Duke University has been experimenting with telekinetic monkeys for some time now.
For the first time in the U.S., surgeons have successfully transplanted a bioengineered blood vessel into the arm of a patient -- a possible stepping stone toward more complex human-engineered organs such as livers or eyes, and potentially a more immediate boon for kidney dialysis patients and perhaps even people with heart disease.
The surgery represents a major milestone for tissue engineering: The bioengineered blood vessel can be stored relatively easily and donated universally (unlike veins harvested from a patient's own body and therefore specific to that body). Also, it's human-cell-based, with no biological properties that can cause organ rejection.
"We hope this sets the groundwork for how these things can be grown, how they can incorporate into the host, and how they can avoid being rejected immunologically," Jeffrey H. Lawson, a vascular surgeon and biologist at Duke Medicine who helped develop the technology and performed the implantation, said in a statement. "A blood vessel is really an organ -- it's complex tissue. We start with this, and one day we may be able to engineer a liver or a kidney or an eye."… Read more
While we remain dubious about the legitimacy of using the word "invisible" when visible light isn't involved, that's what a team of engineers at Duke University have dubbed their creation. Seven years ago, they demonstrated their first "invisibility cloak" in a laboratory; now, thanks to 3D printing, the fabrication process is a lot more accessible.
The object -- which looks more like a Frisbee made of Swiss cheese than a wearable cape a la Harry Potter -- has a large hole in the center, with seemingly random holes in the disc. The size, shape, and placement of these holes have actually been determined using algorithms to disguise any object placed in the center hole from microwave beams aimed through the side of the disc, making it appear as though the object isn't there. … Read more
There is officially a Wachowski Brothers-style "Matrix" for rodents.
Scientists in North Carolina and Brazil have connected the brains of two rats using "brain-to-brain interfaces" that can connect directly or via the Internet. These allow the rodents to share sensory information, collaborate on tasks to earn rewards, and fight back against the shadowy and cyber-apocalyptic forces that have enslaved them.
There's actually no evidence of the latter, but I'd still suggest researchers watch out for any rats that start displaying a propensity for martial arts.… Read more
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This week on Crave, Japanese scientists teach moths to drive mini trucks, and a new app called Dognition claims to improve our relationship with man's best friend. Also, we decide if a $30 million Death Star Kickstarter campaign is worth it, and Montana is apparently full of badasses! Those stories and more, plus a round of "Into It, Not Into It." … Read more
It's a surprisingly dangerous world out there in the trees. Sparrows sing, flit about, and fight like they're auditioning for a role on "Game of Thrones." Male swamp sparrows will even take their battles to the death. Before they get that far, though, there's a whole lot of wing-waving going on to mark their territory and signal their aggression.
Duke University biologist Rindy Anderson wanted to learn more about how these birds communicate with each other, so she and engineering undergraduate student David Piech built a cyborg robo-battle-sparrow of doom.
The Frankensparrow consisted of a miniature computer and robotics gear stuffed into the body of a dead sparrow. This allowed the researchers to control the wings. They took the Frankenstein sparrow to a breeding ground, played swamp sparrow invasion songs, and made it wave its wings at other males, the sparrow equivalent of flipping them the bird.… Read more
Leaked from today's 404 episode:
- McDonalds to open first vegetarian restaurant.
- Hoax alert: Bruce Willis fights for the right to bequeath his iTunes library.
- How classic games got their names (hat tip to Corey).
- Is this new Prince Harry game using Jeff's likeness?Episode 1,123 Subscribe in iTunes (audio) | Subscribe in iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS Video
It's our last week of 404 podcasts for 2011! We'll be back in the new year for a round of LIVE CES COVERAGE, but Wilson's not feeling well today so Joseph Kaminski fills in for an update on kid tech.
A story on CNET's top tech turkeys rounded up the 2011 technology equivalents of dropping a Thanksgiving turkey on the floor right in front of a slobbering mastiff while your in-laws look on in horror.
We've had some spectacular tech fails this year ranging from the mildly disappointing (what, no iPhone 5?) to the epic (Sony PlayStation Network hack).
Hundreds of thousands of subscribers jumped ship from Netflix after it flailed around with big price increases and the stunningly ill-thought-out Qwikster spin-off. Now Netflix's stock is taking a nosedive.
RIM got red in the face after a multiday outage of the BlackBerry network that impacted customers around the world. That didn't help the company's reputation after RIM's quiet year on the hardware front.… Read more
The original Pink Panther car and a replica of the "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" car will be featured in an online auction from from a U.K. auction house beginning at noon on Sept. 4, and running through 1 p.m Oct. 14.
The Panthermobile was created for "The Pink Panther Show," which ran from 1969 to 1976 on NBC.
According to auction house, Robson Kay, the car was the brainchild of Hollywood designer Jay Ohrberg, who is best known for creating memorable small- and big-screen vehicles such as K.I.T.T. from "Knight … Read more