Lab-grown Sperm Used To Create Healthy Mice

Technology can do amazing things, we’ve seen it give people the ability to walk again to creating fresh organs like candyfloss. The problem with technology is that you have to wait to see just how much things progress, with every day bringing new technology and miracles. Why would we not look forward to the news that infertility could soon be a thing of the past with lab-grown sperm being used to create healthy mice in a lab.

The study showed that by taking a stem cell, the researchers were able to create sperm and use this to create healthy baby mice. The study went on to show not only that it was a success but that the children were able to grow up and even have their own offspring.

This research could be the first step to help people who have become infertile, with the artificial growth and injection of sperm cells or the earlier form of sperm called spermatids could produce not only healthy offspring could be used to create human babies, a process that is being debated for its ethical and legal reasons all over the world. The only issue that the group have found so far is that adult humans don’t have embryonic stem cells, but are hopeful that turning skin cells into a stem-cell-like state could be the key.

With more and more people being helped by technology on a daily basis, you can’t help but be amazed at these scientists work who are keen to help everyone overcome their life difficulties.

The Unique World Of 2016 Cyber Security Predications

2016 is here and I still want my hoverboard, by this, I mean an authentic Back to the Future machine and not the cheap plastic device that is currently being marketed. Anyway, this year promises to be compelling for a number of reasons including Cyber Security and the nature of locking data away from the many threats that now lurk within the Cyber walls. Various individuals have had their predictions concerning the coming year’s potential cyber security issues and I thought it would be interesting to convey a selection of the many theories below.

A Cyber Attack will look to exploit the 2016 US presidential election
This may be classed as an outside possibility, even though it would be technically possible whether it will happen is a different matter, this prediction arrives courtesy of Ryan Olson, director of threat intelligence for Palo Alto Network who states that hackers could look to obtain private information from candidates via emails or social network accounts.  Any sensitive information that might be released could, in theory, sway an election, unless you’re Mr Trump who says what he thinks anyway.

Virtual Boarders that control access to the Internet
This theory is far from new, but could be a reality if certain powerful figures are able to exert major control over the internet.  According to Kaspersky Lab, we could see a development of Internet borders that divide access to information along country lines.

Hacked data could become a huge commodity
2015 became the year of the hack and included everything from Dating websites to the leaking of huge databases containing sensitive government details, according to Dmitri Alperovitch, CTO and co-founder of Crowdstrike, who states that hackers are aiming to build up huge stocks of information that contain multiple strands of data. This could lead to blackmailageddon, or something equally terrifying, whereby extortion attacks on individuals and companies are widespread.

Chinese VS Russian Hackers
This one sounds like an opening scene from Rush Hour, but no, according to experts with IID predict, as China’s economy stops growing, many cyber hackers might turn from Cyber espionage to cybercrime. This could then lead to criminal activity that is far bigger than that of Easton Europe.  Is it possible?  You never know considering the technical expertise many hackers possess in china.

Cyber attacks will destroy a major brand or product.  
This prediction from Mark Painter who is a security evangelist for Hewlett-Packard Enterprises is quite feasible considering the many holes which exist within certain tech products.  This individual states that “We are increasingly close to finding out in 2016 if a major product will shut down due to security issues”. Adobe Flash springs to mind considering we all know companies would quite happily cut their losses if a product becomes more trouble than it’s worth.

Will any of these come true?  Only time will tell, especially if Ronald McDonald becomes president.

Image courtesy of PCWorld

A Clearer Picture For Utilizing Transparent Glass Within a 3D Printer

I recently wrote an article concerning a new technique of using a 3D printer to build up layers upon layers with pre-existing materials to create “glass” based objects. The accompanied video looked stunning and the potential applications seemed endless, well now, a team of MIT researchers have opened up a new frontier within 3-D printing which has expanded on the premise with new details concerning the ability to print optically transparent glass objects.

The ability to print glass objects is extremely complex and has been attempted by other research groups, the problem lies with the extremely high temperature which is required in order to melt the material. Quite a few development teams have used tiny particles of glass which is melded together at a lower temperature in a technique called sintering. Unfortunately, this technique has rendered such objects to be structurally weak and optically cloudy, thus eliminating two of glass’s most desirable attributes: strength and transparency.

MIT have therefore developed its own process which retains those properties and produces printed glass objects which are both strong and fully transparent to light. The device which is used to print such objects utilizes a computer assisted program which is similar to the standard design operating mechanisms implemented by current 3D printers. The result is a machine which can print objects with little human interaction or indeed intervention; it’s stunning to imagine an autonomous production line in your living room.

In the present incarnation, molten glass is loaded into a hopper within the top of the device after being gathered from a conventional glass blowing kiln. When completed, the finished piece must be cut away from the moving platform on which it is assembled; the temperatures are the same of 1900 degrees Fahrenheit which is approx 1037 degrees Celsius.

The potential uses for such a technique is mind-blowing, Neri Oxman, an associate professor at the MIT Media Lab envisions a future whereby it would be possible to “consider the integration of structural and environmental building performance within a single integrated skin.” This notion could completely transform the manufacturing process.

A further expansion on this technique would be to add pressure to the system which is either through a mechanical plunger or compressed gas, by doing so it is hoped to produce a more uniform flow and thus a more uniform width to the extruded filament of glass.

There is a potential downside to such a revolutionary direction, if you could inhabit a world where houses are printed on an industrial scale and goods are quickly printed, this would ultimately reduce the number of workers needed within production. AI and new techniques are slowly making people redundant within an ever-expanding population, a quote below emphases this further

“Boston Consulting Group predicts that by 2025, up to a quarter of jobs will be replaced by either smart software or robots, while a study from Oxford University has suggested that 35% of existing UK jobs is at risk of automation in the next 20 years”.

What future will be printed for us humans?

Thank you mit and bbc for providing us with this information.

Almost ‘Fully Formed’ Human Brain Grown in a Lab for the First Time

Researchers from Ohio State University have come tantalizingly close to cultivating a human brain for the very first time. This technological breakthrough is designed to monitor brain activity to help understand neurological conditions such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons. Although not conscience, the synthetic brain reflects the genetic maturity of a five-week-old foetus. Unbelievably, the brain is approximately the size of a pencil eraser and constructed from human skin cells.

Rene Anand, displayed the team’s findings at the Military Health System Research Symposium in Fort Lauderdale and announced 99% of the human brain had been successfully recreated. Additionally, Anand said the reproduction contains a spinal cord, and retina. The time-scale of this process is appropriately 12 weeks but Anand is already looking to enhance the research:

“We’d need an artificial heart to help the brain grow further in development.”

It’s difficult to overemphasize how significant this discovery is and could pave the way for life-changing medications. Anand provided an insight into the potential of this monumental revelation:

“We can look at the expression of every gene in the human genome at every step of the development process and see how they change with different toxins. Maybe then we’ll be able to say ‘holy cow, this one isn’t good for you.’”

Critics of the process may point to ethical concerns, but Anand is adamant that this isn’t an issue because the brain is unconscious.

Thank you The Guardian for providing us with this information.

A Next-Gen Battery for Mobile Devices Is in the Works at Google X Labs

Reports have indicated that a four person team inside Google X labs have switched from testing batteries back in 2013 to actually looking into technology for creating a new and improved version.

The group is said to be led by former Apple battery expert, Dr. Ramesh Bhardwaj, and formed back in 2012. One concept the group is said to be looking into is solid-state batteries, which are made by replacing the liquid chemicals with a solid current-inducing alternative. This is said to lead to smaller and safer batteries which can be produced in thin layers.

While the batteries are being designed for powering mobile devices, Google is said to also be looking into using the battery concept to power human body implants. Google is also not the only company to be working on futuristic batteries, but whoever comes up with the long-lasting, affordable, safer and smaller alternative to the current ones will be able to dominate the consumer market.

Thank you Phonearena for providing us with this information

Has the NSA Been Hiding Viruses in Hard Drive Firmware?

A new report from Kaspersky Lab suggests that the NSA might just have developed quite an interesting way to hide viruses. They say that they may well be hiding malicious software inside the firmware of Hard Drives, including those made by a host of famous manufacturers, such as Seagate, Western Digital, Maxtor, Hitachi, Toshiba and Samsung.

The ‘Equation’ report says that the malware included on the drives would be almost impossible to detect and to remove, giving the NSA an unprecedented way to access many millions of computers across the globe. The report also ponders how the organisation would be able to install such malware, suggesting that while the NSA could full well reverse engineer hard drive firmware, they say that it may be possible that the US government has secretly approached the hard drive manufacturers and worked with them to include the malware with their products.

So far, only Western Digital has spoken out about the report, denying to Reuters that they have any involvement with the NSA. The others all declined to comment.

This makes quite a significant story, with repercussions that will surely develop over time.

Source: Reuters

Scientists Work Out How To 3D Print Vascular Networks

3D Printing has come a long way, from objects to food and now even human skin and meat. One of the major problems when attempting to print human meat was printing out the vascular network, meaning all the blood vessels and ventricles. However, it appears that even the latter problem has been recently solved by scientists from the University of Sydney, Harvard, Stanford and MIT.

The scientists have apparently solved the problem by creating a skeleton of vessels, which was then used as a basis to grow human cells around it. Once the process was complete and stable, the scientists dissolved the 3D printed material, leaving only the vascular network.

“Imagine being able to walk into a hospital and have a full organ printed – or bio-printed, as we call it – with all the cells, proteins and blood vessels in the right place, simply by pushing the ‘print’ button in your computer screen,” said Dr. Luiz Bertassoni of the University of Sydney. “While recreating little parts of tissues in the lab is something that we have already been able to do, the possibility of printing three-dimensional tissues with functional blood capillaries in the blink of an eye is a game changer.”

Building vascular networks is a big thing, but using them is even greater than imagined. It appears that the vessels are then used to transport nutrients through bioprinted tissue in order to achieve better cell differentiation and growth. Summing it all up, scientists are now able to create ‘organs’ in the lab, having the scientists believe that this will eventually lead to true organ regeneration.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of 3DPrint.com

Kickstarter Projects Aims To Make Voice-Controlled Houses a Reality

There are all sorts of smart devices on the market, giving users the ability to control just about anything in your house and even your car, at least to some extent. However, in most cases, the user experience is not as satisfying as it should be when using the latter devices.

A Kickstarter project is aiming to solve this barrier through a project called Homey. The device bearing the same name is nothing more than an orb measuring 4.3″ in diameter, but the developers hope that it could become the next big thing in terms of smart homes.

Homey is thought to be a device with multiple connectivity inputs, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, ZigBee and Z-Wave, as well as Infrared, which can control almost anything in the house with the help of voice commands. Homey is connected to a Raspberry Pi Computer Module, running on custom software, and also features a companion app for iOS and Android devices, which grants users the ability to easily customise Homey’s settings. The device is also designed to give visual feedbacks on commands with the help of its multi-coloured LED ring placed in the middle.

Emile Nijssen, the creator of Homey, has been inspired by the Star Trek series when designing the device at hand, having users relying ultimately on voice in order to control their home. In addition to the above, Homey gives developers the opportunity to build applications which are then published to the device’s Labs section.

The project is hoping to raise €100,000 through crowdfunding on Kickstarter in order to begin production. The current estimated amount raised is €95,000 and there is no doubt about the project being funded. The lowest amount which individuals can pledge for a Homey device is reported to be €229, having its estimated delivery set in June 2015.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Ubergizmo