A neat fix for ageing eyes could be tested in humans next year. The treatment, which involves replacing the contents of the lens in the eye with a soft polymer gel, could allow millions of people to throw away their reading glasses.
"At first, we see it being used as an improvement to current cataract surgery," says Arthur Ho at the University of New South Wales, a key member of the Australian governments multinational Vision Cooperative Research Centre (Vision CRC) that is working on the technique. "But once it is shown to be safe and effective, we think that more and more younger people who are starting to need reading glasses will adopt it as well."
The eyes lens focuses by changing shape. When muscles in the eye relax, the lens is pulled flat to focus on distant objects. When they contract, the lens returns to a fatter shape, bringing closer objects into focus. But as we age, our lenses harden, preventing them reforming into their fatter shape: the lenses of 40-year-old people have only a quarter of their capacity to change shape, or "accommodate", as they did at birth. After the age of 45, most people need reading glasses, or bifocal glasses.
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Soft robots have a distinct advantage over their rigid forebears: they can adapt to complex environments, handle fragile objects and interact safely with humans. Made from silicone, rubber or other stretchable polymers, they are ideal for use in rehabilitation exoskeletons and robotic clothing. Soft bio-inspired robots could one day be deployed to explore remote or dangerous environments.
Most soft robots are actuated by rigid, noisy pumps that push fluids into the machines' moving parts. Because they are connected to these bulky pumps by tubes,...
Researchers at TU Graz are working together with European partners on new possibilities of measuring vehicle emissions.
Today, air pollution is one of the biggest challenges facing European cities. As part of the Horizon 2020 research project CARES (City Air Remote Emission...
Over the next three years, researchers from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, University of Cambridge, École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles de la ville de Paris (ESPCI-Paris) and Empa will be working together with the Dutch Polymer manufacturer SupraPolix on the next generation of robots: (soft) robots that ‘feel pain’ and heal themselves. The partners can count on 3 million Euro in support from the European Commission.
Soon robots will not only be found in factories and laboratories, but will be assisting us in our immediate environment. They will help us in the household, to...
Scientists at the University of Leeds have created a new form of gold which is just two atoms thick - the thinnest unsupported gold ever created.
The researchers measured the thickness of the gold to be 0.47 nanometres - that is one million times thinner than a human finger nail. The material is regarded...
An international team of scientists involving the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has unraveled the light-induced electron-localization dynamics in transition metals at the attosecond timescale. The team investigated for the first time the many-body electron dynamics in transition metals before thermalization sets in. Their work has now appeared in Nature Physics.
The researchers from ETH Zurich (Switzerland), the MPSD (Germany), the Center for Computational Sciences of University of Tsukuba (Japan) and the Center for...
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