Tag Archive | rolling machines

Laser scanner medical research boon

Australia’s first laser scanner cytometer is tipped to cut years off drug development and reduce the need for animal trials.

Stem cell researcher Associate Prof Louise Purton said the $700,000 machine, at St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research, would allow researchers to study cells in the body. “Anything we want to know about a cell, this should be able to answer it,” she said.

“This is the way the cancer field is moving forward into finding a cure, by understanding why that cancer is forming and specifically targeting those cancer cells as opposed to the other cells around it.”

Deputy director of the institute, Prof Michael Parker, said the scanner would give Victorian researchers a “huge advantage”.

“We could have 100 molecules that bind pretty well to the protein we’re targeting, but once you put them in the animal or human we don’t know if they’re actually going to get to where the disease is,” he said. “The scanner will tell us of the 100 molecules what are the ones we should be focusing on.”

Once a potential cancer-killing molecule has been developed by Prof Parker’s drug discovery laboratory, associate Prof Purton’s team can fluorescently tag the compound to see if the drugs are getting inside the cancer cells.

“It allows you to see the effect on the cell, but also on the cells around it,” Associate Prof Purton said. “Usually you just have to monitor the visual appearance of the animal to see if they’re showing any signs of any illness.

“The scanner will allow us to see what’s happening inside the organs, and monitor more specifically what’s happening with the drug.

“We can look at what’s happening with patients pre and post-chemotherapy; see if the cells are changing, if the disease is being eradicated properly and if they’re changing the cells they’re interacting with.”

The scanner was funded by an Australian Cancer Research Foundation grant. It will also be used by the institute for research into heart disease, Type 1 diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

Similar surgeries may follow in other cases where sections of the skull are removed because the brain has swollen during a surgery or after an accident, says Scott DeFelice, president of Connecticut-based Oxford Performance Materials, the company that created the prosthetic.

Technicians used CT scans to get images of the part of the skull that needed replacing. Then, with computer software and input from surgeons, engineers designed the replacement part. A machine that uses lasers to fuse granules of material built the prosthetic layer by layer out of a special plastic called PEKK. While inert like titanium, PEKK is riddled on its surface with pocks and ridges that promote bone cell growth, DeFelice says.

Such implants have value as a brain-protecting material, says Jeremy Mao, a biomedical engineer and codirector of Columbia University’s center for craniofacial regeneration. But doctors will need to keep an eye out for long-term problems; The skull isn’t just a box for the brain but a complicated piece of anatomy linked to connective and soft tissues.


HTC One Hands-On

Look out, Samsung, because HTC is gunning for you in 2013. The HTC One takes a sensibly non-traditional route to success, opting out of the megapixel race for one, and instead focusing on where, the company insists, users will actually see the most benefit. That’s not to say superlatives are in short supply: an incredible 1080p 4.7-inch display, beautiful aluminum construction, and swift 1.7GHz quadcore all take their place inside the cool, crisp chassis.

HTC has a track record of solid phones, but the One kicks it up a level. We could tell you about the incredibly time-consuming and complex production process – which starts off with a chunk of aluminum alloy HTC has specially created for its purposes, then runs it through several stages of CNC machining, pauses to inject matte-finish plastic (white for the silver One; black for the black One), and then finishes off with a final shaping to ensure both metal and plastic are perfectly aligned – but it’s how it feels in your hand that’s most memorable. HTC points out that metal has a privileged place when it comes to how we perceive value, because of the headaches inherent in refining it and the fact that it’s cold to the touch, and that weighty, premium-feel mass adds up to a handset that’s great to hold.

It’s also not too big, despite the 4.7-inch screen. HTC has kept the 1080p resolution from the Butterfly and DROID DNA, but the LCD panel itself is apparently brighter and sharper; it’s also more comfortable to use, and the minimal bezels – with just a little space reserved underneath for the capacitive Home and Back keys HTC insists on using – mean it’s not too great a stretch to reach across with your thumb. The precision drilling we’ve seen HTC use before makes a reappearance on the One, now punching out holes for the stereo speakers that flank the display.

HTC is particularly proud of those speakers, which have clever floating membrane drivers that automatically adjust power depending on how close to distortion the audio is. They also get roughly twice the space to work in than rival phones, thanks to extra large speaker chambers; in fact, HTC claims, they’re around 4x as loud as some other handsets. We had a chance to try the One out ahead of today’s launch, and they’re certainly powerful, with a surprising amount of bass: HTC has fitted a pair of Beats Audio amps, one for the speakers and one for the headphone socket. Yes we still have Beats!

It’s tough not to be impressed when you look at the One’s display, even if you’ve spent some time with the DROID DNA. The slight reduction in size doesn’t impact usability – videos and webpages still look great, and sufficiently vast – while colors are bright and accurate and viewing angles incredibly broad. Sense 5 has been polished back to 2D iconography, ditching most of the extraneous 3D effects and layering that had come to clutter more recent iterations of the HTC UI, and the One is all the better for it.

Without offline caching – HTC says it’s coming, but currently BlinkFeed auto-refreshes every couple of hours when you’re on WiFi and manually when you’re on cellular data – BlinkFeed isn’t going to help you out when you’re suddenly left offline on a plane or in an elevator; the full body of the news isn’t downloaded until you tap it, only the headline and the image. Still, the whole thing is responsive, thanks to some server-side processing on HTC’s part, and we can see ourselves flicking through a few screens of BlinkFeed content when we’ve a couple of minutes to kill. It’ll be all the more useful when other apps start feeding content into it, and when HTC gets Google+ and Google Now integration up and running. Google Now’s suggestion tiles would be particularly welcome, for instance.

Top German firm launches Bahrain factory

RMA, a leading German industrial firm, officially launched its new subsidiary company, RMA Middle East, at the Bahrain International Investment Park today.

The launch was attended by Dr Hassan Fakhro, Minister of Industry and Commerce; Sabine Taufmann, German Ambassador to Bahrain; and Andreas Truttenbach, chief executive officer of RMA.

The new 6,000 sq m RMA plant will manufacture pipeline inspection gauge (PIG) traps, tee pipe fittings and insulating joints for the oil and gas sector.

Furthermore RMA Middle East offers commission processing to other local companies. RMA has the ability to compound works on cutting, as well as on rolling machines. The wide range of welding equipment and experience allows RMA to provide welding services of any variety, said a statement.

RMA can additionally provide services like annealing, sandblasting, painting and various testing methods in the state of the art facility. The installed cranes allow RMA to machine high dimensioned work pieces.

RMA has invested 13 million ($16.65 millon) in the project. It is expected to bring over 100 jobs to the Kingdom, with 95 per cent of the output expected to be exported.

Kamal bin Ahmed, Minister of Transportation and acting chief executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), said: “We are delighted to welcome RMA to Bahrain. Manufacturing is playing an increasingly important role in our economy as we diversify our source of growth – investment from leading international firms like RMA will make a positive difference in creating high quality jobs and boosting the manufacturing base in Bahrain and the wider region.”

Truttenbach said: “We are very pleased to be launching our regional operations, and our first manufacturing plant in Bahrain. The Gulf market, which now exceeds 1 trillion dollars, presents an excellent opportunity for manufacturing firms, and we think that this facility in Bahrain will give us the best opportunity to access that growing market. Today we are proud to give over the first Bahrain manufactured product to the first customer of RMA Middle East, Bapco – The Bahrain Petroleum Company.”

The decision to establish a facility in Bahrain came after direct efforts from the EDB and following a visit in 2010 by a high-level RMA delegation, headed by Andreas Truttenbach, which was arranged by the Bahrain Economic Development Board.

Based in the Bahrain International Investment Park (BIIP), RMA will join many of the world’s leading manufacturing companies, with facilities at BIIP including BASF, the world’s leading chemical company, and German engineering giant Siemens. BIIP is a 2,500,000 sq m facility that provides duty free and easy access to the regional market.

Manufacturing is a key component of Bahrain’s economy, accounting for approximately 16 per cent of the kingdom’s GDP. The growth in the regional economy has helped to boost the sector further, with year-on-year growth of over 15 per cent in Q2 2012, said the EDB statement.