Scientists Donald Ingber and Dan Dongeun Huh at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering (Whew, that was a mouthful!) have developed microchip-like devices called Organs-on-Chips. These devices are transparent, flexible polymers (plastic) that contain microscopic channels. When living human cells from different organs like the lungs, gut, kidney, and liver are introduced through ports into the channels, the cells “will gather together into different tissue types” according to Tony Bahinski, a senior scientist at Wyss (as interviewed on Dezeen). The microscopic channels also carry fluids and gasses to the tissues to feed them. This imitates blood flow and air movement within the human body. Their first chip was a Lung-on-a-Chip (developed in 2010), that actually replicates the movement of human lungs while breathing. So far scientists have developed chips for the gut, liver, and kidneys and hope to continue developing more of these Organs-on-Chips and eventually put them together to emulate total human body functions. This will be especially useful to the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries when testing the safety of new products. Scientists can introduce the test drug and observe and evaluate its effects as it travels through the “human body”. These can also be used to study treatments for infections and diseases.
The following images illustrate how the chips emulate body functions:
So, you’ve read this far without having your eyes glaze over due to the technical content of this news post. Now we can ask “What does this mean for us?” Well, this new technology is not only valuable because it effectively addresses the ethical concerns of testing on animals, but it will also be much more accurate in determining the true effects of new drugs on human beings. It may even substantially decrease the costs of new medications. Many of the drugs that successfully pass the animal testing stage are discovered to be ineffective in humans or have drastic, unacceptable side effects. The extreme expense of this drug testing process can potentially be avoided with the Organs-on-Chips technology. Woohoo! Thank you, Drs. Ingber and Huh!
The content for this post came from the following Dezeen articles: “Microdevices that mimic human organs could replace animal testing“, “Human Organs-on-Chips wins Design of the Year 2015“, and “Tiny devices replicate human organs to provide an alternative drug-testing method“.
Organs-on-Chips may take the place of animal testing in the future originally appeared on The Gadgeteer on September 8, 2015 at 8:00 am.
Note: If you are subscribed to this feed through FeedBurner, please switch to our native feed URL http://the-gadgeteer.com/feed/ in order to ensure continuous delivery.
My latest series of comics:
Today the Department of Phenomenal Papercraft is marveling at the incredibly intricate animal sculptures created by paper artist Calvin Nicholls. Despite the fact that most of them are perfectly white, each of Nicholls’ paper creatures is amazingly lifelike and appears to be emerging from its matboard background. Made of countless layers of carefully cut paper, one sculpture can take anywhere from weeks to years to complete depending on its size and complexity.
“To achieve the haut-relief effect (a process he shares online), Nicholls first works from a drawing which he uses as a template for the various paper components. Using an X-ACTO knife, scalpels, and scissors he then carefully cuts pieces of paper and glues them in place.“
In this beautiful video by Te to Te to Te, artisan Yasuo Okazaki, known for his signature Naruko Kokeshi style, demonstrates how he crafts the dolls from spinning blocks of wood, how they are shaped, then fitted together before the paint is painstakingly applied. Okazaki learned the Naruko style from his father, who trained him in the craft. Te to Te to Te also offers a really great online guide to the different Kokeshi dolls that come from all over Japan.
The Naruko style of Kokeshi developed at Naruko hot springs. One of the unique characteristics of these Kokeshi is that their heads squeak when turned. They have kind faces and flared shoulders and skirts. The stripes at the top and bottom of the body are painted on the lathe, and the body is often painted with a chrysanthemum motif. The bangs are painted like the dolls sent as gifts from the Imperial Palace. Naruko Kokeshi wear a red headdress.
There's no country in the world that has lax firefighters, but in Japan, the prevalence of traditional wooden structures adds an element of increased urgency. And while some team members of a Japanese firefighting brigade are trying to put the fire out, other members have to climb and crawl into the burning structures to pull potentially unconscious victims out.
Rope plays a large role in Japanese rescue operations, and the amount of drilling they do with the stuff is evident in this "Japan Tech Rope Rescue Competition." The speed with which these guys move is nothing short of insane. Enjoy, and apologies in advance for the soundtrack:
Avoid Humans is a new web app that helps users avoid other people using Foursquare and Instagram check-in data to identify crowded places. The app puts locations into nightlife, food, coffee, and refuge categories and uses simple icons to show how crowded a place is.
images via Avoid Humans
Why does this keep happening?
The Jacks by Sculpy, are very cleverly designed scented candles that look like they’re crying when lit inside their decorative bases. The current offerings are black or white skull bases with brain-shaped candles, rabbit bases with accompanying ears and deers with antlers. According to the founders, the project came about accidentally.
One of our sculpting member’s hobby is to make useless things with 3D printer. One day he realized that he had no ashtray so he created a skull looking ashtray for his cigarettes, and Sophie lit a candle in it.And then an idea came up…We thought it was fun to depict a dripping of wax as a tear flowing from the skull.
By adding diverse product lines we have created our first The Jacks candle series.
Sculpy is currently raising funds through Kickstarter to bring The Jacks to market.
images via The Jacks
via Cool Material
i dunno about you guys but if i’m not sure if a snake is venomous or not i don’t think my first step would be to grab & examine its ass
Sweet Peas in bloom on Poppy’s head.
Journalist Spends Four Years Traversing India to Document Crumbling Subterranean Stepwells Before they Disappear
Across India an entire category of architecture is slowly crumbling into obscurity, and you’ve probably never even heard it. Such was the case 30 years ago when Chicago journalist Victoria Lautman made her first trip to the country and discovered the impressive structures called stepwells. Like gates to the underworld, the massive subterranean temples were designed as a primary way to access the water table in regions where the climate vacillates between swelteringly dry during most months, with a few weeks of torrential monsoons in the spring.
Thousands of stepwells were built in India starting around the 2nd and 4th centuries A.D. where they first appeared as rudimentary trenches but slowly evolved into much more elaborate feats of engineering and art. By the 11th century some stepwells were commissioned by wealthy or powerful philanthropists (almost a fourth of whom were female) as monumental tributes that would last for eternity. Lautman shares with Arch Daily about the ingenious construction of the giant wells that plunge into the ground up to 10 stories deep:
Construction of stepwells involved not just the sinking of a typical deep cylinder from which water could be hauled, but the careful placement of an adjacent, stone-lined “trench” that, once a long staircase and side ledges were embedded, allowed access to the ever-fluctuating water level which flowed through an opening in the well cylinder. In dry seasons, every step—which could number over a hundred—had to be negotiated to reach the bottom story. But during rainy seasons, a parallel function kicked in and the trench transformed into a large cistern, filling to capacity and submerging the steps sometimes to the surface. This ingenious system for water preservation continued for a millennium.
Because of an increasing drop in India’s water table due to unregulated pumping, most of the wells have long since dried up and are now almost completely neglected. While some stepwells near areas of heavy tourism are well maintained, most are used as garbage dumping grounds and are overgrown with wildlife or caved in completely. Many have fallen completely off the map.
Inspired by an urgency to document the wells before they disappear, Lautman has traveled to India numerous times in the last few years and taken upon herself to locate 120 structures across 7 states. She’s currently seeking a publisher to help bring her discoveries and photographs to a larger audience, and also offers stepwell lectures to architects and universities. If you’re interested, get in touch.
You can read a more comprehensive account of stepwells by Lautman on Arch Daily.
The sculptures by Gustav Vigeland at Vigelandsparken (Vigeland Park) in Oslo, Norway have been one of the highlights of our trip! There are over 200 sculptures in bronze, granite and wrought iron in the park.
A lone marmot climbed atop a wooden fence on Blackcomb Peak near Whistler, British Columbia, sat upright and let out a couple of ear piercing screams. The mountain-dwelling squirrel probably wanted to warn others that the humans of Lone Goat Soap were nearby and filming.
Alpine marmots emit variable alarm calls when they encounter humans, dogs, and several species of aerial predators. The first part of the study involved observations and manipulations designed to document contextual variation in alarm calls. Alarm calls varied along several acoustic parameters, but only along one that we examined, the number of notes per call, was significantly correlated with the type of external stimulus.
In 2011, a remarkable and distinctly erotic 17th century portrait of Nell Gwyn was put up for sale by her descendants. It shows Gwyn, an actress who was one of Charles II’s mistresses for more than a decade, washing a string of sausages with her breasts exposed.
Get ready for mile-high zombies
AMC reportedly has plans for a new 30-minute online special that will feature a Walking Dead first: a zombie attack on an airplane.
Installments of the full special will air during Walking Dead commercial breaks during the upcoming Season 6, which starts in October and introduce a character that will be featured on Fear the Walking Dead Season 2.
EW first reported the news.
The special, which will be a standalone, will be set in the pre-apocalypse period, similar to what is currently being portrayed in Season 1 of Fear Read more...More about Television, Amc, Entertainment, Tv, and The Walking Dead
Hide and Seek
The Royal Institution posted this demonstration of an explosively unstable substance called nitrogen triiodide. I love the purple smoke it makes.
Nitrogen triiodide is so unstable that even something like a mosquito landing on it can set it off. Three iodine atoms cluster around one side of a nitrogen atom. Being crowded around one end causes something called bond strain as the atoms repel each other in a small space. The result is that the molecule is prone to falling apart, explosively.
If you’re afraid to walk your dog at night (and your dog is the kind that would rather lick the attacker than protect you) – this werewolf muzzle is for you! The Russian-designed dog muzzle sells for about 30 USD and permits your dog to slightly open its mouth, allowing it to pant. It is made from non-toxic plastic and nylon.
Some countries require that all dogs wear a muzzle when out in public. However, if you live in a country that also permits the carrying of firearms in public, this muzzle is probably not for you. While you see a cool dog accessory, others might only see a terrifying dog, which can have unpredictable results. Terrify responsibly!
Image credits: Alexey Kurulyov
Image credits: zveryatam.ru
Image credits: zveryatam.ru
Image credits: Alexey Kurulyov