Bionic Ear & Atomic Movie | SciByte 93

Bionic Ear & Atomic Movie | SciByte 93

We take a look at 3-D printed ears, a tiny movie, a light pollution app, treating grey hair and vitiligo, picture books, corrections, updates, viewer feedback, Curiosity news, and as always take a peek back into history and up in the sky this week.

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3D Printing Bionic Ears

  • -Scientists at Princeton University used off-the-shelf printing tools to create a functional ear that can \”hear\” radio frequencies far beyond the range of normal human capability
  • -The primary purpose was to explore an efficient and versatile means to merge electronics with tissue
  • Building Bionics
  • -Previously, researchers have suggested some strategies that typically happens between a 2D sheet of electronics and a surface of the tissue
  • -This new work suggests a new way to build and grow the biology up with the electronics synergistically and in a 3D interwoven format
  • -Creating organs using 3D printers is a recent advance; several groups have reported using the technology for this purpose in the past few months
  • -This project is the team\’s first effort to create a fully functional organ: one that not only replicates a human ability, but extends it using embedded electronics
  • Manufacturing Bionic Ears
  • -Ear reconstruction \”remains one of the most difficult problems in the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery\” so this team turned to a manufacturing approach called 3D printing
  • -Researchers used an ordinary 3D printer to combine a matrix of hydrogel and calf cells with silver nanoparticles that form an antenna. The calf cells later develop into cartilage
  • -Two wires lead from the base of the ear and wind around a helical \”cochlea\” – the part of the ear that senses sound which can connect to electrodes, the finished ear consists of a coiled antenna inside a cartilage structure,
  • -This is the first time that researchers have demonstrated that 3D printing is a convenient strategy to interweave tissue with electronics
  • The Future
  • -Further work and extensive testing would need to be done before the technology could be used on a patient
  • -The ear in principle could be used to restore or enhance human hearing if electrical signals produced by the ear could be connected to a patient\’s nerve endings, similar to a hearing aid
  • -The current system receives radio waves, but he said the research team plans to incorporate other materials, such as pressure-sensitive electronic sensors, to enable the ear to register acoustic sounds
  • Multimedia
  • -YouTube | 3D Printed Bionic Ears Listening to Beethoven in Stereo | McAlpineResearch
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Printable \’bionic\’ ear melds electronics and biology |


It’s a Small, Small Movie

  • -Scientists from IBM have released the world\’s smallest movie, made entirely of atoms
  • The Instrumentation
  • -In order to make the movie, the atoms were moved with an IBM-invented scanning tunneling microscope
  • -The Microscope weighs two tons, and operates at a temperature of negative -450 Fahrenheit / -268 Celsius and magnifies the atomic surface over 100 million times
  • -The IBM Research lab one of the few places in the world where atoms can be moved with such precision.
  • -Remotely operated on a standard computer, IBM researchers used the microscope to control a super-sharp needle along a copper surface to \”feel\” atoms
  • -Only 1 nanometer away from the surface, which is a billionth of a meter in distance, the needle can physically attract atoms and molecules on the surface and thus pull them to a precisely specified location on the surface
  • -Moving atom makes a unique sound that is critical feedback in determining how many positions it\’s actually moved
  • The Movie
  • -Named \”A Boy and His Atom,\” the Guinness World Records -verified movie used thousands of precisely placed atoms to create nearly 250 frames of stop-motion action.
  • -Scientists rendered still images of the individually arranged atoms, resulting in 242 single frames
  • Also From the Team
  • -Recently created the world\’s smallest magnetic bit, answering the question of how many atoms it takes to reliably store one bit of magnetic information: 12.
  • -It takes roughly 1 million atoms to store a bit of data on a modern computer or electronic device, atomic memory could one day store all of the movies ever made in a device the size of a fingernail.
  • Multimedia
  • -YouTube | A Boy And His Atom: The World\’s Smallest Movie | IBM
  • -YouTube | IMB \’The Worlds Smallest Movie\’ Channel
  • -Image | Star Trek Logo made of atoms
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • IBM researchers make world\’s smallest movie using atoms |
  • Tiny Bubbles: Star Trek Gets An Atomic Look |


Light Pollution App

  • -Researchers from the German \”Loss of the Night\” project have developed an app for Android smart phones, which counts the number of visible stars in the sky
  • The App
  • -The smartphone app will be used by scientists to understand and evaluate sky brightness, also known as light pollution or skyglow, on a worldwide scale
  • -Currently satellites that observe Earth at night measure the light that is radiating into the sky, not the brightness that is experienced by people and other organisms on the ground
  • -The data can be used to map the distribution and changes in sky brightness, and will eventually allow scientists to investigate correlations with health, biodiversity, energy waste and other factors
  • -With this app, people from around the world can collect data on skyglow without needing expensive equipment.
  • -You simply use an interactive view of a portion of the night sky where you can adjust it so that it corresponds to the number of stars you see in the sky
  • -Some of the testers found that without intending too they learned the names of several stars and constellations
  • -Development of the app was sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Research and Education, and is based on the widely used Google Sky Map application
  • Website
  • -GoolgePlay | Loss of the Night
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Twinkle, twinkle little star: New app measures sky brightness |

Reversing Grey Hair and Vitiligo

  • Grey Hair
  • -People who are going gray develop massive oxidative stress via accumulation of hydrogen peroxide in the hair follicle, which causes our hair to bleach itself from the inside out
  • -A new report shows that this massive accumulation of hydrogen peroxide can be remedied with a proprietary treatment described as a topical, UVB-activated compound called PC-KUS (a modified pseudocatalase)
  • Vitiligo
  • -The study also shows that the same treatment works for the skin condition vitiligo, a condition that causes depigmentation of sections of skin
  • -To achieve this breakthrough, Schallreuter and colleagues analyzed an international group of 2,411 patients with vitiligo
  • -They found that for the first time, patients who have a certain nerval distribution involving skin and eyelashes show the same oxidative stress as observed in the much more frequent type of vitiligo
  • -The more common Vitiligo is associated with decreased antioxidant capacities including catalase, thioredoxin reductase, and the repair mechanisms methionine sulfoxide reductases
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Gray hair and vitiligo reversed at the root | MedicalXPress

‘Reading’ Picture Books

  • -Researchers have found that children hear more complex language from parents when they read a storybook with only pictures compared to a picture-vocabulary book
  • -Often, parents dismiss picture storybooks, especially when they are wordless, as not real reading or just for fun
  • -These findings show that reading picture storybooks with kids exposes them to the kind of talk that is really important for children to hear, especially as they transition to school
  • Last time on the … FauxShow?
  • FauxShow 139 | Story Time | May 9 2013
  • The Study
  • -A graduate student, recorded 25 mothers while they read to their toddlers both a wordless picture storybook and a vocabulary book with pictures
  • -Moms in the study used forms of complex talk when reading the picture storybook to their child more often than the picture vocabulary book
  • -The team was especially interested in looking at the language mothers use when reading both wordless picture storybooks and picture vocabulary books
  • -They paid close attention to see if parents provided extra information to children like relating the events of the story to the child\’s own experiences or asking their child to make predictions.
  • What This Means
  • -The results of the study are significant for both parents and educators because vocabulary books are often marketed as being more educational
  • -This shows that even short wordless picture books provide children with exposure to the kinds of language that they will encounter at school and can lay the foundation for later reading development
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Reading wordless storybooks to toddlers may expose them to richer language |


Haiku to Mars Corrections

  • Viewer Feedback – Check This Out
  • -NASA launches the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft in
  • Last Time on SciByte
  • SciByte 92 | Habitable Exoplanets & Diabetes [May 7, 2013]
  • -I mistakenly attributed this to Curiosity
  • The Mission
  • -NASA launches the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft in November, to gather information that should help scientists figure out what happened to the atmosphere and water that once existed on Mars
  • -The Mission launch window opens on November 18, 2013
  • And Earthly DVD to Mars
  • -The team wants to pack onboard a DVD containing the names of each person who sends a poem, but only the three most popular haikus will be on the DVD
  • -The top three most popular entries will be sent to Mars on board the orbiting MAVEN spacecraft and will be prominently displayed on the MAVEN website
  • Student Art Contest Timeline
  • -Contest Ran from March 15-April 8, Public Voting was between April 16-May 6
  • -Contest Winner Will Be Announced on May 20
  • Send Your Name and Haiku to Mars
  • -Submissions | May 1 – July 1
  • -Public Voting | July 15 – July 29
  • -Message Contest Winner Announced | August 8
  • Haiku
  • -A poem with three lines where the first and the last lines must have exactly five syllables, and the second line must have exactly seven syllables.
  • Example
  • Listening and learning, [5]
  • and information gathering, [7]
  • makes Happy Science [5]
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Going to Mars » Send your name & message to Mars!
  • NASA Wants To Send Your Haiku To Mars | Popular Science


Awesome Second-Hand Telescopes

  • -A pair of space telescopes that were donated to NASA from the secretive National Reconnaissance Office could be repurposed for a wide variety of science missions the middle of last year
  • Last Time on SciByte
  • SciByte 51 | Talking Robots and Voyager 1 – Space Telescope Donations | June 19, 2012
  • The Story of the Telescopes
  • -The two spy scopes were originally built to carry out surveillance missions under a multibillion-dollar NRO program called Future Imagery Architecture
  • -Cost overruns and delays killed the program in 2005, and NASA announced in June 2012 that the NRO had bequeathed the instruments to the space agency
  • -The cost to keep them in storage is about $70,000 a year, which is not insignificant, but it\’s not something that\’s unmanageable
  • -The telescopes\’ 8-foot-wide (2.4 meters) main mirrors are comparable to that of Hubble, the NRO instruments are designed to have a much wider field of view
  • -NASA does not anticipate being able to dedicate any funding to the newly acquired telescopes until the James Webb Space Telescope successfully launches
  • Finding Ideas
  • -When NASA asked scientists to suggest missions for the telescopes, more than 60 serious proposals came in, the most promising of which were presented in early February
  • Seven Big Ideas
  • -Mars-orbiting space telescope
  • -Exoplanet observatory
  • -General-purpose faint object explorer
  • -Advanced, Hubble-like visible light/ultraviolet telescope
  • -Optical communications node in space (which would aid transmissions to and from deep-space assets)
  • -Geospace dynamic observatory (which would study space weather and the sun-Earth system)
  • -Research of Earth\’s upper atmosphere (from a spot aboard the International Space Station)
  • The Future
  • -Whatever missions NASA ultimately assigns to the NRO scopes, the instruments are a long way from launch
  • -There are currently no instruments on the two telescopes right now, just primary and secondary mirrors and the support structures so it would take a while to develop the instruments and integrate them into the structure
  • -The funding to bring the scopes up to speed, launch them into space and maintain their operations has not been granted, and there\’s no guarantee that it will be with current budgetary concerns
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • NASA Mulling Missions for Donated Spy Telescopes | National Reconnaissance Office |

Reality TV on Mars [MarsOne]

  • -By May 7th about 78,000 people applied to become Red Planet colonists with the nonprofit organization Mars One since its application process opened on April 22
  • -78,000 applications in two weeks is a good start to their goal of half a million applicants
  • -Mars One estimates that landing four settlers on Mars in 2023 will cost about $6 billion
  • -Plans are to pay most of the bills by staging a global reality-TV event, with cameras documenting all phases of the mission from astronaut selection to the colonists\’ first years on the Red Planet.
  • Last Time on SciByte
  • SciByte 92 | Habitable Exoplanets and Diabetes – MarsOne and Life on Mars and Science | May 7, 2013
  • SciByte 61 | ‘Tatooine’ Exoplanets and Eye’s – Martian Reality TV | September 4, 2012
  • Application Process
  • -The application process extends until Aug. 31. Anyone at least 18 years of age can apply, by submitting to the Mars One website a 1-minute video explaining his or her motivation to become a Red Planet settler.
  • -There is an application fee, which ranges from $5 to $75 depending on the wealth of the applicant\’s home country. United States citizens pay $38
  • -Reviewers will pick 50 to 100 candidates from each of the 300 regions around the world that Mars One has identified
  • -By 2015, this pool will be whittled down to a total of 28 to 40 candidates, then the core group will be split into groups of four, which will train for their one-way Mars mission for about seven years
  • -Finally, an audience vote will pick one of these groups to be humanity\’s first visitors to the Red Planet.
  • From All Over the World
  • -People from more than 120 countries have already send in applications
  • -As of May 7 the greatest number of submissions by country are the United States (17,324), China (10,241), and the United Kingdom (3,581)
  • -Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Argentina and India round out the top 10.
  • Multimedia
  • Mars 2023 – Inhabitants wanted | MarsOneProject
  • -YouTube Channel | Mars One – Human Settlement of Mars
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Mars Colony Project Gets 78,000 Applications in 2 Weeks | Mars One |


First Music Video in Space


  • After Conjunction Updates
  • -New software was uploaded what was developed and tested on Earth on the \’testbed\’ that will allow more autonomous navigation that will help Curiosity select safe routes by itself
  • -Additional safety checks have been added to the onboard software for the ChemCam instrument to make sure it is never directly pointed at the sun for a long period of time
  • Plans
  • -Calibration data for the navigation cameras, to make sure the B-side computer navigation camera\’s are working properly before moving to a new location
  • Second Drilling Location
  • -The team operating NASA\’s Curiosity Mars rover has selected a second target rock for drilling and sampling. The rover will set course to the drilling location in coming days.
  • -\”Cumberland,\” lies about nine feet (2.75 meters) west of the rock where Curiosity\’s drill first touched Martian stone in February
  • -Both rocks are flat, with pale veins and a bumpy surface. They are embedded in a layer of rock on the floor of a shallow depression called \”Yellowknife Bay.
  • -This second drilling is intended to confirm results from the first drilling, which indicated the chemistry of the first powdered sample from John Klein was much less oxidizing than that of a soil sample the rover scooped up before it began drilling.
  • -Cumberland and John Klein are very similar, Cumberland appears to have more of the erosion-resistant granules that cause the surface bumps, concretions, or clumps of minerals, which formed when water soaked the rock long ago
  • -Mission engineers recently finished upgrading Curiosity\’s operating software following a four-week break rover continued monitoring the Martian atmosphere during the break, but the team did not send any new commands
  • Multimedia
  • -YouTube Curiosity Rover Report (May 9, 2013): \’Spring Break\’ Over: Commanding Resumes | JPL
  • -Image Galleries at JPL and Curiosity Mulimedia
  • Social Media
  • -Curiosity Rover @MarsCuriosity
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Mars Science Laboratory: NASA Curiosity Rover Team Selects Second Drilling Target On Mars |
  • Mars Rover Curiosity Gears Up for Drilling, Epic Drive |
  • Bizarre Mars Mountain Possibly Built by Wind, Not Water |


Looking back

  • May 20, 1901 : 112 years ago : 3D Projector : Claude Grivolas, one of Pathe\’s main shareholders in Paris, France, patented a projector for three-dimensional (stereoscopic) movies viewed wearing spectacles with one red and one blue lens (French patent No. 310,864). He received a British patent on 23 May 1901 (No. 10,695) For filming, he used a dual camera arrangement which photographed images alternately. He then created one composite master film with the left camera images alternated with the right camera image. His projector had a shutter with one red and one blue transparent sections, with opaque quadrants between them. Left-eye images were projected through the blue filter followed by right-eye images in red light. The movie appeared black and white when viewed using red/blue spectacles

Looking up this week

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