Microbial Lifeforms Offer New Sources of Color

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Microbial Lifeforms Offer New Sources of Color

Bacteria may be too small to see, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t colorful. An Austrian start-up called Vienna Textile Lab is taking advantage of that with a new line of dyes that are made using naturally-occurring bacteria.

Synthetic dyes on the market often rely on petrochemicals, whereas many of the natural dyes are subject to the conventional limitations that face all natural products: seasonal and geographic limitations, and the vagaries of weather. By cultivating bacterial strains in the lab, Vienna Textile Lab is able to capture the best of both worlds - a natural source of dyes that is endlessly renewable on demand.

The company has already developed a wide range of colors, and demonstrated that its dyes are both colorfast and capable of use with materials from cotton and wool to polyester. The company’s early commercialization plans focus on selling dyed fabric, but they ultimately hope to license the technology to large-scale textile manufacturers.

Website: https://www.viennatextilelab.at/faq/

What video HERE.



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New Actuators Allow Robots to Play a Role in Medical Recovery

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New Actuators Allow Robots to Play a Role in Medical Recovery

Following a stroke, many patients have to relearn many of their motor skills. Robotic exoskeletons have been touted as a potentially valuable tool for helping patients develop these neuromuscular skills, but the technology has not yet lived up to that potential.

A start-up called LinkDyn may have come up with the solution. The foundation for LinkDyn’s technologies is a novel actuator, which is the component in the robot that is responsible for controlling its movement. The LinkDyn actuator is extremely sensitive to user input, meaning recovering patients don’t have to apply a great deal of force in order for the system to respond. At the same time, the actuator doesn’t move too quickly or too powerfully, which would pose safety concerns. In short, the actuator allows LinkDyn’s technologies to move smoothly and easily, which is essential for any viable neuromuscular recovery system.

LinkDyn has already developed a robotic arm that can be controlled using a virtual reality-based platform that draws on the vast literature of neuromuscular research. In addition, the company is in the process of building wearable exoskeleton robotics with funding from the National Science Foundation. The company’s ultimate goal is to make robotic rehabilitation not only possible, but economically viable for patients.

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SUSTAINABLE RESINS TO REPLACE PLASTIC

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SUSTAINABLE RESINS TO REPLACE PLASTIC

Plastics are used in a staggering variety of products, from furniture to clothing to packaging. The bulk of those plastics are made using petroleum (which isn’t sustainable) and will last more or less forever (which is also not sustainable). Luckily, there are other options.

A company called Pond makes resin products that can be used to make just about anything you can imagine being made from plastic - as well as products ranging from wind turbine blades to surfboards. Their resin materials are made largely from starch, which is a renewable, plant-based resource, and all of the materials are biodegradable when exposed to naturally-occurring bacteria species. In other words, the materials are sturdy - but can be safely composted when they reach the end of their life cycle.

Pond’s materials are sufficiently adaptable that they’ve already created one spin-off company: Pond Textiles, which is aimed at bringing new bio-based materials into the fashion manufacturing sector. That spin-off has already secured capital investment from Brightfolk A/S.

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