Jul 09, 2014

Wireless-controlled contraception implant is coming, says MIT

posted by Laura Domela

MIT's decade-plus pitch to embed microchip-based drug-dispensaries in humans has been re-framed as a microprocessor-based, wireless-controlled, fully Internet-of-Things-compliant, implantable contraceptive.

Since 1999, MIT's Robert Langer et al have been pitching the idea of using microchips to deliver medicines. The idea, way back then, was envisaged chips with reservoirs of drugs kept behind a gold membrane. Applying a voltage to the membrane would dissolve it to release the liquid. 

Perhaps because healthcare is one of the world's most regulated research fields, it took from 1999 to 2006 for MicroCHIPS (the company set up to commercialise the technology and manage the patent portfolio) to get through its pre-clinical work, according to the Boston Business Journal.

That was followed up with its first clinical trial, which was completed in 2012, testing dispensing osteoarthritis medications.
via The Register

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Tags : medical, IoT,    0 comments  
Jul 09, 2014

MIT finger device reads to the blind in real time

posted by Larra Morris

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Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing an audio reading device to be worn on the index finger of people whose vision is impaired, giving them affordable and immediate access to printed words.

The so-called FingerReader, a prototype produced by a 3-D printer, fits like a ring on the user’s finger, equipped with a small camera that scans text. A synthesized voice reads words aloud, quickly translating books, restaurant menus and other needed materials for daily living, especially away from home or office.
via Boston.com

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Image: AP

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Jul 09, 2014

Hospitals hope to predict illness by analyzing your spending habits

posted by Larra Morris

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Advertisers aren't the only ones interested in your spending habits — hospitals and insurance companies are taking note as well. Carolinas HealthCare, which operates hundreds of healthcare facilities from hospitals to nursing homes and care centers throughout North and South Carolina, is purchasing transaction data and other information on its patients to try and get ahead of any medical problems, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

The data, including purchase history and information like car loans, is put through an algorithm that gives a risk score to patients. That score can then be shared with doctors. A representative from Carolinas HealthCare tells the magazine that it plans to start routinely giving those scores to health-care professionals in two years' time, and it hopes to do more with the data. 
via The Verge

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Jul 09, 2014

A 3D visualization of the risk to surrounding New York City buildings imposed by the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man

posted by Larra Morris

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Software provider Cube Cities has created a visualization of the risk to surrounding buildings in New York City posed by the presence of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man to promote its risk mapping services. The giant, sentient mascot from Ghostbusters was placed on a Google Map at 52nd Street to highlight potential rampage.
via Laughing Squid

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Jul 08, 2014

Modern kids react to playing Game Boy

posted by Laura Domela

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To celebrate the 25th anniversary of handheld console, The Fine Brothers gave a bunch of kids Game Boys and asked them what they thought of them. SPOILER: Not impressed. So not impressed some of them can't even understand how people could have possibly enjoyed playing with them. Spoiled little jerks. I used to play marbles and have checker wars with my brother when I was a kid. I am well over 200 years old.
via Geekologie

 

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Tags : video games,    0 comments  
Jul 08, 2014

Connect 4 Robot taunts you before kicking your butt

posted by Larra Morris

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[Patrick McCabe] is a student at MIT and for his final project in his Microcomputer Project Laboratory course he decided to build a clever Connect 4 Robot.

The only criteria for the project was that you have to use the Cypress PSOC 5LP kit along with a 8051 micro-controller or equivalent (programmed in the same assembly language as the PSOC). All in all, [Patrick] had 5 weeks to work on the project.

He’s using a regular old Connect 4 game along with an assortment of custom parts. A stepper motor drives the token carriage back and forth across a 15″ aluminum channel using a timing belt. A servo releases the tokens, and all the other components, brackets, and other pieces were either made with his very own UP Mini 3D printer, or out of acrylic using the school’s laser cutter.
via Hack a Day

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Jul 08, 2014

The weird reason why so many turtles are delaying flights at JFK

posted by Laura Domela

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Remember when dozens of mating turtles shut down a whole runaway at JFK International Airport in 2009? It was only the start of a turtle invasion that has vexed travelers and perplexed biologists for years. But we may have figured out why turtles are all over the tarmac, and it has to do with raccoons.

Turtles can be a major hazard on the runway, and they've been responsible for many a delayed flight. Diamondback terrapins crawl into JFK from nearby Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, but they didn't start causing major problems until a few years ago. Airport has since removed hundreds of the turtles and laid down miles of black tubing under the airport's perimeter fence.
via Gizmodo

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Image: Diamondback terrapin, BS Thurner Hof/Wikimedia Commons

Tags : transportation, animals,    0 comments  
Jul 08, 2014

Tiny walking robots powered by muscle cells

posted by Larra Morris

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Most robots are powered by electrical motors that are big, bulky, heavy, and if they break, you have to replace them. Animals, on the other hand, use a biological motor—a muscle—that also requires electricity, but is far more efficient and, given a chance, can repair itself. We're just starting to be able to manipulate biological structures like these in clever enough ways to let us harness their awesomeness, and engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have worked them into a tiny little "bio-bot" that uses muscle cells to walk.
via IEEE Spectrum

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Image: UIUC 

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Jul 08, 2014

Drug companies may soon have to tweet dangerous side effects

posted by Larra Morris

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The FDA has proposed a new set of social media guidelines that will require drug companies to tweet their products’ side-effects to the world, reports The Wall Street Journal. Though still tentative, the proposal would make it so that all the benefits and the side-effects of a company's products — even the most dangerous ones — will need to be condensed in single, 140-character tweet.

If a firm "concludes that adequate benefit and risk information, as well as other required information, cannot all be communicated within the same tweet, then the firm should reconsider using Twitter for the intended promotional message," the FDA wrote in the regulations.
via The Verge

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Image: Mattza 

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Jul 07, 2014

The 66 gestures chimpanzees use to communicate with each other

posted by Laura Domela

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Chimpanzees are extremely intelligent animals, there’s no doubt about that, but a new study published in Current Biology reveals the extent of their intelligence in the area of communication.

It seems chimps have developed a rather elaborate intentional communication system that consists of nineteen different messages, ranging from Let’s Groom! to Flirt with me…, which are relayed using 66 different gestures.
via Neatorama

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Tags : communication, animals,    0 comments  
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