Posts Tagged 'University of Washington'

RoboFly – Tiny Drone Powered By Laser Beams

According to Engadget –

Miniscule robotic drones might be the future, but they’ve been tricky to get off the ground. Until now, any wing-flapping insect robot had to have a power source, making it too heavy to lift off with its tiny wings. Now, however, researchers at the University of Washington have found a way to transmit power to a flying robotic insect (lovingly dubbed RoboFly) via laser, obviating the need for a separate power supply.

Continue reading and watch a video HERE.

Chemical Restores Sight In Blind Mice

Wired reports –

Injections of a recently discovered chemical into the eyes of blind lab mice has restored at least part of the rodents’ vision. The chemical, called AAQ — short for acrylamide-azobenzene-quaternary ammonium — was not tested in humans, nor is it a cure for blindness. But researchers who treated mice with the molecule, a type of light-sensitive “photoswitch,” think their method represents an advance in the quest to help the blind see. “The photoswitch is injected into the vitreous cavity of the eye, but unlike the other strategies, it does not require highly invasive surgical interventions and its actions are reversible,” the authors of a new study about AAQ wrote July 26 study in Neuron. “This is a major advance in the field of vision restoration,” said opthamologist Dr. Russell Van Gelder at the University of Washington, Seattle, a co-author of the study. In a healthy eye, light strikes rod- and cone-shaped photoreceptor cells lining the retina, which transmit the signal into a network of nerves below them. Those nerves ultimately usher visual information to the brain. Retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration kill off the rods and cones, eventually causing blindness, but the network of nerves behind often remains intact. By taking advantage of the intact nerves, a few biomedical tricks can already partially restore vision. Electronic sensors implanted in a retina, for example, can stimulate the nerves to send visual information when struck by light. Likewise, engineered viruses can implant genes into retinal nerve cells that make them react to light.

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