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New Research Results

Evaluation of chemical toxicity 05/12/2017

Development of an Evaluation Technique for Chemical Toxicity Capable of Rapidly Processing Many Samples

AIST has developed a technique to evaluate the toxicity of chemicals in an easy and rapid manner, utilizing the fact that the RNA degradation rate in human cells decreases when toxicity is present. The researchers designed and synthesized a fluorescent probe, with a fluorescent dye on one of double-stranded RNA chains and a quencher dye on the other chain. In a system with a toxic chemical, the rate of RNA degradation is low and fluorescence remains quenched. However, fluorescence is emitted in a system without a toxic chemical. It is possible to determine the toxicity of the added chemical in two hours.

Figure;The fluorescence intensity of the probe increases in response to RNA degradation.

RNA reference material 5/26/2017

Development of Artificial Nucleic Acid Reference Materials for Accuracy Control of Microbiome Analysis
– Contribution to highly reliable microbiota analysis by next-generation sequencing –

AIST has developed artificial nucleic acid reference materials as internal standards for accuracy control of analysis of microbiomes by next-generation sequencing. The 16S rRNA gene is widely used for the phylogenetic classification of microorganisms. AIST researchers designed artificial 16S rRNA reference materials to be amplified by PCR and to allow the amplified base sequences to be differentiated from natural genes during data analysis, and produced twelve types of the reference materials. When a mixture of the reference materials is used as an internal standard for microbiome analysis, the accuracy of the obtained base sequences can be evaluated and the performance of quantitative analysis can be controlled.

Figure of Developed artificial nucleic acid reference materials (artificial 16S rRNA genes) and a mixture of the reference materials to be used as an internal standard

Remote control for robot 09/20/2016

Layer 2-based Wireless Relay Network for Robot Control under Non Line-of-Sight Environments
–Successfully Demonstrated a Remote Control for Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle beyond the Line-of-Sight via a Hovering Drone–

AIST and NICT have demonstrated remote operation and monitoring of a small unmanned ground vehicle beyond the line-of-sight from the operator via a hovering drone up in the sky. The control communication link is continuously maintained with the layer 2-based fast access control technique, even when the relay route frequently changes due to the movement of the robots. The conventional techniques have problems in continuity every time the relay route changes and the communication link is disconnected, which results in momentarily losing control of the robot. This technology will help to achieve tough robot systems operational in poor radio propagation environments caused by obstacles.

Figure

Gas leak detector 2/14/2017

Development of a Technology That Detects Only Fluorine-containing Gases Whose Biological Effects Are a Concern
– Detector uses a "butterfly-shaped" organic nitrogen compound that is sensitive to double-bonded gas components –

AIST has developed a detection agent that can detect selectively and with high sensitivity fluorine-containing etching gases, which are used in semiconductor fabrication processes. The developed detection agent reacts with the double bonds of the etching gases, causing it to change color. Perfluorocarbons and similar gases that are used as refrigerants and cleaning agents do not react with the detection agent, since they consist solely of single bonds, with no double bonds, and therefore do not generate false alarms, even during replacement of the refrigerant. The researchers have also developed a prototype of a compact leak detector that uses the detection agent.

Figure

Biosensor for virus detection 5/22/2017

Development of a biosensor that can easily detect viruses at very low concentrations

AIST has developed an external force-assisted near-field illumination biosensor (EFA-NI biosensor) that can detect small amounts of bio-substances, including viruses, in contaminant containing samples such as secondary treated sewage water. Magnetic beads and fine particles (polystyrene beads) that scatter light are attached to a target bio-substance, and “moving light spots” are made with external magnetic force and near-field illumination for detection. It is possible to detect bio-substances without removing contaminants using the new “movement” distinction method that was not present in the conventional method. With the goal of preventing infection by highly infectious viruses, AIST researchers aim to improve detection sensitivity.

Figure of Basic principles of the EFA-NI biosensor and the required number of steps compared with that of the conventional method

Geological hazard map 03/09/2017

Completion of the Eastern Asia Earthquake and Volcanic Hazards Information Map
- Information about past disasters displayed on a single geological map -

AIST has created the “Eastern Asia Earthquake and Volcanic Hazards Information Map”. The map summarizes past disaster information on large-scale earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and the tsunamis that they triggered. Displaying the disaster scale, and the number and causes of fatalities on the map in icons enable the viewers to have a good grasp of the hazard situation. The map is expected to raise risk management awareness in East Asia. It can be used as basic data for disaster mitigation planning and hazard map creation. The map in image format has been made public on the Geological Survey of Japan website.

Figure

Moisture content measurement 04/14/2017

Development of technique for easily measuring moisture content of agricultural products using an electromagnetic wave

AIST has developed a measurement method for moisture content of agricultural products. The moisture content is an important index of quality. However, conventional methods are problematic in terms of time and effort. In the developed method, agricultural products on a conveyer belt are irradiated using an electromagnetic wave and signal analysis of the transmitted wave is then performed. Since the data is acquired within one second, all products can be inspected in close to real time. Agricultural products can also be measured after being boxed, and therefore this method is expected to facilitate sorting and quality control at the production site.

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