Advances made with new synthetic materials open possibilities for manned space exploration


A man-made leaf absorbs carbon dioxide and water and releases oxygen. 

There are many challenges with space exploration. One inconvenient fact – the lack of oxygen in much of the universe – poses a real challenge to making off world exploration and living a reality. (Videos)



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Scientists develop process to make inexpensive synthetic gas

Synthetic gas would be much better for the environment.

We are still massively dependent on fossil fuels even though they are a limited resource. But, a team of scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago have figured out a way to make synthetic gas inexpensively, using carbon dioxide and carbon nanofibers.



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DNA could be the next frontier for hackers and biological warfare


Synthetic biology will lead to new forms of bioterrorism.

Computer-designed viruses that cure disease, new bacteria capable of synthesizing an unlimited fuel supply, new organisms that wipe out entire populations and bio-toxins that target world leaders may sound like devices restricted to feature-film script writers, but it is possible to create all of these today, using the latest advances in synthetic biology.


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Artificial skin spun from spider silk


Spider silk could be an ideal answer for helping heal wounds.

Researchers may have found a better alternative for providing skin grafts to wounds.  It turns out that spider silk is legendary for its strength, as well as its possible healing properties. Tissue engineer Hanna Wendt at Medical School Hannover in Germany honed in on this and found that by creating an artificial skin spun from spider silk, we could have an ideal answer for helping heal wounds.


World’s first man-made organ transplant carried out in Sweden


An image released by Karolinska University Hospital shows part of the operation.

The world’s first transplant of a fully synthetic organ has been carried out by surgeons – a windpipe created using the patient’s stem cells and an artificial “scaffold”.  A month ago a 36-year-old cancer patient received the organ at the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm.


SelectaDNA Spray Keeps the Robbers Away

DNA spray

SelectaDNA Spray glows blue under ultraviolet light and can tie a burglar to a crime.

When a gang of hammer-wielding thieves smashed their way into a convenience store in the northwest English town of Preston, neighboring businessman Altaf Kazi realized he had to upgrade his security or risk becoming the next victim. Fortunately for newsstand owner Kazi, his security crisis came just as police were offering small businesses in the area the chance to trial a high-tech crime-fighting device.

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Synthetic Alcohol That Avoids Drunkenness and Hangovers In Development


An alcohol substitute that mimics its pleasant buzz without leading to drunkenness and hangovers is being developed by scientists. The new substance could have the added bonus of being “switched off” instantaneously with a pill, to allow drinkers to drive home or return to work.

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New Bone-Setting Glue Inspired By Sandcastle Worms


A scanning electron microscope image of two glass beads cemented together by a sandcastle worm and removed from the worm’s tube(inset).  Closeup connection using worm’s glue (large picture).

Shattered bones pose a difficult problem for surgeons, who currently must use tiny screws and plates to hold fragments in place long enough for the break to heal. But a new glue, which has the sticking power to adhere to bone, could one day help orthopedic surgeons fix difficult breaks, researchers announced today at the American Chemical Society conference in Washington, DC.


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How Future Computer Games Will Simulate Real Smells Of War

How Future Computer Games Will Simulate Real Smells Of War

Jars holding the aromas. Realistic smells could soon be added to video games.  

It is one of the most memorable lines in movie history. As the air around him is rent by explosions and the whiz of bullets, Colonel Kilgore stands nonchalantly with hands on hips, sniffs the acrid breeze and declares: ‘I love the smell of napalm in the morning.’

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French Chef Creates ‘Entirely Synthetic Gourmet Dish’



Take some ascorbic acid and add a little glucose. Throw in a hint of citric acid and mix it with a few grams of 4-O-a-glucopyranosyl-D-sorbitol, a sugar substitute otherwise known as maltitol.

This is the taste sensation that will reach Hong Kong today, where the celebrated French chef Pierre Gagnaire will push back culinary boundaries with what is being described as the world’s first entirely synthetic gourmet dish.

Mr Gagnaire, who has three Michelin stars, has worked for months with Hervé This, the founder of molecular gastronomy, to create the recipe – entitled le note à note – from chemical compounds.
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