A fleet of driverless cars working together to keep traffic moving smoothly can improve overall traffic flow by at least 35 percent, researchers have shown.When the cars were not driving cooperatively, any cars behind the stopped car had to stop or slow down and wait for a gap in the traffic, as would typically happen on a real road.A queue quickly formed behind the stopped car and overall traffic flow was slowed.However, when the cars were communicating with each other and driving cooperatively, as soon as one car stopped in the inner lane, it sent a signal to all the other cars.Cars in the outer lane that were in immediate proximity of the stopped car slowed down slightly so that cars in the inner lane were able to quickly pass the stopped car without having to stop or slow down significantly.Additionally, when a human-controlled driver was put on the 'road' with the autonomous cars and moved around the track in an aggressive manner, the other cars were able to give way to avoid the aggressive driver, improving safety.
Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine have found a way to charge up the fight against bacterial infections using electricity.Work conducted in the laboratories of the Indiana Center for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering, Chandan Sen, PhD and Sashwati Roy, PhD has led to the development of a dressing that uses an electric field to disrupt biofilm infection.Their findings were recently published in the high-impact journal "Annals of Surgery."Bacterial biofilms are thin, slimy films of bacteria that form on some wounds, including burns or post-surgical infections, as well as after a medical device, such as a catheter, is placed in the body.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 65 percent of all infections are caused by bacteria with this biofilm phenotype, while the National Institutes of Health estimates that number is closer to 80 percent.Researchers at IU School of Medicine are the first to study the practice of using an electric field-based dressing to treat biofilms rather than antibiotics.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Recyclable plastics that contain ring-shaped polymers may be a key to developing sustainable synthetic materials.This new insight may lead to new processing methods for sustainable polymer materials.The concept of plastics made purely from ring polymers - molecules that form a closed ring - presents an enticing opportunity for sustainability, as shown by the Autonomous Materials Systems group at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.Once a single bond holding ring polymers together breaks, the entire molecule falls apart, leading to disintegration on demand.In the new study, U. of I. researchers Charles Schroeder and Yuecheng (Peter) Zhou examine the flow dynamics of DNA-based ring and linear polymer solutions to tease out clues about how synthetic polymers interact during processing.This work allowed us to probe these questions at a molecular level," said Schroeder, a chemical and biomolecular engineering professor, Beckman Institute researcher and study co-author.
For the first time, immunologists from The University of Texas at Austin have captured on video what happens when T-cells - the contract killers of the immune system, responsible for wiping out bacteria and viruses - undergo a type of assassin-training program before they get unleashed in the body.A new imaging technique that allowed for the videos, described today in the journal Nature Communications, holds promise for the fight against autoimmune disorders such as Type 1 diabetes.One of the human body's most potent weapons against many diseases is the T-cell, but in people with autoimmune disorders, T-cells also wreak havoc by mistaking normal cells for invaders and attacking healthy parts of the body."T-cells have the daunting task of recognizing and fighting off all of the diverse pathogens that we encounter throughout our lives, while avoiding attacking our own healthy tissue," said associate professor Lauren Ehrlich, one of the authors of the study."These cells mature in the thymus, an organ just above the heart, where they 'get educated' to not attack the body."Ehrlich and postdoctoral researcher Jessica Lancaster captured video of this educational process in a mouse thymus.
Modern cancer drugs have emerged that work by striking a tight bond between the drug and a particular amino acid called cysteine, one of the 20 natural amino acids that constitute our proteins.The researchers also addressed another challenge: The target they used for proof of concept was a protein-protein interaction, or PPI, target.PPIs represent a large class of possible therapeutic targets for which designing effective drugs is particularly difficult.This is because PPIs lack a well-defined and deep-binding pocket onto which drugs can de designed to bind tightly."To date, there is only one drug approved by the FDA that was designed to antagonize -- or block -- a PPI target," said Maurizio Pellecchia, a professor of biomedical sciences in the School of Medicine, who led the research.Our approach provides novel and effective avenues to derive potent and selective PPI antagonists by designing drugs that can react with lysine, tyrosine, or histidine residues that are ubiquitously present at binding interfaces of PPIs."
Researchers at Tohoku University have revealed important information about a new aspect of the nature of gravity by probing the smallest mass-scale.Professor Nobuyuki Matsumoto has led a team of researchers to develop a gravity sensor based on monitoring the displacement of a suspended mirror, which allows for measuring the gravity of the smallest mass ever.The research team was interested in whether the nature of gravity is classical or quantum."Within the past hundred years, our understanding of nature has deepened based on quantum theory and general relativity.In order to keep moving forward with this progress, it is necessary to understand more about the nature of gravity," said Matsumoto.Until now the smallest mass for which humans have measured a gravitational field is about 100g, which is surprisingly larger than the mass scale of a common pencil (~10g).
Synthetic proteins have been created that move in response to their environment in predictable and tunable ways.These motile molecules were designed from scratch on computers, then produced inside living cells.To function, natural proteins often shift their shapes in precise ways.The May 17 issue of Science reports the successful design of molecules that change shape in response to pH changes.The Institute for Protein Design at the University of Washington School of Medicine led the multi-institutional research.The researchers set out to create synthetic proteins that self-assemble into designed configurations at neutral pH and quickly disassemble in the presence of acid.
Bring on the smart shirt.Researchers at UBC Okanagan's School of Engineering have developed a low-cost sensor that can be interlaced into textiles and composite materials.While the research is still new, the sensor may pave the way for smart clothing that can monitor human movement."Microscopic sensors are changing the way we monitor machines and humans," says Hoorfar, lead researcher at the Advanced Thermo-Fluidic Lab at UBC's Okanagan campus."Combining the shrinking of technology along with improved accuracy, the future is very bright in this area."This 'shrinking technology' uses a phenomenon called piezo-resistivity--an electromechanical response of a material when it is under strain.
UCLA bioengineers and their colleagues have developed a new type of insulin that could help prevent hypoglycemia in people who use the drug to manage diabetes.The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Insulin is a hormone naturally produced in the pancreas.It helps the body regulate glucose, which is consumed through food and provides the body with energy.Generally, people who need to use insulin monitor their blood sugar levels with a glucose meter or continuous glucose monitoring system and then calculate their insulin dose accordingly.Both of these requirements are necessarily subject to human error, which can have potentially devastating consequences.
But we know much less about what children themselves find concerning in emerging technologies.The team presented its results May 8 at the 2019 ACM CHI conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Glasgow, Scotland."Over the years of working with kids we realized they use the word 'creepy' a lot as a way to reject specific technologies," said first author Jason Yip, an assistant professor in the UW's Information School.So we designed a series of activities to give them the chance to work out their own thoughts and help us understand."Previous research indicated that adults describe ambiguous threats as creepy, not scary, so the team conducted four separate design sessions to see if children felt similarly about creepy technology.Devices that could bring about physical harm or disrupt an important relationship were most consistently ranked as being creepy.
In a new study, researchers found that many Democrats may have over reported mental stress after the 2016 election.By comparing personal online searches made by Democrats, Republicans and Spanish-Speaking Latinos with public surveys, their study claims those not directly targeted by Trump's campaign claimed more stress than experienced."Our research suggests that for many Democrats, expressing mental distress after the election was a form of partisan cheerleading," researchers Masha Krupenkin, David Rothschild, Shawndra Hill and Elad Yom-Tov wrote.Reviewing more than 1 million online searches from before and after the election and comparing them with public surveys, the researchers explored the relationship between survey results (a public expression of feelings) and search results (a private exploration).They found a complicated relationship between what people claimed publicly to care about and how they engaged with these same issues privately.Specifically, they found that most Democrats partook in "reverse" cheerleading, or over reporting negative sentiments, in part to show support for their fellow Democrats.
SAN ANTONIO -- May 16, 2019 -- The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) will present Dr. Christopher J. Freitas, a program director in Southwest Research Institute's Mechanical Engineering Division, with the 2019 Patrick J. Higgins Medal.The award acknowledges Freitas' work developing and promoting verification and validation in computational modeling and simulation standards, his leadership as chair of the Verification and Validation (V) Standards Committee, and his foundation of the V Symposium.Freitas has been a member of ASME since he graduated with his bachelor's degree in 1977 and has been interested in improving and standardizing computer modeling since Cray supercomputers were the only option for serious data processing.He joined SwRI in 1986 as a research engineer.Currently, he develops and applies computational tools and experimental methods for the analysis of complex engineered and naturally occurring systems.He also conducts research into blast and fragment hazards and associated human injury mechanics, as well as the development of personal protective equipment for the dismounted warfighter.
Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are versatile compounds hosting nano-sized pores in their crystal structure.Because of their nanopores, MOFs are now used in a wide range of applications, including separating petrochemicals, mimicking DNA, and removing heavy metals, fluoride anions, hydrogen, and even gold from water.Gas separation in particular is of great interest to a number of industries, such as biogas production, enriching air in metal working, purifying natural gas, and recovering hydrogen from ammonia plants and oil refineries."The flexible 'lattice' structure of metal-organic frameworks soaks up gas molecules that are even larger than its pore window making it difficult to carry out efficient membrane-based separation," says Kumar Varoon Agrawal, who holds the GAZNAT Chair for Advanced Separations at EPFL Valais Wallis.Now, scientists from Agrawal's lab have greatly improved the gas separation by making the MOF lattice structure rigid.They did this by using a novel "post-synthetic rapid heat treatment" method, which basically involved baking a popular MOF called ZIF-8 (zeolitic imidazolate framework 8) at 360 C for a few seconds.
From the charging unit for smartphones to the power supply of the laptop or washing machine to LED lights or charging stations of electric cars - switching power supplies are omnipresent in electrical devices.The problem: power supplies are susceptible to errors, which also reduces the service life of end devices.Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have now developed a power supply unit with a significantly increased service life.Switching supply units used today are of light weight and compact design, but also susceptible to errors due to the incorporated electrolyte capacitors.The control method runs on a microprocessor integrated in the supply unit and detects disturbing environmental impacts, such that e.g.higher voltage fluctuations can be balanced.
When foreign powers try to interfere with the politics of another country by spreading strategic disinformation, research suggests there is no real effect on policies or the balance of power in the targeted country.Canada's federal government has warned of potential interference from Russia during the upcoming election, according to Alexander Lanoszka, assistant professor of political science at Waterloo.Voters in other democracies, said Lanoszka, should not be too concerned that attempted interference would actually influence an election or other political outcomes."Great powers like Russia will of course push narratives about its foreign relations that are not only self-serving, but will also misrepresent true intentions, especially if they are up to no good," said Lanoszka.The study defined disinformation as a systematic government effort aimed at misleading a particular audience - whether a government or key members of society - in order to influence the political process.His paper cites three key obstacles that stand in the way of campaigns of disinformation.
ITHACA, N.Y. - Want to win an argument online?However, the most accurate model for predicting successful debaters combines information about social interactions and language, the researchers found.They analyzed data from Debate.org, a website that hosts debates on a variety of topics.Users can debate each other, comment on other debates, ask and answer questions, create and respond to polls, and become friends."It turns out that the interaction of people on this platform is really predictive of their success," said Esin Durmus, a doctoral student in computer science and first author of "Modeling the Factors of Online Debate," presented at the Web Conference, May 13-17 in San Francisco."So if someone is trying to win an argument, they should focus on their social interactions, like discussing interesting findings with the people they're friends with."
Disparities in health care delivery and health outcomes present distressing challenges to underserved populations, who often experience a greater burden of chronic diseases and are more likely to show signs of poor disease management.Health information technology (IT) tools may serve a vital role in reducing such disparities in the clinical care setting.In the Medical Care June supplement, "Addressing Health Disparities Through the Utilization of Health Information Technology," authors discuss the potential application of health IT in reducing disparities by increasing access to care, improving quality of healthcare and by promoting better patient-clinician communication.Within the supplement are 12 original research papers and five editorials and commentaries.The research manuscripts report on the use of health information technologies (e.g., electronic health records, personal health records, e-prescribing, mobile technologies) to reduce disparities in health care access and outcomes.The commentaries provide expert insights on the role of health IT in promoting health equity in racial/ethnic minorities, rural and urban populations, socioeconomically disadvantaged populations, and sexual and gender minorities.
Plasmonics and photonics have been drawing attention in both academia and industry due to their use in an extensive range of applications, one of which includes optical sensing.Reinforcing its significance, the Scientific American identified plasmonic sensing as one of the top 10 emerging technologies of 2018.Various optical sensing mechanisms and sensor structures have been proposed and demonstrated in the past few decades.However, information on the gap between the experimental realisation and theoretical limits, difference between metal-based plasmonic sensors and dielectric-based photonic sensors, and discrimination between propagating eigenwave and localised eigenmode structures was not readily available.Researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), Singapore, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore, and Austrian Institute of Technology, Austria conducted extensive literature research, systematically summarised and compared the sensing abilities of these optical refractive index sensors according to their sensitivities and figure of merits.In particular, the following four common types of label-free optical refractive index sensors using plasmonic and photonic structures were reviewed:
Working with bacteria, a multidisciplinary team at the University of California San Diego has provided new insight into a longstanding question in science: What are the underlying mechanisms that control the size of cells?Nearly five years ago a team led by Suckjoon Jun, a biophysicist at UC San Diego, discovered that cell size is controlled by a fundamental process known as "the adder," a function that guides cells to grow by a fixed added size from birth to division.Yet mysteries remained about the mechanisms behind the process, leading to a scientific race to find out.Publishing their work in the May 16 issue of Current Biology, Jun, lead authors Fangwei Si and Guillaume Le Treut and their colleagues describe the inner workings of the adder.They found that the process, also known as "size homeostasis," boils down to two required components: balanced synthesis of specific biological ingredients for cell division, including certain proteins; and a critical threshold that initiates the adder process when a sufficient number of such proteins accumulates."It's a very robust mechanism because each cell is guaranteed to reach its target cell size whether it is born large or small," said Jun, an associate professor in the Division of Biological Science's Section of Molecular Biology and the Division of Physical Sciences' Department of Physics.
Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a material which could significantly extend the life of batteries and afford them higher capacities as well.From smartphones to pacemakers and now even cars, batteries power much of our world and their importance only continues to grow.These are the longevity of the battery and also its capacity - how much charge it can store.The chances are your devices use a type of battery called a lithium-ion battery.But another kind based on sodium rather than lithium may become commonplace soon.Both kinds of battery can store and deliver a large amount of charge, thanks to the way constituent materials pass electrons around.