Archive for the ‘biological’ category

Oct 1, 2022

Scientists Created Artificial Neurons That Can Make a Venus Flytrap Snap

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, space

Crucially, they showed that the synapses were capable of Hebbian learning, the process by which the strength of the connection between two neurons increases or decreases based on activity. This is key to the way information is encoded into the brain, with the strengths of connections between neurons controlling the function of different brain circuits.

In biological neurons this ability to alter the strength of connections—known as plasticity—operates at two distinct timescales. Over shorter timescales, regular firing of the neuron leads to a buildup of ions that temporarily increase the ease with which signals pass across. In the long term though, regular activity can cause new receptors to grow at a synapse, resulting in more durable increases in the strength of the connection.

With the artificial synapses, short-term plasticity operates in much the same way due to a buildup of ions. But boosting the connection strength in the long term relies on using voltage pulses to essentially grow new material out of a soup of chemical precursors at the synapse, which increases its conductivity.

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Sep 30, 2022

New Infectious Threats Are Coming. The U.S. Probably Won’t Contain Them

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, health, nanotechnology, singularity

There needs to be a radical change to biological wetware in order to handle viruses. What is needed is either nanoparticles or an immunity to all diseases. Crispr is the main path for the biological singularity but it needs to be perfected first as the human body is still a black box due to restrictions. I do believe that mass spectrometry will essentially be key to see the inner world of human biology. Then crispr can make new parts essentially to evolve past our current limits. But either way the biological singularity is needed for survival of human beings for better health.

The coronavirus revealed flaws in the nation’s pandemic plans. The spread of monkeypox shows that the problems remain deeply entrenched.

Sep 30, 2022

Bioinspired robots walk, swim, slither and fly

Posted by in categories: biological, food, health, information science, robotics/AI

Such robotic schools could be tasked with locating and recording data on coral reefs to help researchers to study the reefs’ health over time. Just as living fish in a school might engage in different behaviours simultaneously — some mating, some caring for young, others finding food — but suddenly move as one when a predator approaches, robotic fish would have to perform individual tasks while communicating to each other when it’s time to do something different.

“The majority of what my lab really looks at is the coordination techniques — what kinds of algorithms have evolved in nature to make systems work well together?” she says.

Many roboticists are looking to biology for inspiration in robot design, particularly in the area of locomotion. Although big industrial robots in vehicle factories, for instance, remain anchored in place, other robots will be more useful if they can move through the world, performing different tasks and coordinating their behaviour.

Sep 30, 2022

Chernobyl black frogs reveal evolution in action

Posted by in categories: biological, evolution, genetics, nuclear energy

The accident at reactor four of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986 generated the largest release of radioactive material into the environment in human history. The impact of the acute exposure to high doses of radiation was severe for the environment and the human population. But more than three decades after the accident, Chernobyl has become one of the largest nature reserves in Europe. A diverse range of endangered species finds refuge there today, including bears, wolves, and lynxes.

Radiation can damage the genetic material of living organisms and generate undesirable mutations. However, one of the most interesting research topics in Chernobyl is trying to detect if some species are actually adapting to live with radiation. As with other pollutants, radiation could be a very strong selective factor, favoring organisms with mechanisms that increase their survival in areas contaminated with radioactive substances.

Sep 28, 2022

Engineering robust and scalable molecular qubits

Posted by in categories: biological, computing, engineering, particle physics, quantum physics

The concept of “symmetry” is essential to fundamental physics: a crucial element in everything from subatomic particles to macroscopic crystals. Accordingly, a lack of symmetry—or asymmetry—can drastically affect the properties of a given system.

Qubits, the quantum analog of computer bits for quantum computers, are extremely sensitive—the barest disturbance in a qubit system is enough for it to lose any it might have carried. Given this fragility, it seems intuitive that would be most stable in a symmetric environment. However, for a certain type of qubit—a molecular qubit—the opposite is true.

Researchers from the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME), the University of Glasgow, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found that molecular qubits are much more stable in an asymmetric environment, expanding the possible applications of such qubits, especially as biological quantum sensors.

Sep 27, 2022

Scientists bring cultured meat closer to your kitchen table

Posted by in categories: biological, particle physics

Researchers at UCLA have created an edible particle that helps make lab-grown meat, known as cultured meat, with more natural muscle-like texture using a process that could be scaled up for mass production.

Led by Amy Rowat, who holds UCLA’s Marcie H. Rothman Presidential Chair of Food Studies, the researchers have invented edible particles called microcarriers with customized structures and textures that help precursor grow quickly and form muscle-like tissues. Edible microcarriers could reduce the expense, time, and waste required to produce cultured with a that appeals to consumers. The results are published in the journal Biomaterials.

“Animal cells that can be coaxed to form tissues similar to meats could offer a protein source to a world facing caused by threats ranging from epidemics to ,” said Rowat, who is an associate professor of integrative biology and physiology at the UCLA College. “Cultured are not yet on the market in the U.S. and strategies to enable are still emerging.”

Sep 23, 2022

Engineering living ‘scaffolds’ for building materials

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, nanotechnology

When the inside of a mollusk shell shimmers in sunlight, the iridescence isn’t produced by colored pigments but by tiny physical structures self-assembled from living cells and inorganic components. Now, a team of researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has developed a platform to mimic this self-assembly ability by engineering living cells to act as a starting point for building composite materials.

Engineered living (ELMs) use living as “materials scaffolds” and are a new class of material that might open the door to self-healing materials and other advanced applications in bioelectronics, biosensing, and smart materials. Such materials could mimic emergent properties found in nature—where a complex system has properties that the individual components do not have—such as iridescence or strength.

Borrowing from this complexity seen in nature, the Berkeley Lab researchers engineered a bacterium that can attach a wide range of nanomaterials to its cell surface. They can also precisely control the makeup and how densely packed the components are, creating a stable hybrid living material. The study describing their work was recently published in ACS Synthetic Biology.

Sep 23, 2022

Lab grows macroscale, modular materials from bacteria

Posted by in categories: biological, health, robotics/AI

Engineered living materials promise to aid efforts in human health, energy and environmental remediation. Now they can be built big and customized with less effort.

Bioscientists at Rice University have introduced centimeter-scale, slime-like colonies of engineered that self-assemble from the bottom up. They can be programmed to soak up contaminants from the environment or to catalyze biological reactions, among many possible applications.

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Sep 22, 2022

Ray Kurzweil: The Future of Intelligence — Nobel Week Dialogue 2015

Posted by in categories: biological, policy, Ray Kurzweil, robotics/AI

In this talk, Kurzweil explores the history and trajectory of advances in computing and Information Technology to project how he believes Artificial Intelligence (AI) may enhance our natural biological intelligence in the future.

Kurzweil spoke at the Nobel Week Dialogue on December 9, 2015 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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Sep 22, 2022

A Solid Observation of Strong Kerr Nonlinearity

Posted by in categories: biological, particle physics, quantum physics

Researchers have demonstrated that a solid can exhibit an enhanced nonlinear optical phenomenon usually seen only in cold atomic gases.

Among the benefits brought about by the invention of the laser in the 1960s is the ability to generate light at an intensity great enough to produce nonlinear optical effects. Such nonlinear effects have entered daily use in applications that include infrared-to-visible-light wavelength conversion (in a green laser pointer, for example) and two-photon excitation (in fluorescence microscopes for observing biological living tissue). Now Corentin Morin of the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and colleagues address a third-order nonlinear process called the Kerr effect, which manifests as a change in a material’s refractive index when it is illuminated with light of different intensities [1]. The researchers demonstrate a giant Kerr nonlinearity in a solid, a state of matter that has, until now, exhibited only a weak Kerr effect. The result implies the possibility of scalable nonlinear quantum optics without the need of cold atoms in high vacuum.

The key to the discovery by Morin and colleagues is a quasiparticle called a Rydberg exciton, the understanding of which rests on two concepts. The first concept is the Rydberg series, which is the discrete energy-level structure available to an atom’s outermost electron, and which is indexed by the principal quantum number n. A high-lying Rydberg state has a large n and exhibits properties such as a large electron orbital radius, a long lifetime, and a large dipole moment, all of which are missing in the ground state. The second concept is a hydrogen-atom-like quasiparticle called an exciton—a negatively charged electron, photoexcited across a semiconductor’s band gap, Coulomb-bound to a positively charged hole left in the valence band.

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