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Gizmorama - January 24, 2018

Good Morning,

Scientists have developed a tractor beam; the most powerful tractor beam in existence. The Rebel Alliance is now on red alert!

Learn about this and more interesting stories from the scientific community in today's issue.

Until Next Time,

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*-- Scientists unveil world's most powerful tractor beam --*

For the first time, scientists have developed a tractor beam capable for levitating objects larger than an acoustic wavelength. Scientists believe the breakthrough could pave the way for tractor beams powerful enough to levitate humans.

Until now, larger objects trapped in acoustic tractor beams proved unstable. Acoustic waves tend to transfer some of their rotational energy to objects, causing them to spin out of control.

The latest technology features a kind of tornado of sound, fluctuating acoustic vortices. The tractor beam produces an inner core of silence surrounded by a twisting shell of strong acoustic waves.

The size and spin rate of the twister can be controlled by rapidly changing the direction of the acoustic vortices. Using 40 kHz frequency waves, scientists trapped a small polystyrene sphere in the tractor beam. The ball measured twice the length of an acoustic wave -- the largest object trapped in a tractor beam.

Researchers described the feat this week in the journal Physical Review Letters.

"Acoustic researchers had been frustrated by the size limit for years, so its satisfying to find a way to overcome it," lead researcher Asier Marzo, a mechanical engineer at the University of Bristol in England, said in a news release. "I think it opens the door to many new applications."

Scientists believe the new technology can be eventually deployed to levitate even larger objects.

"This was only thought to be possible using lower pitches making the experiment audible and dangerous for humans," said researcher Mihai Caleap.

The technology could have a variety of commercial applications.

"I'm particularly excited by the idea of contactless production lines where delicate objects are assembled without touching them," said Bristol professor Bruce Drinkwater.

*-- Smartphone app allows doctors, nurses to remotely monitor wound healing --*

The healing of postoperative surgical wounds can be effectively monitored with a new smartphone app, new research indicates.

The app, called WoundCheck, can be used to send digital images of a post-surgical wound with a short patient-administered questionnaire to monitoring nurses and could help reduce the need for post-surgical patient readmission, researchers report in a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

"We set out to come up with a protocol where patients could become active participants in their care and allow us to be in closer communication and monitor their wounds after they leave the hospital," Dr. Rebecca L. Gunter, a general surgery resident at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, said in a press release. "This approach allows us to intervene at an earlier time rather than waiting for patients to come back in after the problem has already developed past the point of being able to manage it on an outpatient basis."

The study, conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, indicates that the sending of images by patients can reduce surgical site infections and patient readmissions, and improve patient care.

Vascular surgery patients were sent home with instructions to photograph their healing wounds with smartphones, and then relay the images to nurses prepared to offer advice and collect data.

Of 40 patients in the study, 90.2 percent of participants submitted data and seven post-surgery wound complications were discovered, with high rates of patient and provider satisfaction were reported.

"Patients cannot identify [infections] and frequently ignore or fail to recognize the early signs of cellulitis or other wound complications," the authors write in the study. "This drawback leads to the common and frustrating scenario where patients present to a routine, scheduled clinic appointment with an advanced wound complication that requires readmission, with or without reoperation."

The researchers conclude in the study that monitoring of wounds, and earlier intervention when necessary, results in fewer patient readmissions to correct complications.

"We have demonstrated that a population of complex and high-risk patients, many of whom are older adults and novice smartphone users, can complete this protocol with high fidelity and satisfaction," the researchers wrote.


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