Case Wester Reserver University researchers are developing a new plastic inspired by sea cucumber skin that could lead to safer brain implants or even clothing that hardens into armor with the flick of a switch. Sea cucumbers have skin that can switch between soft and rigid in seconds thanks to enzymes that bind the proteins fiber, and others that cause those binds to release. The new material is triggered by water but doesn't soak up the liquid like sponges or cardboard. From New Scientist:
"We have the elastic polymer, so that's the mimic for the sea cucumber skin, and then we put in the cellulose whiskers," (Stuart) Rowan says. "You can get these from paper pulp, but we got ours from another little sea creature called a tunicate."
When dry, the cellulose fibres keep the material rigid by forming a scaffold held together by hydrogen bonds. But water molecules are better at forming such bonds, so when wet, the fibres lose their grip on one another and bond to the water molecules instead...
The rigid material could easily be inserted into brain tissue, before softening into its floppy state. That would reduce the problems with inflammation solid electrodes can cause.
Rowan says they're now working on versions of the material that switch stiffness in response to a pulse of electricity.
At The Malware Musuem you can enjoy the experience of DOS-era viruses, trojans and other digital beasties without any of the risk. Many of them manifested as wild graphical tricks and other spectacular coding feats, distracting you as they formatted hard drives or corrupted files. The Malware Museum is a collection of malware programs, usually […]
Neglected public payphones in New York City are being turned into “GuyFi” stations: a place where one can rub one out for the sake of “stress relief.” Annalee Newitz reports on the wank booths from a company named “Hot Octopus”… The company reported that at least 100 men used the booth on its opening day […]
You’d be forgiven for thinking the videocassette format long-dead, but it turns out that Betamax is still around. Sony is finally going to withdraw tapes from sale, bringing a 40-year story to an end. The last recorders were sold in 2002. ベータビデオカセットおよびマイクロMVカセットテープ出荷終了のお知らせ [Sony; via The Verge]
Projects will always need management. And now with the tech gold rush it feels like there are more projects than ever with fewer managers than there’s demand for. But it takes too much time and money to go back to school full time so luckily the Project Management Professional certification training course is now 96% […]
If you’ve been blessed enough to avoid them yourself, you’ve definitely heard the horror stories. Late night, crushing out a ton of work, writing, coding, anything, then boom – your computer crashes. The battery blows, you spill water or coffee all over the place, or it just shuts down with no explanation, and you’re screwed. […]
You travel around a lot. It might be that jet set life from New York to LA to London to Tokyo, or it might be back and forth from the coffee shop to the office, or from the kitchen to the couch. Any which way, you’re mobile and that’s the way to live. When you […]