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  1. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Soybeans are an important crop for global food security. Every year, soybean yields are reduced by numerous soybean diseases, particularly the soybean cyst nematode (SCN). It is difficult to visually identify the presence of SCN in the field, let alone its population densities or numbers, as there are no obvious aboveground disease symptoms. The only definitive way to assess SCN population densities is to directly extract the SCN cysts from soil and then extract the eggs from cysts and count them. Extraction is typically conducted in commercial soil analysis laboratories and university plant diagnostic clinics and involves repeated steps of sieving, washing, collecting, grinding, and cleaning. Here we present a robotic instrument to reproduce and automate the functions of the conventional methods to extract nematode cysts from soil and subsequently extract eggs from the recovered nematode cysts. We incorporated mechanisms to actuate the stage system, manipulate positions of individual sieves using the gripper, recover cysts and cyst-sized objects from soil suspended in water, and grind the cysts to release their eggs. All system functions are controlled and operated by a touchscreen interface software. The performance of the robotic instrument is evaluated using soil samples infested with SCN from two farms at different locations and results were comparable to the conventional technique. Our new technology brings the benefits of automation to SCN soil diagnostics, a step towards long-term integrated pest management of this serious soybean pest. 
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  2. Real-time monitoring of the gastrointestinal tract in a safe and comfortable manner is valuable for the diagnosis and therapy of many diseases. Within this realm, our review captures the trends in ingestible capsule systems with a focus on hardware and software technologies used for capsule endoscopy and remote patient monitoring. We introduce the structure and functions of the gastrointestinal tract, and the FDA guidelines for ingestible wireless telemetric medical devices. We survey the advanced features incorporated in ingestible capsule systems, such as microrobotics, closed-loop feedback, physiological sensing, nerve stimulation, sampling and delivery, panoramic imaging with adaptive frame rates, and rapid reading software. Examples of experimental and commercialized capsule systems are presented with descriptions of their sensors, devices, and circuits for gastrointestinal health monitoring. We also show the recent research in biocompatible materials and batteries, edible electronics, and alternative energy sources for ingestible capsule systems. The results from clinical studies are discussed for the assessment of key performance indicators related to the safety and effectiveness of ingestible capsule procedures. Lastly, the present challenges and outlook are summarized with respect to the risks to health, clinical testing and approval process, and technology adoption by patients and clinicians. 
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  4. New combinations of existing antibiotics are being investigated to combat bacterial resilience. This requires detection technologies with reasonable cost, accuracy, resolution, and throughput. Here, we present a multi -drug screening platform for bacterial cultures by combining droplet microfluidics, search algorithms, and imaging with a wide field of view. We remotely alter the chemical microenvironment around cells and test 12 combinations of resistant cell types and chemicals. Fluorescence intensity readouts allow us to infer bacterial resistance to specific antibiotics within 8 hours. The platform has potential to detect and identify parameters of bacterial resilience in cell cultures, biofilms, and microbial aggregates. 
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  5. Zhang, Jie (Ed.)
  6. Among the different types of skin cancer, melanoma is considered to be the deadliest and is difficult to treat at advanced stages. Detection of melanoma at earlier stages can lead to reduced mortality rates. Desktop-based computer-aided systems have been developed to assist dermatologists with early diagnosis. However, there is significant interest in developing portable, at-home melanoma diagnostic systems which can assess the risk of cancerous skin lesions. Here, we present a smartphone application that combines image capture capabilities with preprocessing and segmentation to extract the Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color variegation, and Diameter (ABCD) features of a skin lesion. Using the feature sets, classification of malignancy is achieved through support vector machine classifiers. By using adaptive algorithms in the individual data-processing stages, our approach is made computationally light, user friendly, and reliable in discriminating melanoma cases from benign ones. Images of skin lesions are either captured with the smartphone camera or imported from public datasets. The entire process from image capture to classification runs on an Android smartphone equipped with a detachable 10x lens, and processes an image in less than a second. The overall performance metrics are evaluated on a public database of 200 images with Synthetic Minority Over-sampling Technique (SMOTE) (80% sensitivity, 90% specificity, 88% accuracy, and 0.85 area under curve (AUC)) and without SMOTE (55% sensitivity, 95% specificity, 90% accuracy, and 0.75 AUC). The evaluated performance metrics and computation times are comparable or better than previous methods. This all-inclusive smartphone application is designed to be easy-to-download and easy-to-navigate for the end user, which is imperative for the eventual democratization of such medical diagnostic systems. 
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  7. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of ILeVO (fluopyram) and VOTiVO (Bacillus firmus I-1582) seed treatments on Heterodera glycines second-stage juvenile (J2) root penetration and behavior. In a growth chamber experiment, roots of soybeans grown from treated or untreated seeds were inoculated with H. glycines J2s at soil depths of 2.5, 5, or 7.5 cm. ILeVO significantly reduced H. glycines root penetration compared with the untreated control, but only when J2s were inoculated at a soil depth of 2.5 cm, which was near the seed. Changes in nematode behavior were assessed by collecting 60-s videos of J2s after 2 h of exposure to exudates from treated seeds or radicles from treated seeds or from soil leachates in which treated seeds were planted. X- and y-coordinates of each of the 13 reference points were recorded every hour for 24 h. A custom program analyzed and transformed the coordinates into nematode motion parameters (speed and total change in curvature). ILeVO, but not VOTiVO, seed exudates significantly reduced J2 speed relative to the untreated control. Soil leachates from ILeVO or VOTiVO treatments had no consistent effect on H. glycines speed or total change in curvature compared with the untreated control. In another experiment, treated or untreated seeds were incubated in wells of 6-well tissue culture plates containing 11.5% Pluronic gel. Seeds were removed after 2 h, and approximately 50 J2s then were pipetted into each well. The plates were scanned every 60 min for 24 h, and the number of J2s in each well that moved a minimum distance of ≥300 µm was determined using another custom software program. ILeVO, but not VOTiVO, significantly reduced the movement of J2 populations relative to control wells in which no seeds were added. And wells that had seeds, treated or not, yielded significantly less J2 movement compared with the no-seed control. The results of these experiments indicate that ILeVO reduces activity on H. glycines J2s but may not affect nematodes beyond a limited area surrounding the treated seed. 
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