This week: Curing blindness, cross-species organ transplants, compact fusion reactors, glasses that “cure” colorblindness, and Google helps you invest in solar.
Gene Therapy Cures Blindness
When the owl swooped, the “blind” mice ran away. This was thanks to a new type of gene therapy to reprogram cells deep in the eye to sense light.
After treatment, the mice ran for cover when played a video of an approaching owl, just like mice with normal vision. “You could say they were trying to escape, but we don’t know for sure,” says Rob Lucas of the University of Manchester, UK, co-leader of the team that developed and tested the treatment. “What we can say is that they react to the owl in the same way as sighted mice, whereas the untreated mice didn’t do anything.”
Genetically Engineered Pig Hearts Could Save Lives
Investigators from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have successfully transplanted hearts from genetically engineered piglets into baboons’ abdomens and had the hearts survive for more than one year, twice as long as previously reported. This was achieved by using genetically engineered porcine donors and a more focused immunosuppression regimen in the baboon recipients, according to a study published in The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, an official publication of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery.
MIT Propose New Fusion Reactor Design
Advances in magnet technology have enabled MIT scientists to propose a new design for a practical compact tokamak fusion reactor.
It’s an old joke that many fusion scientists have grown tired of hearing: Practical nuclear fusion power plants are just 30 years away — and always will be.
But now, finally, the joke may no longer be true: Advances in magnet technology have enabled researchers at MIT to propose a new design for a practical compact tokamak fusion reactor — and it’s one that might be realized in as little as a decade, they say. The era of practical fusion power, which could offer a nearly inexhaustible energy resource, may be coming near.
These Glasses Help The Colorblind See Colors For The First Time
They may look like typical sunglasses, but these are making waves for people who are colorblind. Since they first went on sale in 2012, glasses from the company EnChroma Labs have allowed people to see colors as they’ve never seen them before, according to an article published this weekend in the New York Times.
Project Sunroof Encourages Investment In Solar Energy
In a new video posted today, Google announced a new effort to take over your life spur further adoption of clean energy. “Project Sunroof” uses data from Google Maps to tell people whether their homes are good candidates for solar panels, and if so, where they can go to get them installed.
Using the new Project Sunroof website you can take a look at your house and see if it’s a good candidate for solar panel installation. The website asks you to enter your address in Google Maps, then uses the location data, Street View, and satellite imagery to calculate the shape of your roof, how much sun your roof gets, and factors in shade from trees and other buildings. It even connects you to solar panel installers in the area, just in case you’re so pumped by the results you can’t wait to take that next step.
Know any interesting stories we missed?Let us know in the comments!