Researchers Create First Fully-Biodegradable Electronic Implants

A team of medical researchers have created the first fully biodegradable electronic implants. The technology has already been used to help heal wounds before being absorbed by the body. 

What's the Latest Development?


A team of medical researchers have created the first fully biodegradable electronic implants, allowing doctors to install medical sensors or drug delivery devices that dissolve into the body when they are no longer needed. "The transient circuits...can be programmed to disappear after a set amount of time based on the durability of their silk-protein coating." The electronic circuits are made of magnesium electrodes and thin sheets of silicon which are then built on a support substrate of protein purified from silkworm silk.

What's the Big Idea?

The biodegradable devices were successfully used to heat a wound area to prevent bacterial infection and were then absorbed into the body once the wound healed. The technology could be useful from treating surgical infections, as demonstrated, to drug delivery or disease diagnostics. But the potential extends beyond the body, says John Rogers, a physical chemist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: "Environmental monitors or even consumer electronics might be interesting to build in this fashion, because it would help to eliminate a lot of waste streams with discarded electronics."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com


Algorithmic catastrophe: How news feeds reprogram your mind and habits

The most powerful editors in the world? Algorithms.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • According to a Pew Research poll, 45% of U.S. adults get at least some of their news from Facebook, with half of that amount using Facebook as their only news outlet.
  • Algorithms on social media pick what people read. There's worry that social media algorithms are creating filter bubbles, so that they never have to read something they don't agree with and thus cause tribal thinking and confirmation bias.
  • The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new models for peaceful interactions, and experiments that can heal fractured communities. For more information, visit charleskochfoundation.org/courageous-collaborations.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Keep reading Show less

Psychological gym experiment proves the power of mind over matter

It isn't mind over matter as much as mind properly working with matter.

DENVER, CO - MAY 16: Brian and Monica Folts workout on treadmills at Colorado Athletic Club Tabor Center on May 16, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. The couple runs marathons and compete in Ironman triathlons and train on on treadmills. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Mind & Brain
  • A new Stanford study finds believing you have genetic predispositions for obesity and low exercise endurance changes your physiology.
  • Participants told they had a protective obesity gene had a better response than those told they did not, even if they did not actually have the gene.
  • Runners performed poorly after learning they did not have the gene for endurance, even if they actually have the gene.
Keep reading Show less

Why this 2015 NASA study is beloved by climate change skeptics

The findings of the controversial study flew in the face of past research on ice gains in Antarctica.

NASA
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A 2015 NASA study caused major controversy by claiming that Antarctica was gaining more ice than it was losing.
  • The study said that ice gains in East Antarctica were effectively canceling out ice losses in the western region of the continent.
  • Since 2015, multiple studies have shown that Antarctica is losing more ice than it's gaining, though the 2015 study remains a favorite of climate change doubters to this day.
Keep reading Show less