97. Sound Waves in Bone Regeneration, Meta’s Universal Speech Translator, Starlink Up In Ukraine

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Summary: News <p><a href="https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/stem-cells-sound-waves-bones-rmit/">Sound Waves Convert Stem Cells Into Bone in Regenerative Breakthrough</a> | Good News Network (01:30)</p> <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Researchers, from RMIT, have used sound waves to turn stem cells into bone cells through the precision power of high-frequency sound waves.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Tissue engineering advance</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Help patients regrow bone lost to cancer or degenerative disease.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">A key challenge in regrowing bone is the need for large amounts of bone cells that will thrive and flourish once implanted in the target area.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Process right now of converting stem cells is complicated and expensive. </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Let’s not forget that most of the previous research used stem cells extracted from bone marrow, a highly painful process.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The research team showed stem cells treated with high-frequency sound waves turned into bone cells quickly and efficiently.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Effective on multiple types of cells including fat-derived stem cells, which are far less painful to extract from a patient.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The high-frequency sound waves used in the stem cell treatment were generated on a low-cost microchip device developed by RMIT.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Can be used to precisely manipulate cells, fluids or materials.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Co-lead researcher Dr Amy Gelmi said the new approach was faster and simpler than other methods:<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">“The sound waves cut the treatment time usually required to get stem cells to begin to turn into bone cells by several days … This method also doesn’t require any special ‘bone-inducing’ drugs and it’s very easy to apply to the stem cells. Our study found this new approach has strong potential to be used for treating the stem cells, before we either coat them onto an implant or inject them directly into the body for tissue engineering.”</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The next stage in the research is investigating methods to upscale the platform, working towards the development of practical bioreactors to drive efficient stem cell differentiation.</li> </ul> <p> </p> <p><a href="https://newatlas.com/science/artificial-neurons-biological-living-plants/">Artificial neurons connect to biological ones to control living plants</a> | New Atlas (06:48)</p> <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Researchers at Linköping University have created artificial organic neurons and synapses that can integrate with natural biological systems, and demonstrated this by making a Venus flytrap close on demand.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">They're made out of polymers that can conduct either positive or negative ions.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The team optimized these transistors and used them to build artificial neurons and synapses, and connect them to biological systems.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Transistors detect concentrations of ions with certain charges, they switch, producing a signal that can then be picked up by other neurons. </li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Importantly, biological neurons operate on these same ion signals, meaning artificial and natural nerve cells can be connected.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">To demonstrate the new system, the researchers hooked their artificial neurons up to a live Venus flytrap. And sure enough, electrical pulses from the artificial neurons were strong enough to trigger the flytrap to close its jaws, but at under 0.6 volts, gentle enough to not harm the plant.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The researchers believe they could find themselves bridging the gap between artificial and natural neurons for more responsive prosthetic limbs, implants, and robotics.</li> </ul> <p> </p> <p><a href="https://www.theverge.com/2022/2/23/22947368/meta-facebook-ai-universal-speech-translation-project">Meta announces plans to build an AI-powered 'universal speech translator'</a> | The Verge (10:05) </p> <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Meta, the owner of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, has announced an ambitious new AI research project to create translation software that works for “everyone in the world.” <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Part of an event focusing on the broad range of benefits Meta believes AI can offer</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The company says that although commonly spoken languages like English, Mandarin, and Spanish are well catered to by current translation tools, roughly 20 percent of the world’s population do not speak languages covered by these systems.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Meta says it wants to overcome these challenges by deploying new machine learning techniques in two specific areas. </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">First Focus, dubbed No Language Left Behind<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Concentrate on building AI models that can learn to translate language using fewer training examples.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The second, Universal Speech Translator<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">aim to build systems that directly translate speech in real-time from one language to another without the need for a written component to serve as an intermediary</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">In a <a href="https://ai.facebook.com/blog/teaching-ai-to-translate-100s-of-spoken-and-written-languages-in-real-time">blog post</a>, Meta researchers did not offer a timeframe for completing these projects or even a roadmap for major milestones in reaching their goal.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">They also wrote, “Eliminating language barriers would be profound, making it possible for billions of people to access information online in their native or preferred language … Advances in [machine translation] won’t just help those people who don’t speak one of the languages that dominates the internet today; they’ll also fundamentally change the way people in the world connect and share ideas.”</li> </ul> <p> </p> <p><a href="https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-02-diabetes-breakthrough-gel-like-sieve-blood.html">Gel-like sieve in blood vessels a new target for repairing damaged hearts</a>  | MedicalXpress (14:02)</p> <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Drugs that repair damage to a gel-like layer in the tiny blood vessels of the heart could present a much-needed treatment for heart failure in people with diabetes.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The gel-like layer—called the glycocalyx—lines the inside of blood vessels and acts like a sieve to regulate how nutrients move from the blood to the heart and other tissues in the body.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Researchers saw in this study that mice with type 1 and type 2 diabetes have damaged glycocalyx in the small blood vessels of the heart.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Damage was associated with increased fluid movement into the walls of the heart, leading to swelling and increased stiffness of the heart muscle.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">To see if repairing the glycocalyx improved the function of the heart, diabetic mice were given a substance known to restore the glycocalyx, called angiopoietin 1.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">At three hours after treatment the researchers found that glycocalyx coverage and thickness had increased in the blood vessels.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Ultrasound scans of the heart showed their ability to relax between beats also improved.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Scientists are now one step closer to better understanding why some people with diabetes develop heart failure, for which there is no cure. </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">These findings have far-reaching implications in protecting against other types of organ failure, since the glycocalyx is present in all blood vessels.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Further research is needed to determine whether protecting the glycocalyx from breaking down can lessen heart problems seen in diabetics.</li> </ul> <p> </p> <p><a href="https://interestingengineering.com/elon-musk-starlink-satellite-ukraine">Elon Musk activates Starlink satellite service in Ukraine after Vice PM calls upon him</a> | Interesting Engineering (18:10)</p> <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Mykhailo Fedorov, the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine, tweeted at SpaceX founder Elon Musk early on Saturday asking the billionaire to connect his struggling nation to the internet.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Within hours (10), Musk replied that the company's Starlink satellite internet service "is now active in Ukraine" with "more terminals en route."</li> </ul>