Getting a shot, a vaccination or something that your doctor uses a needle to give you can hurt. But does it have to hurt? Maybe not according to scientists in Australia.  For a few years now they have been working on something they call the nanopatch.  It has a lot of very small projections (like needles) that help to deliver the vaccine to a special group of cells that helps you develop immunity.  These tiny projections are coated with the vaccine and the patch is applied to your skin.  So far they have tested it on mice but sometime in the near future they should be testing it on humans.  It takes a lot of time for any kind of new medicine or device to be approved for use in humans. That is because there is a lot of safety testing that needs to happen and then proof that it really does work.  It is sometimes frustrating because a great discovery in the lab takes a few years to make it into the clinic.  Even nanotechnology can't make that happen any faster.

Sensing things around us

For a while there has been talk about distributed sensors. Planting tiny sensors all around to get an idea about what might be going on. Going on with the Earth, maybe predicting earthquakes and things like that. Why distributed? Because this way you don't take a chance on planing one sensor and then picking the wrong spot. HP has taken a step toward distributed sensing by developing the CeNSE network and they are using it to help find oil. These tiny microelectromechanical sensors (MEMS) can detect vibrations. Now they are pretty big but someday scientists hope to make them the size of a pin head.  If you install a few million or billion you can get an idea of what is going on over a large area. The challenge is powering them and then collecting all of the data. But someday they will be installed in everything like buildings, bridges, roads and tell us all about how these things are doing and sensing lots of different things.

Seeing is believing

It was more than 50 years ago that scientists first figured out that DNA was a double helix. Figured out using some indirect measurements like the way X-rays bounced off of DNA and other things like that. Can we see DNA? Sure now with some pretty powerful microscopes. And just recently some scientists in Japan took a look at double stranded DNA and could tell the difference between that and single stranded DNA. The work could have a big impact on things like DNA sequencing.
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