Nvidia May Be Lone Rider on Next Big Technology Wave Robotics

first_imgDell’s most forward-looking people spoke about the future at Dell World a few weeks ago. One of the sessions I attended dovetailed with something that appears to be glaringly obvious — to me, anyway — which is that is that robots likely will be the next big technology wave.I then wandered around to find out what Dell was doing in robotics, and I couldn’t find anything. Dell is not alone, as I’m not aware of any of the current leading technology firms doing anything in robotics with one exception: Nvidia.Nvidia also figured out early that autonomous cars were going to be a thing and largely pivoted from the mobile device efforts that were not going much of anyplace to self-driving cars. It now dominates the important part of that trend — the brain.Well last week, Nvidia announced Isaac, which is based on its Jetson platform, and it is targeting robotics. Once again, Nvidia has anticipated the future and, in its segment, is largely going it alone.Applying what it learned developing autonomous vehicles gave the company a huge jump on this segment, and its initial offering looks surprisingly mature as a result. I’ll share some observations about what Nvidia’s Isaac is going to enable and close with my product of the week: Cinego, a movie-watching solution that provides a big screen experience on your head and actually is damn comfortable. I had two issues. One was a slight amount of light bleed on the side of my head. The other was that I couldn’t seem to get Amazon Prime Video to allow me to upgrade the app, because I couldn’t log into the Google store (this was weird because I could log into Google on the included browser).Netflix worked just fine though, and it also supports Hulu, You Tube and a variety of other video apps. You can connect the device to DVD players, smartphones or PCs, but its greatest strength is as a standalone device (it has its own battery).An ideal use for this is in bed when you don’t want to keep your spouse awake, or anyplace where you want to be isolated from what is going on around you. I’m thinking this would be great in a Dentist’s office during teeth cleaning (when I’m often bored).I have a feeling there is motion sickness risk in cars and planes, as that has been a problem with other head-mounted movie solutions in the past with regard to moving vehicles.If it weren’t so expensive, I’d suggest it as a tool to quiet your kid, but kids are pretty hard on stuff like this and $500 is a lot to lose if they brake the device.Overall, I’m really impressed with this thing, and I am looking for other places to use it. I just wish it had come with a travel case. I don’t impress easily, so the Cinego personal cinema is my product of the week.The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network. Rob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of interest include AI, autonomous driving, drones, personal technology, emerging technology, regulation, litigation, M&E, and technology in politics. He has an MBA in human resources, marketing and computer science. He is also a certified management accountant. Enderle currently is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group, a consultancy that serves the technology industry. He formerly served as a senior research fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester. Email Rob. I buy one or two things a quarter on Indiegogo, and the concept of Cinego caught my eye. The idea was to put a high-resolution screen focused not on virtual reality but on watching video, though it also will play some games.At a cost of about US$500 for the full kit, it isn’t a cheap date, but having received it last week, I don’t think it is a bad deal either. The resolution is impressive (4K), and you can adjust the focus for each eye (an important feature for me because I’ve had the surgery that allows one of my eyes to see distance and the other to see close up).The device will both hold and stream movies on WiFi, and it takes a micro-SD card for memory. It has both a touchpad and circular controls for navigation (like the remote on an Amazon Fire TV).You use your own headphones, which is nice, because you can pick the type you like — but it does make putting the thing on a bit more awkward. Once on, though, watching an entire movie isn’t a problem and the picture is pretty amazing. The Robotic Future of Isaac Cinego 4K Headset It amazes me that Nvidia has been able to do this twice. It anticipated the technology need for autonomous cars and the far larger coming wave of robotics.I don’t think we yet realize how the coming wave of robots will change our lives, hopefully for the better. It certainly will be amazing, and with the boost Nvidia got from autonomous cars, the result will come far faster than I think any of us realize.I just wonder how long it will be before the other tech companies catch on. I’m just looking forward to being able to sleep in and let something else do my winter morning chores. The Elements of Success Using this system, developers should be able to give the robot the ability to respond to commands, read labels on food packaging and medicine bottles, and perform many of the same tasks as a caregiver over time.Unlike with a monkey or a dog, should something happen to the robot requiring a replacement, the specific training could be passed on, so that the new robot wouldn’t need to be retrained. Able to come when called, recognize danger, and automatically call for help, this emerging generation of care robots could reduce massively the cost of caring for those who have limited mobility.Applied to a class of cleaning robots, this technology could make the Roombas of today look positively ancient. They would be able to dust, vacuum, mop, clean windows, and potentially even cook food — initially basic meals like TV dinners. Eventually, they could evolve into full home care providers.Outside, the robotic lawnmowers of today are very limited, requiring electronic borders and generally bouncing around the lawn like the first-generation Roombas. With this advanced ability to make decisions, the robot could not only make the lawn look better, but also issue alerts about problems, make recommendations about how to fix them, and begin to execute the fixes at an ever-more-capable scale.Trimming hedges — and, depending on the model, trees — as well as doing menial labor like pulling weeds would be well within the platform’s capabilities, once trained. I’m thinking shoveling snow or running the snow blower on those frigid winter days could be the killer app in colder climates. Self-driving cars are basically robots that carry people. They are very advanced, because these robots must be able to deal with a massive variety of changing conditions in real time. Using a blend of cameras and technologies like LIDAR, they must look for and anticipate problems, respond to them in milliseconds, and ensure the safety of the vehicle, passengers, and anyone near the vehicle.They are far more advanced and faster, in terms of being able to think and form decisions, than most defense systems, most computer systems, and most traffic control systems. They have to be — otherwise, they wouldn’t be safe on the road.One of the elements Nvidia realized it needed late in the process was the ability to create electronic simulations of various traffic, road and weather conditions, and train the autonomous driving computers at computer speed.Previously, training had been done at human speed on real roads, which limited significantly the system’s learning speed and created potential life-threatening risks. Training on a virtual system entails little or no risk, so the result of the pivot to simulation was a massive increase in system capabilities.Nvidia has applied these same tools to Isaac, and the result is that its robotic solution starts out years ahead of where it otherwise might be.So, the end result is a robotic intelligence system with much of the power of Nvidia’s Autonomous Vehicle system, giving it the ability to navigate, see and make decisions. Even voice command is built in, given that you largely will interface with an autonomous vehicle with your voice. Autonomous cars can read signs, so the robots based on this technology should be able to read as well. Wrapping Up: Nvidia Is Right Againlast_img read more

Scientists develop new stem cell line to study conversion of stem cells

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 13 2018To help patients with muscle disorders, scientists at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) have engineered a new stem cell line to study the conversion of stem cells into muscle. Findings appeared in Cell Reports.”We have also developed a more efficient strategy to make muscles from human stem cells. Scientists can use these cells for disease modeling, gene correction, and potential cell therapy,” said Radbod Darabi, MD, PhD, the study’s senior author and an assistant professor in the Center for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.Muscle disorders such as muscular dystrophy cause muscles to weaken and deteriorate, and they affect more than 50,000 people in the United States. Symptoms include difficulty walking and standing. In severe cases, the disorders might involve cardiac and respiratory muscles and lead to death. There is no cure.Darabi’s team engineered a novel human stem cell line for skeletal muscle. To ensure the purity of the muscle stem cells, they tagged muscle genes (PAX7, MYF5) with two fluorescent proteins. “In order to improve the formation of the muscle from stem cells, we screened several bioactive compounds. We were also able to observe muscle stem cell activity in great detail using color tags,” he said.In the lab housed in the Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases at UTHealth, the team used a gene-editing method called CRISPR/Cas9 to add the fluorescent tags to the genes.The stem cells were generated from a patient’s skin cells and used to generate muscle. “Our current research provides a step-by-step roadmap to make muscle stem cells from these cells,” Darabi said.Related StoriesNANOLIVE‘s novel CX-A defines a new standard for live cell imaging in 96 well plates for continuous organelle monitoring in cell populationsAlternate cell growth pathway could open door to new treatments for metastatic cancersExciting study shows how centrioles center the process of cell divisionThe team’s “approach also allowed induction and purification of skeletal myogenic progenitors in a much shorter time course (2 weeks) with considerable in vitro and in vivo myogenic potential (myofiber engraftment and satellite cell seeding),” the authors wrote.The modified stem cells produced promising results in a culture of human tissue, as well as in a mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. “In a side-by-side comparison with previous strategies, our strategy allowed faster and more efficient generation of muscle stem cells with superior engraftment in mice,” Darabi said.Darabi believes these muscle stem cells will initially be used by researchers to study the pathophysiology of muscular dystrophies, create disease models that scientists can use to test promising drugs, or evaluate gene correction efficiency.Human bodies are constantly replacing skeletal muscle cells but muscle disorders make it difficult to replenish muscle due to the failure and exhaustion of muscle stem cells. It is Darabi’s hope that the cells can one day be used as a form of stem cell therapy.Darabi’s UTHealth coauthors are Jianbo Wu, PhD (lead author); Nadine Matthias, DVM; Jonathan Lo; Jose L. Ortiz-Vitali; and Sidney Wang, PhD. Also contributing to the paper’s research is Annie Shieh, PhD, of State University of New York Medical School in Syracuse. Source:https://www.uth.edu/media/story.htm?id=0bb3835e-f252-4d22-90ca-fef45efca2dblast_img read more

Fundamentals applications and methods of machine learning used in epigenetics

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 20 2018Machine learning is the study of algorithms and statistical models that computer systems use to progressively improve their performance on a specific task. It is clearly visible that, machine learning is essential in this era in which we are living in, when there is huge amount of epigenetic data present coming from experiments and the clinic. Machine learning can aid in detection of epigenetic features in a given genome. Machine learning also helps in finding similarities and relationships between phenotypes and modifications in histones and genes. It also helps to accelerate the screening of lead compounds which are targeting markers for epigenetics diseases. Along with these uses, there are many other aspects around the study on epigenetics, which consequently bring us closer to realize our current hopes in precision medicine. Many new studies in precision medicine targeting epigenetic disease biomarkers are therefore now possible because of the fact that machine learning algorithms have accelerated processes used for data analyses. Therefore, in order to take full benefit of machine learning algorithms, one should get familiar with the pros and cons of them as it is one way to bring optimum use out of them.In this review, the authors discuss the fundamentals and the important points of machine learning, the applications of machine learning, the methods which are used in the field of epigenetics and their features. The advantages and disadvantages of using machine language for research in epigenetics are also discussed.Source: https://benthamscience.com/last_img read more

Tumorfighting protein also promotes cancer growth shows study

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 1 2019Search for a description of “p53” and it becomes clear that this human protein is widely known for its cancer-fighting benefits, leading to its renown as “the guardian of the genome.”Scientists at the University of California San Diego have published a new study challenging that description.Studying the “wild type” version of p53 (WTp53), the form that exists broadly in nature, Jinchul Kim, Lili Yu, Xuemei Fu, Yang Xu and their colleagues found evidence that in certain cases, WTp53 instead plays a role in promoting tumors, rather than suppressing them. This finding explains an established paradox that, whereas p53 is mutated in more than 50 percent of all human cancers, it is not frequently mutated in certain human cancers, such as liver cancer.Related StoriesMother calls for protein shake regulation after daughter diesHow cell-free DNA can be targeted to prevent spread of tumorsCancer killing capability of lesser-known immune cells identifiedIn the January 31 issue of Cancer Cell, the scientists describe the culmination of more than four years of research on liver cancer that shows that WTp53 stimulates tumor growth by enhancing cancer metabolism. The key, according to the researchers, is a protein known as PUMA (the acronym for “p53 upregulated modulator of apoptosis”), which works inside mitochondria, the energy hub of cells. The researchers found that, at appropriate levels, PUMA disrupts normal function of mitochondria and causes a switch from oxidative phosphorylation, a process for efficient energy production in cells, to glycolysis, an alternative energy path that helps boost cancer metabolism.”The widely accepted idea is that p53 suppresses cancer, but in our study we would argue against that,” said Xu, a professor in the Division of Biological Sciences’ Section of Molecular Biology. “In some cancers it would have the opposite effect by promoting cancer.”Xu indicates that p53 indeed halts the initiation of tumors by reducing the oxidative phosphorylation that produces genome toxins. However, once tumors are established, p53 may function to enhance tumor progression.”It’s actually the same function but playing exactly the opposite role in two different contexts,” said Xu of the research findings, which were based on a mix of data from cell samples, mouse models and human patients.Xu says the research provides a warning for cancer drug discovery. Drug therapies designed to enhance p53’s function in cancer patients may be inadvertently causing an opposite effect.”This role of WTp53 can resolve several long-lasting paradoxes in p53 biology and will be instrumental in the development of cancer therapy, especially in the context of the highly pursued strategies to eliminate human cancer by either activating WTp53 or restoring WTp53 function to p53 mutants in cancers,” the authors note in the paper. Source:https://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/pressrelease/opposite_effect_protein_widely_known_to_fight_tumors_also_boosts_cancer_growth?_ga=2.198031343.1772436139.1548916678-1199759986.1548916678last_img read more

Skipping breakfast found to be common among children with unhealthy lifestyle profile

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 7 2019Skipping breakfast was common in an observational study of schoolchildren in Greece, and children who skipped breakfast tended to have an unhealthy lifestyle profile. The Nutrition & Dietetics findings may be useful for developing policies designed to increase breakfast consumption in children.In the study of 177,091 Greek children aged eight to 17 years old, almost one in four schoolchildren (22.4 percent of boys and 23.1 percent of girls) skipped breakfast. Characteristics associated with skipping breakfast were being female, being older, being overweight/obese, having a poorer diet, getting inadequate physical activity, having insufficient sleep, and having increased screen time.After adjustments for several confounding factors, poor dietary habits, insufficient sleep (less than eight hours), and increased screen time (more than two hours) increased the odds for skipping breakfast by 80 percent, 23 percent, and 22.5 percent, respectively.​ Source:https://newsroom.wiley.com/press-release/nutrition-dietetics/study-examines-which-schoolchildren-are-most-likely-skip-breakfastlast_img read more

Highdose standard radiation treatment welltolerated by patients with centrally located NSCLC

first_img Source:https://www.nrgoncology.org/News/Research-Results/High-dose-Stereotactic-Body-Radiotherapy-Well-tolerated-by-Patients-with-Centrally-Located-Lung-Tumors Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Apr 5 2019Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT), a high-dose, precisely delivered radiotherapy, is considered the standard treatment for patients with medically inoperable, node-negative, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, this well-tolerated radiation treatment was not previously tested in centrally located NSCLC due to the fact that patients with centrally located lung tumors demonstrate a higher risk for toxicity if treated with high SBRT doses.The NRG Oncology clinical study NRG-RTOG 0813 was designed to find the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of SBRT for centrally located NSCLC in medically inoperable patients. The seamless Phase I/II study examined a 5 fraction, dose escalating schedule of SBRT that ranged from 10 to 12 Gy/fraction delivered over 1.5 to 2 weeks in 120 accrued patients from the United States and Canada. Results of this study are published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.Related StoriesAdult survivors of pediatric brain tumors may experience cognitive, socioeconomic burdensRadiation associated with increased risk of adverse cardiac events in lung cancer patientsStudy shows both IDH-mutant WHO-defined molecular subgroups could benefit from PCV chemoradiotherapyThe MTD was the highest dose level allowed by the protocol, 12.0 Gy per fraction in 5 fractions, and was associated with a 7.2% dose-limiting toxicity (DLT), defined as any treatment-related grade 3 or worse from a list of predefined toxicity types which occurred within the first year. The DLT rate of 7.2% is significantly below the protocol-specified target rate of 20%. Treatment was also associated with high rates of tumor control.”The patients who enrolled into NRG-RTOG 0813 were medically inoperable with early stage lung cancer, mostly elderly and with co-morbidities. The two-year overall survival rates for patients at the two highest doses were 70% which is comparable to patients with peripheral early stage tumors that were treated by SBRT,” stated Andrea Bezjak, MD, of the Princess Margaret Cancer Center and the lead author of NRG-RTOG 0813.Two-year rates for the 71 evaluable patients in the 11.5Gy/fr and 12.0Gy/fr cohorts were: local control 89.4% (90% CI:81.6-97.4), 87.9% (90% CI :78.8-97.0); overall survival 67.9% (95%:50.4-80.3), 72.7% (95%:54.1-84.8); progression-free survival 52.2% (95%:35.3-66.6), 54.5% (95%:36.3-69.6).”This trial demonstrated our ability to provide local control and potential for cure in patients with centrally located, node-negative tumors in multiple institutions, while maintaining plan qualities, achieving good patient outcomes, and only allowing modest rates of toxicity,” added Dr. Bezjak.last_img read more

Unmanned aircraft delivers donor kidney to surgeons at UMMC for transplantation

first_img Source:University of Maryland Medical Center Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 27 2019In a first-ever advancement in human medicine and aviation technology, a University of Maryland unmanned aircraft has delivered a donor kidney to surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) in Baltimore for successful transplantation into a patient with kidney failure. This successful demonstration illustrates the potential of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for providing organ deliveries that, in many cases, could be faster, safer, and more widely available than traditional transport methods.The momentous flight on April 19, 2019 was a collaboration between transplant physicians and researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) in Baltimore; aviation and engineering experts at the University of Maryland (UMD); the University of Maryland Medical Center; and collaborators at the Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland (The LLF).”This major advance in human medicine and transplantation exemplifies two key components of our mission: innovation and collaboration,” said E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, UM Baltimore, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean, University of Maryland School of Medicine. “Innovation is at the heart of our focus on accelerating the pace and scope of discovery, where research can rapidly transform medicine. At the same time, collaboration is the key to our success in providing discovery-based medicine – both in conducting research and in delivering the highest quality patient care.”The kidney recipient, a 44-year-old woman from Baltimore, who spent eight years on dialysis before undergoing the transplant procedure, said, “This whole thing is amazing. Years ago, this was not something that you would think about,” she said. She was discharged from UMMC on Tuesday.”For more than 25 years, the University of Maryland Medical Center has provided cutting-edge care in organ transplantation,” said Mohan Suntha, MD, MBA, President and CEO of the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. “Our Transplant Program cares for patients who come from our local community, the state and the nation, many of whom have been turned away at other hospitals, because we have the skill, talent and knowledge to advance even the most complex transplant cases, often times not just improving but saving lives.”Maryland faculty and researchers believe this prototype organ transport blazes a trail for the use of UAS to expand access to donated organs, improving outcomes for more people in need of organ transplants.”As a result of the outstanding collaboration among surgeons, engineers, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), organ procurement specialists, pilots, nurses, and, ultimately, the patient, we were able to make a pioneering breakthrough in transplantation,” said Joseph Scalea, MD, assistant professor of surgery at UMSOM, project lead, and one of the surgeons who performed the transplant at UMMC.Among the many technological firsts of this effort include: a specially designed, high-tech apparatus for maintaining and monitoring a viable human organ; a custom-built UAS with eight rotors and multiple powertrains to ensure consistently reliable performance, even in the case of a possible component failure; the use of a wireless mesh network to control the UAS, monitor aircraft status, and provide communications for the ground crew at multiple locations; and aircraft operating systems that combined best practices from both UAS and organ transport standards.”We had to create a new system that was still within the regulatory structure of the FAA, but also capable of carrying the additional weight of the organ, cameras, and organ tracking, communications, and safety systems over an urban, densely populated area–for a longer distance and with more endurance,” said Matthew Scassero, MPA, director of UMD’s UAS Test Site, part of A. James Clark School of Engineering. “There’s a tremendous amount of pressure knowing there’s a person waiting for that organ, but it’s also a special privilege to be a part of this critical mission.”Prior to this landmark organ delivery flight, the Maryland partners worked together to develop and test the UAS by first successfully transporting saline, blood tubes, and other materials, and then by transporting a healthy, but nonviable, human kidney. These test flights were preceded in 2016 by the state of Maryland’s first civil unmanned aerial delivery of simulated medical cargo, a collaborative effort between UMD’s UAS Test Site and the University of Maryland Shore Regional Health in Easton, Maryland, to illustrate how the use of UAS could radically change medical care and impact the lives of real people.Related StoriesIndigestion remedy improves survival in people with late-stage CKDScientists develop new class of drugs to treat hereditary kidney diseaseResearchers investigate whether hypertension poses health risk to older kidney donorsAdvancing Transplantation through UAS TransportTransportation logistics are often the most complicated part of the organ transplant process–and how long an organ remains viable throughout travel is a major issue. Transport methods typically involve expensive chartered flights or rely on variable commercial flights, and occasionally result in an organ left on a plane or other delays that destroy the organ’s viability. These current transport methods also don’t adequately cover many parts of the county, such as rural or geographically remote areas, which limits access in these areas both to organ donations and organ transplants.According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, which manages the organ transplant system in the United States, in 2018 there were nearly 114,000 people on waiting lists for an organ transplant; about 1.5 percent of deceased donor organ shipments did not make it to the intended destination; and nearly four percent of organ shipments had an unanticipated delay of two or more hours.”There remains a woeful disparity between the number of recipients on the organ transplant waiting list and the total number of transplantable organs. This new technology has the potential to help widen the donor organ pool and access to transplantation,” said Scalea. “Delivering an organ from a donor to a patient is a sacred duty with many moving parts. It is critical that we find ways of doing this better.”Beating the organ transplant clock is a key responsibility of U.S. organ procurement organizations, including project collaborator, The LLF. “The University of Maryland UAS project is incredibly important,” said Charlie Alexander, Chief Executive Officer of The LLF, noting that the work is at the proof-of-concept stage. “If we can prove that this works, then we can look at much greater distances of unmanned organ transport. This would minimize the need for multiple pilots and flight time and address safety issues we have in our field.”Designing a UAS Organ Delivery SystemTo create a UAS designed to carry an organ and provide real-time monitoring of its condition, Scalea partnered with several medical technology companies to design and develop the Human Organ Monitoring and Quality Assurance Apparatus for Long-Distance Travel (HOMAL; patent pending). It measures and maintains temperature, barometric pressure, altitude, vibration, and location (via GPS) during transportation and transmits the information to the smartphones of transplant personnel.The needed unmanned aircraft and operating systems were designed by UMD UAS Test Site engineers to meet the rigid medical, technical, and regulatory demands of carrying a donor organ for human transplantation.”We built in a lot of redundancies, because we want to do everything possible to protect the payload,” said Anthony Pucciarella, director of operations at the UMD UAS Test Site. These safeguards included backup propellers and motors, dual batteries, a backup power distribution board, and a parachute recovery system (in case the entire aircraft fails).”This history-making flight not only represents a breakthrough from a technological point of view, but provides an exemplary demonstration of how engineering expertise and ingenuity ultimately serve human needs – in this case, the need to improve the reliability and efficiency of organ delivery to hospitals conducting transplant surgery,” said Darryll J. Pines, Ph.D., dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering and Nariman Farvardin Professor of Aerospace Engineering. “As astonishing as this breakthrough is from a purely engineering point of view, there’s a larger purpose at stake. It’s ultimately not about the technology; it’s about enhancing human life.”last_img read more

High childhood BMI associated with later risk of developing hypertensive disorders during

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 29 2019A study of nearly 50,000 women in Denmark, presented at this year’s European Congress on Obesity in in Glasgow, Scotland (28 April-1 May), reveals that those with overweight or obesity in childhood were more likely to develop hypertensive disorders during pregnancy than women of normal weight in childhood. The study is by Dorthe Corfitzen Pedersen, PhD student, the Center for Clinical Research and Prevention at Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark and colleagues.The findings build on two well-known observations: women with overweight or obesity are at greater risks of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy than women with normal-weight; and excess adiposity (severe overweight or obesity) takes time to develop. Hypertensive disorders in pregnancy are of particular concern since they can endanger the lives of both the mother and her unborn child.For these analyses the authors used data on 49,615 girls from the Copenhagen School Health Records Register, born from 1930-1996 (and aged 23-90 years now). Annual height and weight measurements were collected from ages 7-13 years.Related StoriesGuidelines to help children develop healthy habits early in lifeWhy Mattresses Could be a Health Threat to Sleeping ChildrenResearchers identify gene mutations linked to leukemia in children with Down’s syndromeThe researchers defined overweight and obesity at ages 7 and 13 years according to the International Obesity Task Force body mass index cut offs (BMI ?17.69 kg/m2 at age 7 years and 22.49 kg/m2 at age 13 years). Using national registers, they identified girls who later became pregnant and those who developed gestational hypertension or preeclampsia from 1978-2017. Women were included in the study if they were in the age-range of 18-45 years and gave birth to a single baby in their first recorded birth.After estimating the odds ratios (OR) for the association between childhood BMI and hypertensive disorders during pregnancy, using a statistical technique called multivariate logistic regression, the team found that compared to girls with normal-weight, those with overweight at ages 7 or 13 years were significantly more likely to develop gestational hypertension (increased risk: 1.9 and 2.0 times, respectively) and preeclampsia (increased risk 1.6 and 2.3 times, respectively) when adjusted for maternal age at delivery and maternal birth cohort (all results were statistically significant).When looking at patterns of change in BMI, girls with overweight at 13 years only or at both 7 and 13 years were around twice as likely to develop gestational hypertension and preeclampsia during pregnancy than girls with normal-weight at both ages.The team concludes: “A high childhood BMI at ages 7 and 13 years in girls was significantly associated with the later risk of developing gestational hypertension and preeclampsia during pregnancy. These results suggest that preventive efforts aimed at helping girls attain a normal weight during these years may benefit both their own health and the health of children they may have in future.”Source: https://easo.org/last_img read more

Mobile phone app may help boost and maintain physical activity in women

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)May 25 2019Activity trackers and mobile phone apps are all the rage, but do they really help users increase and maintain physical activity? A new study has found that one mobile phone app designed for inactive women did help when combined with an activity tracker and personal counseling.Researchers said the findings offer important clues about how to make such app-based interventions successful–motivational messages and interactive feedback were notable features in this case. But they also highlight their limitations, as the app did not appear to be key in helping the women stay motivated past the first three months. Understanding what did, the researchers said, could eventually help the development of more effective technologies that can get people active and keep them active.Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, the study is one of the first to examine how an app-based program can help increase and maintain objectively measured daily physical activity. It was published online on May 24 in JAMA Network Open, a peer-reviewed online-only journal. Regular physical activity has long been shown to reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and other chronic conditions. However, according to the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, nearly 80% of adults are not meeting the recommended activity level. Women across all age groups are less likely to be physically active than men. While apps and physical activity trackers have become extremely popular way to break some of those barriers, their long-term effectiveness remains unclear.Previous activity app trials have been frequently short, and their sample sizes small, and most did not monitor activity objectively and continually. The current study, which lasted nine months, was called the mobile phone based physical activity education (mPED) trial. Fukuoka’s research group designed their app specifically for physically inactive women, incorporating behavioral change strategies known to work well for this group, such as personalized goal setting, self-monitoring, social support, and feedback. It was critical, the researchers said, that the women were able to engage with the program at home.The app, which was developed exclusively for the study and is not commercially available, had three main functions, including a pre-programed interactive daily message or video that reinforced what was learned during a beginning counseling session, and a daily activity diary to record progress. The app automatically increased the participants’ activity goals by 20 percent each week to 10,000 steps daily. To improve adherence, participants received an automated message if the app had not been used for three consecutive days.Related StoriesExercise during pregnancy can promote bone health of both mother and childReview provides new recommendations to manage menopausal symptoms after breast cancerExposure to nearby greenspace associated with reduced cravingsThe trial involved 210 physically inactive women, ages 25 and 65. They were equally divided into three groups–a control that had no intervention but used a tracking device for the nine months of the trial; a “regular” group that got counseling and used the tracker and the app for three months, then used only the tracker for the remaining six months; and a “plus” group that got counseling and used the tracker and the app for the entire nine months. Unlike most other studies, the researchers measured women’s activity every 60 seconds, every day for nine months, instead of relying on self-reported activity or intermittent activity measured by the tracker.During the first three months, the tracker showed that, compared to the control group, the women in the regular and plus groups logged about 2,000 steps more per day, equivalent to approximately 1 mile or 20 minutes of walking. They also increased their moderate to vigorous physical activity by 18 minutes a day.In the following six-month maintenance period, however, the regular and plus groups logged about 1,400 steps more than the control group and got in eight more minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity. Researchers said these findings show that the women were able to sustain an impressive level of activity above their starting point.However, continued use of the app by the plus group did not add any extra benefit to help maintain this increased activity, compared to the regular group, which had stopped using the app after the first three months.”Sustaining any behavior change is difficult in general, and in particular, sustaining the increased physical activity that resulted after the intervention,” Fukuoka said. “Still, it is encouraging to see that 97.6% of women in our trial completed a nine-month visit and kept up part of their increased activity.”The researchers’ next goal is to refine maintenance strategies that can help maintain those increased levels of activity over a longer period.According to the study, the intervention appeared to be equally effective, no matter the user’s age, race and ethnicity, body mass index, education, and household income, but the researchers cautioned that the findings might not be generalizable to men.The research is part of a larger NIH effort to explore better ways to improve cardiovascular health.”Exercise is just one pillar in a heart-healthy lifestyle and should complement other heart-healthy changes, such as choosing a healthy diet, aiming for a healthy weight, managing stress, getting sufficient sleep, and quitting smoking,” said Josephine Boyington, Ph.D., the NHLBI project officer for the study. “People should talk to their doctors about what changes are best for optimizing their individual heart-health plans.” We showed that if you design an activity app using an evidence-based approach, it will be more effective. Our findings could go a long way to get more people to move, particularly women.”Study Leader Yoshimi Fukuoka, Ph.D., R.N., a Professor in the Department of Physiological Nursing at the University of California, San Franciscocenter_img Source:NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institutelast_img read more

Crashrelated reports from Waze users could reduce emergency response time in half

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)May 26 2019FindingsWaze, the crowdsourced traffic application, could potentially help first responders reach a car crash in half the time it currently takes. A study by UCLA and UC Irvine researchers found that crash-related reports from Waze users came an average of two minutes and 41 seconds earlier than reports received by California Highway Patrol emergency personnel. In cases when a crash was reported by multiple Waze users, the earliest reports were submitted even faster -; an average of four minutes and three seconds prior to a CHP report.BackgroundRelated StoriesTen-fold rise in tongue-tie surgery for newborns ‘without any real strong data’Personalizing Nutritional Medicine With the Power of NMROlympus Europe and Cytosurge join hands to accelerate drug development, single cell researchMore than 100 people die and 2.5 million are transported to emergency departments each year in the U.S. due to motor vehicle collisions. The time between a 911 call and the arrival of emergency medical service units to accident sites generally ranges from seven to 14 minutes.MethodResearchers examined data on collisions, road hazards and weather conditions between June 12 and August 1, 2018, from the CHP (7,776 collision reports) and Waze (406,559 user reports). Their model included report time, location, type of incident and user confidence in the reports.The study’s limitations include the inability to validate the accuracy of Waze reports. Also, the researchers cannot determine whether the findings would also apply to rural areas or to other states.ImpactEmergency services could use Waze users’ accident reports to more quickly dispatch crews to accident sites, and emergency centers could be better prepared to receive people who are injured patients, which could lead to better medical outcomes.Source:UCLAJournal reference:Chakravarthy, B. et al. (2019) Crowdsourced Traffic Data as an Emerging Tool to Monitor Car Crashes. JAMA Surgery. doi.org/10.1001/jamasurg.2019.1167.last_img read more

Warning issued by FDA after patient dies following fecal transplant

first_imgBy Sally Robertson, B.Sc.Jun 14 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)A warning from the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was issued yesterday after a patient died due to receiving a fecal transplant that contained drug-resistant bacteria. Such transplants are carried out to treat the infection Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) in patients who have failed to respond to standard treatments.Kateryna Kon | ShutterstockRecurrent C. difficile infections are caused by overgrowth of the microbe, which occurs when the normal composition of the gut microbiome becomes disrupted (dysbiosis) by the administration of antibiotics. Typically, the treatment approach is the use of long-term antibiotics. However, recurrence is common and the infection can be debilitating and lead to significantly reduced quality of life and poor health.Fecal transplants provide an alternative to antibioticsA fecal transplant involves slightly processed feces from a healthy person being transferred to the infected person’s gut to introduce beneficial or “friendly” bacteria. The procedure is intended to restore a diverse and stable gut microbiome that is in keeping with what would be considered a healthy bowel.A fecal transplant provides a more favorable combination of microbial species and strains that complements and replaces a microbiome that has become imbalanced. This restores stability, with the resulting microbiome comprised of all the necessary microorganisms.The only currently approved application of fecal transfer is in the treatment of recurrent C.difficile that continues after standard antibiotic treatment has been used. When the fecal transplant is used, relapse rates are significantly reduced.How do fecal transplants help patients overcome C. difficile infections?The gut microbiota is become increasingly important to researchers who have been discovering more and more about how it functions and contributes to bodily health.A disturbed gut microbiome can contribute to a number of chronic gut disorders and metabolic conditions such as diabetes and obesity. In this context, fecal transfer has emerged as promising approach to restoring a healthy gut microbiome in order to treat diseases of the gut. Evidence has previously demonstrated absolute efficacy when the approach is used to treat recurrent C. difficile.However, there are still questions surrounding the issues of safety and best practice. As interest in the benefits of fecal transplant grows, the potential need for better regulation is being brought to the fore.The FDA reportThe FDA reports that two adult patients with compromised immune systems who had transplants from the same donor became heavily infected with Escherichia coli (E.coli) that produces enzymes called extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL).Bacteria that produce ESBLs are resistant to many antibiotics including penicillin and cephalosporin. The ESBLs most commonly produced by E.coli are called CTX-M enzymes. When E.coli produces ESBLs, urinary tract infections develop that can lead to more serious infections such as septicemia, which can be fatal.When E.coli produces ESBLs and is therefore resistant to drugs, the infection becomes much more difficult to treat.The FDA says the stool was not checked for the presence of drug-resistant bacteria before the procedure. This only happened once the patients became ill, when a stored sample was tested and found to contain the resistant E.coli that had infected both patients.The failing in procedure has triggered the FDA to state that all potential donors must be screened from now on with questions and stool tests for drug-resistant bacteria.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), C. difficile causes almost half a million illnesses annually and can affect all age groups. The CDC also refers to antibiotic resistance as one of the largest public health threats we face today.One report by the CDC found that in the U.S., at least two million individuals acquire drug-resistant infections, which results in death in at least 23,000 cases.last_img read more

Portable device attached to smartphone can diagnose eye disease remotely

first_imgBy Angela Betsaida B. Laguipo, BSNJun 26 2019A portable device attached to a smartphone can help capture precise images of the retina to diagnose eye disease. The new method by a startup company, Phelcom Technologies, is a lower cost tool that can help doctors diagnose remotely, through telemedicine.The FAPESP’s Innovative Research in Small Business Program (PIPE) granted funding and support for Phelcom in 2016. With the grant, the team needed to develop a prototype, which has recently won funding for manufacture and commercialization of the device. Aside from the grant, the Albert Einstein Jewish-Brazilian Charitable Society (SBIBAE) has invested in Phelcom. Phelcom Eyer An app operating the optical device sends images of the retina over the internet to Eyer Cloud, which stores and manages patient files. Image Credit: Phelcom Technologies The device, called Eyer, is designed to light up and visualize the retina. It is connected to a smartphone’s camera. An application sends the captured images over the internet via the Eyer Cloud, which stores the patient files. The ophthalmologist can view the images remotely through the cloud by accessing the patient files.Due to lack of internet connection in some areas across the globe, the images are kept in the smartphone app and sent to the cloud when an internet connection, either Wi-Fi or 4G network is available. Help diagnose retinal eye diseasesThe new device can help diagnose eye diseases, particularly those affecting the retina. The retina is the light-sensing tissue found in the back of the eye. One of its roles is to relay images to the brain.Back-of-the-eye or fundus eye diseases include conditions such as Stargardt’s disease, macular degeneration, retinal tear, diabetic retinopathy and retinal detachment, among others. Stargardt’s disease refer to a group of inherited diseases that affects the light-sensitive cells in the retina to deteriorate. Macular degeneration is a condition where the center of the retina deteriorates, leading to blurred central vision or a blind spot. Retinal tear happens when the vitreous, or gel-like substance in the center of the eye shrinks, pulling the thin layer of tissue lining in the retina, causing a tissue break. Diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness in people with diabetes. It happens when the blood sugar shoots up, causing damage to the blood vessels supplying the retina.The Eyer ProjectRelated StoriesEarly clinical trial of new treatment for severe dry eye disease shows promising resultsDeveloping imaging techniques for early detection of eye and brain diseasesProtein found in the eye can protect against diabetic retinopathyIn March, Phelcom established its São Carlos factory after getting a certification from the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) and the National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology (INMETRO).The factory manufactures 30 units a month but is projected to reach about 100 units by the end of 2019. The device is priced at $5,000, accompanied by a high-quality smartphone. The device is way cheaper than conventional equipment. The currently-used ophthalmoscope device has to be connected to a computer to capture images and it costs around $30,000.  “We invested significantly in optics and in design. One challenge was producing a portable version of a device that is typically very large. Another was enabling nonmydriatic operation so that high-quality images of the retina can be captured without the need for pupil dilation,” José Augusto Stuchi, Phelcom CEO, said in a statement.The Eyer CloudThe company has also developed the Eyer Cloud, an innovation designed to store and manage all the data, including patient information and retinal images, acquired in the diagnostic test. The software works by organizing data, so doctors can remotely access for diagnosis.In contrast, current equipment used today needs to be attached to a computer. The Eyer is portable, easier to use, and more accessible. To set up the Eyer and its cloud, the user should create an account, where the images can be automatically saved.The researchers assured that all data are kept private and confidential. Also, they worked on making the transmitting of images from the device to the cloud faster, so doctors can access the images regardless of the device’s location.The device uses telemedicine, since a licensed or trained technician uses the device to capture the images and sends the photos to the cloud. Meanwhile, an ophthalmologist can visualize and analyze the photos in another location. The process makes diagnosing faster and more convenient.At present, the company plans to establish a partnership with ophthalmologists to develop a part of the system responsible for reporting. For doctors, the planned payment is by a monthly subscription and each report will roughly cost about $5 to $10.Artificial intelligenceAside from the cloud, the team is working on artificial intelligence to help in finding patterns, detecting diabetic retinopathy. The medical reports will be placed in a database, where the computer uses AI to find patterns linked to retinal diseases.A software, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), called IDx-DR, utilizes AI to examine eye images captured by a retinal camera. These images will be analyzed to detect diabetic retinopathy, potentially diagnosing the condition early to prevent blindness.The company has more than 10,000 images of the retina and projects about 50,000 patients next year. They plan to have the largest database across the globe. Source:http://pesquisaparainovacao.fapesp.br/portable_device_can_be_used_to_diagnose_eye_disease_remotely/1074last_img read more

In Ivory Coast drone academy offers youth the chance to soar

“Using helicopters is expensive, and on foot, you have to send out teams to areas which can be difficult to reach, which can create problems.”Immediate cost savingsThe financial savings are undeniable: the cost of purchasing a helicopter is around 500,000 euros, with each one hour flight costing another 1,200 euros.A drone, however, costs between 2,000 and 100,000 euros to buy, its upkeep is simple and flight costs are negligible.The company is hoping to improve its quality of service by reducing the average length of power outages—which are still relatively frequent in parts of the country—for its 1.3 million customers in Ivory Coast. “Drones have become my passion,” says Noursely Doumbia, who holds a degree in electronics and is currently learning to pilot drones as part of a pioneering programme in Ivory Coast’s economic capital Abidjan. © 2018 AFP This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. The training is being offered at a new “drone academy” which has been set up by the Ivorian Electricity Company (CIE) in order to revolutionise the inspection of its infrastructure and ultimately to reduce costs. Although common in Europe, the use of drones is still in its infancy in West Africa although the commercial market for unmanned aircraft is expanding.The aim is for CIE—which is majority-owned by France’s Eranove Group, a key provider of water and electricity in West Africa—to train around 20 local pilots to inspect its high-voltage lines which criss-cross the country, stretching more than 25,000 kilometres (15,500 miles). “We have a lot of problems with vegetation, we need to clear it all the time and it’s difficult because it’s all across the whole country,” explains Benjamin Mathon, a pilot who is in charge of CIE’s drone and youth training programme.Dirt tracks that are impassable following heavy rain, widespread areas of lush tropical vegetation and a patchy road network often conspire to make access to electricity pylons difficult in a country which covers 322,000 square kilometres (124,000 square miles)—nearly two-thirds the area of France.After overflying an area with a drone equipped with cameras and thermal and laser sensors, “we use artificial intelligence programmes which analyse the images for any defects, a rusty bolt on a pylon, a damaged cable,” explains Mathon.Slashing inspection times”The drone allows us to analyse a large number of lines in a short space of time, across great distances,” he says. Citation: In Ivory Coast, ‘drone academy’ offers youth the chance to soar (2018, March 25) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-ivory-coast-drone-academy-youth.html Explore further And it hopes to do the same for its customer base in neighbouring Ghana, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso and Mali.Since 2011, following a decade of political and military crisis, Ivory Coast has invested heavily in rebuilding its electricity grid, with the authorities planning to plough another 16 billion euros into the sector by 2030.”The electricity sector is evolving very fast, we must adopt new technologies and innovation,” said Kakou who says the company has already invested in electronic payment schemes and solar energy.Window on tomorrowBut the drone academy is not just serving the electricity sector: it is open to any business in West Africa which could benefit from the technology, from farming to mining, says Paul Ginies, director of the Centre for Electrical Professions, CIE’s training division.”These new professions provide a way in for young people,” he says. “I’m sure that young Africans are going to grab hold of this and surprise us by developing applications which we have not thought of. It’s their generation.”Alice Kouadio, another trainee pilot from the first group of students, has no doubt.”The world is a drone, it’s the promise of tomorrow.” The Ivorian Electricity Company (CIE) is using drones to revolutionise the inspection of its infrastructure Cameroon startup launches drones for global market Not only do students learn how to fly drones, as well as how to assemble and repair them, but are they also trained to use different software packages for analysing the images and resulting data, as well as geolocalisation and mapping.”This is a major technological leap forward for CIE” and its 4,500 employees, says CIE Director General Dominique Kakou. The drones enable CIE to “to inspect our infrastructure and ensure its safety in a much more pinpointed way, and also to optimise our costs and expenses,” he says. Before now, all inspections were done by helicopter or by teams on the ground, Mathon explains. Until now, inspections of Ivory Coast’s electricity network have been done by helicopter or by teams on the ground Students at CIE’s academy are taught how to assemble and maintain drones as well as learning to pilot the unmanned aircraft read more

Apple looks to return to head of class in education market

In this Oct. 19, 2017, photo, downtown buildings and a tour boat are reflected on the mirror behind an Apple logo during a preview event at an Apple Michigan Avenue store in downtown Chicago. Apple plans to hold at an education-focused event at Lane Technical College Prep High School in Chicago on Tuesday, March 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato) Apple is hoping to return to the head of the class in the competition to get high-tech products into U.S. classrooms. Google releases Chrome browser for iPhone, iPad Explore further Citation: Apple looks to return to head of class in education market (2018, March 27) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-apple-class.html © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The trend-setting company is expected to provide more details about its renewed emphasis on education Tuesday at a Chicago high school. The curriculum may include a lower-priced iPad and a variety of services tailored for students ranging from kindergarten through high school.Apple is trying to regain ground lost to rivals Google and Microsoft during the past few years.Google has emerged as the education leader in the U.S. market, thanks largely to laptop computers running on its Chrome software. Some of those so-called Chromebooks sell for $200 to $250 while the cheapest iPad currently costs $329.An even-lower priced iPad could help Apple teach Google a lesson. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. read more

Armband mimics a persons touch

first_img Tiny speakers, or voice coil actuators, embedded in the armband rise and fall to mimic the sensation of a human touch. Credit: Video/Heather Culbertson Explore further Citation: Armband mimics a person’s touch (2018, July 9) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-armband-mimics-person.html At USC’s Department of Computer Science, Assistant Professor Heather Culbertson has developed a new haptic armband that mimics the gestures used in social touch, specifically the sensation of a finger moving along the arm. She developed the armband with colleagues from Stanford University, where she worked as a research engineer before joining USC in January.The wearable textile is embedded with tiny speaker actuators that rise and fall to simulate different sensations. Controlled by an algorithm, the movement is timed to create a “haptic illusion” that feels like a real human touch.”Mechanically simulating a long motion, like a finger dragging along the skin, is very difficult to achieve in a small space like a wearable,” said Culbertson, lead author of the study presented at this year’s IEEE Haptics Symposium in San Francisco.”With this device, we’re creating the illusion of lateral side-to-side motion using vertical up-and-down motion. The speakers indent into the skin one at a time to simulate the feeling of continual movement.”Culbertson hopes the sleeve can be an effective therapeutic tool for people with anxiety or individuals at risk of isolation, such as the elderly population. It could also convey directional information for people with visual impairments.”This is a first prototype, but it’s surprisingly effective,” Culbertson said. “When it comes to haptics, people are tough critics—you have to get the sensation just right.”Mimic the human touch—it’s about hapticsHaptics relates to the sense of touch in technology, which is already found in many consumer devices, most notably video games controllers, smartphones and smartwatches. Culbertson specializes in social haptics, an emerging field that seeks to convey or elicit emotions through artificial means.”I’m interested in the social side of robotics, specifically how people use touch to communicate and gather information about the world around them,” she said.Research has shown that touch is deeply connected to emotion, triggering a cascade of chemical responses proven to decrease depression and reduce stress during medical procedures. Despite this, computer-mediated interactions currently lack rich, meaningful touch signals. Heather Culbertson, an assistant professor in computer science, designed a low-cost haptic sleeve device that simulates human touch. Credit: USC Photo/Caitlin Dawson She added: “Shopping or talking to friends and family online are experiences currently limited to your visual and auditory senses. My dream is to create virtual sensations of touch that are indistinct from what you feel in the real world.”Can’t stop the feelingThe majority of electronics offering haptic feedback use vibrations. But for application in a wearable social device, Culbertson and the team wanted to create a more natural sensation.”With vibration, you can create the feeling of motion, but it doesn’t feel like you’re mimicking a human touch—it just feels like buzzing,” she said. “It’s also very hard to isolate vibration, so people just tune it out.”While experimenting with materials for low-cost prototypes, the researchers found that magnets created a surprisingly convincing sensation of touch as they repelled into the skin.Using the same principles, the researchers set to work building a mechanical device using six small, low-cost exciter speakers embedded into a lightweight fabric sleeve. Driven at low frequencies, the speakers output motion instead of vibration or sound found at higher frequencies.During a user study, the researchers found that short pulses with long delays created a “creepy” feeling, akin to something crawling up the skin, while long pulses with short delays created a most realistic sensation.Can the feeling get too realistic? “We haven’t encountered that yet,” Culbertson said.In addition to applications in social devices, Culbertson said this kind of haptic technology could also be embedded in car seats to convey direction and other information to drivers, such as alerts and blind-spot warnings.”The sense of touch is highly underused in current technology,” Culbertson said. “This is just the tip of the iceberg.” Imagine a virtual world where someone touches your arm during a conversation and you feel the sensation as though they were with you. Uncovering the secrets of the human body’s perception of touch “We convey so much information through touch,” Culbertson said. “But now [that] we’re spending more and more of our time online, we’re losing that sense of connectedness.” Provided by University of Southern California This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

New solar cells offer you the chance to print out solar panels

first_img The 200 square metre array was installed in just one day by a team of five people. No other energy solution is as lightweight, as quick to manufacture, or as easy to install on this scale.Our research team manufactured the solar modules using standard printing techniques; in fact, the machine that we use typically makes wine labels. Each solar cell consists of several individual layers printed on top of each other, which are then connected in series to form a bank of cells. These cells are then connected in parallel to form a solar module.Since 1996, we have progressed from making tiny, millimetre-sized solar cells to the first commercial installation. In the latest installation each module is ten metres long and sandwiched between two layers of recyclable plastic. At the core of the technology are the specialised semiconducting polymer-based inks that we have developed. This group of materials has fundamentally altered our ability to build electronic devices; replacing hard, rigid, glass-like materials such as silicon with flexible inks and paints that can be printed or coated over vast areas at extremely low cost. Australia’s first commercial installation of printed solar cells, made using specialised semiconducting inks and printed using a conventional reel-to-reel printer, has been installed on a factory roof in Newcastle. The solar cells can be installed with little more than sticky tape. Credit: University of Newcastle, Author provided This roof in Newcastle has become the first in Australia to be covered with specially printed solar cells. Credit: University of Newcastle, Author provided New method to manufacture organic solar cells Citation: New solar cells offer you the chance to print out solar panels and stick them on your roof (2018, August 30) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-08-solar-cells-chance-panels-roof.html As a result, these modules cost less than A$10 per square metre when manufactured at scale. This means it would take only 2-3 years to become cost-competitive with other technologies, even at efficiencies of only 2-3%.These printed solar modules could conceivably be installed onto any roof or structure using simple adhesive tape and connected to wires using simple press-studs. The new installation at Newcastle is an important milestone on the path towards commercialisation of the technology – we will spend the next six months testing its performance and durability before removing and recycling the materials. We think this technology has enormous potential. Obviously our technology is still at the trial stage, but our vision is a world in which every building in every city in every country has printed solar cells generating low-cost sustainable energy for everyone. This latest installation has brought the goal of solar roofs, walls and windows a step closer.center_img This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. Provided by The Conversation Ultimately, we imagine that these solar cells could even benefit those people who don’t own or have access to roof space. People who live in apartment complexes, for example, could potentially sign up to a plan that lets them pay to access the power generated by cells installed by the building’s owner or body corporate, and need never necessarily “own” the infrastructure outright.But in a fractured and uncertain energy policy landscape, this new technology is a clear illustration of the value of taking power into one’s own hands. Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Senegal launches African cybersecurity school

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Senegal on Tuesday inaugurated a cyber-security school to strengthen West Africa’s defences against computer hackers and use of the internet for terror funding and propaganda. Students of the National School of Administration walk near the banner announcing the creation of a National School of Cybersecurity in Dakar on November 6, 2018 Explore further Citation: Senegal launches African ‘cyber-security’ school (2018, November 6) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-senegal-african-cyber-security-school.htmlcenter_img Africa needs to beef up cyber security urgently: experts Senegalese Foreign Minister Sidiki Kaba and French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian gave the ceremonial start to the National Cyber-Security School (ENVR) on the sidelines of an annual regional security conference in Dakar.The school will provide training in combating cyber-crime for the security services, judiciary and private enterprises.Backed by France, it will have a “regional vocational role” in helping other countries in West Africa, French officials said.The ENVR, which was proposed at last year’s security conference, will initially be based in Dakar at the National School of Administration (ENA) before moving to Diamnadio, a new town being built around 30 kilometres (20 miles) from the capital. © 2018 AFPlast_img read more

Govt to table Bill to repeal mandatory death penalty in October

first_img {{category}} {{time}} {{title}} Currently, the 11 offences fall under two acts – nine under the Penal Code, including murder, waging war against Yang di-Pertuan Agong and committing terrorist acts, and two under the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971.In a separate development, Liew said the government this Tuesday will be tabling the amendment bill on lowering the voting age from 21 to 18 to be automatically registered as voters.If the Bill is passed, about 3.8 million new voters, including those aged 18, are expected to be eligible to vote in the 15th General Election.Liew said the government on Wednesday would table the bill to add 13 new seats in the Sabah state legislative assembly to the existing 60. – Bernama SANDAKAN (Bernama): A Bill to repeal the mandatory death penalty is expected to be tabled in Parliament in October once the government decides on appropriate prison terms for 11 serious criminal offences it covers.Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong (pic) said a task force would be set up soon to study the matter.”This will involve a major shift in policy and as such, the government needs more time to study it and make a decision,” he told a press conference here Saturday(July 13).Liew said the task force would also review the life imprisonment penalty and look into the possibility of reducing jail terms to between 10-30 years. Death penalty , Repeal , Parliament , Liew Vui Keong Related News Nation 05 Jul 2019 Source: Govt will not table Bill to abolish death penalty this Parliament meetingcenter_img Nation 09 Jul 2019 Bill to increase Sabah seats to be tabled Tags / Keywords: Nation 09 Jul 2019 Anwar: National Security Council Amendment Bill needs further discussions Related Newslast_img read more

Premises come alive with street art

first_imgA beach-themed artwork by Iskandar at a cafe in Johor Baru is a pleasing sight. Southern & Eastern Region Related News Metro News 08 Jul 2019 Project a boost for Johor “They like taking such pictures with their friends and families and share on social media. This trend has prompted business owners to reach out to artists specialising in graffiti and street art to add colour to the walls of their premises,” he said here. Iskandar said he had dressed up the walls of hundreds of shops in Johor, including cafés, barbershops and hotels.Another artist, Afique Farid, 30, said he quit his job as a T-shirt graphic designer in 2016 as he was able to earn enough by just doing street art.“I used to do street art on a part-time basis and to express my creative energy but eventually I was able to depend solely on my income from doing this. “Since 2015, the number of people looking for street artists to add colour to their business premises has increased significantly.“The business owners found that the artworks drew customers, especially the younger ones, besides lending their premises a special ambience,” he said.Afique said fees for street art ranged between RM1,000 and RM2,000 for a full wall and less if minimal work.“It takes me anywhere from a few days to a month to finish an artwork, depending on the size and the kind of image required by the customer.“Clients would normally ask for designs that cater specifically to the kind of crowd they want to attract or relevant to the kind of business they are running,” he said, adding that he worked on both the interior as well as exterior walls of shops. He said clients usually had their preferences but as an artist he would usually give advice on artworks suitable for the premises he was working on. Tags / Keywords: Related News Metro News 2d ago Coastal getaway launched in Johor JOHOR BARU: Once known as a preferred form of art for the rebellious, street art has become popular among the masses and appreciated over the years.Many artists have used their skills to turn old buildings into tourist attractions with their murals and artistic works. Artist Iskandar Noor Rahim, 39, who has been creating street art for more than 10 years, said the growing popularity of the medium, along with the influence of social media, has provided a lot of business opportunities for local artists. “People no longer visit a shop simply for the service or the food it offers but also to take pictures of the art there. Metro News 10 Jul 2019 Puah: Johor Special Water will boost state {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}last_img read more