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Ultrasound and magnetism let drug-delivery nanobeads travel upstream

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Although various groups are already working on nanoparticles that could be used for directed drug delivery via the bloodstream, most of those particles are designed to “go with the flow.” Now, however, Swiss researchers have created ones that can actually travel upstream.

Developed at the ETH Zurich research institute, the new nanoparticles are in fact tiny magnetic beads made of iron oxide combined with a polymer. They could conceivably also be loaded up with pharmaceuticals that had to be delivered to a specific location in the body. Each bead is just 3 micrometers wide.

In lab tests, the beads were placed in liquid which was flowing through a glass tube that had an inside diameter of 150 to 300 micrometers – about the width a blood vessel. When subjected to an externally applied magnetic field, the beads clustered into a “swarm” about 15 to 40 micrometers in width.

Next, directed pulses of ultrasound were used to move that swarm up against one wall of the tube. By subsequently switching to a rotating magnetic field, the scientists were able to push the swarm along the length of the tube, in the direction opposite to that of the liquid flow.

A diagram showing how a swarm of the nanobeads (red) are able to head upstream by moving to the wall of the tube
A diagram showing how a swarm of the nanobeads (red) are able to head upstream by moving to the wall of the tube

Ahmed et al. Nature Machine Intelligence 2021

Putting the swarm up against the wall of the tube helped, as the friction between the liquid and the glass made the current weaker there. Canoeists paddling upstream on rivers use a similar trick, in that they stay close to the shoreline where the water is moving slower.

The scientists now plan on seeing how the technology works within the actual blood vessels of animals. It is hoped that the beads could ultimately be used not only for targeted drug delivery, but also in microsurgery procedures such as the unclogging of blocked blood vessels.

“As both ultrasound waves and magnetic fields penetrate body tissue, our method is ideal for controlling microvehicles inside the body,” says Prof. Daniel Ahmed, who is leading the project along with Prof. Bradley Nelson.

The magnetic beads can be seen in upstream action, in the video below.

A paper on the research was recently published in the journal Nature Machine Intelligence.

Source: ETH Zurich

Swimming upstream on sound waves

Source: https://newatlas.com/science/ultrasound-magnetism-nanobeads-upstream/

NEWATLAS

Hidden Egyptian handbook reveals secrets of mummification

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A recently discovered text written around 1450 BCE contains previously unknown details about Egyptian mummification process

A 3,500-year-old Egyptian medical text is shedding new light on the ancient practice of mummification. Recently discovered inside a much larger work, the papyrus document being studied by University of Copenhagen Egyptologist Sofie Schiødt is the oldest known mummification manual.

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Category: Science

Tags: University of Copenhagen, Mummies, Archaeology

Source: https://newatlas.com/science/egypt-mummification-manual-louvre-carlsberg-copenhagen/

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Lasers and plasma shockwaves used to measure ripeness of fruit

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Researchers in Japan have developed a contactless way to measure the ripeness of soft fruit like mangoes

Judging how ripe a piece of fruit is can be a frustrating process for everyone from farmers to shoppers. Now, researchers at Shibaura Institute of Technology (SIT) in Japan have developed a new high-tech way to check, without touching or damaging soft fruit like mangoes. All it takes is a laser and some plasma shockwaves.

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Category: Science

Tags: Food, Fruit, Laser, Food technology

Source: https://newatlas.com/science/fruit-ripe-lasers-plasma-shockwaves/

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Broadcasting tech swaps stadium ads for regional advertising

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Examples of the system showing two different ads (A,B) along with the magenta screen (C) which neither stadium audiences nor TV viewers see

When viewing sports coverage from other countries, it’s common to see sideline advertising boards that are promoting products you’ve never even heard of. This new TV system is capable of digitally replacing the content of those boards, so they’re advertising region-specific products.

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Category: Good Thinking, Lifestyle

Tags: Fraunhofer, Sports, Advertising, Broadcast, Television

Source: https://newatlas.com/good-thinking/fraunhofer-vibotec-sports-advertising/

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Scientists calculate life expectancy of Earth’s atmospheric oxygen

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An artist's interpretation of the atmosphere of Archean Earth, prior to 2.4 billion years ago. A new study suggests it may return to this oxygen-poor, methane-rich atmosphere in about 1 billion years' time

The Earth has an expiry date – in about five billion years, the Sun will expand and swallow up our home world. But it turns out life on Earth could have a much earlier end point. A new study has found that in about a billion years’ time, the atmosphere will lose most of its oxygen rapidly, which may have important implications in the search for life on other planets.

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Category: Environment, Science

Tags: Oxygen, Atmosphere, Earth, Geology, Exoplanet, Extraterrestrial

Source: https://newatlas.com/environment/earth-atmosphere-oxygen-life-expectancy/

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