This week in science – Oct. 30

Mark Hendricks, Science & Tech Editor Ω

Potential relief for sufferers of Parkinson’s disease

The University of Melbourne has entered into a partnership with a startup pharmaceutical company to create a drug for treating neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, that could see clinical trials in as little as three years.

Researchers at the University of Melbourne discovered that a class of synthetic compounds known as copper bis, can halt the protein modification that causes proteins in the brain to become toxic in many neurodegenerative diseases.

The startup, Procypra Therapeutics LLC, will have ownership rights over the drug, but the University of Melbourne will receive royalty payments for its sale..

Find out more: http://newsroom.melbourne.edu

 

Flexible electronics are closer than ever

The LG Flex is one of the first phones that will be hitting the market that takes advantage of bendable screens. Sean McMenemy/Flickr Commons

The LG Flex is one of the first phones that will be hitting the market that takes advantage of bendable screens. Sean McMenemy/Flickr Commons

Smartphones are fragile devices. For anyone who has ever dropped their phone without a case to protect it, there is an instant and very real fear that they’ll pick up their phone and see a shattered screen.

The solution to this problem is one step closer, thanks to researchers at RMIT University in Australia. Researchers have found a way to transfer complex electronic circuitry, which is usually imprinted on hard, inflexible objects, onto a thin bendable surface.

What this means is that thanks to this research, there is a very real possibility that we might soon see flexible, more durable electronics. Your next phone might bend like a piece of rubber, negating the need for a protective case and easing the fear of shattering phones.

Find out more: http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news

 

Storing electricity in silicon

Traditional supercapacitors, like these, are made from carbon. The new supercapacitors from Vanderbilt University will consist of graphene-coated silicon. Windell Oskay/Flickr Commons

Traditional supercapacitors, like these, are made from carbon. The new supercapacitors from Vanderbilt University will consist of graphene-coated silicon. Windell Oskay/Flickr Commons

Researchers at Vanderbilt University have created a new type of supercapacitor that is built out of silicon and is small enough to be built onto existing silicon chips.

Although supercapacitors aren’t new inventions, this is the first one that’s been made out of silicon. The team did this by coating the silicon surface in a layer of graphene, which resulted in the doubling of energy storage capabilities.

The real goal of the project, however, is to integrate energy storage into existing consumer electronics.

“All the things that define us in a modern environment require electricity,” Cary Pint, who headed development, said in a press release. “The more that we can integrate power storage into existing materials and devices, the more compact and efficient they will become.”

Find out more: http://news.vanderbilt.edu/research/