ELECTRODES TO TREAT DISEASE
Researchers at Linkoping, Lund, and Gothenburg universities in Sweden have grown electrodes in living tissue using body molecules as triggers. The result paves the way for the formation of electronic circuits in living organisms with the potential to understand complex biological functions, combat diseases in the brain, and develop future interfaces between man and machine. Researchers have developed a method for creating soft, substrate-free, electronically conductive materials in tissues. By injecting a gel containing enzymes as the “assembly molecules”, the researchers were able to grow electrodes in the tissue of zebrafish and medicinal leeches.
BIODEGRADABLE HEALTH SENSORS THAT CAN BE EDIBLE TOO
Scientists from the University of Sussex in the UK have developed a biodegradable sensor that is being perceived as paving the way for edible health monitoring sensors, an emerging field of research to make on-the-go health surveillance easier, quicker, more efficient as well as environment-friendly. They have used seaweed, rock salt, water and graphene to develop an electrically conductive hydrogel that can function as a health sensor and can be applied as a second skin and also can be consumed as all the ingredients are biodegradable and in their natural form. The researchers found that these new seaweed-based sensors outperformed existing synthetic-based hydrogels and nanomaterials that are already in use as wearable health monitors. The biodegradable health sensor is expected to improve upon patients’ experience with the currently used sensors, that too without the commonly used invasive hospital instruments and wires.
NEW WAY TO FIND PURE HELIUM WITHOUT CARBON EMISSION
A new study by researchers from University of Oxford, University of Toronto and Durham University have found a new method to identify hidden helium gas fields at a time when the world is facing a global shortage of helium, estimated to be a $6 billion market as it is needed in computer chips, MRI scanners, fibre optic manufacture, and nuclear and cryogenic applications. Conventionally producing helium emits carbon, contributing to climate change. Finding pure helium can do away with that. The new method through a model delves into why helium accumulates naturally in high concentrations just beneath the Earth’s surface. The team built a model factoring in the release of nitrogen along with helium from boiling water deep under the earth’s crust under the Williston Basin in North America. Helium, being much lighter, escapes through bubbles but gets trapped in the water under the surface of the earth, blocked by rocks. Over millions of years, helium gas fields are created due to this process. The model predicted the observed nitrogen/helium proportions in real life, which can be used to help identify areas likely to contain similar helium-rich deposits elsewhere.