Technology Tuesday: November 24
This week: Growing a voice, the world’s most extensive facial reconstruction, a translating megaphone, scientists create a cyborg rose, and watching the birth of a planet.
Scientists Grow Functioning Vocal Cords
Growing a Voice Scientists in the University of Wisconsin-Madison have successfully grown functional vocal cord tissue in a laboratory – yes, vocal cords that work. This remarkable new tissue engineering technique could, someday, be used to restore the voices of patients who have certain voice disorders that are (at the present junctures) untreatable. The team is led by Dr. Nathan Welham, a speech-language pathologist from UW. In a press release, he describes the difficulty of achieving such a feat, saying “Our vocal cords are made up of special tissue that has to be flexible enough to vibrate, yet strong enough to bang together hundreds of times per second. It’s an exquisite system and a hard thing to replicate.”
Medical Breakthrough In Reconstructive Surgery
According to the World Health Organization, each year, there are some 265,000 deaths caused by burns. In 2004 alone, there were more than 11 million people worldwide who needed medical attention as the result of a burn. It is a traumatic event that has a long, painful recovery process. Often, victims carry the scars of these injuries with them for the rest of their lives. But each year brings new hope, and the latest breakthrough is truly inspiring. At New York University’s Langone Medical Center, a team of scientists completed the world’s most extensive face transplant.
New Megaphone Automatically Translates In Three Languages
Soon, airport employees in Japan may not need a translator or have be versed in various languages in order to give instructions or updates to passengers. A new (and impressively futuristic) multilingual megaphone can do the translating job for them. Panasonic has developed the “Megahonyaku,” which is a combination of “megaphone” and “translation” in Japanese. The device allows a user to speak into the megaphone and have the words automatically transmitted into three languages: English, Chinese or Korean. It’s a little reminiscent of Skype’s new translation software, except that this technology doesn’t require you to stand in front of a computer.
Cyborg Rose Has Electric Circuits in it’s Veins
A rose by any other name would… conduct electricity? The worlds of botany and consumer electronics don’t typically overlap. But a new device has merged electronics with biology, taking a step towards a world in which plants and computers are more intertwined.
The breakthrough came earlier this year in a lab in southern Sweden. Magnus Berggren, a professor of organic electronics at Linköping University, led a team that built a working electronic circuit from an ordinary garden rose by filling its veins with conductive polymer.
Astronomers Observe The Birth Of A Planet For The First Time
A fledgling star system is giving astronomers the cosmic version of the “birds and the bees talk.”
For the first time astronomers directly observed a planet growing in its very early stages of life, and that’s quite a rare find: Of the nearly 1,900 planets discovered outside of our solar system the infant planet, known as LkCa 15 b, is the only one known to be forming as you read this. It’s a first-of-its-kind opportunity to study a planet in this stage early of development.
Know any interesting stories we missed?Let us know in the comments!
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