A membrane that sits on the eye and controls a moveable laser
From Popular Mechanics:
Scientists successfully mounted a hyper-thin, flexible, laser-shooting membrane on cow eyeballs. The invention of a pliable, movable laser unlocks new possibilities for security, and it’s also just really cool — someday, we might be shooting lasers from our eyes.
Laser light, which doesn’t occur naturally, can be used in precision tools, measurements, surgeries and to map and track movement or location. Most lasers require a solid supporting structure for stability, which makes them hard to attach to pliable surfaces.
In a study published in Nature, researchers overcame this setback by developing an ultra-thin membrane laser that can be fixed to curved or delicate objects, “like a sticker, really,” study co-author Malte Gather, a professor at the University of St. Andrews in the United Kingdom, told Live Science. The whole laser is less than 1/1000th of a millimeter thick.
A tiny winged robot that flies without wires
From Popular Science:
This is one flying insect you don’t want to swat. It doesn’t bite, sting or spread disease and someday it could be a life- and climate-saver. In time, it could survey crops, detect wildfires, poke around in disaster rubble searching for survivors and sniff out gas leaks, especially global warming-fueling methane, a powerful greenhouse gas many times more potent than carbon dioxide.
Introducing…RoboFly! It’s the first robotic flying insect that lifts off without being tethered to a power source on the ground, weighs just a bit more than a toothpick, and takes off using tiny beating wings — not propellers, as drones do — driven by a laser beam. A minuscule onboard circuit turns the laser energy into electricity, which causes its wings to flap.
Bioprinters used to make living body parts
From National Geographic:
What if you could press a button and a machine would make you a new nose or kidney? Scientists are exploring that futuristic vision by using special 3-D printers to make living body parts.
Called bioprinters, these machines use human cells as “ink.” A standard 3-D printer layers plastic to create car parts, for example, or trinkets, but a bioprinter layers cells to form three-dimensional tissues and organs.
To create an ear, the printer lays down a pliable, porous scaffold made of hydrogel, a kind of polymer. The scaffold is covered with skin cells and cartilage cells, which grow and fill in the ear-shaped form. The hydrogel eventually biodegrades; after about six months the ear is composed entirely of human cells. “We use the patient’s own cells,” says Anthony Atala, director of Wake Forest University’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine. That way the organs won’t be rejected.
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