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Walt + Skyler.

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A-ha - Take On Me (cover)

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Spider Silk Could Weave Biodegradable Computer Chips


Spiders and some insects use silk to build strong webs and spin cocoons, and now scientists have figured out how to use the material for something even more amazing: electronic computer chips.

Many people have heard that spider silk is a sort of supermaterial: stronger than steel, tougher than Kevlar, and yet incredibly malleable and flexible. But the silk has other properties that make it ideal for use in electronic devices. Light can travel through a silk strand as easily as it does through a fiber optic cable.

“When we first tested spider silk, we didn’t know what to expect,” said physicist Nolwenn Huby of the Institut de Physique de Rennes in France. “We thought, ‘Why not try this as an optical fiber to propagate light?’”

Huby and her team were able to transmit laser light down a short strand of the silk on an integrated circuit chip. The silk worked much like glass fiber optic cables, meaning it could carry information for electronic devices, though it had about four orders of magnitude more loss than the glass. Huby said that with a coating and further development, the silk could one day have better transmission capabilities. She will present her results at this year’s Frontiers in Optics conference, Oct. 14 to 18 in Rochester, New York.

The achievement could open the door to medical applications, such as silk fibers carrying light to places in the body for internal imaging. Because spider silk is incredibly thin — roughly five microns in diameter or 10 times thinner than a human hair – surgeons could perform diagnostic exams using very small openings in the body.

“These materials are harmless, so you can implant them,” said biomedical engineer Fiorenzo Omenettoof Tufts University in Somerville, Massachusetts, who has been working in this field for years and will also be giving a talk on opportunities for silk in high-tech products at Frontiers in Optics. “The body has no reaction to them.”

Omenetto envisions future applications where, after a medical procedure, doctors and surgeons place a silk bandage in a patient embedded with electronic functions to monitor for possible infections. The patient can be closed up and then never have to worry about having the monitoring device taken out again because the body will simply absorb the material. Already his team has developed a small implantable radio frequency heater that could sterilize an area against bacteria.

Posted 2 years ago
Posted 2 years ago
Posted 2 years ago


Lonesome George, the last giant tortoise of his kind, dies - in pictures

Lonesome George, the last of the Pinta island giant tortoises and a conservation icon, has died of unknown causes. He was believed to be about 100 years old. He was found in 1972 and become a symbol of the Galápagos Islands. His species helped Charles Darwin formulate his theory of evolution in the 19th century | via the guardian

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June 15, 2001: LA Lakers defeat the Philadelphia 76ers 4-1 in the 2001 NBA Finals.

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

Posted 2 years ago
Posted 2 years ago

I prefer Monster over Red Bull, but watching this commercial always makes me wanna go out and test my limits. To anyone looking for a new pump-up tune, try “M83 - Outro”. Goosebumps.