Archives for: April 2014
5 Neat Things You Can Do with Old USB Drives [Video]

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Artificial Blood Cells Are Here

blood-cellsPick your favorite vampire flick and there’s always some quirky mad scientist trying to create synthetic blood as a substitute for the vamps having to go on a mass carnage and feed on live human blood. Well maybe now humans and vampires can hang out together at cocktail parties because artificial blood cells are finally here, thanks to the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service who is leading the project.

We have made red blood cells that are fit to go in a person’s body,” said Marc Turner, medical director at the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, who is leading the £5m ($8.5m) project funded by the Wellcome Trust.

The artificial blood cells called erythrocetes, are created by harvesting stem cells from an adult human’s blood or skin and genetically reverting them into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. These iPS cells have the potential to turn into any one of the body’s 200 tissues. The cells are cultivated in a chemical bath similar to that of bone marrow and then a centrifuge is used to separate the blood cells from the rest of the cells, this technique usually yields about 50% blood cells. The bloods cells have many many benefits, they would be clean and free of infection like hepatitus and HIV that previously has put transfusion patients at risk, and they can be type O-negative blood which is compatible with any human. The blood would primarily be used to save lives in surgical trauma cases.

“Although similar research has been conducted elsewhere, this is the first time anybody has manufactured blood to the appropriate quality and safety standards for transfusion into a human being,” said Professor Turner.

The new blood is scheduled for clinical trials in 2016, when it will likely be given to three patients with thalassaemia, a genetic disorder in which the body makes less haemoglobin – the protein that carries oxygen – than usual, thus requiring treatment by frequent transfusions.

Clinical trials in humans are scheduled for 2016 and the team still faces obstacles, like how to mass produce the blood cells so that they can be used in real world cases. This is a huge breakthrough to be sure and we will keep our eyes on it. It’s about time some mad scientists came up with something amazing and groundbreaking…You go Professor Turner!

Source: Forbes

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College Student Builds Affordable Self Driving Car

Meet Ionut Budisteanu, he’s a 20 year old College student and whiz kid who is using his talents to change the world and, among other things, build an affordable self driving car, at a time in his life when most of us were partying it up. As he says himself, “I want to do something positive for the world.” After winning the Gordon E Moore grand prize at the 2013 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) for his affordable, self-driving car, it looks as though he has accomplished that already and will continue to innovate. As he says in the video below, he also has a passion for helping the disabled through the use of technology. Cheers to you mate for being our person of the week :-)

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Enhance Your Eyeballs with Night Vision Contact Lenses

The success or failure of hunters, soldiers and drivers alike depend greatly on their ability to see what’s around them at night. Ted Norris and Zhaohui Zhong, researchers at the University of Michigan, have created a super-thin infrared light sensor using graphene that could be used to enhance what your eyeballs see, like a set of night vision contact lenses. “If we integrate it with a contact lens or other wearable electronics, it expands your vision,” said Zhong. “It provides you another way of interacting with your environment.” The team found that if they took two layers of graphene with an insulating layer in between them, an electrical signal would be created when infrared light hit it – that electrical signal was then used to create a visual image. The team sill has much work to do, as the electrical signal is not yet strong enough to produce high quality images that we would expect from other existing night vision tech.

But the potential here is limitless because graphene is so thin – it’s so thin, that it is actually classified as a two dimensional material – approximately 1 million times thinner than a single sheet of paper. For those who don’t know, Graphene is made by seperating layers of graphite, until finally, what’s left is one layer of carbon atoms connect in a hexagonal structure. See the video below to learn how graphene was discovered:


One thing is certain and that is that we are only beginning to realize the potential and applications for graphene in the world. It’s very likely going to bring about a whole revolution of new technologies.

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Tour the Sets of XMen: Days of Future Past with Bryan Singer

The fabulous director who brought us X-Men, X-Men 2 and Superman Returns, is back yet again for round three with the superhero mutant crew in X-Men: Days Future Past. In the video featurettes below, Singer takes us on some amazing tours of some familiar and not so familiar sets of X-Men: Days Future Past. If you’re like us and anxiously awaiting this film’s release, proceed with caution – these videos contain spoilers :-) One we can be certain of, with Singer at the helm, this is sure to be a hella good flick and a great installment to the franchise…See it in theaters May 23rd, 2014.

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