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Image: a hand holding a transparent piece of plastic with silver stripes on it ; Copyright: 2020 KAUST

Electronic skin has a strong future stretching ahead


A material that mimics human skin in strength, stretchability and sensitivity could be used to collect biological data in real time. Electronic skin, or e-skin, may play an important role in next-generation prosthetics, personalized medicine, soft robotics and artificial intelligence.
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Image: Computer graphic of a microvehicle with iron wheels; Copyright: (Visualisations: Alcântara et al. Nature Communications 2020)

Miniscule robots of metal and plastic


Robots so tiny that they can manoeuvre through our blood vessels and deliver medications to certain points in the body - researchers have been pursuing this goal for years. Now, scientists at ETH Zurich have succeeded for the first time in building such "micromachines" out of metal and plastic, in which these two materials are interlocked as closely as links in a chain.
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Image: man holding the nebuliser in his hand ; Copyright: RMIT University

Sound waves power new advances in drug delivery and smart materials


Pioneering research shows how high-frequency sound waves can help build smart materials, new nanoparticles & deliver drugs to the lungs for painless, needle-free vaccinations.
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Image: hand in glove holding the contact lense ; Copyright: Khademhosseini Lab

Contact lenses for diagnostic and therapeutic use


Specially engineered contact lenses use tears to monitor patient health.
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Image: In the foreground a computer screen and on the left side in the background a smiling man; Copyright: Jens Meyer/Uni Jena

Identifying compound classes through machine learning


Bioinformaticians at Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany together with colleagues from Finland and the USA, have now developed a unique method with which all metabolites in a sample can be taken into account, thus considerably increasing the knowledge gained from examining such molecules.
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Image: many multicoloured bubbles that form a big cloud on black ground ; Copyright: Xiaowei Zhuang lab

Chromosomes look different than you think


In high school textbooks, human chromosomes are pictured as wonky Xs like two hotdogs jammed together. But those images are far from accurate. "For 90 percent of the time," said Jun-Han Su, "chromosomes don't exist like that."
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Image: white balls on the ground and black balls on the top, connected by red light ; Copyright: Lukas Z. Kastner

A single molecular switch reveals atomic-scale light dynamics


Researchers at the the University of Regensburg and the MPSD in Hamburg have developed a groundbreaking method to detect the dynamics of light on such a small scale with high temporal resolution.
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Image: golden plates with small white balls in a blue surrounding; Copyright: University of Houston

More precise view of the smallest nanoparticles


Current state-of-the-art techniques have clear limitations when it comes to imaging the smallest nanoparticles, making it difficult for researchers to study viruses and other structures at the molecular level.
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Image: black plate in the front, two brown ones in the background; Copyright: Xu et al.

Ultracompact metalens microscopy breaks FOV constraints


The pursuit of ever-higher imaging resolution in microscopy is coupled with growing demands for compact portability and high throughput. While imaging performance has improved, conventional microscopes still suffer from the bulky, heavy elements and architectures associated with refractive optics.
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Image: gray and black nanocelulose fibres  ; Copyright: Luiz Greca

Scientists use bacteria as micro-3D printers


A team at Aalto University has used bacteria to produce intricately designed three-dimensional objects made of nanocellulose. With their technique, the researchers are able to guide the growth of bacterial colonies through the use of strongly water repellent - or superhydrophobic - surfaces.
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