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The Project

Each year the FIRST Lego League presents a challenge to be researched and solved. This years challenge is called Nano Quest and it (of course) deals with Nano Technology.

The steps in the project are actually simple. They are --

  1. Select a current or potential application of nanotechnology
  2. Design a solution or improvement
  3. Share your project with others

The Lego Guards researched nanotechnology for several weeks, learning about what it was, and what it was used for. Then they discussed the potential areas that they wanted to explore.

After a lot of discussion, they decided that military medical use would be an area that they wanted to dive into deeper. And after much further research, came up with the concept for the presentation and the project idea itself.

The Presentation

Summary:

  1. The team presents a war scene where a soldier dies due to blood loss
  2. The researchers talk about the background concepts leading to their idea
  3. The concept is presented
  4. The scene is re-presented with a happier ending

The research and the idea

There are three portions of nano-technology that must work together, the Nanofiber Barrier, Quantum Dots, and Buckyballs.

Nanofiber Barrier - Written and Presented by Justin

With nanotechnology we can heal injuries and stop bleeding faster.

In October, scientists in Hong Kong and Massachusetts created and tested a peptide solution that forms a nano-fiber-barrier that is able to stop bleeding in the brain, spinal cord, liver, or skin of mammals.

Dr. Zhang of M.I.T. investigated and found out that this peptide can even knit brain tissue back together. It doesn’t restore 100% of the damaged cells but it can restore up to 20% of them (which is enough to keep your body functional).

So far, this has been tested in animals and it works very well.

Most importantly, this peptide solution can (and does) completely stop bleeding in a wound within 15 seconds of application.


Quantum Dots - Written and Presented by Robin

Quantum dots (or Q-dots) fluoresce under a black light, and are a rather new technology that is used for finding injuries.

According to National Geographic it is very simple to use.

Once injected near the infected area, the Q-dots will find their way to the affected area and attach to the injury or disease.

When a black light is passed over the body the Q-dots will glow in fluorescent colors.

They actually glow in different colors depending on the type and intensity of the diseases or injuries.

That’s how Q-dots work!


Bucky Balls – Written and Presented by Chris

A Bucky ball is a super small ball that can hold medicine. (By "super small" I mean "nano small".)

After being injected into the body, bucky balls dissolve releasing the medicine into the place where it is most needed.

Although bucky balls normally dissolve based on acidity and time, some kinds of balls change how they work when they have been exposed to laser or black light.

Technology is currently being researched on how to control the release based on light and other things.


Our Solution – Prepared and Presented by Jenya
  • In battle, when soldiers are wounded, they can die because of blood loss. We need a simple system that our medics can use, that is not limited by supply.
    • Justin talked about a Peptide Nanofiber solution that can stop bleeding within 15 seconds.
    • Robin talked about how Q-dots attach to injuries and fluoresce under ultraviolet light.
    • Chris talked about how Bucky Balls can be used to inject medicine. And he talked about how light can make them change their properties.
  • Our idea is to use these three technologies, and a simple hand-carried light, to make a better medical kit.
    • Before going into battle zones, our soldiers would be injected with a solution containing Bucky Balls containing a concentrated Peptide solution and Q-dots.
    • If a soldier is injured, the Q-dots would find the injury and attach themselves.
    • The battlefield medic would just need to shine a black light over the injury which will make the Q-dots glow. And based on their reaction to the fluorescence, the Bucky Balls would dissolve and release the solution that would stop the bleeding instantly.
  • In order for this recommendation to be effective, a couple of things about Bucky Balls need to be worked on.
    • Right now, they quickly dissolve based on acidity and time. Black light or laser light can change them so they don’t dissolve as fast, but we need fluorescent light to do the opposite.
    • Since some types of Bucky Balls are already known to react to light, research should be continued in this direction.