Retinal Implant Alpha IMS Brings Sight to Blind in New Study (w/video)
Retina Implant AG, a German developer of subretinal implants to help restore sight of people with retinitis pigmentosa, has announced publication of results of a new clinical trial of its Alpha IMS system. Nine blind people received the 3×3 mm wireless microchip implants that feature a 1500 pixel resolution. The implants capture light and in turn stimulate the optic nerve, which delivers visual signal data to the brain.
A distinct advantage of the Alpha IMS is that, unlike other similar devices such as the recently released Argus II, it does not rely on an external camera. Instead, light is detected inside the eye, enabling the patient to look around by moving his eyes rather than the head. It also has a much higher resolution grid and is implanted under the retina, allowing the middle layer of the retina to process the input before it is sent to the visual cortex.
In the study, a majority of the participants had functional vision restored and two of the subjects developed visual ability considerably more substantial than seen in the initial clinical study of the Alpha IMS. Three of the people were able to read large printed letters spontaneously post implantation.
A festival in Somerset has declared itself the first festival ‘micronation’.
Those attending Sunrise Festival, running from 30 May to 2 June 2013, will explore the idea of living in a free independent state and will be invited to gain ‘citizenship’ by actively participating in creating a new vision of society. Artists will also have a say in how the festival is shaped, with main stage headline acts selecting support bands to fill the rest of their night’s line-up.
Though not officially recognised as a micronation, the festival – formerly Sunrise Celebration – aims to adhere to the main principles of a micronation, operating as open a democratic model as possible and providing the chance for anyone to raise issues, discuss the functioning of the nation and collectively decide what it will become.
“We’re turning on its head the idea of what a nation is, not just mimicking the standards of a nation, many of which are oppressive,” says Sunrise co-director Dan Hurring. “We very much want the people to make this their nation.
“Our independent state aims to offer an alternative view of life: a vision of a society that is not just functional, but beautiful; not just sustainable, but abundant and flourishing.”
Royal Philips is continuing its programme of installing more than a hundred “Community Light Centers” across Africa with the announcement of six new centres in South Africa.
CEO of Philips, Mr Frans van Houten was recently in Cape Town to co-chair the World Economic Forum. During his visit Mr van Houten met with the South African Minister of Energy Ms Dipuo Peters, in order to conclude an agreement that sees Philips donating two Community Light Centres to the South African Department of Energy. The two Centres will be allocated to communities that would benefit from the Solar LED lighting. These would usually be rural communities lacking access to electricity. The meeting took place in the Cape Town suburb, Walmer Estate, where an additional Community Light Centre has been erected by Philips at a local football club (pictured above.)
In addition to these three centres, Philips, in partnership with SuperSport Let’s Play and Hitachi Construction Machinery Southern Africa Co, has recently completed projects at Dumisa Public School near Ladysmith, Lebowa Kgomo in Mpumalanga and in Gauteng at the Lion Park Primary School.
The Light Centres are areas of approximately 1000m2, or the size of a small soccer pitch and are lit using a new generation of efficient solar powered LED lighting. The Light Centres create areas of light for rural communities which live without electricity, thus effectively ‘extending the day and extending play’ creating numerous opportunities for social, sporting and economic activities in the evening. Philips has committed an investment of €1.2 million (spread over three years) to this project.
The Light Centres are predominantly focused on schools which are closely linked to rural areas and towns in off-grid or semi-grid areas. They provide light for communal areas which can be used for sport and many other activities - healthcare, education, social, and commerce - and extend the day by enabling communal life after dark.
“Africa is starting a new reliable solar powered LED lighting revolution which will both save energy and provide more light for those without electricity” says Mr Andre Dehmel GM Philips Lighting Africa. “Dramatic advances are being made in the efficiency of LED lighting and this is going to speed up social and economic development across the continent.”
An electric solar wind sail, or e-sail, developed in Finland, is being tested for the first time in space.
An Estonian small satellite, EstCube-1, was launched from France on Tuesday, 7 May. The satellite will deploy a ten-metre-long electric sail, which was developed by ETLA, the Electronics Research Laboratory of the University of Helsinki’s Department of Physics.
Once deployed, the e-sail will use solar wind momentum for producing thrust without the use of any propellant. The e-sail could also be used for bringing a satellite back to Earth’s atmosphere after its mission is over.
The e-sail was invented by Pekka Janhunen at the Kumpula Space Centre in 2006. The invention is based on long and extremely thin metal wires, or tethers, which interact with solar wind or other plasma flows. The e-sail is somewhat similar to the more well-known solar radiation pressure sail, which is often called the solar sail.
John Baird appoints Canada’s first ambassador to Somalia in more than 20 years
A longtime Canadian diplomat will become the country’s first ambassador to Somalia in more than two decades.
The announcement of David Angell’s appointment marks a restart of diplomatic relations between Canada and the east Africa country.
Canada hasn’t had an ambassador accredited to Somalia since 1990 but had signalled it wanted to rekindle relations following presidential elections in the country last year.
Angell was appointed Canada’s ambassador to Kenya last fall and he’ll continue to live in Nairobi while carrying out his new duties.
His appointment was formally announced Tuesday by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird (pictured above) during a visit to Kenya.
It had been approved by the Privy Council Office last week as part of a broader diplomatic shuffle which also saw Canada’s ambassador to Mali receive responsibility for Niger.
BYD’s electric taxis hit Hong Kong roads with big ambitions
Warren Buffett-backed Chinese carmaker BYD Co Ltd rolled out Hong Kong’s first electric taxi fleet on Wednesday, marking a milestone for its all-electric battery car that highlights its promise and its limitations.
“We expect to increase the number of e6 taxis in Hong Kong to 5,000 in three years,” said Liu Xueliang, general manager of BYD Asia Pacific sales, after the company announced it is making a push in the former British colony to encourage the use of its all-electric e6 taxi.
Flying car alert!
Terrafugia plans to develop a vertical takeoff flying car
Oneida Nation Donates $10,000 to Cooperstown School for Mascot Change
The students who started the petition didn’t think it would make it this far. But when they started the conversation about changing the Cooperstown Central School mascot to something other than the Redskins, the administration and the community listened.
Google and NASA to share quantum computer
Google has already developed quantum machine algorithms that will makes searches on mobile devices more energy-efficient.
Waitress gets a $446 tip - on a bill of $5.97
Sometimes it pays to be nice. In the case of CeCe Bruce, a server at a Steak ‘n Shake in Indianapolis, it paid $446 – on a bill of $5.97.
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Army Lt. Col. surprises daughter on ceremonial first pitch
(Photo: Chris O’Meara / Associated Press)
There was a touching moment before tonight’s Red Sox/Rays game, as nine-year-old Alayna Adams threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Tropicana Field and was reunited with her dad in the process.
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Man Finds $4.85 Million Lotto Ticket in Cookie Jar
(Photo via NBC Chicago)
A Chicago-area man is thankful he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar — it turned him into a millionaire.
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5-year-old hero steers car to safety after mom suffers seizure in NC
A 5-year-old North Carolina boy wants to be called “Caleb Batman” after he took control of the family car and steered it to safety when his mom suffered a seizure at the wheel.
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