The 3D Printing Landscape: Then and Now

Frequently used as a design validation and prototyping tool in its early days, the 3D printer now supports a much wider range of applications, from shape-conforming electronics to the creation of printed living tissue. Tech Briefs spoke with industry expert Terry Wohlers about 3D printing's emerging possibilities.

Posted in: News, News, News, Aerospace, Consumer Product Manufacturing, Custom & Contract Manufacturing, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling, Implants & Prosthetics


Electric Patch Holds Promise for Treating PTSD

An average of 30 years had passed since the traumatic events that had left them depressed, anxious, irritable, hypervigilant, unable to sleep well and prone to nightmares. But for 12 people who were involved in a UCLA-led study — survivors of rape, car accidents, domestic abuse and other traumas — an unobtrusive patch on the forehead provided considerable relief from post-traumatic stress disorder.TNS harnesses current from a 9-volt battery to power a patch that sends a low-level current to cranial nerves that run through the forehead. (Reed Hutchinson/UCLA)

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Defense, Medical, Patient Monitoring


Blast-Induced Acceleration in a Shock Tube

High-fidelity simulation of blast flow conditions can aid in developing strategies to mitigate blast-induced brain injury.Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, Fort Detrick, MarylandThe prevalence of blast-induced traumatic brain injury (bTBI) has prompted an urgent need to develop improved mitigation strategies and advance medical care targeting casualties with bTBI. Despite considerable effort, the basic mechanisms of blast-induced brain injury are still undefined. Based largely upon computational modeling, several candidate mechanisms of nonimpact bTBI have been identified and include head acceleration. This work hypothesizes that explosion flow conditions can cause head acceleration sufficient to injure the brain, and that these inertial forces combine with other injury mechanisms to yield bTBI.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Medical, Computer simulation, Diagnosis, Medical equipment and supplies, Head injuries, Occupant protection


Wireless Sensor Enables Study of Traumatic Brain Injuries

A new system that uses a wireless implant has been shown to record – for the first time – how brain tissue deforms when subjected to the kind of shock that causes blast-induced trauma commonly seen in combat veterans.Purdue professors Riyi Shi (left) and Babak Ziaie led research to develop a new system that records how brain tissue deforms when subjected to the kind of shock that causes blast-induced trauma. (Purdue University image/Kevin Doerr)

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Defense, Medical, Research Lab, Data Acquisition, Sensors


MIT Provides Yeast a Different Environment for Ethanol Tolerance

Ethanol and other alcohols can disrupt yeast cell membranes, eventually killing the cells. In research funded by the MIT Energy Initiative and the U.S. Department of Energy, researchers at MIT and the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research found that adding potassium and hydroxide ions to the medium in which yeast grow can help cells compensate for that membrane damage. Read more at

Posted in: Articles, DTB, News, Aerospace, Defense, Energy, Medical


Wireless Vital Signs Monitor for Trauma Patients

This monitor enables users to triage, prioritize transport, and track changes in numerous casualties from a remote location. A miniature, portable wireless vital signs monitor (MWVSM), called Mini-medic™, could aid in the triage and diagnosis of trauma patients with and without traumatic brain injury (TBI). The MWVSM consists of two components, both of which are the approximate size and weight of a cellphone: one is a sensor that is placed either on the forehead or the fingertip of a patient, and the other is a monitor that receives a wireless signal transmitted up to 100 m carried by the medic.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Medical, Sensors and actuators, Medical, health, and wellness, Head injuries


Effect of Acceleration Frequency on Spatial Orientation Mechanisms

This technology could help desensitize individuals to motion sickness caused by aircraft, vehicle, and ship movements. Extreme motion environments can induce loss of visual acuity, motion sickness, and spatial disorientation. Understanding how human sensory integration of acceleration stimuli affects spatial awareness will improve models of spatial disorientation and mishap analysis. While there are numerous studies describing vestibular semicircular canal responses to angular acceleration, less is known about vestibular otolith responses to linear acceleration. This gap in knowledge is important to resolve, since seasickness and airsickness are highly dependent on the predominant frequency of a linear acceleration stimulus.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Medical, Body regions, Human factors, Nervous system, Vehicle acceleration, Vehicle dynamics


Precision Targeting with a Tracking Adaptive Optics Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope

This dual-imaging system could enable selective destruction of diseased cells during the progression of retinal diseases. Adaptive optics (AO) has become increasingly utilized in research ophthalmic diagnostic instruments since their first use nearly ten years ago. Integration of adaptive optics in scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (SLO) is a flying-spot technique whereby scattered light in images is blocked by placement of an aperture at a back conjugate focal plane. Adaptive optics systems sense perturbations in the detected wavefront and apply corrections to an optical element that flattens the wavefront and allows near diffraction-limited focus.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Adaptive control, Lasers, Medical equipment and supplies


High-Resolution Anatomic and Elastographic Transrectal Ultrasound for Improved Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer

Improved imaging can detect prostate cancer earlier and more reliably. Prostate cancer screening generally uses the Pro state Spe cific Antigen (PSA) blood test, free-PSA testing, and Digital Rectal Exam ination (DRE). When the PSA is used, there exists a significant gray area in which cancers may be missed. Addition ally, DRE is practically limited to the detection of shallow (subcapsular) palpable abnormalities. Even systematic multi-core biopsy fails to detect clinically detectable cancers in up to 34% of men. Thus, there is compelling clinical interest in finding improved detection methods.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Medical, Diagnosis, Diseases, Physical examination, Acoustics, Test equipment and instrumentation


Macromolecular Carriers for Nanomedicine and Nano Devices

Magnetic nano and microspheres coated with polymers have potential applications in drug delivery, biological sensors, nano motors, and other nano devices. Tailoring the surface properties of biodegradable nanospheres and microspheres for in-vivo blood-contacting applications includes defining relationships among chemical composition, processing parameters, nanosphere sizes and size distributions, and surface structure. Developments include: 1) a facile method for achieving magnetite-polylactide nanospheres that can be dispersed in aqueous media; 2) methods for functionalizing the termini of the hydrophilic brushes on the nanospheres in order to conjugate targeting moieties; 3) development of a nanosphere processing approach that yields nanospheres in the desired size range with a narrow distribution of sizes; and 4) maintainence of all of these characteristics with up to approximately 60 weight percent of magnetite incorporated into the nanospheres.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Medical