ResearchPad - electronics-engineering https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[A practical 3D-printed soft robotic prosthetic hand with multi-articulating capabilities]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14594 Soft robotic hands with monolithic structure have shown great potential to be used as prostheses due to their advantages to yield light weight and compact designs as well as its ease of manufacture. However, existing soft prosthetic hands design were often not geared towards addressing some of the practical requirements highlighted in prosthetics research. The gap between the existing designs and the practical requirements significantly hampers the potential to transfer these designs to real-world applications. This work addressed these requirements with the consideration of the trade-off between practicality and performance. These requirements were achieved through exploiting the monolithic 3D printing of soft materials which incorporates membrane enclosed flexure joints in the finger designs, synergy-based thumb motion and cable-driven actuation system in the proposed hand prosthesis. Our systematic design (tentatively named X-Limb) achieves a weight of 253gr, three grasps types (with capability of individual finger movement), power-grip force of 21.5N, finger flexion speed of 1.3sec, a minimum grasping cycles of 45,000 (while maintaining its original functionality) and a bill of material cost of 200 USD (excluding quick disconnect wrist but without factoring in the cost reduction through mass production). A standard Activities Measure for Upper-Limb Amputees benchmark test was carried out to evaluate the capability of X-Limb in performing grasping task required for activities of daily living. The results show that all the practical design requirements are satisfied, and the proposed soft prosthetic hand is able to perform all the real-world grasping tasks of the benchmark tests, showing great potential in improving life quality of individuals with upper limb loss.

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<![CDATA[Exploring non-assembly 3D printing for novel compliant surgical devices]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14586 In minimally invasive surgery, maneuverability is usually limited and a large number of degrees of freedom (DOF) is highly demanded. However, increasing the DOF usually means increasing the complexity of the surgical instrument leading to long fabrication and assembly times. In this work, we propose the first fully 3D printed handheld, multi-steerable device. The proposed device is mechanically actuated, and possesses five serially controlled segments. We designed a new compliant segment providing high torsion and axial stiffness as well as a low bending stiffness by merging the functions of four helicoids and a continuum backbone. Compliant segments were combined to form the compliant shaft of the new device. In order to control this compliant shaft, a control handle was designed that mimics the shaft structure. A prototype called the HelicoFlex was built using only three 3D printed parts. HelicoFlex, with its 10 degrees of freedom, showed a fluid motion in performing single and multi-curved paths. The multi-steerable instrument was 3D printed without any support material in the compliant shaft itself. This work contributes to enlarge the body of knowledge regarding how additive manufacturing could be used in the production of multi-steerable surgical instruments for personalized medicine.

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<![CDATA[A network analysis of research productivity by country, discipline, and wealth]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13855 Research productivity has been linked to a country’s intellectual and economic wealth. Further analysis is needed to assess the association between the distribution of research across disciplines and the economic status of countries.MethodsBy using 55 years of data, spanning 1962 to 2017, of Elsevier publications across a large set of research disciplines and countries globally, this manuscript explores the relationship and evolution of relative research productivity across different disciplines through a network analysis. It also explores the associations of those with economic productivity categories, as measured by the World Bank economic classification. Additional analysis of discipline similarities is possible by exploring the cross-country evolution of those disciplines.ResultsResults show similarities in the relative importance of research disciplines among most high-income countries, with larger idiosyncrasies appearing among the remaining countries. This group of high-income countries shows similarities in the dynamics of the relative distribution of research productivity over time, forming a stable research productivity cluster. Lower income countries form smaller, more independent and evolving clusters, and differ significantly from each other and from higher income countries in the relative importance of their research emphases. Country-based similarities in research productivity profiles also appear to be influenced by geographical proximity.ConclusionsThis new form of analyses of research productivity, and its relation to economic status, reveals novel insights to the dynamics of the economic and research structure of countries. This allows for a deeper understanding of the role a country’s research structure may play in shaping its economy, and also identification of benchmark resource allocations across disciplines for developing countries. ]]> <![CDATA[Parametric CAD modeling for open source scientific hardware: Comparing OpenSCAD and FreeCAD Python scripts]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N836ce8d9-e17d-43c0-9509-c554011a4818

Open source hardware for scientific equipment needs to provide source files and enough documentation to allow the study, replication and modification of the design. In addition, parametric modeling is encouraged in order to facilitate customization for other experiments. Parametric design using a solid modeling programming language allows customization and provides a source file for the design. OpenSCAD is the most widely used scripting tool for parametric modeling of open source labware. However, OpenSCAD lacks the ability to export to standard parametric formats; thus, the parametric dimensional information of the model is lost. This is an important deficiency because it is key to share the design in the most accessible formats with no information loss. In this work we analyze OpenSCAD and compare it with FreeCAD Python scripts. We have created a parametric open source hardware design to compare these tools. Our findings show that although Python for FreeCAD is more arduous to learn, its advantages counterbalance the initial difficulties. The main benefits are being able to export to standard parametric models; using Python language with its libraries; and the ability to use and integrate the models in its graphical interface. Thus, making it more appropriate to design open source hardware for scientific equipment.

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<![CDATA[An interventional study for improving the manual dexterity of dentistry students]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5df320d5eed0c484580d5f

Objectives

Traditionally, the acquisition of manual skills in most dental schools worldwide is based on exercises on plastic teeth placed in a "phantom head simulator". No manual trainings are done at home. Studies revealed that preliminary training of one motoric task leads to significant improvement in performance of the required motoric task that has similar components. Performing tasks indirectly via a dental mirror are complicated for the young dental students. We hypothesized that instructed training of basic skills required in dentistry at home on a tool simulating the phantom laboratory will improve the capabilities of the students and will be reflected by their clinical grades.

Methods

We developed a portable tool PhantHome which is composed of jaws, gingival tissue, rubber cover and a compatible stand. Specific teeth produced by a 3D printer with drills in different directions were placed in both jaws. Students were requested to insert pins by using tweezers and dental mirror according to instructions initiating with easy tasks and continue to ones that are more complicated. 106 first clinical year dental students participated in the study; 65 trained only in the traditional phantom lab (control). 41 trained at home by the PhantHome tool two weeks before and 2 months during the initial stage of phantom lab. The students grades routinely provided in the phantom laboratory at different stages were compared.

Results

Students who trained with the portable tool performed better than the control group in the first direct and second indirect preparations (p<0.05). These exams were taken when the PhantHome was available to the students. Then, the tool was returned and the phantom course continued regularly. We believe that this is why no differences between the grades of the groups were observed further on.

Conclusions

Training by the PhantHome improves motor skills and consequently the clinical performances.

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<![CDATA[A method for the detection and characterization of technology fronts: Analysis of the dynamics of technological change in 3D printing technology]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3d0112d5eed0c4840380e9

This paper presents a method for the identification of the “technology fronts”—core technological solutions—underlying a certain broad technology, and the characterization of their change dynamics. We propose an approach based on the Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) model combined with patent data analysis and text mining techniques for the identification and dynamic characterization of the main fronts where actual technological solutions are put into practice. 3D printing technology has been selected to put our method into practice for its market emergence and multidisciplinarity. The results show two highly relevant and specialized fronts strongly related with mechanical design that evolve gradually, in our opinion acting as enabling technologies. On the other side, we detected three fronts undergoing significant changes, namely layer-by-layer multimaterial manufacturing, data processing and stereolithograpy techniques. Laser and electron-beam based technologies take shape in the latter years and show signs of becoming enabling technologies in the future. The technology fronts and data revealed by our method have been convincing to experts and coincident with many technology trends already pointed out in technical reports and scientific literature.

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<![CDATA[Structure and belonging: Pathways to success for underrepresented minority and women PhD students in STEM fields]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3fa5ccd5eed0c484ca8b7b

The advancement of underrepresented minority and women PhD students to elite postdoctoral and faculty positions in the STEM fields continues to lag that of majority males, despite decades of efforts to mitigate bias and increase opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds. In 2015, the National Science Foundation Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (NSF AGEP) California Alliance (Berkeley, Caltech, Stanford, UCLA) conducted a wide-ranging survey of graduate students across the mathematical, physical, engineering, and computer sciences in order to identify levers to improve the success of PhD students, and, in time, improve diversity in STEM leadership positions, especially the professoriate. The survey data were interpreted via path analysis, a method that identifies significant relationships, both direct and indirect, among various factors and outcomes of interest. We investigated two important outcomes: publication rates, which largely determine a new PhD student’s competitiveness in the academic marketplace, and subjective well-being. Women and minority students who perceived that they were well-prepared for their graduate courses and accepted by their colleagues (faculty and fellow students), and who experienced well-articulated and structured PhD programs, were most likely to publish at rates comparable to their male majority peers. Women PhD students experienced significantly higher levels of distress than their male peers, both majority and minority, while both women and minority student distress levels were mitigated by clearly-articulated expectations, perceiving that they were well-prepared for graduate level courses, and feeling accepted by their colleagues. It is unclear whether higher levels of distress in women students is related directly to their experiences in their STEM PhD programs. The findings suggest that mitigating factors that negatively affect diversity should not, in principle, require the investment of large resources, but rather requires attention to the local culture and structure of individual STEM PhD programs.

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<![CDATA[Experimental study on frost-formation characteristics on cold surface of arched copper sample]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1966f4d5eed0c484b536c4

The present work investigates the process of frosting formation on arched copper samples with different surface temperatures, calculated the thickness of the frost layer by using the scale method, and analyzed frost lodging, melting, and other phenomena that appeared during the frost-formation process. The results showed that the frosting process on an arched surface can be divided into ice-film formation, rapid growth of the frost layer, and stable growth of the frost layer. Meanwhile, the phenomena of frost-branch breakage, lodging, and melting were observed. The surface temperature had a large effect on the frost formation and thickness of the frost layer, e.g., the formation time of the ice film on a surface at -5°C was the longest (~135 s), the frost layer formed on a surface at -20°C was the thickest (~660 μm). When microscopic observation of the frosting process was accompanied by calculation of the frost-layer thickness, it could be seen that the appearance of the frost branches was affected by the different thermal conductivities of the frost layers, undulating surface of the ice film, and temperature difference between the layers. The changes in the frost branches and the soft surface of the frost layer also affected the growth of the frost layer. The findings of this study are expected to provide guidelines for optimization of conventional defrosting methods.

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<![CDATA[Towards a process management life-cycle model for graduation projects in computer engineering]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c2400dfd5eed0c48409985a

Graduation projects play an important role in computer engineering careers in which students are expected to draw upon their knowledge and skills that were acquired since admission. To manage the activities of graduation projects, an iterative and incremental approach which aims continuous improvement is proposed as an alternative to a controversial delivery model. However, such integration brings up a set of challenges to be taken into account: e.g. multiple project deliveries, more labor-intensive effort from instructors, and ultimately continuous learning for all participants. One promising way to achieve such an integrated and continuous deployment velocity is to eliminate potential bottlenecks by giving student teams to receive early and continuous feedback. To this end, we propose a continuous feedback and delivery mechanism for managing the life-cycle of a graduation project through draft proposal, literature review, requirements gathering, design, implementation and testing which should produce intermediate outputs at predefined intervals. Most importantly, our approach makes it possible to quantify most of the activities involved in life-cycle process with various rubrics (i.e. measurement scales) that have been purposefully developed. The proposed model promotes the fact that all improvements should be monitored, evaluated and documented. The results of this study indicate that students who were managed using this approach produced better project deliverables and ultimately have delivered better and successful projects.

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<![CDATA[Impact of a custom-made 3D printed ergonomic grip for direct laryngoscopy on novice intubation performance in a simulated easy and difficult airway scenario—A manikin study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bfdb389d5eed0c4845ca405

Direct laryngoscopy using a Macintosh laryngoscope is the most widely used approach; however, this skill is not easy for novices and trainees. We evaluated the performance of novices using a laryngoscope with a three-dimensional (3D)-printed ergonomic grip on an airway manikin. Forty second-year medical students were enrolled. Endotracheal intubation was attempted using a conventional Macintosh laryngoscope with or without a 3D-printed ergonomic support grip. Primary outcomes were intubation time and overall success rate. Secondary outcomes were number of unsuccessful attempts, first-attempt success rate, airway Cormack-Lehane (CL) grade, and difficulty score. In the easy airway scenario, intubation time, and the overall success rate were similar between two group. CL grade and ease-of-use scores were significantly better for those using the ergonomic support grip (P < 0.05). In the difficult airway scenario, intubation time (49.7±37.5 vs. 35.5±29.2, P = 0.013), the first-attempt success rate (67.5% vs. 90%, P = 0.029), number of attempts (1.4±0.6 vs. 1.1±0.4, P = 0.006), CL grade (2 [2, 2] vs. 2 [1, 1], P = 0.012), and ease-of-use scores (3.5 [2, 4] vs. 4 [3, 5], P = 0.008) were significantly better for those using the ergonomic support grip. Linear mixed model analysis showed that the ergonomic support grip had a favorable effect on CL grade (P<0.001), ease-of-use scores (P<0.001), intubation time (P = 0.015), and number of intubation attempts (P = 0.029). Our custom 3D-printed ergonomic laryngoscope support grip improved several indicators related to the successful endotracheal intubation in the easy and difficult scenario simulated on an airway manikin. This grip may be useful for intubation training and practice.

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<![CDATA[Binary addition in a living cell based on riboregulation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b60218b463d7e3d6d2261be

Synthetic biology aims at (re-)programming living cells like computers to perform new functions for a variety of applications. Initial work rested on transcription factors, but regulatory RNAs have recently gained much attention due to their high programmability. However, functional circuits mainly implemented with regulatory RNAs are quite limited. Here, we report the engineering of a fundamental arithmetic logic unit based on de novo riboregulation to sum two bits of information encoded in molecular concentrations. Our designer circuit robustly performs the intended computation in a living cell encoding the result as fluorescence amplitudes. The whole system exploits post-transcriptional control to switch on tightly silenced genes with small RNAs, together with allosteric transcription factors to sense the molecular signals. This important result demonstrates that regulatory RNAs can be key players in synthetic biology, and it paves the way for engineering more complex RNA-based biocomputers using this designer circuit as a building block.

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<![CDATA[Open-source micro-tensile testers via additive manufacturing for the mechanical characterization of thin films and papers]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b28b149463d7e116be9c9ac

The cost of specialized scientific equipment can be high and with limited funding resources, researchers and students are often unable to access or purchase the ideal equipment for their projects. In the fields of materials science and mechanical engineering, fundamental equipment such as tensile testing devices can cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. While a research lab often has access to a large-scale testing machine suitable for conventional samples, loading devices for meso- and micro-scale samples for in-situ testing with the myriad of microscopy tools are often hard to source and cost prohibitive. Open-source software has allowed for great strides in the reduction of costs associated with software development and open-source hardware and additive manufacturing have the potential to similarly reduce the costs of scientific equipment and increase the accessibility of scientific research. To investigate the feasibility of open-source hardware, a micro-tensile tester was designed with a freely accessible computer-aided design package and manufactured with a desktop 3D-printer and off-the-shelf components. To our knowledge this is one of the first demonstrations of a tensile tester with additively manufactured components for scientific research. The capabilities of the tensile tester were demonstrated by investigating the mechanical properties of Graphene Oxide (GO) paper and thin films. A 3D printed tensile tester was successfully used in conjunction with an atomic force microscope to provide one of the first quantitative measurements of GO thin film buckling under compression. The tensile tester was also used in conjunction with an atomic force microscope to observe the change in surface topology of a GO paper in response to increasing tensile strain. No significant change in surface topology was observed in contrast to prior hypotheses from the literature. Based on this result obtained with the new open source tensile stage we propose an alternative hypothesis we term ‘superlamellae consolidation’ to explain the initial deformation of GO paper. The additively manufactured tensile tester tested represents cost savings of >99% compared to commercial solutions in its class and offers simple customization. However, continued development is needed for the tensile tester presented here to approach the technical specifications achievable with commercial solutions.

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<![CDATA[Multiple Citation Indicators and Their Composite across Scientific Disciplines]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daddab0ee8fa60bba89e

Many fields face an increasing prevalence of multi-authorship, and this poses challenges in assessing citation metrics. Here, we explore multiple citation indicators that address total impact (number of citations, Hirsch H index [H]), co-authorship adjustment (Schreiber Hm index [Hm]), and author order (total citations to papers as single; single or first; or single, first, or last author). We demonstrate the correlation patterns between these indicators across 84,116 scientists (those among the top 30,000 for impact in a single year [2013] in at least one of these indicators) and separately across 12 scientific fields. Correlation patterns vary across these 12 fields. In physics, total citations are highly negatively correlated with indicators of co-authorship adjustment and of author order, while in other sciences the negative correlation is seen only for total citation impact and citations to papers as single author. We propose a composite score that sums standardized values of these six log-transformed indicators. Of the 1,000 top-ranked scientists with the composite score, only 322 are in the top 1,000 based on total citations. Many Nobel laureates and other extremely influential scientists rank among the top-1,000 with the composite indicator, but would rank much lower based on total citations. Conversely, many of the top 1,000 authors on total citations have had no single/first/last-authored cited paper. More Nobel laureates of 2011–2015 are among the top authors when authors are ranked by the composite score than by total citations, H index, or Hm index; 40/47 of these laureates are among the top 30,000 by at least one of the six indicators. We also explore the sensitivity of indicators to self-citation and alphabetic ordering of authors in papers across different scientific fields. Multiple indicators and their composite may give a more comprehensive picture of impact, although no citation indicator, single or composite, can be expected to select all the best scientists.

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<![CDATA[Design of High Speed and Low Offset Dynamic Latch Comparator in 0.18 µm CMOS Process]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da6dab0ee8fa60b9388c

The cross-coupled circuit mechanism based dynamic latch comparator is presented in this research. The comparator is designed using differential input stages with regenerative S-R latch to achieve lower offset, lower power, higher speed and higher resolution. In order to decrease circuit complexity, a comparator should maintain power, speed, resolution and offset-voltage properly. Simulations show that this novel dynamic latch comparator designed in 0.18 µm CMOS technology achieves 3.44 mV resolution with 8 bit precision at a frequency of 50 MHz while dissipating 158.5 µW from 1.8 V supply and 88.05 µA average current. Moreover, the proposed design propagates as fast as 4.2 nS with energy efficiency of 0.7 fJ/conversion-step. Additionally, the core circuit layout only occupies 0.008 mm2.

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<![CDATA[Design and fabrication of a realistic anthropomorphic heterogeneous head phantom for MR purposes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5aafbff1463d7e7cbd913591

Objective

The purpose of this study is to design an anthropomorphic heterogeneous head phantom that can be used for MRI and other electromagnetic applications.

Materials and methods

An eight compartment, physical anthropomorphic head phantom was developed from a 3T MRI dataset of a healthy male. The designed phantom was successfully built and preliminarily evaluated through an application that involves electromagnetic-tissue interactions: MRI (due to it being an available resource). The developed phantom was filled with media possessing electromagnetic constitutive parameters that correspond to biological tissues at ~297 MHz. A preliminary comparison between an in-vivo human volunteer (based on whom the anthropomorphic head phantom was created) and various phantoms types, one being the anthropomorphic heterogeneous head phantom, were performed using a 7 Tesla human MRI scanner.

Results

Echo planar imaging was performed and minimal ghosting and fluctuations were observed using the proposed anthropomorphic phantom. The magnetic field distributions (during MRI experiments at 7 Tesla) and the scattering parameter (measured using a network analyzer) were most comparable between the anthropomorphic heterogeneous head phantom and an in-vivo human volunteer.

Conclusion

The developed anthropomorphic heterogeneous head phantom can be used as a resource to various researchers in applications that involve electromagnetic-biological tissue interactions such as MRI.

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<![CDATA[From medical imaging data to 3D printed anatomical models]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60be010f

Anatomical models are important training and teaching tools in the clinical environment and are routinely used in medical imaging research. Advances in segmentation algorithms and increased availability of three-dimensional (3D) printers have made it possible to create cost-efficient patient-specific models without expert knowledge. We introduce a general workflow that can be used to convert volumetric medical imaging data (as generated by Computer Tomography (CT)) to 3D printed physical models. This process is broken up into three steps: image segmentation, mesh refinement and 3D printing. To lower the barrier to entry and provide the best options when aiming to 3D print an anatomical model from medical images, we provide an overview of relevant free and open-source image segmentation tools as well as 3D printing technologies. We demonstrate the utility of this streamlined workflow by creating models of ribs, liver, and lung using a Fused Deposition Modelling 3D printer.

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<![CDATA[Implementation of Complex Biological Logic Circuits Using Spatially Distributed Multicellular Consortia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da6eab0ee8fa60b93d96

Engineered synthetic biological devices have been designed to perform a variety of functions from sensing molecules and bioremediation to energy production and biomedicine. Notwithstanding, a major limitation of in vivo circuit implementation is the constraint associated to the use of standard methodologies for circuit design. Thus, future success of these devices depends on obtaining circuits with scalable complexity and reusable parts. Here we show how to build complex computational devices using multicellular consortia and space as key computational elements. This spatial modular design grants scalability since its general architecture is independent of the circuit’s complexity, minimizes wiring requirements and allows component reusability with minimal genetic engineering. The potential use of this approach is demonstrated by implementation of complex logical functions with up to six inputs, thus demonstrating the scalability and flexibility of this method. The potential implications of our results are outlined.

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<![CDATA[3D fabrication and characterization of phosphoric acid scaffold with a HA/β-TCP weight ratio of 60:40 for bone tissue engineering applications]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db52ab0ee8fa60bdc566

A key requirement for three-dimensional printing (3-DP) at room temperature of medical implants depends on the availability of printable and biocompatible binder-powder systems. Different concentration polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and phosphoric acid solutions were chosen as the binders to make the artificial stent biocompatible with sufficient compressive strength. In order to achieve an optimum balance between the bioceramic powder and binder solution, the biocompatibility and mechanical properties of these artificial stent samples were tested using two kinds of binder solutions. This study demonstrated the printable binder formulation at room temperature for the 3D artificial bone scaffolds. 0.6 wt% PVA solution was ejected easily via inkjet printing, with a supplementation of 0.25 wt% Tween 80 to reduce the surface tension of the polyvinyl alcohol solution. Compared with the polyvinyl alcohol scaffolds, the phosphoric acid scaffolds had better mechanical properties. Though both scaffolds supported the cell proliferation, the absorbance of the polyvinyl alcohol scaffolds was higher than that of the phosphoric acid scaffolds. The artificial stents with a hydroxyapatite/beta-tricalcium phosphate (HA/β-TCP) weight ratios of 60:40 depicted good biocompatibility for both scaffolds. Considering the scaffolds’ mechanical and biocompatible properties, the phosphoric acid scaffolds with a HA/β-TCP weight ratio of 60:40 may be the best combination for bone tissue engineering applications.

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<![CDATA[A New Cell-Selective Three-Dimensional Microincubator Based on Silicon Photonic Crystals]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9d8ab0ee8fa60b66870

In this work, we show that vertical, high aspect-ratio (HAR) photonic crystals (PhCs), consisting of periodic arrays of 5 µm wide gaps with depth of 50 µm separated by 3 µm thick silicon walls, fabricated by electrochemical micromachining, can be used as three-dimensional microincubators, allowing cell lines to be selectively grown into the gaps. Silicon micromachined dice incorporating regions with different surface profiles, namely flat silicon and deeply etched PhC, were used as microincubators for culturing adherent cell lines with different morphology and adhesion properties. We extensively investigated and compared the proliferative behavior on HAR PhCs of eight human cell models, with different origins, such as the epithelial (SW613-B3; HeLa; SW480; HCT116; HT29) and the mesenchymal (MRC-5V1; CF; HT1080). We also verified the contribution of cell sedimentation into the silicon gaps. Fluorescence microscopy analysis highlights that only cell lines that exhibit, in the tested culture condition, the behavior typical of the mesenchymal phenotype are able to penetrate into the gaps of the PhC, extending their body deeply in the narrow gaps between adjacent silicon walls, and to grow adherent to the vertical surfaces of silicon. Results reported in this work, confirmed in various experiments, strongly support our statement that such three-dimensional microstructures have selection capabilities with regard to the cell lines that can actively populate the narrow gaps. Cells with a mesenchymal phenotype could be exploited in the next future as bioreceptors, in combination with HAR PhC optical transducers, e.g., for label-free optical detection of cellular activities involving changes in cell adhesion and/or morphology (e.g., apoptosis) in a three-dimensional microenvironment.

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<![CDATA[Virtual Reconstruction and Three-Dimensional Printing of Blood Cells as a Tool in Cell Biology Education]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da1bab0ee8fa60b7ccbf

The cell biology discipline constitutes a highly dynamic field whose concepts take a long time to be incorporated into the educational system, especially in developing countries. Amongst the main obstacles to the introduction of new cell biology concepts to students is their general lack of identification with most teaching methods. The introduction of elaborated figures, movies and animations to textbooks has given a tremendous contribution to the learning process and the search for novel teaching methods has been a central goal in cell biology education. Some specialized tools, however, are usually only available in advanced research centers or in institutions that are traditionally involved with the development of novel teaching/learning processes, and are far from becoming reality in the majority of life sciences schools. When combined with the known declining interest in science among young people, a critical scenario may result. This is especially important in the field of electron microscopy and associated techniques, methods that have greatly contributed to the current knowledge on the structure and function of different cell biology models but are rarely made accessible to most students. In this work, we propose a strategy to increase the engagement of students into the world of cell and structural biology by combining 3D electron microscopy techniques and 3D prototyping technology (3D printing) to generate 3D physical models that accurately and realistically reproduce a close-to-the native structure of the cell and serve as a tool for students and teachers outside the main centers. We introduce three strategies for 3D imaging, modeling and prototyping of cells and propose the establishment of a virtual platform where different digital models can be deposited by EM groups and subsequently downloaded and printed in different schools, universities, research centers and museums, thereby modernizing teaching of cell biology and increasing the accessibility to modern approaches in basic science.

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