The filtration process takes approximately an hour, and the researchers’ current prototype containers can hold up to 10 liters of water.
The 10-Year-Old Inventor and the World’s Cutest Patent Drawing
As a lawyer who works in Silicon Valley and Cambridge, Massachusetts, Len Nannarone has helped his fair share of tech companies. But the most important startup he’s advised is much closer to home: his 10-year-old son, Owen, a budding inventor and entrepreneur.
At the Nannarone home in suburban Boston one recent Sunday, father and son discuss Owen’s latest invention, a golf tee that records the speed and angle of the club to analyze a swing. Len is outgoing and energetic, but Owen remains quiet, his eyes partially hidden by his shock of brown hair. He deftly peels the protective cover off an alkaline battery, as if shelling a peanut, while dad explains the impetus for their design.
See, Owen takes golf lessons, and his coach uses a swing analyzer that’s just too big and clunky for Owen. “They have these huge machines,” Owen says, momentarily taking his eyes off the battery. Len chimes in. “He said, ‘Dad, can’t they put all that stuff in a golf tee?’”
So the two got to work on what has to be the world’s cutest patent application: a drawing of a golf tee that shows where a small camera will go. Inside the ball, a GPS sensor will determine how far the ball travels. Together, the sensor and camera will send data to a smartphone for instant swing analysis. “It’s supposed to track speed and distance,” Owen says.
A 27-year-old man has become one of the first patients in the UK to have his kidney stones removed using “micro instruments” which are only millimetres in size.
Doctors used the 3.5mm apparatus to remove Graham Edgley’s kidney stones.
Medics hope that using the instrument, which is 70% smaller than the conventional kit, will mean that patients can be treated in a day rather than having to stay in hospital for two or three days. It will typically only leave a 3mm scar, compared to the 1cm scar left after laparoscopic surgical equipment is used.
Surgeons at The Royal London Hospital, who are the first in the UK to use the apparatus, believe the minuscule equipment will be suitable for half of the patients requiring the removal of kidney stones.
‘White graphene’ soaks up pollutants and can be re-used
A next-generation material first earmarked for use in electronics has proven itself a capable clean-up agent for polluted waters.
Boron nitride, or “white graphene”, is similar to its namesake: sheets of atoms laid out like a chain-link fence.
A report in Nature Communications shows the material can preferentially soak up organic pollutants such as industrial chemicals or engine oil.
However, it is easier to clean and re-use than other such “nanomaterials”.
It sounds like science fiction, but researchers are gaining ground in developing mind-controlled robotic arms that could give people with paralysis or amputated limbs more independence.
The technology, known as brain-computer (or brain-machine) interface, is in its infancy as far as human use — though scientists have been studying the concept for years. But experts say that people with paralysis or amputations could be using the technology at home within the next decade.
A Smartphone That Converts Text to Braille Developed for the Blind
An Indian has developed a unique smart-phone that can aid the blind and help them perform functions other than answering calls.
Technology has definitely been a blessing to humans and smartphones have become the need of the day. With having everything from the daily wake-up call (read alarm) to good-night reads (ebooks) on your phone, it has become an essential, almost a basic need.
However, there is a segment of population who do not benefit from such modern gadgets. While a smartphone is a necessity for most of us, it is useless for a blind person. To help even the blind benefit from the smartphone, an Indian has released a new Braille version of the phone.
Developed by Sumit Dagar, who is still working on setting up his formal organisation at the Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship, located in IIM-A, the phone is the world’s forst Braille smartphone.
But how does the phone work? The messages and texts are sent as regular messages. However, instead of a smooth glass panel, the phone comes with depressions. The innovative ‘touch-screen’ elevates and depresses contents into touchable patterns which can then be deciphered by the blind.
Using a kid-friendly robot during behavioral therapy sessions may help some children with autism gain better social skills, a preliminary study suggests.
Any surface becomes a touchscreen with smart projected interface
While everyone seems to have a touchscreen in their pocket, the next big thing is having a touchscreen pretty much wherever you want, whenever you want it. This prototype “smart environment” lets you turn any surface into a display or control.
Want email controls on your desk, or volume on the armrest of your chair? No problem. This combination of Kinect depth-sensing camera and wide-angle projector can track a user’s hand, and drop a virtual button or other control wherever that user feels like putting it. It takes a bit of doing, but eventually, buttons can appear (and disappear) with a gesture.
This so-called WorldKit system was developed by Robert Xiao, a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University, in collaboration with professor Scott Hudson, and the work of another grad student, Chris Harrison. (Sharp-eyed readers may recognize the idea from a much earlier version of the system that Harrison was working on, back in 2010.)
What’s new is the use of the Kinect/projector combo to track an interface that’s not just on your hand or the surface right in front of you, but in larger more challenging spaces: across an entire wall or covering an area of the floor. And it can do more than track your hand — it can count or track items like coins, or provide real-world measurements like size and distance.
In Kenya, technology revolutionizes TB management
The use of technology is revolutionizing the way Kenya manages tuberculosis (TB). Through a computer- and mobile-phone based programme called TIBU, health facilities are able to request TB drugs in real-time and manage TB patient data more effectively, health officials say. They also use the platform to carry out health education.
“One of the challenges we have had with TB treatment is people defaulting [on treatment], but this will reduce significantly because through TIBU we will be able to track down patient treatment progress,” Joseph Sitienei, head of the Division of Leprosy, TB and Lung Disease at Kenya’s National AIDS Control Programme, told IRIN.
“By being able to track a patient, the health workers can send them reminders on their mobile phones when they fail to appear for drug refills,” Sitienei added.
Cure Cancer With Your Computer
Don’t have the money to contribute to a charity this year? Too busy to donate your time?
There is still a way you could make a donation that could help find a cure for AIDS, cancer or Alzheimer’s — and it doesn’t even cost you a thing.
The technique — known as “distributed” or “grid” computing — is available to anyone with a computer.
“Grid computing is a way to harness the computing power of individual PCs that’s unused, to collect it and then contribute it to humanitarian purposes,” said Stan Litow, president of the IBM International Foundation. “Every individual who participates is becoming a philanthropist by donating something that they have that’s extremely valuable, but they’re not using.”
HP aims to revolutionize computers with motion-control technology
Computers controlled by a swipe of the hand - a staple of science fiction flicks like “Minority Report” - could soon hit the mass market as the result of a newdeal between Hewlett-Packard Co and a San Francisco startup called Leap Motion.
As the world’s largest PC maker, HP’s move to embrace motion-sensing technology could potentially change how people interface with computers in the same way that Apple Inc made touch-screen technology mainstream with the 2007 launch of the iPhone - or when Apple first introduced the mouse to consumers in 1983.
Leap Motion, a three-year-old firm with less than 100 employees in San Francisco, manufactures sensor units about the size of a pack of gum, which it claims can track the individual movements of 10 fingers with 1/100th of a millimeter precision.
Super-powered battery breakthrough claimed by US team
A new type of battery has been developed that, its creators say, could revolutionise the way we power consumer electronics and vehicles.
The University of Illinois team says its use of 3D-electrodes allows it to build “microbatteries” that are many times smaller than commercially available options, or the same size and many times more powerful.
It adds they can be recharged 1,000 times faster than competing tech.
However, safety issues still remain.
Details of the research are published in the journal Nature Communications.
3D printing skin. Yep, skin.
Researchers have been striving to create a power source that can be used in remote areas that lack sources of energy, and the ‘leaf’ is a step in that direction.