May 2016 patents
Elastomer display, soft wearable exosuit, slippery surfaces, switchable gRNAs, and more
Harvard faculty Joanna Aizenberg, David Clarke, David Liu, Takao Hensch, Marko Loncar, and Conor Walsh are among the inventors issued U.S. patents during May 2016.
The innovations recognized are as follows:
Pixel device and display using liquid ink and elastomers
U.S. Patent 9,335,539 (May 10, 2016)
Samuel Shian, David Clarke, and Roger Diebold
Abstract: A pixel device using optically active fluid contained within elastomeric materials and actuated through dielectric elastomer membrane is disclosed. The underlying mechanism of optical contrast in this display pixel is the spread and contraction of the fluid contained within a pre-stretched elastomer membrane and a substrate. The actuation mechanism for the fluid flow is a dielectric elastomer membrane coated with compliant electrodes on both sides. When both electrodes are connected to a voltage source, the oppositely charged electrodes attract each other, compressing the sandwiched elastomer membrane in the thickness direction but increasing its lateral dimension. Due to geometrical constraint, the change in the membrane lateral dimension results in the net volume change of the fluid reservoir, causing optically active fluid to move from the display cavity into the fluid reservoir or vice versa. The variation of the amount of fluid in the display cavity corresponds to the variation of optical properties, such as contrast and color, of the pixel device.
Type III secretion inhibitors, analogs and uses thereof
U.S. Patent 9,340,505 (May 17, 2016)
Jon Goguen, Ning Pan, and Kyungae Lee
Abstract: The invention, in some aspects, relates to compounds and compositions useful for inhibiting Type III secretion systems in pathogenic bacteria, such as Yersinia Pestis. In some aspects, the invention relates to methods for discovering inhibitors of the Type III secretion system and uses of such inhibitors in the treatment and prevention of disease.
mRNA-sensing switchable gRNAs
U.S. Patent 9,340,799 (May 17, 2016)
David R. Liu and Johnny Hao Hu
Abstract: Some aspects of this disclosure provide compositions, methods, systems, and kits for controlling the activity and/or improving the specificity of RNA-programmable endonucleases, such as Cas9. For example, provided are guide RNAs (gRNAs) that are engineered to exist in an "on" or "off" state, which control the binding and hence cleavage activity of RNA-programmable endonucleases. Some aspects of this disclosure provide mRNA-sensing gRNAs that modulate the activity of RNA-programmable endonucleases based on the presence or absence of a target mRNA.
Extended DNA-sensing gRNAs
U.S. Patent 9,340,800 (May 17, 2016)
David R. Liu and Johnny Hao Hu
Abstract: Some aspects of this disclosure provide compositions, methods, systems, and kits for controlling the activity and/or improving the specificity of RNA-programmable endonucleases, such as Cas9. For example, provided are guide RNAs (gRNAs) that are engineered to exist in an "on" or "off" state, which control the binding and hence cleavage activity of RNA-programmable endonucleases. Some aspects of this disclosure provide gRNAs that modulate the activity of an RNA-programmable endonuclease based on the presence or absence of an extended DNA (xDNA).
Electrically-driven phase transitions in functional oxide heterostructures
U.S. Patent 9,343,206 (May 17, 2016)
You Zhou, Zheng Yang, and Shriram Ramanathan
Abstract: A tunable resistance system includes a layer of a first functional material deposited on a component of the system. The first functional material undergoes a phase transition at a first critical voltage. An insulating layer is deposited upon the layer of first functional material. A layer of a second functional material deposited on the insulating layer. The second functional material undergoes a phase transition at a second critical voltage. The insulating layer is configured to induce a stress on the layer so as to change the first critical voltage. In this way, the resistance of the system is tunable, allowing the system to undergo multi-stage electrical switching of resistive states.
Methods for treating nicotinic acetylcholine receptor associated diseases
U.S. Patent 9,345,696 (May 24, 2016)
Takao K. Hensch
Abstract: The present invention provides methods and compositions for treating subjects suffering from a disorder associated with a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR), methods for treating a subject having a disorder that would benefit from an increase in neural plasticity, and methods for modulating the plasticity of the primary visual cortex in subjects by modulating the expression, stability, and/or activity of Lynx1.
Integrated nanobeam cavity array spectrometer
U.S. Patent 9,347,829 (May 24, 2016)
Marko Loncar, Qimin Quan, and Parag B. Deotare
Abstract: An on-chip integrated nanobeam cavity array spectrometer (INAS) having an array of waveguide-coupled nanobeam cavities. Waveguide splitters are used to bring the signal from the input waveguide into each cavity. The spectrum of unknown input signal is obtained by collecting signal from each nanobeam cavity in the array.
Soft exosuit for assistance with human motion
U.S. Patent 9,351,900 (May 31, 2016)
Conor Walsh, Alan Thomas Asbeck, Ignacio Galiana Bujanda, Ye Ding, Robert Joseph Dyer, Arnar Freyr Larusson, Brendan Thomas Quinlivan, Kai Schmidt, Diana Wagner, and Michael Wehner
Abstract: In at least one aspect, there is provided a system for generating force about one or more joints including a soft exosuit having a plurality of anchor elements and at least one connection element disposed between the plurality of anchor elements. The system also includes at least one sensor to determine a force the at least one connection element or at least one of the plurality of anchor elements and to output signals relating to the force, at least one actuator configured to change a tension in the soft exosuit and at least one controller configured to receive the signals output from the at least one sensor and actuate the at least one actuator responsive to the received signals.
Modulators of Plexin B2 activity
U.S. Patent 9,353,188 (May 31, 2016)
Guofu Hu and Wenhao Yu
Abstract: Disclosed herein are novel compositions and methods for the inhibition of Plexin B2-mediated Angiogenin activity. Such compositions and methods are useful, for example, for the treatment of cancer, the treatment of wet AMD and the inhibition of angiogenesis. Also disclosed herein are methods of determining whether a test agent is a modulator of Plexin B2 activity.
Slippery surfaces with high pressure stability, optical transparency, and self-healing characteristics
U.S. Patent 9,353,646 (May 31, 2016)
Joanna Aizenberg, Michael Aizenberg, Sung Hoon Kang, Philseok Kim, and Tak Sing Wong
Abstract: The present disclosure describes a strategy to create self-healing, slippery liquid-infused porous surfaces (SLIPS). Roughened (e.g., porous) surfaces can be utilized to lock in place a lubricating fluid, referred to herein as Liquid B to repel a wide range of materials, referred to herein as Object A (Solid A or Liquid A). SLIPS outperforms other conventional surfaces in its capability to repel various simple and complex liquids (water, hydrocarbons, crude oil and blood), maintain low-contact-angle hysteresis (<2.5°), quickly restore liquid-repellency after physical damage (within 0.1-1 s), resist ice, microorganisms and insects adhesion, and function at high pressures (up to at least 690 atm). Some exemplary application where SLIPS will be useful include energy-efficient fluid handling and transportation, optical sensing, medicine, and as self-cleaning, and anti-fouling materials operating in extreme environments.
Apparatus for measurement of spinning forces relating to molecules
U.S. Patent 9,354,189 (May 31, 2016)
Wesley Philip Wong and Kenneth Anders Halvorsen
Abstract: An apparatus for measuring a characteristic of a sample includes a sample measurement apparatus (1404), which includes a light source (1406) configured to illuminate the sample; and a detector (1412) configured to receive light from the sample. The sample measurement apparatus is sized and dimensioned to fit within a centrifuge receptacle, the centrifuge receptacle (1416) coupled to a spindle configured to rotate the centrifuge receptacle to apply a force to the sample.