinese-hospitals-introduce-hands-free-automatic-sperm-extractor-donors-play-videos-help.html#ixzz27Xeo8dSi

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There appear to be problems within the Chinese society, as exhibited by a new $2,800 device being introduced to a hospital in Nanjing that helps to automate the extraction of sperm for donation. In America, due to an apparent glut of sperm, such technology would probably be used to help quadriplegics, but in China it’s designed for infertility patients that would prefer to be aroused by the machine.

According to the Daily Mail, the director of the urology department at Zhengzhou Central Hospital believes this is a more comfortable option for some patients over the “old fashioned” method. The device’s operating nozzle adjusts to proper height, is temperature controlled, and will undulate at the desired speed for a desired effect. Most helpful is the built-in screen that can play the viewing material of your choice.

There appear to be problems within the Chinese society, as exhibited by a new $2,800 device being introduced to a hospital in Nanjing that helps to automate the extraction of sperm for donation. In America, due to an apparent glut of sperm, such technology would probably be used to help quadriplegics, but in China it’s designed for infertility patients that would prefer to be aroused by the machine.

According to the Daily Mail, the director of the urology department at Zhengzhou Central Hospital believes this is a more comfortable option for some patients over the “old fashioned” method. The device’s operating nozzle adjusts to proper height, is temperature controlled, and will undulate at the desired speed for a desired effect. Most helpful is the built-in screen that can play the viewing material of your choice.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXs3g56SNCk&feature=player_embedded

Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2206613/Chinese-hospitals-introduce-hands-free-automatic-sperm-extractor-donors-play-videos-help.html

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Get Down with OCT to Image Skin, Below The Surface

Get Down with OCT to Image Skin, Below The Surface

Get Down with OCT to Image Skin, Below The Surface

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The trained eye of a dermatologist can identify many types of skin lesions, but human sight only goes so far. Now an international team of researchers has developed an advanced optics system to noninvasively map out the network of tiny blood vessels beneath the outer layer of patients’ skin, potentially revealing telltale signs of disease. Such high resolution 3-D images could one day help doctors better diagnose, monitor, and treat skin cancer and other skin conditions. The research was published today in the Optical Society’s (OSA) open-access journal Biomedical Optics Express.

“We hope that improved in-depth diagnosis of tissue alterations due to disease might help to reduce the number of biopsies by providing better guidance”

Researchers from Medical University Vienna (MUW) in Austria and the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, used a technique called optical coherence tomography (OCT) to “see” beneath the surface of skin. The researchers tested their system on a range of different skin conditions, including a healthy human palm, allergy-induced eczema on the forearm, dermatitis on the forehead, and two cases of basal cell carcinoma – the most common type of skin cancer – on the face. Compared to healthy skin, the network of vessels supplying blood to the tested lesions showed significantly altered patterns. “The condition of the vascular network carries important information on tissue health and its nutrition,” says Rainer Leitgeb, a researcher at MUW and the study’s principal investigator. “Currently, the value of this information is not utilized to its full extent.”

Ophthalmologists have used OCT since the 1990s to image different parts of the eye and the technology has recently attracted increased interest from dermatologists. OCT has many advantages over other imaging techniques: It is non-invasive and provides high-resolution images at high speed. OCT is typically used to show tissue structure, but it can also reveal the pattern of blood vessels, which carry important clues about disease, by capitalizing on the unique optical properties of flowing blood cells.

The researchers at MUW are the first to use OCT to visualize the network of blood vessels in human skin that feed cancerous skin lesions. To maximize the quality of the images the team employed a high-tech laser light source developed by collaborators from the Ludwig-Maximilians University. The laser enabled unprecedented high-speed imaging and operated at a near-infrared wavelength that gave better penetration into skin tissue.

“High speed is of paramount importance in order to image lesions in vivo and in situ while minimizing the effect of involuntary patient motion,” explains researcher Cedric Blatter of MUW. The device also shapes the light in a special way forming a Bessel beam, which can reform, or heal, its shape even if portions of it are blocked. The beam enabled the researchers to keep the images in focus across a depth range of approximately 1 millimeter.

The team’s images of basal cell carcinoma showed a dense network of unorganized blood vessels, with large vessels abnormally close to the skin surface. The larger vessels branch into secondary vessels that supply blood to energy-hungry tumor regions. The images, together with information about blood flow rates and tissue structure, could yield important insights into the metabolic demands of tumors during different growth stages.

The imaging system shows the most promise for clinical application in the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer, the researchers believe. “We hope that improved in-depth diagnosis of tissue alterations due to disease might help to reduce the number of biopsies by providing better guidance,” says Leitgeb. The system could also be used by doctors to assess how quickly a tumor is likely to grow and spread, as well as to monitor the effectiveness of treatments such as topical chemotherapy. “Treatment monitoring may also be expanded toward inflammatory and auto-immune related dermatological conditions,” Blatter notes.

Going forward, the researchers would like to increase the field of view of the device so that they can image the full lesion along with its border to healthy tissue. They are also working on speeding up the post-processing of the optical signal to enable live vasculature display, and improving the portability of the system, which currently occupies an area about half the size of an office desk. “We believe that in the future our method will help to simplify non-invasive dermatological in vivo diagnostics and allow for in-depth treatment monitoring,” says Blatter.

Paper: “In-situ Structural and Microangiographic Assessment of Human Skin Lesions with High-speed OCT,” Biomedical Optics Express, Vol. 3, Issue 10, pp. 2636-2646 (2012).

EDITOR’S NOTE: High-resolution images and animation are available to members of the media upon request. Contact Angela Stark, astark@osa.org.

About Biomedical Optics Express

Biomedical Optics Express is OSA’s principal outlet for serving the biomedical optics community with rapid, open-access, peer-reviewed papers related to optics, photonics and imaging in the life sciences. The journal scope encompasses theoretical modeling and simulations, technology development, and biomedical studies and clinical applications. It is published by the Optical Society and edited by Joseph A. Izatt of Duke University. Biomedical Optics Express is an open-access journal and is available at no cost to readers online at http://www.OpticsInfoBase.org/BOE.

About OSA

Uniting more than 180,000 professionals from 175 countries, the Optical Society (OSA) brings together the global optics community through its programs and initiatives. Since 1916 OSA has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing educational resources to the scientists, engineers and business leaders who work in the field by promoting the science of light and the advanced technologies made possible by optics and photonics. OSA publications, events, technical groups and programs foster optics knowledge and scientific collaboration among all those with an interest in optics and photonics. For more information, visit www.osa.org.

We demonstrate noninvasive structural and microvascular contrast imaging of different human skin diseases in vivo using an intensity difference analysis of OCT tomograms. The high-speed swept source OCT system operates at 1310 nm with 220 kHz A-scan rate. It provides an extended focus by employing a Bessel beam. The studied lesions were two cases of dermatitis and two cases of basal cell carcinoma. The lesions show characteristic vascular patterns that are significantly different from healthy skin. In case of inflammation, vessels are dilated and perfusion is increased. In case of basal cell carcinoma, the angiogram shows a denser network of unorganized vessels with large vessels close to the skin surface. Those results indicate that assessing vascular changes yields complementary information with important insight into the metabolic demand.

Though dermatologists are trained to analyze the surface of the skin, there’s a lot going on just a millimeter below the surface – that can’t be seen by the naked eye. Cancerous lesions feature characteristic anatomies that can be identified for diagnostic purposes, but seeing the 3D structure of tiny blood vessels below the skin has been challenging. Now a team from Medical University Vienna in Austria and the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany have developed an optical coherence tomography (OCT) technique that employs a near-infrared laser to visualize the micro-vessel structure just below the surface.

They were able to describe basic characteristic differences between healthy skin, dermatitis (dilated vessels and increased perfusion) and carcinoma (dense network of unorganized vessels with larger ones close to the surface). The technology may soon be available to dermatologists for in-office diagnostics.

From the announcement by the Optical Society (OSA):

The team’s images of basal cell carcinoma showed a dense network of unorganized blood vessels, with large vessels abnormally close to the skin surface. The larger vessels branch into secondary vessels that supply blood to energy-hungry tumor regions. The images, together with information about blood flow rates and tissue structure, could yield important insights into the metabolic demands of tumors during different growth stages.

The imaging system shows the most promise for clinical application in the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer, the researchers believe. “We hope that improved in-depth diagnosis of tissue alterations due to disease might help to reduce the number of biopsies by providing better guidance,” says Leitgeb. The system could also be used by doctors to assess how quickly a tumor is likely to grow and spread, as well as to monitor the effectiveness of treatments such as topical chemotherapy. “Treatment monitoring may also be expanded toward inflammatory and auto-immune related dermatological conditions,” Blatter notes.

Going forward, the researchers would like to increase the field of view of the device so that they can image the full lesion along with its border to healthy tissue. They are also working on speeding up the post-processing of the optical signal to enable live vasculature display, and improving the portability of the system, which currently occupies an area about half the size of an office desk.

Source : http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20120924005964/en/Tissues-Tale-Non-Invasive-Optical-Technique-Detects-Cancer

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Put Your Phone, or Skin, on Vibrate

Put Your Phone, or Skin, on Vibrate

Put Your Phone, or Skin, on Vibrate

Imagine your parents or boss calling you, and instead of your phone ringing, your elbow, fingernail or torso starts to vibrate.

Finnish smart phone maker Nokia has filed a patent application for a new magnetic tattoo which would vibrate when someone’s calling your phone.

In an application filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last September but made public this week, Nokia said it wants to patent “a material attachable to skin, the material capable of detecting a magnetic field and transferring a perceivable stimulus to the skin.”

The technology could also be used, suggests the application, as a kind of personal password, say for your desktop, activating when you come in range of the computer.

Already the proposed technology has generated heated reaction on Twitter, from disgust and alarm to curiosity, and ribald suggestions for placement, as well as a few volunteers willing to try it out.

Meanwhile, the man behind last year’s foldable “paper phone” says it’s likely a decade before Nokia would ever actually bring its vibrating magnet technology to market.

“This isn’t something Nokia will be bringing out next year. I’d say it’s probably 10 years before it hits the market, between the actual product development, and just getting people ready to accept something like this,” said Roel Vertegaal, an associate professor in human-computer interaction at Queen’s University.

Even Vertegaal himself — who has no connection to the Nokia patent — is a little leery of getting so up close and personal with technology.

“I’d like to think I’d try it, but maybe I’m just a little chicken,” said Vertegaal.

San Francisco-based technology analyst Kevin Dede of Auriga USA said it’s not something he’d volunteer for either, but he can see it appealing to a younger, edgy crowd.

“I live in Haight Ashbury, and there are guys walking around here with so much metal attached to their bodies you wonder how they can actually sleep. Who am I to say that some people wouldn’t want this?” Dede said.

It’s no sure thing that the vibrating tattoos would ever actually get made, says Dede.

“Some of these things don’t ever come to market. Then again, if they’ve got the technology all ready, they could do it very quickly,” Dede said.

The patent plan is a form of “haptic” technology, meaning devices which use your sense of touch. (Remember those arcade games where the handlebars on the motorcycle would rumble as you went over a bump? Those were haptic too).

Ahead of the launch of Apple’s latest iPad tablet, rumours swirled that it would use haptic technology from another Finnish company to turn its touch screen into a “feel screen,” allowing the screen to feel like everything from a piece of silk to a rough rock.

That rumour didn’t pan out, but haptic technology has a bright future, says Vertegaal.

In the case of the vibrating magnetic tattoo from Nokia, Vertegaal sees several potential uses. Among the simplest, assuming it has a long enough range, is hitting the beach.

“You could be swimming in the ocean, get a buzz, and realize you’ve got to get back to check your phone if you were waiting for an important call,” said Vertegaal, who also suggested it could be modified to help alert blind people when they’re approaching objects, or to help surgeons.

For people using electronic medical devices such as pacemakers, Nokia’s application attempts to allay concerns about whether the high-tech tattoo would interfere with their life-saving functions.

“There will be insignificant or no influence on their internal electronic implants,” the patent application said.

Nokia spokeswoman Mona Kokkonen wouldn’t say when the tattoos could actually be hitting the market.

Reaction on social media was less than enthusiastic.

“Makes my skin crawl. Can already imagine a vibrating tattoo with the words ‘Please call your mother…’ ” tweeted Asher Wolf (@Asher_Wolf).

At the other end of the spectrum, however, was a tweeter with the handle @The_Hedgehogs.

“@Nokia, I’d like to volunteer for your vibrating tattoo test studies. ”

In a Toronto Star reader poll, 14 per cent said they’d be ready to sign up for the tattoo, with 48 per cent expressing concern over where the patent may lead. Another 38 per cent just said no, thanks.

In accordance with an example embodiment of the present invention, an apparatus comprises: a material attachable to skin, the material capable of detecting a magnetic field and transferring a perceivable stimulus to the skin, wherein the perceivable stimulus relates to the magnetic field.

Tattoos have been used for everything from aesthetics to gang signs to religious rituals. Within the field of medicine they are often used to ID patients with certain illnesses or allergies. We’ve covered emerging medical applications of tattoos multiple times, including a ‘nanotattoo‘ that can monitor blood glucose. Now, tattoos may have yet another high tech application.

This week Nokia filed a patent that may lead to the development of magnetic tattoos that vibrate when triggered by, say, a phone call. In legal IP speak, the patent – titled ”Haptic Communication” summarizes the invention as follows:

According to a first aspect of the present invention, an apparatus comprises a material attachable to skin, the material capable of detecting a magnetic field and transferring a perceivable stimulus to the skin, wherein the perceivable stimulus relates to the magnetic field.

According to a second aspect of the present invention, an electronic device configured to generate a magnetic field, the magnetic field having at least one characteristic related to digital content stored on the electronic device.

According to a third aspect of the present invention, a method comprises detecting a magnetic field using a material attached to skin and causing a perceivable stimulus to the skin by magnetically manipulating the material.

While these tattoos may not hit the market for many years, technologists are abuzz with ideas for how they may be applied. According to an article in Toronto Star:

“You could be swimming in the ocean, get a buzz, and realize you’ve got to get back to check your phone if you were waiting for an important call,” said [Roel] Vertegaal, who also suggested it could be modified to help alert blind people when they’re approaching objects, or to help surgeons.

For people using electronic medical devices such as pacemakers, Nokia’s application attempts to allay concerns about whether the high-tech tattoo would interfere with their life-saving functions.

“There will be insignificant or no influence on their internal electronic implants,” the patent application said.

Source : http://www.thestar.com/business/article/1149661–nokia-s-magnetic-tattoo-why-your-arm-may-be-ringing-someday-soon?bn=1

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Enhanced Skin Permeability Makes Transdermal Drug Delivery Easier

Enhanced Skin Permeability Makes Transdermal Drug Delivery Easier

Enhanced Skin Permeability Makes Transdermal Drug Delivery Easier

Using ultrasound waves, MIT engineers have found a way to enhance the permeability of skin to drugs, making transdermal drug delivery more efficient. This technology could pave the way for noninvasive drug delivery or needle-free vaccinations, according to the researchers.

“This could be used for topical drugs such as steroids — cortisol, for example — systemic drugs and proteins such as insulin, as well as antigens for vaccination, among many other things,” says Carl Schoellhammer, an MIT graduate student in chemical engineering and one of the lead authors of a recent paper on the new system.

Ultrasound — sound waves with frequencies greater than the upper limit of human hearing — can increase skin permeability by lightly wearing away the top layer of the skin, an effect that is transient and pain-free.

In a paper appearing in the Journal of Controlled Release, the research team found that applying two separate beams of ultrasound waves — one of low frequency and one of high frequency — can uniformly boost permeability across a region of skin more rapidly than using a single beam of ultrasound waves.

Senior authors of the paper are Daniel Blankschtein, the Herman P. Meissner ’29 Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT, and Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT. Other authors include Baris Polat, one of the lead authors and a former doctoral student in the Blankschtein and Langer groups, and Douglas Hart, a professor of mechanical engineering at MIT.

Two frequencies are better than one

When ultrasound waves travel through a fluid, they create tiny bubbles that move chaotically. Once the bubbles reach a certain size, they become unstable and implode. Surrounding fluid rushes into the empty space, generating high-speed “microjets” of fluid that create microscopic abrasions on the skin. In this case, the fluid could be water or a liquid containing the drug to be delivered.

In recent years, researchers working to enhance transdermal drug delivery have focused on low-frequency ultrasound, because the high-frequency waves don’t have enough energy to make the bubbles pop. However, those systems usually produce abrasions in scattered, random spots across the treated area.

Anne Trafton, MIT News Office

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Images courtesy of Yihua Wang and Nuh Gedik

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Mechanism

Ultrasound waves of two different frequencies generate tiny bubbles of water on the skin’s surface. When these bubbles pop, the skin’s surface is lightly worn away, allowing drugs to pass through the skin more easily.

Graphic: Carl Schoellhammer

September 14, 2012

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Using ultrasound waves, MIT engineers have found a way to enhance the permeability of skin to drugs, making transdermal drug delivery more efficient. This technology could pave the way for noninvasive drug delivery or needle-free vaccinations, according to the researchers.

“This could be used for topical drugs such as steroids — cortisol, for example — systemic drugs and proteins such as insulin, as well as antigens for vaccination, among many other things,” says Carl Schoellhammer, an MIT graduate student in chemical engineering and one of the lead authors of a recent paper on the new system.

Ultrasound — sound waves with frequencies greater than the upper limit of human hearing — can increase skin permeability by lightly wearing away the top layer of the skin, an effect that is transient and pain-free.

In a paper appearing in the Journal of Controlled Release, the research team found that applying two separate beams of ultrasound waves — one of low frequency and one of high frequency — can uniformly boost permeability across a region of skin more rapidly than using a single beam of ultrasound waves.

Senior authors of the paper are Daniel Blankschtein, the Herman P. Meissner ’29 Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT, and Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT. Other authors include Baris Polat, one of the lead authors and a former doctoral student in the Blankschtein and Langer groups, and Douglas Hart, a professor of mechanical engineering at MIT.

Two frequencies are better than one

When ultrasound waves travel through a fluid, they create tiny bubbles that move chaotically. Once the bubbles reach a certain size, they become unstable and implode. Surrounding fluid rushes into the empty space, generating high-speed “microjets” of fluid that create microscopic abrasions on the skin. In this case, the fluid could be water or a liquid containing the drug to be delivered.

In recent years, researchers working to enhance transdermal drug delivery have focused on low-frequency ultrasound, because the high-frequency waves don’t have enough energy to make the bubbles pop. However, those systems usually produce abrasions in scattered, random spots across the treated area.

In the new study, the MIT team found that combining high and low frequencies offers better results. The high-frequency ultrasound waves generate additional bubbles, which are popped by the low-frequency waves. The high-frequency ultrasound waves also limit the lateral movement of the bubbles, keeping them contained in the desired treatment area and creating more uniform abrasion, Schoellhammer says.

“It’s a very innovative way to improve the technology, increasing the amount of drug that can be delivered through the skin and expanding the types of drugs that could be delivered this way,” says Samir Mitragotri, a professor of chemical engineering at the University of California at Santa Barbara, who was not part of the research team.

The researchers tested their new approach using pig skin and found that it boosted permeability much more than a single-frequency system. First, they delivered the ultrasound waves, then applied either glucose or inulin (a carbohydrate) to the treated skin. Glucose was absorbed 10 times better, and inulin four times better. “We think we can increase the enhancement of delivery even more by tweaking a few other things,” Schoellhammer says.

Noninvasive drug delivery

Such a system could be used to deliver any type of drug that is currently given by capsule, potentially increasing the dosage that can be administered. It could also be used to deliver drugs for skin conditions such as acne or psoriasis, or to enhance the activity of transdermal patches already in use, such as nicotine patches.

Ultrasound transdermal drug delivery could also offer a noninvasive way for diabetics to control their blood sugar levels, through short- or long-term delivery of insulin, the researchers say. Following ultrasound treatment, improved permeability can last up to 24 hours, allowing for delivery of insulin or other drugs over an extended period of time.

Such devices also hold potential for administering vaccines, according to the researchers. It has already been shown that injections into the skin can induce the type of immune response necessary for immunization, so vaccination by skin patch could be a needle-free, pain-free way to deliver vaccines. This would be especially beneficial in developing countries, since the training required to administer such patches would be less intensive than that needed to give injections. The Blankschtein and Langer groups are now pursuing this line of research.

They are also working on a prototype for a handheld ultrasound device, and on ways to boost skin permeability even more. Safety tests in animals would be needed before human tests can begin. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has previously approved single-frequency ultrasound transdermal systems based on Langer and Blankschtein’s work, so the researchers are hopeful that the improved system will also pass the safety tests.

Low-frequency ultrasound has been studied extensively due to its ability to enhance skin permeability. In spite of this effort, improvements in enhancing the efficacy of transdermal ultrasound treatments have been limited. Currently, when greater skin permeability is desired at a given frequency, one is limited to increasing the intensity or the duration of the ultrasound treatment, which carries the risk of thermal side effects. Therefore, the ability to increase skin permeability without increasing ultrasound intensity or treatment time would represent a significant and desirable outcome. Here, we hypothesize that the simultaneous application of two distinct ultrasound frequencies, in the range of 20 kHz to 3 MHz, can enhance the efficacy of ultrasound exposure. Aluminum foil pitting experiments showed a significant increase in cavitational activity when two frequencies were applied instead of just one low frequency. Additionally, in vitro tests with porcine skin indicated that the permeability and resulting formation of localized transport regions are greatly enhanced when two frequencies (low and high) are used simultaneously. These results were corroborated with glucose (180 Da) and inulin (5000 Da) transdermal flux experiments, which showed greater permeant delivery both into and through the dual-frequency pre-treated skin.

Source : http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2012/ultrasound-waves-and-drug-delivery-0914.html

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Ultraviolet Dosimeter Wristbands to Help Prevent Overexposure to Sunlight

Ultraviolet Dosimeter Wristbands to Help Prevent Overexposure to Sunlight

Ultraviolet Dosimeter Wristbands to Help Prevent Overexposure to Sunlight

A monitor, developed at the University of Strathclyde, to help prevent over-exposure to the sun is set to go on the market as part of a new spinout company.

The device helps to indicate to users when they have been exposed to a certain amount of UV (ultra-violet) radiation by changing colour as the risk of over-exposure progresses, giving a visual warning of when it is time to get out of the sun.

The technology will be commercialised by Swedish-based company Intellego Technologies, established by Swedish entrepreneur Claes Lindahl, which aims to have it available for spring 2013, and will initially be available as a wristband

Professor Andrew Mills and Dr Michael McFarlane, who are both responsible for the original invention and were previously with the University’s Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, will be engaged as consultants to Intellego.

Prolonged exposure to the sun can increase the risk of skin cancer, of which the most virulent form, malignant melanoma, had 200,000 new cases worldwide in 2008, according to Cancer Research UK statistics.

Mr Lindahl said: “We are very excited about the UV dosimeter technology and we look forward to developing it further and commercialising it.

“There is a substantial need out in the market for a functional UV dosimeter and we look forward to continuing the process in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde, Michael McFarlane and Andrew Mills.

Fiona Strang, Commercialisation Manager with the University of Strathclyde’s Research & Knowledge Exchange Services, said: “Strathclyde has a strong track record of developing technology which goes on to have a significant global impact- in health, engineering, technology and energy.

Fiona Strang

“The sunburn monitor is the latest example of this innovation. It will make a significant contribution to public health as an affordable, fashionable device which enables people to enjoy the benefits of the sun while at the same time keeping them alert to the risks of over- exposure.”

The monitor works by changing colour markedly, from yellow to pink, as the risks of sunburn increase. It operates through an acid-release agent which picks up ultraviolet light and a dye which responds to pH levels in the indicator. The agent is decomposed by sunlight, leading to the rapid change in colour.

The development of the device received initial funding and support from Scottish Enterprise’s Proof of Concept fund, which is partly funded by the European Union.

The prospect of skin cancer from exposure to the Sun can bring anxiety to what should be a pleasant time out on the beach, especially for parents with kids. Intellego VU exposure meter Ultraviolet Dosimeter Wristbands to Help Prevent Overexposure to SunlightBecause there’s no convenient way for the general public to actually measure UV exposure, people end up using rules of thumb, estimating things, and setting timers that don’t reflect actual danger from the hydrogen fusion ball over our heads.

A new wristband developed at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland and commercialized into a product by Swedish company Intellego Technologies, should be available next spring to take the guesswork out of gauging exposure and help end arguments with kids at the beach. When the wristband turns pink, they go under the umbrella.

The wristband relies on a compound that releases acid when exposed to ultraviolet light. A dye that responds to the pH level of its environment changes color as more acid is added. The change between the yellow color the wristband starts with and pink, the top of the range the dosimeter measures, provides a quick and easy gauge of one’s exposure.

Source : http://www.strath.ac.uk/press/newsreleases/headline_643558_en.html

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Birth of a Psychedelic Skin

Birth of a Psychedelic Skin

Birth of a Psychedelic Skin

PITTSBURGH—Sooner than later, robots may have the ability to “feel.” In a paper published online March 26 in Advanced Functional Materials, a team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) demonstrated that a nonoscillating gel can be resuscitated in a fashion similar to a medical cardiopulmonary resuscitation. These findings pave the way for the development of a wide range of new applications that sense mechanical stimuli and respond chemically—a natural phenomenon few materials have been able to mimic.

A team of researchers at Pitt made predictions regarding the behavior of Belousov-Zhabotinsky (BZ) gel, a material that was first fabricated in the late 1990s and shown to pulsate in the absence of any external stimuli. In fact, under certain conditions, the gel sitting in a petri dish resembles a beating heart.

Along with her colleagues, Anna Balazs, Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, predicted that BZ gel not previously oscillating could be re-excited by mechanical pressure. The prediction was actualized by MIT researchers, who proved that chemical oscillations can be triggered by mechanically compressing the BZ gel beyond a critical stress. A video from the MIT group showing this unique behavior can be accessed at http://vvgroup.scripts.mit.edu/WP/?p=1078.

“Think of it like human skin, which can provide signals to the brain that something on the body is deformed or hurt,” says Balazs. “This gel has numerous far-reaching applications, such as artificial skin that could be sensory—a holy grail in robotics.”

Balazs says the gel could serve as a small-scale pressure sensor for different vehicles or instruments to see whether they’d been bumped, providing diagnostics for the impact on surfaces. This sort of development—and materials like BZ gel—are things Balazs has been interested in since childhood.

“My mother would often tease me when I was young, saying I was like a mimosa plant— shy and bashful,” says Balazs. “As a result, I became fascinated with the plant and its unique hide-and-seek qualities—the plant leaves fold inward and droop when touched or shaken, reopening just minutes later. I knew there had to be a scientific application regarding touch, which led me to studies like this in mechanical and chemical energy.”

Also on Balazs’s research team were Olga Kuksenok, research associate professor, and Victor Yashin, visiting research assistant professor, both in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering. At MIT, the work was performed by Krystyn Van Vliet, Paul M. Cook Career Development Associate Professor of Material Sciences and Engineering, and graduate student Irene Chen. (Group Web site: http://vvgroup.scripts.mit.edu/WP/).

Funding for this research was provided by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Army.

A team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have demonstrated “resuscitation” of Belousov-Zhabotinsky (BZ) gels by mechanical compression. BZ gels are a peculiar breed of gel which self-oscillate in the absence of external stimuli.

The researchers published their findings online in the March 26th issue of Advanced Functional Materials. They demonstrated that oscillation in a previously non-oscillating BZ gel can be triggered by external mechanical compression, a finding which may have implications for pressure sensors used in robotic and prosthetic applications in the future.

As you can see from the video, the oscillation is visible as changes in the color of the gel. These visible oscillations can be used to indicate the location of the compression and also transmit stress information away from the compressed site without the need for wires.

The researchers speculate that the BZ gel could be used to create novel pressure sensors in the future. It is conceivable that the gel could be adapted for prosthetic limbs to act like a visibly oscillating skin which responds to touch.

Source : http://www.news.pitt.edu/Oscillating_Gel

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