Is that food really organic? How much radiation is present? What’s your ideal climate? We discovered the Lapka Personal Environment Monitor and—in the name of sublime science visualizations—had to crown it as Inspirational Design of the Week. Via Uncrate:
The various components that make up the Lapka Personal Environment Monitor are useful — they can individually test for radiation, whether food is organic or not, electromagnetic fields, and climate — otherwise known as temperature and humidity. And yes, they connect to your iPhone using nothing but a simple headphone cable. But what’s really impressive is how they manage to be so stylish while being so unbelievably small.
The device is highly sensitive and responds to the invisible world of particles, ions, molecules and waves, so it can analyze your surroundings and smartly combine the results into guideline values for your comfort.
The Lapka is coming later this year ($TBA) and the company says that “the experience of being able to take precise measurements and the beautiful visualization of what’s beyond our perception are inspiring and addictive”. We can’t wait!
What are your favorite apps for visualizing or applying science in our everyday lives?
We’re always on the lookout for cool DNA developments! Did you catch this story via Science Now?
When it comes to storing information, hard drives don’t hold a candle to DNA. Our genetic code packs billions of gigabytes into a single gram. A mere milligram of the molecule could encode the complete text of every book in the Library of Congress and have plenty of room to spare. All of this has been mostly theoretical—until now. In a new study, researchers stored an entire genetics textbook in less than a picogram of DNA—one trillionth of a gram—an advance that could revolutionize our ability to save data.
A few teams have tried to write data into the genomes of living cells. But the approach has a couple of disadvantages. First, cells die—not a good way to lose your term paper. They also replicate, introducing new mutations over time that can change the data.
To get around these problems, a team led by George Church, a synthetic biologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, created a DNA information-archiving system that uses no cells at all. Instead, an inkjet printer embeds short fragments of chemically synthesized DNA onto the surface of a tiny glass chip. To encode a digital file, researchers divide it into tiny blocks of data and convert these data not into the 1s and 0s of typical digital storage media, but rather into DNA’s four-letter alphabet of As, Cs, Gs, and Ts. Each DNA fragment also contains a digital “barcode” that records its location in the original file. Reading the data requires a DNA sequencer and a computer to reassemble all of the fragments in order and convert them back into digital format. The computer also corrects for errors; each block of data is replicated thousands of times so that any chance glitch can be identified and fixed by comparing it to the other copies.
Do you dig DNA as much as we do? Check out our DNA portraits, where art meets science.
Image: Scientists have found a way to store an entire textbook in the code of DNA. (John Goode/Flickr)
Our DNA can unlock so many secrets and now it’s getting ready to take on the enemy! Scientists at the Harvard WYSS Institute have constructed packages of DNA dubbed “DNA origami” that might one day be used to create nanorobots capable of finding and destroying cancer cells in the human body. Via Mashable:
The nanorobots mimic a cell’s receptor system in order to communicate with cells. The cells can carry materials to cancer cells, and when the nanorobot detects the cells it’s hunting for, it will spring into action.
Once the bots were designed, the research team built the tiny barrel-shaped nanobots that measure about 35 nanometers in diameter. Each nanobot can hold molecules that are meant to be delivered to cells.
The system has yet to be tested in living organisms, but the researchers are considering testing the nanorobots in mice.
This potential DNA Origami Army could change the face of cancer treatment. Congratulations to researchers Shawn M. Douglas, Ido Bachelet, George M. Church, who are all affiliated with the WYSS Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.
Right now, some of the most amazing innovators and thinkers are gathered in San Diego for a medical conference like no other. TEDMED brings together an extraordinary and diverse group of leaders in one place where theoretical ideas are thrown it into the reality of tomorrow’s technologies. This year it’s being held at the Hotel Del Coronado, on Coronado Island from October 25th – 28th.
It was a natural fit for DNA 11 to be there, especially with their speaker line up boasting huge names like Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple) and Lance Armstrong. Then, leaders in the genetic sciences field such as Ashley Dombkowski (Chief Business Officer, 23andme) and Eric Schadt (Director, Institute of Genomics, Mount Sinai Medical School).
DNA 11 is so thrilled to be doing an 18′ x 24′ DNA portrait for every speaker. Also, a $100 DNA 11 gift card will be given to each of the 1000 conference attendees.
This week is National Biotechnology Week in Canada and seeing as how we’re a company that relies on DNA it seems like something worth celebrating.
Our business wouldn’t exist without biotechnology, and the ambitious idea to sequence the human genome back in 1990, with the creation of the Human Genome Project, further helped to popularize DNA in society .
Now, thanks to biotechnology, not only do we get great, original artwork on our walls but we get lots of other cools things like cures to major diseases, improved crops and better plot lines for TV crime dramas.
Canada’s bio-economy is worth over $84 billion, or more than 6.5 per cent of its GDP, and supports more than 1 million jobs.
And of course there is no better way to celebrate National Biotechnology Week than to capture your own DNA on canvas with one of our original DNA Portraits.