Recently in the Life Science Category


ESA: Four teams of university students will develop and perform experiments in hypergravity during ESA's second 'Spin Your Thesis!' campaign. The students will use the Large Diameter Centrifuge facility at ESA's European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. Experts from ESA's Education Office, ESA's Technical Directorate and the European Low Gravity Research Association (ELGRA) finally selected four teams.

Image: Astronaut Scott Parazynski in May 2009 using a Jaz spectroradiometer from Ocean Optics at Everest Base Camp to measure solar irradiance [See "Using a Tricorder on Mount Everest"]

"A five-time astronaut, [Scott] Parazynski said he's especially eager to tackle projects in the fields of minimally invasive surgery and nanomedicine, with its potential to use targeted drugs to destroy tumors and plaques in arteries. Some inspiration, he admits, comes from Star Trek. "I'm hoping to leverage my background to create the next generation of minimally invasive surgery and diagnostic tools," Parazynski said. "As a physician growing up and watching Star Trek, we all wanted a medical tricorder. So one of the things I'd love to do is think big and push the envelope on what is possible." For those who don't grok Spock, a "tricorder "is a fictional device that can scan a person and immediately diagnose a disease or injury." More at Ultimate Clear Lake

The Cyborg Astrobiologist

In previous work, two platforms have been developed for testing computer-vision algorithms for robotic planetary exploration (McGuire et al. 2004b,2005; Bartolo et al. 2007). The wearable-computer platform has been tested at geological and astrobiological field sites in Spain (Rivas Vaciamadrid and Riba de Santiuste), and the phone-camera has been tested at a geological field site in Malta.

In this work, we (i) apply a Hopfield neural-network algorithm for novelty detection based upon color, (ii) integrate a field-capable digital microscope on the wearable computer platform, (iii) test this novelty detection with the digital microscope at Rivas Vaciamadrid, (iv) develop a Bluetooth communication mode for the phone-camera platform, in order to allow access to a mobile processing computer at the field sites, and (v) test the novelty detection on the Bluetooth-enabled phone-camera connected to a netbook computer at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah.

NASA Kicks Off Open Innovation Competition To Benefit Spaceflight

NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston kicked off an experimental programming competition today in conjunction with TopCoder, Inc. and researchers from Harvard Business School and London Business School. The competition, conducted for the center’s Space Life Sciences Directorate (SLSD), is aimed at developing algorithms that optimize medical kits for long-duration human space exploration.

"The Space Life Sciences strategy involves developing collaborative business models to drive innovation," said Dr. Jeffrey Davis, SLSD director. "This experimental competition is one example of our ongoing commitment to finding new approaches to problem solving and successfully managing our portfolio."