You know that stern voice at the end of drug advertisements that runs through the list of possible side effects as quickly (and sometimes comically) as possible? "Possible side effects include nausea, anxiety, an erection that lasts more than four hours, and in rare cases, death."
This wide range of possibilities exists in large part because drugs and dosages have yet to be personalized, and while there are established standard reactions to those drugs and dosages, our bodies are ultimately genetically unique.
Enter the emerging realm of personalized medicine, a method that uses information about an individual to … Read more
TOKYO--Japan has vending machines that can talk to you, sell you everything from bags of rice to porn magazines to bouquets of flowers, and recharge your phone. But a new breed of automated seller has smarts, too--these machines can detect your age and gender and offer drink suggestions accordingly.
NEW YORK--"Over here, that's a clam learning how to use the Internet," Yosi Sergant, the publicist best known for promoting Shepard Fairey's now-iconic "HOPE" poster during Barack Obama's presidential campaign, said as he led a tour of RE:FORM School.
RE:FORM School is weekend-long exhibit in Manhattan designed to raise awareness and funds regarding the need to reform American education.
On the wall of a corridor in a downtown building that for decades housed the oldest Catholic school in the city--it was closed last year due to underenrollment--sure enough, there was … Read more
The first beta of Firefox 4 for Android arrived Thursday, offering users of Google's mobile operating system a browser interface with both smart new features and some weaknesses.
I tried the new beta on HTC's Google Nexus One, and I came away impressed overall--far more satisfied than with unstable and slower nightly builds for developers that I'd tried before. It's not going to be my default phone browser at this stage, but I'm not going to uninstall it, either.
Fennec background Before we get to my impressions, though, here's the background. Mozilla is trying … Read more
Amanda Boxtel hasn't walked since a skiing accident left her paralyzed nearly two decades ago.
In the video below, she stands and walks for the first time in 18 years using eLegs, a 45-pound wearable robotic exoskeleton aimed at getting paraplegics out of their wheelchairs and onto their feet. It's an amazing sight.
"To take my first step in the eLegs was just astounding," Boxtel says with tears in her eyes, "because I bent my knee for the first time in 18 years and I placed my heel on the ground. And then I transferred … Read more
The cyborg armies of the future just got one step closer to total domination. Probably by taking a break from building giant fighting robots, scientists at the University of Tokyo have created the RatCar, a wheeled contraption controlled by a rat's brain.
The researchers wanted to prove a simple idea right: that animals could use the parts of their brains that control limbs to control a vehicle. It looks like they can.
The goal of the research was to see if it might eventually be feasible for paralyzed people to control wheelchairs using brain implants. Other work has been done on brain-machine interfaces, or BMIs, in the past, usually using non-invasive methods to connect the brain and the target machines. The RatCar uses sensors embedded directly into the rat's motor cortex to help a computer control the vehicle. … Read more
How'd you like to check your pulse, respiration, and blood pressure as you brush your teeth in the mirror each morning? A PhD candidate at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology is working to make this a reality in the near future.
The system works by measuring the slightest variations in brightness produced by blood flow through blood vessels in the face. Poh used public-domain software to identify facial positions in any given image and break that information into separate red, green, and blue portions of the video images.
To deal with both movement in front of the lens as well as different ambient light, Poh adapted a method known as ICA (Independent Component Analysis)--a signal-processing technique originally developed to extract a single voice from a room of conversations--to find the pulse signal amid all the video noise.
Two researchers received the Nobel Prize in physics today for their work on graphene, a super-thin sheet of carbon atoms that has unusual and potentially useful properties.
Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, currently professors at the University of Manchester, won the top physics prize for their work on isolating graphene from graphite--a more ordinary form of carbon used in pencils--and characterizing its behavior.
Graphene holds potential for profoundly transforming materials science--everything from computer chips and flexible displays to solar cells and lighter aircraft. Such products aren't on the verge of hitting store shelves, but the research is active--for example, … Read more
Sputnik may be the most famous satellite to have been launched on October 4--OK, so it's the most famous satellite, period--but it's not the only one. Three years to the day after the Soviet Union launched its little beeping orb and kicked the Space Race into high gear, the U.S. on October 4, 1960, lofted up a spherical satellite called Courier that turned out to be quite a wordsmith, or at least a stenographer.
"This is a single breath analysis diagnostic tool for monitoring disease or metabolic functions that can be used to check cholesterol levels, diabetes, and even lung cancer," says lead researcher Perena Gouma, whose work appears in the October 2010 issue of Sensor Letters. "Lung cancer is a silent killer that can only be detected when it's progressed vastly--but in the breath, … Read more