Needles thinner than the diameter of a human hair could form the basis for a new drug-delivery technique able to administer small quantities of high-potency medications through the skin--without causing pain. Arrays of the microneedles could improve administration of existing medications, allow development of new therapeutic compounds, and open the door for microprocessor-based systems for delivering drugs continuously or in response to body needs. In fact, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology believe their microneedles would be especially useful with large protein-based molecules, such as those produced through new biotechnology processes. Such drugs often cannot be taken orally, but must be administered frequently enough to make traditional needle injection impractical or unpleasant. Using reactive ion etching microfabrication techniques developed for integrated circuits, Mark G. Allen, associate professor at Georgia Tech's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and two graduate students built solid silicon microneedle arrays 10-mm square. Existing needles are 150-mm long and leave holes about one micron in diameter when removed from the skin. Further development, the researchers say, should reduce the length and diameter of their microneedles, make them hollow to increase the rate of drug delivery, and permit mass fabrication of arrays at least a centimeter square. E-mail email@example.com
If you see a hitchhiker along the road in Canada this summer, it may not be human. That’s because a robot is thumbing its way across our neighbor to the north as part of a collaborative research project by several Canadian universities.
Stanford University researchers have found a way to realize what’s been called the “Holy Grail” of battery-design research -- designing a pure lithium anode for lithium-based batteries. The design has great potential to provide unprecedented efficiency and performance in lithium-based batteries that could substantially drive down the cost of electric vehicles and solve the charging problems associated with smartphones.
Robots in films during the 2000s hit the big time; no longer are they the sidekicks of nerdy character actors. Robots we see on the big screen in recent years include Nicole Kidman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Eddie Murphy. Top star of the era, Will Smith, takes a spin as a robot investigator in I, Robot. Robots (or androids or cyborgs) are fully mainstream in the 2000s.
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