The Gene Machine and Me

Ion Torrent’s chip-based genome sequencer is cheap, fast, and poised to revolutionize medicine

19 min read
Photo of the author with a text overlay of the headline for this article.
Photo: David Yellen

It’s a fresh April morning in 2012 when I head to Connecticut to see a man about a genome. Not just any genome, but my own.

I want to learn my own biological secrets. I want to get a look at the unique DNA sequence that defines my physical quirks, characteristics, and traits, including my nearsighted blue eyes, my freckles, my type O-positive blood, and possibly some lurking predisposition to disease that will kill me in the end. So I’m not going to see just any man, but the mad scientist of genomics himself, the arrogant upstart of biotechnology, an inventor and entrepreneur who has upended the business of genetic sequencing once before—and now appears to be doing it again.

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New Faraday Cages Can Be Switched Off and On

Built out of a novel material called MXene, these cages could block and allow signals as desired

3 min read
New Faraday Cages Can Be Switched Off and On

Radio waves interacting with a MXene film.

Chong Min Koo

Advanced new Faraday cages—the metal mesh enclosures that can block wireless signals—can also be switched on and off for reversible protection against noise, a new study finds.

In addition, these new shields can be easily fabricated through a technique akin to spray-painting, which could help them find use in electronics, researchers say.

Similarly to how window blinds can help adjust how much visible light enters a room, engineers want dynamic control over the electromagnetic waves used in wireless communications. This ability would let devices receive and transmit signals when desired but also protect them against electromagnetic interference, such as static and jamming, and hide from being spied on.

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When Breathing Sciences Lead to a Mobile Life-Support Device

The compact unit is equipped with an innovative ventilator that recovers oxygen exhaled by the patient

5 min read
A soldier carrying a MOVES SLC portable life support unit walks over to an injured person on the ground.

Thornhill Medical's mobile life-support device, called MOVES SLC, has been used by military medical teams for five years. The unit can be slung across the shoulder and includes a circle-circuit ventilator and oxygen concentrator that eliminate the need to carry heavy, dangerous high pressure O2 cylinders.

Thornhill Medical

This is a sponsored article brought to you by LEMO.

A bomb explodes — medical devices set to action.

It is only in war that both sides of human ingenuity coexist so brutally. On the one side, it innovates to wound and kill, on the other it heals and saves lives. Side by side, but viscerally opposed.

Dr. Joe Fisher is devoted to the light side of human ingenuity, medicine. His research at Toronto’s University Health Network has made major breakthroughs in understanding the absorption and use of oxygen by the body. Then, based on the results, he developed new, highly efficient methods of delivering oxygen to patients.

In 2004, together with other physicians and engineers, he created a company to develop solutions based on his innovations. He named it after the Toronto neighborhood where he still lives — Thornhill Medical.

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