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Bioengineering

  1. Science

    Robots Being Developed with Sense of Smell

    While there might be more than a few steps separating the Roomba from the Iron Giant, scientists are slowly bridging the gap with robots that can remember, walk, and-- maybe-- love? Well, that last one is still a ways off. But after four decades, Professor Joseph Ayers may have found a way to give robots a sense of smell.

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  2. Tech

    Personal Computer Just Got Way More Literal With Creation of New Bio-Transistors

    Do you know what the Singularity is? It's that apocryphal-unless-it-happens sci-fi-like event, championed by Ray Kurzweil, in which humans and machines merge and we as a species are forever transformed. None can say whether the the artificial mind and the real mind will become as one, but we’re making advances in that direction every day. Now bioengineers at Stanford University have made transistors from genetic materials in lieu of the semiconducting materials normally used. A nice big step toward Singularity. Biological computers!

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  3. Science

    This Tadpole Can See Out Of An Eye Transplanted Onto Its Butt

    Yes, you read that right. Researchers at Tufts University have found that an ectopic eye transplanted near the tail of a tadpole -- an eye that has no direct connection to the animal's brain -- will still let the animal see. It's the first time that researchers have observed a vertebrate that can demonstrate vision through a non-traditional, implanted eye, and the implications for bioengineering could be impressive. The results suggest that we could one day develop literal working eyes in the back of our head -- or in our palms, like the Pale Man in Pan's Labyrinth. You know, if you're into that sort of thing.

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  4. Tech

    3D Printing and Bioengineering Work Together to Print a Working Human Ear

    3D printing has brought us all sorts of neat household gadgets and delightful statuettes and toys, but the real advances made possible by the technology might not be in the home, but in the lab. Take, for example, this replacement human ear, engineered from rat tail cells and cow cartilage and given shape in a 3D printed mold of a patient's own ear.

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  5. Science

    Adhesive Inspired By Mussels Could Glue Blood Vessels Back Together

    I figure it's safe to say that most of us have ended up getting stitches at some point in our lives. Not to imply that y'all are snitches -- stuff just happens, right? If you haven't gotten stitches, please ask your nearest friend who has made their living in a kitchen or on a construction site -- they probably have a story about getting stitches at some point. It's going to sound terrible, and it was definitely worse than it sounds, because getting stitches sucks. The hope for an adhesive solution that lets doctors close wounds without resorting to stitches, staples, or sutures is a lasting one, and researchers at the University of British Columbia appear to have made some headway toward that goal. In a study published today in the journal PNAS Early Edition, the UBC team reports promising findings that the adhesive that mussels use to stick to the rocky shores where they make their home could one day lead to medical glues to reattach and hold together severed blood vessels.

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  6. Science

    Why Scientists Should Read Science Fiction

    I write this post going into science fiction as a fan, but also unaware of how most scientists think about it.  I can imagine two central viewpoints: (1) scientists who enjoy it (like myself), simultaneously as entertainment and a bit of critical thinking and (2) scientists who dislike it due to its tendency to portray “evil scientists” and/or science and technology gone awry, destroying the world.

    I didn’t really grow up reading science fiction.  Sure, I was (and am) completely obsessed with some fantasy novels (e.g. Lord of the Rings) but never made the leap to becoming a true sci-fi nerd.  It wasn’t until I started studying science more fully that I developed an interest in speculative science fiction.  Many of the stories do deal with technology taking over civilization – but embedded within this framework is a great deal of excitement, along with some deserved anxiety.

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  7. Gaming

    Privatized? No Sweat! U.S. Space Program Should Steal Ideas From Video Games

    Now that the U.S. space program is being told to rely on private enterprise for crucial programs such as the Space Shuttle and Moon missions, our nation is going to have to find better reasons to heave men skyward than mere "scientific discovery." But the most likely solution is already woven into the very fabric of our national culture! Now that progress is out the window, what could be more American than voyaging to the stars in search of filthy, void-tainted lucre? We here at Geekosystem believe firmly that both N.A.S.A. and private companies should look to video games for models on how to monetize mankind's outward urge. Humans have been piloting imaginary spacecraft through the digital aether since way before they began exploiting space for pecuniary advantage; below are some of the ideas our best and brightest video games designers have dreamed up over the years.

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