Carbon nanotube-coated “smart textile” to detect blood and monitor health
A medical revolution emerges when technology blends with smart care. Sacred Heart Hospital makes this connection with its new Smart OR(TM) - a specialized neurosurgical suite providing state-of-the-art treatment for neurosurgery, spine and trauma patients. A configuration of advanced imagery and mapping technology, the Smart OR helps neurosurgeons perform complex brain, spine and trauma procedures
Full Post: A new state-of-the-art approach to brain and spine surgery
A carbon nanotube-coated “smart yarn” that conducts electricity could be woven into soft fabrics that detect blood and monitor health, engineers at the University of Michigan have demonstrated.
“Currently, smart textiles are made primarily of metallic or optical fibers. They’re fragile. They’re not comfortable. Metal fibers also corrode. There are problems with washing such electronic textiles. We have found a much simpler way—an elegant way—by combining two fibers, one natural and one created by nanotechnology,” said Nicholas Kotov, a professor in the departments of Chemical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering and Biomedical Engineering.
Kotov and Bongsup Shim, a doctoral student in the Department of Chemical Engineering, are among the co-authors of a paper on this material currently published online in Nano Letters.
To make these “e-textiles,” the researchers dipped 1.5-millimeter thick cotton yarn into a solution of carbon nanotubes in water and then into a solution of a special sticky polymer in ethanol. After being dipped just a few times into both solutions and dried, the yarn was able to conduct enough power from a battery to illuminate a light-emitting diode device.
“This turns out to be very easy to do,” Kotov said. “After just a few repetitions of the process, this normal cotton becomes a conductive material because carbon nanotubes are conductive.”
The only perceptible change to the yarn is that it turned black, due to the carbon. It remained pliable and soft.
In order to put this conductivity to use, the researchers added the antibody anti-albumin to the carbon nanotube solution. Anti-albumin reacts with albumin, a protein found in blood. When the researchers exposed their anti-albumin-infused smart yarn to albumin, they found that the conductivity significantly increased. Their new material is more sensitive and selective as well as more simple and durable than other electronic textiles, Kotov said.
Clothing that can detect blood could be useful in high-risk professions, the researchers say. An unconscious firefighter, ambushed soldier, or police officer in an accident, for example, couldn’t send a distress signal to a central command post. But the smart clothing would have this capability.
Kotov says a communication device such as a mobile phone could conceivably transmit information from the clothing to a central command post.
“The concept of electrically sensitive clothing made of carbon-nanotube-coated cotton is flexible in implementations and can be adapted for a variety of health monitoring tasks as well as high performance garments,” Kotov said.
It is conceivable that clothes made out of this material could be designed to harvest energy or store it, providing power for small electronic devices, but such developments are many years away and pose difficult challenges, the engineers say.
Research done by scientists in Italy and Switzerland has shown that carbon nanotubes may be the ideal “smart” brain material. Their results, published December 21 in the advance online edition of the journal Nature Nanotechnology, are a promising step forward in the search to find ways to “bypass” faulty brain wiring. The research shows that
Full Post: Carbon nanotubes show promise in emerging field of neuro-engineering and neuroprosthetics
MIT engineers have developed carbon nanotubes into sensors for cancer drugs and other DNA-damaging agents inside living cells. The sensors, made of carbon nanotubes wrapped in DNA, can detect chemotherapy drugs such as cisplatin as well as environmental toxins and free radicals that damage DNA. “We’ve made a sensor that can be placed in living
Full Post: Carbon nanotube sensors for cancer drugs
Researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have developed a strong, flexible, bio-material that may be used someday to close wounds with minimal scarring and rejection by the immune system. Spun from a common blood protein, the material could be used to make the thin threads needed for wound sutures, larger dressings for wounds, and
Full Post: New nanofibers spun from a common blood protein to close wounds with minimal scarring
University of Pittsburgh researchers have developed the first natural, nontoxic method for biodegrading carbon nanotubes, a finding that could help diminish the environmental and health concerns that mar the otherwise bright prospects of the super-strong materials commonly used in products, from electronics to plastics. A Pitt research team has found that carbon nanotubes deteriorate when
Full Post: Researchers develop natural, nontoxic method for biodegrading carbon nanotubes
A multidisciplinary team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has developed carbon nanotubes that can be used as sensors for cancer drugs and other DNA-damaging agents inside living cells. The sensors, made of carbon nanotubes wrapped in DNA, can detect chemotherapy drugs such as cisplatin as well as environmental toxins and free radicals that
Full Post: Nanotubes sniff out cancer agents in living cells