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Science, Space, Health & Robotics News - Page 355

All the latest Science, Space, Health & Robotics news with plenty of coverage on space launches, discoveries, rockets & plenty more - Page 355.

Qualcomm offer $10 million for whoever makes the first working Tricorder, Star Trek fans beam up

Anthony Garreffa | Jan 17, 2012 2:09 AM CST

Qualcomm have an interesting new competition, named the Tricorder X PRIZE. It is jointly organised with the X PRIZE Foundation, who is famous for its Ansari X PRIZE award of $10 million for its first private suborbital space flight. Qualcomm is offering up $10 million to those who could take the concept of a highly-portable health-monitoring device, the Star Trek Tricorder, and make it real.

Qualcomm offer $10 million for whoever makes the first working Tricorder, Star Trek fans beam up | TweakTown.com

Peter Diamandis, chair and chief executive of the X PRIZE Foundation says:

There is a dire need to improve access to healthcare globally and provide consumers with an opportunity to be active participants in their own health. The Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE will incent the creation of technologies that can empower the consumer with the ability to decide when, where and how to seek health information and care.

Want to get in on the $10 million prize? All you have to do is be the team that most accurately diagnoses a set of 15 diseases across a sample of 30 consumers in three days. Bonus points are award for providing the information in a useful manner alongside logging of health metrics including blood pressure, respiratory rate and temperature. Qualcomm have big plans for the future device, where they would make it available for untrained personnel to self-diagnose ailments.

Continue reading: Qualcomm offer $10 million for whoever makes the first working Tricorder, Star Trek fans beam up (full post)

FDA approves self-sanitizing keyboard for healthcare use

Anthony Garreffa | Jan 4, 2012 8:28 PM CST

If only this was approved to grubby gamers across the world. Well, it's starting with a company called Vioguard, which was started by two Microsoft Hardware veterans and their business partners. Vioguard have received U.S. Food & Drug Administration approval for use of its self-sanitizing computer keyboard in both hospitals and other healthcare settings.

FDA approves self-sanitizing keyboard for healthcare use | TweakTown.com

Where this is different to the old "pick it up and shake it all about", Vioguard's keyboard can be retracted automatically into an enclosure to be bathed in germicidal ultraviolet light from two 25-watt fluorescent lamps. The enclosure also doubles as a monitor stand (how convenient), and the mechanism for retracting and ejecting the keyboard works hands-free via sensors.

Vioguard states that the technique has been proven effective in killing a minimum of 99.99-percent of harmful bacteria and viruses, inclusive of the flu, MRSA and other nasty bugs that can spread through hospitals. The intent of this new keyboard is to provide healthcare facilities an alternative to manually cleaning a keyboard.

The keyboard has been on sale for consumer use, at a cost of $900 on Amazon. Vioguard announced that the FDA approval for medical use this morning and says it's seeking partners to help bring the keyboard to the market.

Continue reading: FDA approves self-sanitizing keyboard for healthcare use (full post)

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen who has plans to create a business for commercial space travel

Anthony Garreffa | Dec 16, 2011 2:26 AM CST

Space Travel. Microsoft. Skynet. The steps are there, and we're hitting them at a nice pace. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has announced new plans to create a business for commercial space travel. It should take roughly five years to develop.

With the U.S. government slicing space flight, Allen has sensed a gap in the market for investment. Yesterday, Allen showcased designs for a new craft that would eventually have the ability of taking human passengers into the vast space that is, well, space.

Allen has previously funded spaceflight, as he was behind SpaceShipOne, which was the first manned private journey. Stratolaunch System are the ones behind the building of the new craft, which is a company founded by Paul Allen.

Continue reading: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen who has plans to create a business for commercial space travel (full post)

2005 YU55, a 400m-wide Asteroid that will fly past Earth on November 9 at just 324,600km

Anthony Garreffa | Nov 2, 2011 10:05 PM CDT

For those of you who don't know, there is a 400m-wide asteroid called "2005 YU55" that will fly past us (and in-between the Moon) on November 9. It will fly past at just 324,600km away, which is 0.85 the distance of the Moon itself, it won't kill us; but it is close enough to be news-worthy.

2005 YU55, a 400m-wide Asteroid that will fly past Earth on November 9 at just 324,600km | TweakTown.com

According to NASA, the "trajectory of asteroid 2005 YU55 is well understood", so there's no dangers whatsoever. The asteroid won't have any gravitational influence on Earth, so it won't make volcanoes go off or cause Earthquakes, etc. But, our gravitational pull might re-direct 2005 YU55. This is something NASA don't really cover, because it will [of course] most likely cause panic.

Also remember, that on the same day, FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) along with the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) and the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will be running a nationwide event coordinated by those agencies and administrations. Come November 9, there will be a test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) in which the test will be heard on the radio and seen on local, cable and satellite TV.

Continue reading: 2005 YU55, a 400m-wide Asteroid that will fly past Earth on November 9 at just 324,600km (full post)

iPod fathers new startup "Nest Labs" builds Learning Thermostat

Anthony Garreffa | Oct 25, 2011 9:30 PM CDT

Fathers of the iPod, Ton Fadell who created the first 18 generations of the iPod and the first three versions of the iPhone, and Matt Rogers who was responsible for iPod software development at Apple, have a new startup: Nest Labs. Their first product? The Nest Learning Thermostat, which is designed to intelligently "learn" the behaviors of the user and adjust accordingly.

During the first seven days of use, the customer will set base temperatures using a single dial which is like a big click wheel. Click the wheel right for the temperature to increase and the display to turn orange, or to the left, to bring it down and the display turns blue. The Nest then records your initial settings and starts to take over after the first week or so. As usage continues, Nest will fine-tune settings using sensors, algorithms and cloud computing.

As an example, Nest is able to detect when users have left the house using a motion sensor and it will throttle back heating or cooling accordingly. The thermostat also includes an ambient light sensor and will adjust the brightness of the display relative to the surrounding light in the room to not cause eye strain.

Continue reading: iPod fathers new startup "Nest Labs" builds Learning Thermostat (full post)

Temporary Surgical Implant Allows Patient To Operate Computer With Mind, Order Take-Out

Trak Lord | Apr 25, 2011 10:54 PM CDT
From the people that brought you the crops that farm you, scientists in Russia were able to surgically implant a temporary device that allowed a patient to operate a computer- with the mind. This news comes to us from the aptly-named Singularity Hub, reminding us that one day, whether we like it or not, robots will take over the world. Also, something's telling me they're going to be able to override the Prime Directive.

Temporary Surgical Implant Allows Patient To Operate Computer With Mind, Order Take-Out | TweakTown.com


The operation was overseen by Dr. Eric Leuthardt, a man previously responsible for developing another Brain-Computer Interface that allowed patients to control video-games with their minds. Clearly, the good doctor's philosophy has taken a turn from "Let's play Space Invaders with our minds!" to "Let's invade Space with Cyborgs". This particular BCI is a net of ECoG (electrocorticographic) electrodes that was temporarily placed beneath the dura, a layer of connective tissue in the brain. Scary? Scarier is that it took some of the patients a mere 4 minutes to get used to the interface and operate a computer with ease. Leuthardt believes this will be instrumental in the operation of bionic prosthetics- I'll be damned if this doesn't get creepier by the word.

Here's a promotional video with more details. Hit the link above to read more about the technical stuff.

Continue reading: Temporary Surgical Implant Allows Patient To Operate Computer With Mind, Order Take-Out (full post)

Reprogrammable chip - upgradeable over time

Anthony Garreffa | Apr 19, 2011 11:54 PM CDT
This could well be the future folks, reprogrammable chips. Startup company, Tabula, is trying to create the hardware equivalent of software - a chip that over time, can have hardware improvements without completely replacing the device. If a programmable chip like this makes it to the market, it would replace the current mantra of replacing the entire device when a new, faster device comes out.

Reprogrammable chip - upgradeable over time | TweakTown.com


The idea isn't new, field programmable gate array (FPGA) is a similar technology which is used in some finished devices or prototypes before production begins. But right now FPGA chips are large as they require all the space for the reprogrammable circuitry. This of course makes them slow and expensive.

Continue reading: Reprogrammable chip - upgradeable over time (full post)

1950 FBI memo confirms flying saucers crashing in New Mexico, disclosure FTW

Anthony Garreffa | Apr 13, 2011 9:52 AM CDT
For years people have wondered, talked about, made movies about, created successful businesses locally and internationally, sold goods and accessories, all around the Roswell incident involving UFOs that crashed. Files have now appeared on the FBI's "vault" website that was once devoted to classified documents have now become public.

The memo is brief but it's from an Air Force informant about "flying saucers". The memo has FBI agent Guy Hottel saying what an "investigator for the Air Forces" told him about what is called "the Roswell incident", Hottel says:

1950 FBI memo confirms flying saucers crashing in New Mexico, disclosure FTW 17 | TweakTown.com


Three so-called flying saucers had been recovered in New Mexico . . . they were described as being circular in shape with raised centres, approximately 50 feet in diameter . . . Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only 3 feet tall, dressed in a metallic cloth of a very fine texture. Each body was bandaged in a manner similar to the blackout suits used by speed flyers and test pilots.

Continue reading: 1950 FBI memo confirms flying saucers crashing in New Mexico, disclosure FTW (full post)

MIT Labs Develops Kinect-Based Teleconference Interface

Trak Lord | Apr 8, 2011 3:59 PM CDT
MIT Labs Develops Kinect-Based Teleconference Interface | TweakTown.com


Lining Yao, Anthony DeVincenzi, Ramesh Raskar, and Hiroshi Ishii from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab have developed a prototypal teleconference interface demonstration using Microsoft's Kinect sensor array.

Featured in their demo video, Lining (Lizzie) and Anthony (Tony) show off some of the features they managed to successfully implement. In their interactive interface, speakers will be given time-bubbles that pop up over their respective heads, tracking the length of time that each is speaking. Amazingly, the clock stops as soon as the person stops speaking, meaning the program is recognizing voices individually. A cool feature (that may need a bit of tweaking, but cool nonetheless) they also included is the automation of focus- when a person is speaking, the focus of the camera changes, ensuring that everything but the speaker is blurry. This wasn't as successfully implemented as the time-tracker, but a very interesting idea, especially for someone like me with rampant ADD.

Speaking of ADD, I have many problems when it comes to not answering or responding to portable phone vibrations, so this next feature made me sigh in relief that someone was actually working on it. The MIT team developed a way that a person in a teleconference can actually freeze an image of themselves, for instance sitting at a table with a rapt...

Continue reading: MIT Labs Develops Kinect-Based Teleconference Interface (full post)

Hospitals set to receive 'real-time' waiting times

Anthony Garreffa | Apr 6, 2011 9:31 PM CDT
In a radical move, patients will finally be able to see just how long the list of people are in hospital emergency departments ahead of time before they arrive. The overhaul of the health system is being lead by Health Minister Jillian Skinner who as her first move is also giving power back to the doctors and nurses to run their hospitals.

Hospitals set to receive 'real-time' waiting times | TweakTown.com


In an interview with The Daily Telegraph yesterday, Skinner said she would not rule out job cuts and wanted bureaucrats in "ivory towers" to get back to working in hospitals.

Continue reading: Hospitals set to receive 'real-time' waiting times (full post)

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