Monday, September 29, 2014

Nixie Wearable Drone Camera Flies Off Your Wrist

Intel Edison-Powered Nixie Wearable Drone Camera Flies Off Your Wrist To Capture The Moment

There are very few products that have genuinely made me go "wow", but I can safely add the Nixie drone camera to that modest list. Over the past couple of years, drones have become popular enough to the point where a new release doesn't excite most people. But Nixie is different. It's a drone that you wear, like a bracelet. Whenever you want to let it soar, you give it a command to unwrap, power-up, and let it go...
 From the consumer standpoint, the most popular use for drones is to capture some amazing footage. But what if you want to be in that footage? That's where Nixie comes in. After "setting your camera free", the drone soars around you, keeping you in its frame. Unfortunately, my Nixie would capture me most often writing on the computer, but you can probably understand the appeal to those who are doing anything worth capturing on video. Examples given include mountain climbing, hanging out with a friend at the park, biking through a trail, and jumping off of a boat.
This is one of those products that's really hard to do justice through text, so I highly encourage you check out this video:
 Nixie is powered by Intel's Edison kit, which is both small enough and affordable enough to fit inside such a small device. Admittedly, Nixie isn't that small, and it'll be very noticeable on your wrist, but with what it can do, I don't think many people would mind.
Here's another video to help whet your appetite.
Absolutely no information about availabilty seems to be listed anywhere, but if you head on over to the official website (linked to below), you can add your email to the company's mailing list to keep up-to-date.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Vascular X-Ray Glasses, Epson smart glasses


These Vein-Spotting Smart Glasses Will Give Medics X-Ray Vision

Andrew Tarantola
Few medical instruments evoke the stomach-churning dread that needles do, especially when finding the vein takes multiple stabs. But thanks to a new wearable trans-dermal imaging system from Evena Medical, even neophyte nurses will be able to tap your veins without turning your arms into pin cushions. 

The Eyes-On Glasses System combines Evena's own proprietary multi-spectral 3D imaging technology with Epson's Moverio smart glasses—a set of commercially-available binocular HD spectacles—to provide medical practitioners an anatomically-accurate, real-time view "through" the patient's flesh to the underlying vascular structure. 

"Studies have shown that up to 40% of IV starts require multiple attempts to locate and access a vein, which not only wastes valuable nursing time but also delays therapy and causes patient discomfort and dissatisfaction," said Frank Ball, Evena Medical President and CEO, in a press statement. "With Evena's Eyes-On Glasses, nurses can quickly and easily locate and access the best veins for each patient – even in challenging clinical environments such as pediatric or neonatal units."
During a phone interview, Ball explained to Gizmodo,
Vivipuncture is the most common invasive procedure in all of medicine and that's were someone is being stuck with a needle to access a vein. The problem is that they still do it the same way they've always done it—blind. The nurse generally knows where the vein should be and tries to locate it by feel. Sometimes they can't, have to guess, and end up "knitting" the needlye under the skin to find it. This not only damages the surrounding tissue but the vein itself as well. There was a time when we set bones without seeing what we were doing, just by feel. But with the advent of X-Ray, setting them be feel would constitute malpractice these days.
Here we are at the cusp of a whole new technology: vascular imaging which allows nurses to see exactly where their aiming for. By putting that image up on the screen, the nurse can see then entire arm and make a better assessment. [The nurse] doesn't have to aim for the most easily accessible vein, she'll be able to select the "best" location.

To actually discover and evaluate potential vivipuncture sites, Ball continued,
We beam intense light at four specific wavelengths in the infrared and short infrared bands. This light penetrates up to 10 mm of tissue and are absorbed by de-oxygenated hemoglobin, venous blood, but is reflected by oxygen-rich arterial blood and other tissues. This creates a contrast of dark areas (the veins) and the surrounding lighter tissues to create a two tone image on the screen.
We do image pre-processing on the camera, post-processing in a separate computer, and present that image onto the display screen—or rather in the case of the Eyes-On, they're projected onto the center of the lenses. This gives us a very clear, high-definition image in a HUD (Heads-Up Display) format so that the medical staff can keep their eyes on the patient and maintain that important face-to-face contact, rather than looking away at a monitor.
What's more, the Eyes-On system automatically logs the biometric data it collects from each procedure and stores it with the rest of the patient's medical records. And by leveraging the Moverio's Wi-Fi connectivity, everything that the nurse sees can easily be shared with doctors anywhere in the world.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Device Allows Paralyzed Rats To Walk, Human Trials Scheduled Next Summer


"A new technique pioneered by scientists working on project NEUWalk at the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology (EPFL) have figured out a way to reactivate the severed spinal cords of fully paralyzed rats, allowing them to walk again via remote control. Human trials are scheduled for next summer. "We have complete control of the rat's hind legs," EPFL neuroscientist Grégoire Courtine said. "The rat has no voluntary control of its limbs, but the severed spinal cord can be reactivated and stimulated to perform natural walking. We can control in real-time how the rat moves forward and how high it lifts its legs."

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

PayPal integrates Bitcoin processors BitPay, Coinbase and GoCoin for merchants in the US and Canada

Article by Emil Protalinsk

PayPal today announced partnerships with three leading Bitcoin payment processors: BitPay, Coinbase and GoCoin. The eBay-owned company wants to help digital goods merchants accept Bitcoin payments, although it is starting with those located in the US and Canada first (“We are considering expanding to other markets,” a PayPal spokesperson told TNW. “Stay tuned.”)

PayPal says it chose to integrate the third-party functionality directly in the PayPal Payments Hub because the aformentioned trio already offers its customers protections when dealing with the virtual currency. The company envisions anything that can be obtained digitally, such as video games and music, being sold in Bitcoin.

This is important to emphasize, because PayPal isn’t adding Bitcoin as a currency to its own digital wallet. It also won’t be processing Bitcoing payments on its secure payments platform: everything is being handled by one of the three third-parties.

Merchants who pre-sell products, meaning asking for money up-front for a product or service that will be delivered in the future, will also not be supported. This is, according to PayPal, to safeguard customers from businesses that can’t give refunds if they fold before the product is shipped and after buyer protection expires.

In other words, the company is starting to accept Bitcoin, but very slowly and very cautiously. PayPal Senior Director of Corporate Strategy Scott Ellison explains:

    PayPal has always embraced innovation, but always in ways that make payments safer and more reliable for our customers. Our approach to Bitcoin is no different. That’s why we’re proceeding gradually, supporting Bitcoin in some ways today and holding off on other ways until we see how things develop.

    PayPal also needs to follow the laws and regulations in every market we operate. For this reason, virtual currency exchangers and administrators interested in working with PayPal in the future must secure the appropriate licenses and put anti-money laundering procedures in place.

In short, PayPal is asking others to dip their toes into Bitcoin. The company knows swimming can be great, but it just isn’t sure yet if it wants to get wet.

That being said, PayPal has tested the water in other ways already. Earlier this month, its online and mobile payments platform Braintree announced Bitcoin integration for developers via Coinbase. It also accepts payments from merchants selling Bitcoin mining equipment.

While actions speak louder than words, PayPal still made a point to shower praise on Bitcoin, saying there is “good reason” it has seen so much hype this year, and that while crypto-currencies are not completely new, it is the only one that has “achieved significant scale.”

See also – PayPal president is fascinated by Bitcoin, says company is ‘thinking about’ including the virtual currency

Monday, September 15, 2014

breath to speech

A 16-year-old from India has designed a device that converts breath into speech. High-school student Arsh Shah Dilbagi invented TALK as a portable and affordable way to aid people suffering from ALS, locked-in syndrome, and anyone else speech-impaired or paralyzed. Prototyped using a basic $25 Arduino microcontroller, Dilbagi’s invention costs only $80, or about a hundred times less than the sort of Augmentative and Alternative Communication device used by Stephen Hawking.

TALK works by translating breath into electric signals using a MEMS Microphone, an advanced form of listeningtech that uses a diaphragm etched directly onto a silicon microchip. The user is expected to be able to give two distinguishable exhales, varying in intensity or time, so that they can spell words out using Morse code.

A microprocessor then interprets the breathes into dots and dashes, converting them into words. The words are then sent to a second microprocessor that synthesizes them into voice. The morse code can either be translated into English, or specific commands and phrases. The device features nine different voices varying in age and gender.

In his video explaining the device, Dilbagi (who prefers the nickname "Robo") notes that 1.4 percent of the population suffers from these sorts of disorders and they experience a lower life-expectancy in part due to lack of expression. With his affordable device, he has the potential to improve the lives of millions by giving them a means of communicating.

"After testing the final design with myself and friends and family, I was able to arrange a meeting with the Head of Neurology at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi and tested TALK (under supervision of doctor and in controlled environment) with a person suffering from SEM and Parkinson's Disease," Robo wrote in his project report. "The person was able to give two distinguishable signals using his breath and the device worked perfectly."

Dilbagi was the only finalist from Asia in Google’s Global Science Fair, a competition open to 13 to 18 year old thinkers. Voting takes place online through today. Other projects submitted by teen geniuses include robots modeled after fruit flies; a new way to identify quasars; and an ultrasonic burner that reduces greenhouse gas emissions from car engines.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

transforming light into crystal

‘Solid light’ could compute previously unsolvable problems

Researchers at Princeton University have begun crystallizing light as part of an effort to answer fundamental questions about the physics of matter.

The researchers are not shining light through crystal – they are transforming light intocrystal. As part of an effort to develop exotic materials such as room-temperature superconductors, the researchers have locked together photons, the basic element of light, so that they become fixed in place.
“It’s something that we have never seen before,” said Andrew Houck, an associate professor of electrical engineering and one of the researchers. “This is a new behavior for light.”
The results raise intriguing possibilities for a variety of future materials. But the researchers also intend to use the method to address questions about the fundamental study of matter, a field called condensed matter physics.

“We are interested in exploring – and ultimately controlling and directing – the flow of energy at the atomic level,” said Hakan Türeci, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and a member of the research team. “The goal is to better understand current materials and processes and to evaluate materials that we cannot yet create.”

The team’s findings, reportedonline on Sept. 8 in the journal Physical Review X, are part of an effort to answer fundamental questions about atomic behavior by creating a device that can simulate the behavior of subatomic particles. Such a tool could be an invaluable method for answering questions about atoms and molecules that are not answerable even with today’s most advanced computers.
In part, that is because current computers operate under the rules of classical mechanics, which is a system that describes the everyday world containing things like bowling balls and planets. But the world of atoms and photons obeys the rules of quantum mechanics, which include a number of strange and very counterintuitive features. One of these odd properties is called “entanglement” in which multiple particles become linked and can affect each other over long distances.

The difference between the quantum and classical rules limits a standard computer’s ability to efficiently study quantum systems. Because the computer operates under classical rules, it simply cannot grapple with many of the features of the quantum world. Scientists have long believed that a computer based on the rules of quantum mechanics could allow them to crack problems that are currently unsolvable. Such a computer could answer the questions about materials that the Princeton team is pursuing, but building a general-purpose quantum computer has proven to be incredibly difficult and requires further research.

Another approach, which the Princeton team is taking, is to build a system that directly simulates the desired quantum behavior. Although each machine is limited to a single task, it would allow researchers to answer important questions without having to solve some of the more difficult problems involved in creating a general-purpose quantum computer. In a way, it is like answering questions about airplane design by studying a model airplane in a wind tunnel – solving problems with a physical simulation rather than a digital computer.

In addition to answering questions about currently existing material, the device also could allow physicists to explore fundamental questions about the behavior of matter by mimicking materials that only exist in physicists’ imaginations.

To build their machine, the researchers created a structure made of superconducting materials that contains 100 billion atoms engineered to act as a single “artificial atom.” They placed the artificial atom close to a superconducting wire containing photons.

By the rules of quantum mechanics, the photons on the wire inherit some of the properties of the artificial atom – in a sense linking them. Normally photons do not interact with each other, but in this system the researchers are able to create new behavior in which the photons begin to interact in some ways like particles.

“We have used this blending together of the photons and the atom to artificially devise strong interactions among the photons,” said Darius Sadri, a postdoctoral researcher and one of the authors. “These interactions then lead to completely new collective behavior for light – akin to the phases of matter, like liquids and crystals, studied in condensed matter physics.”
Türeci said that scientists have explored the nature of light for centuries; discovering that sometimes light behaves like a wave and other times like a particle. In the lab at Princeton, the researchers have engineered a new behavior.

“Here we set up a situation where light effectively behaves like a particle in the sense that two photons can interact very strongly,” he said. “In one mode of operation, light sloshes back and forth like a liquid; in the other, it freezes.”

The current device is relatively small, with only two sites where an artificial atom is paired with a superconducting wire. But the researchers say that by expanding the device and the number of interactions, they can increase their ability to simulate more complex systems – growing from the simulation of a single molecule to that of an entire material. In the future, the team plans to build devices with hundreds of sites with which they hope to observe exotic phases of light such as superfluids and insulators.

“There is a lot of new physics that can be done even with these small systems,” said James Raftery, a graduate student in electrical engineering and one of the authors. “But as we scale up, we will be able to tackle some really interesting questions.”
Besides Houck, Türeci, Sadri and Raftery, the research team included Sebastian Schmidt, a senior researcher at the Institute for Theoretical Physics at ETH Zurich, Switzerland. Support for the project was provided by: the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Transformative Technology Fund; the National Science Foundation; the David and Lucile Packard Foundation; the U.S. Army Research Office; and the Swiss National Science Foundation.