Week in Review: 5/8/16 – 5/14/16

May 13, 2016

Technique makes holograms highly efficient, secure

Researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have programmed polarization into compact holograms. These holograms use nanostructures that are sensitive to polarization (the direction in which light vibrates) to produce different images depending on the polarization of incident light. This advancement, which works across the spectrum of light, improves anti-fraud holograms as well as those used in entertainment displays. https://www.seas.harvard.edu/news/2016/05/technique-makes-holograms-highly-efficient-secure

May 10, 2016

Performing cellular surgery with a laser-powered nanoblade

To study certain aspects of cells, researchers need the ability to take the innards out, manipulate them, and put them back. Options for this kind of work are limited, but researchers reporting May 10 in Cell Metabolism describe a “nanoblade” that can slice through a cell’s membrane to insert mitochondria. The researchers have previously used this technology to transfer other materials between cells and hope to commercialize the nanoblade for wider use in bioengineering. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/cp-pcs050316.php

May 9, 2016

Smartphone App Reveals How the World Sleeps

A pioneering study of worldwide sleep patterns combines math modeling, mobile apps and big data to parse the roles society and biology each play in setting sleep schedules. The study, led by University of Michigan mathematicians, used a free smartphone app that reduces jetlag to gather robust sleep data from thousands of people in 100 nations. The researchers examined how age, gender, amount of light and home country affect the amount of shut-eye people around the globe get, when they go to bed, and when they wake up. http://www.infozine.com/news/stories/op/storiesView/sid/64538/