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Machine learning reveals recipe for building artificial proteins

news.uchicago.edu
  • Using machine learning models to analyze protein information from genome databases, researchers learn how to design artificial proteins with specific functions.
  • The models analyzed data about chorismate mutase proteins, allowing researchers to learn their design and encode it into synthetic genes.
  • The genes were cloned into bacteria which built the proteins—they had the same functions as natural proteins, and they performed them even better than natural.
  • Researchers don’t yet understand how their machine learning models uncovered the design rules of proteins, but it enables them to create any type of proteins they want.
  • Study authors are commercializing the technology, and hope that it will revolutionize fields like energy, environment (car

This Squid-Inspired Protein is the Future of PPE

inverse.com
  • Researchers create a self-healing material from a synthetic protein, based on a protein from squid ring teeth (the sticky suckers at the ends of squid tentacles).
  • The material was tested with different kinds of tear / cut damage, and it apparently fully regenerated in one second.
  • It could be useful for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), like self-healing face masks, but also wear-resistant robots or even prosthetic limbs.
  • It’s green and biodegradable, however it needs water or pressure to self-heal—the creators are looking for ways to initiate self-healing with light.

A new way to control experimentation with dreams

news.mit.edu
  • Targeted Dream Incubation (TDI) is a new method for dream experimentation, and it involves a wearable sensor device and an app that gathers data while you sleep.
  • It can also influence what you dream about by taking advantage of hypnagogia—the earliest stage of sleep, during which people still hear sounds.
  • TDI provides audio hints at just the right time (based on data from the wearable sensor), enabling researchers to manipulate the content of dreams.
  • It can be used to study dreams and sleep in new ways—so far the method was used to show how dreaming about a specific theme can help people solve problems.

New Cobalt-Free Lithium-Ion Battery Reduces Costs Without Sacrificing Performance

news.utexas.edu
  • Scientists have tried to make Cobalt-free batteries for years without success, but now a new method was developed that could even improve the performance of batteries.
  • The new battery replaces cobalt with nickel and a dash of manganese and aluminum, and the key was finding the right metals and ensuring even distribution of their ions.
  • Cobalt is the most expensive and hardest to find component for batteries, and this method removes it completely.
  • Study authors have worked with their university to form a startup, TexPower, to commercialize this technology.
  • If successful, they will have increased the energy density and lowered production costs of batteries in one fell swoop.

How Two Young Scientists Built A $250 Million Business Using Yeast To Clean Up Wastewater

forbes.com
  • Using enzymes (from cancer cells) that produce hydrogen peroxide, scientists created a technology that replaces phosphate-based cleaners.
  • They combined the hydrogen peroxide with other bio-based chemicals, and now they want to make biodegradable fertilizers - their company is called Solugen.
  • Their tech was already proven better than other products used in spa cleaning, disinfecting wipes, and wastewater treatments for oil-and-gas runoff.
  • Making their products emits less carbon dioxide compared to competition, and are sold at the same price.
  • The enzyme approach is quite novel, and now the Solugen team is investigating several new enzymes to try and create other chemicals.

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