Brewing up some quantum dots

We’re taking a field trip from the backyard, garage, and basement hacking in order to look in on what research scientists are up to these days. A group from the Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology has been manufacturing quantum dots for use in the medical field. Made up of Cadmium Selenide, this is a nanomaterial that you can think of as individual crystals of the smallest size possible. Quantum dots have many uses. Here, [Charli Dvoracek] takes the recently manufactured dots and activates them with antibodies capable of targeting cancer cells. Once mixed with a biological sample, the dots embed themselves in the walls of the cancer, allowing the researchers to find those cells thanks to the phosphorescent properties of the dots.

The video after the breaks walks us through the various steps involved in growing these dots. [Charli] has the benefit of a fully outfitted lab, using tools like an argon-filled glove box to protect her from harmful off-gases. You’re not likely have this sort of thing in your home laboratory, but as we’ve seen before, you can make some of your own equipment, and produce interesting chemicals with simple processes. If you’re someone who already tinkers with chemistry experiments we want to hear about your exploits so please drop us a tip about what you’re up to.

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Road tour on a bike with an attitude

This is Precious. Precious is a bike that the folks over at BreakfastNY have anthropomorphised for a good cause. By adding sensors for a variety of data sources to the bike, and transmitting them back to a server via a cellular module, Precious can spit out cheeky comments about the ride on its Twitter feed. Right now Precious is on his way across the country powered by his rider, Janeen, to raise money and awareness for cancer research. You can track the progress, enjoying some attractive web design and reading the oft-beligerant comments from the bike, at yesiamprecious.com.

Although there’s no specifics about the hardware, we saw the typical project box during the teaser video. Inside you’re sure to find the usual suspects. Considering that speed, cadence, grade, temperature, humidity, and GPS data are all available on high-end bike computers we hope they found a way to just read in that data. But your guess is as good as ours; start speculating in the comments.

Mr. Burns prevents sun burns

[nmcclana] wrote out this very detailed instructible on building Mr. Burns, a sun burn alarm.  Enter your skin type, sunscreen type, and UV levels for the day and Mr. Burns will let you know when it is time to go seek shelter or re-apply that sunscreen. Built on a Propeller platform, he’s using a blue LED as the UV sensor. He mentions that the device is fairly accurate, however people tend to put sunscreen on too thin and that will throw off the readings. There is a video of it in action on the instructible.

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