Amy Higgins

Next for your medicine cabinet: Tiny plastic particles
Microscopic plastic spheres that can be inhaled may replace injections as a method of taking drugs.
Open Wide!
The newest dental assistant is a wedge-shaped mouth prop made from Advanced Elastomer Systems' Santoprene thermoplastic vulcanizate (TPV) material.
Atomic insight may bring cleaner engines
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers are getting atomic-level insight into how sulfur in engine exhaust poisons advanced catalytic converters.
Says NSF, optics are fun
The National Science Foundation hopes to get middle-school students interested in science. It is giving $1.7 million to a project called "Hands-On Optics: Making an Impact with Light," that focuses on hooking up optics-industry volunteers with teachers and individual students.
Flexible vinyl takes bite out of dental X-rays
Anyone who's had a tooth X-rayed has experienced the discomfort of holding rigid dental film against their gums.
Concealed hinge puts the lid on tripping hazards
Custom concealed hinges from Weber Knapp, Jamestown, N.Y., keep utility cover plates flush with floors in convention centers.
The little batteries that could
Nanobatteries that could be used to power tiny machines, a la the craft that traveled through human blood vessels in the classic sci-fi Fantastic Voyage, are in the works at the University of Tulsa.
Sensor detects early paint corrosion
Researchers at Southwest Research Institute developed an embedded sensor system that detects paint and nonmetallic coating degradation on metal structures before it's visible.
Snow and ice be gone
The days of back-breaking snow shoveling may be nearing an end thanks to radiant heating cable from Orbit Manufacturing, Perkasie, Pa.
Supertough nanofibers from cellulose
Ordinary cellulose may serve as the raw material for a new, low-cost, high-strength fiber, according to polymer scientists at Cornell University. "Cellulose is the most abundant renewable resource polymer on earth," says Margaret Frey, an assistant professor of textiles and apparel at Cornell.
New role for plastic: Bacteria fighter
University of South Florida chemists have developed a new class of synthetic antibiotics and nanosized plastic vehicles to deliver them. The new drugs -- members of the beta-lactams family of antibiotics -- selectively attack methicillin-resistant staph (MRSA) bacteria, which is the culprit for most hospital-borne infections becoming resistant to antibiotics.
Connector takes the heat
Engineers at Tyco Electronics, Harrisburg, Pa., put an Amodel polyphthalamide (PPA) material in a power control module connector that mounts in an auto-engine bay.
Nature's nanocrystals hold lessons for researchers
Seashells and diatoms pull calcium and silicate ions from cool ocean water to build hard crystalline tissues that protect them.
Elastomers give one fine ride
The Cadillac CTS was recently honored with the Car Interior of the Year Award thanks in part to BASF's Elastoskin polyurethane material.
Off-the-shelf supercomputer
Virginia Tech is building a supercomputer said to be one of the cheapest and most-powerful home-built machines in the world.
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