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AI Could Provide Moment-by-Moment Nursing for a Hospital’s Sickest Patients

In the intensive care unit, artificial intelligence can keep watch at a patient’s bedside

11 min read
Illustration: MCKIBILLO
Illustration: MCKIBILLO

illustration Illustration: MCKIBILLO

In a hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU), the sickest patients receive round-the-clock care as they lie in beds with their bodies connected to a bevy of surrounding machines. This advanced medical equipment is designed to keep an ailing person alive. Intravenous fluids drip into the bloodstream, while mechanical ventilators push air into the lungs. Sensors attached to the body track heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital signs, while bedside monitors graph the data in undulating lines. When the machines record measurements that are outside of normal parameters, beeps and alarms ring out to alert the medical staff to potential problems.

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A Transistor for Sound Points Toward Whole New Electronics

“Topological” acoustic transistor suggests circuits with dissipationless flow of electricity or light

3 min read
Model of a honeycomb lattice

Model of a honeycomb lattice that serves as the basis for a "transistor" of sound waves—whose design suggests new kinds of transistors of light and electricity, made from so-called topological materials. Electrons in a topological transistor, it is suspected, would flow without any resistance.

Hoffman Lab/Harvard SEAS

Potential future transistors that consume far less energy than current devices may rely on exotic materials called "topological insulators" in which electricity flows across only surfaces and edges, with virtually no dissipation of energy. In research that may help pave the way for such electronic topological transistors, scientists at Harvard have now invented and simulated the first acoustic topological transistors, which operate with sound waves instead of electrons.

Topology is the branch of mathematics that explores the nature of shapes independent of deformation. For instance, an object shaped like a doughnut can be deformed into the shape of a mug, so that the doughnut's hole becomes the hole in the cup's handle. However, the object couldn't lose the hole without changing into a fundamentally different shape.

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Taking Cosmology to the Far Side of the Moon

New Chinese program plans to use satellites in lunar orbit to study faint signals from early universe

3 min read
crescent moon
Darwin Fan/Getty Images

A team of Chinese researchers are planning to use the moon as a shield to detect otherwise hard-to-observe low frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum and open up a new window on the universe. The Discovering the Sky at the Longest Wavelengths (DSL) mission aims to seek out faint, low-frequency signals from the early cosmos using an array of 10 satellites in lunar orbit. If it launches in 2025 as planned, it will offer one of the very first glimpses of the universe through a new lens.

Nine “sister” spacecraft will make observations of the sky while passing over the far side of the moon, using our 3,474-kilometer-diameter celestial neighbor to block out human-made and other electromagnetic interference. Data collected in this radio-pristine environment will, according to researchers, be gathered by a larger mother spacecraft and transmitted to Earth when the satellites are on the near side of the moon and in view of ground stations.

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COMSOL News Special Edition Biomedical

How simulation and apps have enabled engineers and scientists to develop biomedical design

1 min read
COMSOL News Special Edition Biomedical features 12 stories of how simulation and apps have enabled design engineers, researchers, and scientists to develop biomedical designs.
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