UPI NewsTrack Health and Science News

Unique underwater vehicle is developed

PASADENA, Calif., April 6 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say they have developed the world’s first robotic underwater vehicle that’s powered entirely by the ocean’s thermal energy.


The Sounding Oceanographic Lagrangrian Observer Thermal RECharging submersible, nicknamed SOLO-TREC, uses a thermal recharging engine powered by the natural temperature differences found at different ocean depths.

“Scalable for use on most robotic oceanographic vehicles, this technology breakthrough could usher in a new generation of autonomous underwater vehicles capable of virtually indefinite ocean monitoring for climate and marine animal studies, exploration and surveillance,” officials at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said.

Scientists from JPL, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the University of California-San Diego developed the prototype vehicle.

“People have long dreamed of a machine that produces more energy than it consumes and runs indefinitely,” said Jack Jones, a JPL engineer and SOLO-TREC co-principal investigator. “While not a true perpetual motion machine, since we actually consume some environmental energy, the prototype system demonstrated by JPL and its partners can continuously monitor the ocean without a limit on its lifetime imposed by energy supply.”

Co-principal investigator Yi Chao of JPL noted most of Earth is covered by ocean, yet we know less about the ocean than we do about the surface of some planets.

“This technology … will have huge implications for how we can measure and monitor the ocean and its influence on climate,” Chao said.

Nutrition, exercise key to puppy health

TEWKSBURY, Mass., April 6 (UPI) — A U.S. veterinarian says there are five things the owners of a puppy should keep in mind to raise a healthy dog, including nutrition and exercise.

Dr. Al Townshend, staff veterinarian of Holistic Select, a line of food and snacks for dogs and cats, says to nourish the puppy’s developing brain, its food should be supplemented with DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid essential to developing nervous tissue and visual function in dogs.

Small and miniature breeds can have different nutritional needs — larger breeds need fewer calories per pound than smaller breeds, Townshend says.

“With the potential to grow up to 100 times their birth weight, a large breed puppy’s energy intake must be regulated to ensure consistent, steady growth,” Townshend says in a statement. “Weight gain that comes too quickly can stress developing bones, and may lead to other disorders.”

Daily exercise with the owner is an essential part of a puppy’s health — it gives the puppy something to look forward to, exercises its brain and strengthens its bond with humans, Townshend says.

Spray-on transistors may become possible

GAITHERSBURG, Md., April 6 (UPI) — U.S. government scientists have discovered an organic semiconductor that might be a good vehicle for creating spray-on electronics.

National Institute of Standards and Technology researchers said the organic semiconductor might be used to create large-area electronics, such as solar cells and displays, which can be sprayed onto a surface as easily as paint.

While such electronics are not ready for marketing, the research team says the material could overcome one of the main cost hurdles blocking large-scale manufacture of organic thin-film transistors.

“At this stage, there is no established best material or manufacturing process for creating low-cost, large-area electronics,” Calvin Chan, a NIST electrical engineer, said. “What our team has done is to translate a classic material deposition method, spray painting, to a way of manufacturing cheap electronic devices.”

Chan says the simplicity of spray-on electronics gives it a potential cost advantage over other manufacturing processes for organic electronics. Other candidate processes, he said, require costly equipment to function or are simply not suitable for use in high-volume manufacturing.

The research is detailed in the March 30 edition of the journal Applied Physics Letters.

Lung cancer surgical techniques studied

SEOUL, April 6 (UPI) — South Korean scientists have found partial lung removal is favorable over full removal as a treatment for lung cancer in people with sufficient lung function.

Researchers led by Dr. Yong Soo Choi of the Samsung Medical Center compared the outcomes of a sleeve lobectomy, in which only the section of a lung that contains a tumor is removed, and a pneumonectomy, which involves removing an entire lung.

The scientists said their findings indicated patients in the pneumonectomy group had poorer survival than those in the sleeve lobectomy group. They said the study showed a sleeve lobectomy can be performed with low operative risk and might offer superior survival and better postoperative pulmonary function.

“Initially, the sleeve lobectomy was introduced for patients with lung cancer who were unable to tolerate a full pneumonectomy,” Choi said. “The results of our study indicate that a sleeve lobectomy is a safe and effective operation. If anatomically feasible, a sleeve lobectomy is recommended as a favorable alternative to pneumonectomy in patients even with good pulmonary function.”

The research is reported in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology.

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Categorized | Other, Solar
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