No More Needles for Diagnostic Tests? Engineers Develop Nearly Pain-Free Microneedle Patch

source: scitechdaily.com

Nearly pain-free microneedle patch can test for antibodies and more in the fluid between cells.

Blood draws are no fun.

They hurt. Veins can burst, or even roll — like they’re trying to avoid the needle, too.

Oftentimes, doctors use blood samples to check for biomarkers of disease: antibodies that signal a viral or bacterial infection, such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, or cytokines indicative of inflammation seen in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and sepsis.

These biomarkers aren’t just in blood, though. They can also be found in the dense liquid medium that surrounds our cells, but in a low abundance that makes it difficult to be detected.

Until now.

Engineers at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a microneedle patch that can be applied to the skin, capture a biomarker of interest and, thanks to its unprecedented sensitivity, allow clinicians to detect its presence.

The technology is low cost, easy for clinicians or patients themselves to use, and could eliminate the need for a trip to the hospital just for a blood draw.

Continue reading “No More Needles for Diagnostic Tests?”

SpaceX Will Launch Billionaire Jared Isaacman on a Private Spaceflight This Year

Isaacman chartered a Crew Dragon flight and is donating the other three seats.

 source:  space.com

SpaceX continues to blaze new paths to the final frontier.

Billionaire tech entrepreneur Jared Isaacman has chartered a trip to Earth orbit with Elon Musk’s company, which last year became the first private outfit to fly astronauts to the International Space Station.

The 37-year-old Isaacman, who’s also an accomplished pilot, will command the four-person “Inspiration4” mission aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, he and SpaceX announced today (Feb. 1). There will be no professional astronauts aboard; Isaacman is donating the other three seats.

“It will be the first-ever all-private crewed orbital mission in history,” Musk said during a teleconference with reporters today (Feb. 1).

SpaceX will use the Crew Dragon spacecraft “Resilience” for Inspiration4, Musk added. Resilience is currently docked at the International Space Station on the Crew-1 mission, SpaceX’s first contracted crewed flight to the orbiting lab for NASA.

 

Harvesting Energy as you Move: The Future of Wearable Technology

source:  azonano.com

contributed by Artemus FAN, Steve Jones

EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellow, Dr Ishara Dharmasena, speaks to AZoNano about their groundbreaking triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) technology that has the potential to convert our movements into electricity.

 

How did you begin your research into energy harvesting technology?

I was interested in renewable energy technologies and their impact on our lifestyle and the environment since my undergraduate years back in Sri Lanka. However, it was during my PhD project at the University of Surrey that I started researching energy harvesting technologies, specifically those that have the potential to convert human motion into electricity such as the triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) technology.

Following the completion of my PhD project, I started TENG energy harvesting activities at Loughborough University, focusing on the design and application aspects of TENGs toward powering the next generation of portable and smart electronics.

What are triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) and how are they revolutionary in the energy industry?

Triboelectric nanogenerators (TENG) are small-scale energy generators that can convert the energy from movements in our surroundings (e.g. human motion, machine vibrations, vehicle movements, wind, and wave energy) into electricity.

These generators work based on the combination of two common effects – “triboelectric charging” and “electrostatic induction”. Triboelectric charging or static charging is typically an undesired effect we experience in everyday life. Static charging is the reason why a balloon rubbed on our hair can stick to a wall or attract small pieces of paper, while it also causes lightening, and, clothing to stick to our skin on a dry day.

Continue reading “Harvesting Energy as you Move: The Future of Wearable Technology”

Find out if you can meet all your needs within a 15-minute walk from your house.

source:  fastcompany.com

In a “15-minute city,” it’s possible to meet your basic needs within a 15-minute walk or bike ride. Instead of sitting in traffic during a rush-hour commute, you can work at home or walk to an office nearby. You can walk to get groceries, go to the doctor, take your kids to school, or run any other everyday errand. Housing is affordable, so a barista could live in a walkable neighborhood as easily as a lawyer. It’s a concept championed by the mayor of Paris and, more recently, pitched by a global network of cities as a tool for helping urban areas recover from the pandemic—and improve sustainability and health as people start to get more exercise while conducting their day-to-day activities.

In the U.S., car-dependent sprawl is more common. But a new tool lets you map out local services to see how close your neighborhood comes to the ideal.

 

Click here to try out the tool:

https://app.developer.here.com/15-min-city-map/

“The global pandemic has highlighted the importance of location and proximity,” says Jordan Stark, a spokesperson for Here Technologies, the location data platform that created the map. The company typically creates maps for businesses, such as delivery companies that need to route vehicles, and built the new tool to demonstrate how developers could work with its data. While the current version maps out amenities like grocery stores, transit stops, and medical care—along the lines of Walkscore, another tool—the company says it might later create an iteration that considers how far residents might have to travel to get to an office.

The map also shows how many services can be accessed by car from an address. “We wanted to show, especially in the U.S., the contrast in the accessibility between walking and driving,” Stark says. “And as you can imagine, there are a number of communities where you have all of your essential items within a 15-minute drive, but potentially less than one essential location in a walk. So it was a way to show that contrast in spatial makeup.”

While pockets of American cities are walkable now—the map tells me that my own neighborhood in Oakland qualifies as a “15-minute city”—it’s possible that more neighborhoods will move in this direction as cities begin to use it as a framework for urban planning. Seattle’s Office of Planning and Community Development is one of the latest to say that it is exploring the concept of 15-minute neighborhoods.

“We wanted to show, especially in the U.S., the contrast in the accessibility between walking and driving,”

Deepfakes

source: homelandsecuritynewswire.com

 

Image editing software is so ubiquitous and easy to use, and deadline-driven journalists lack the tools to tell the difference, especially when the images come through from social media.

A peace sign from Martin Luther King, Jr, becomes a rude gesture; President Donald Trump’s inauguration crowd scenes inflated; dolphins in Venice’s Grand Canal; and crocodiles on the streets of flooded Townsville – all manipulated images posted as truth.

Image editing software is so ubiquitous and easy to use,  according to researchers from QUT’s Digital Media Research Centre, it has the power to re-imagine history. And, they say, deadline-driven journalists lack the tools to tell the difference, especially when the images come through from social media.

In addition, certain elements will be centered on mobile devices and tablets and aligned to the left or right on a desktop display. You can adjust the layout for each Block at three different device widths – desktop, tablet, and mobile.

Their study, Visual  Mis/Disinformation in Journalism and Public Communications, has been published in Journalism Practice. It was driven by the increased prevalence of fake news and how social media platforms and news organizations are struggling to identify and combat visual mis/disinformation presented to their audiences.

“When Donald Trump’s staff posted an image to his official Facebook page in 2019, journalists were able to spot the photoshopped edits to the president’s skin and physique because an unedited version exists on the White House’s official Flickr feed,” said lead author Dr T.J. Thomson.

“But what about when unedited versions aren’t available online and journalists can’t rely on simple reverse-image searches to verify whether an image is real or has been manipulated?

“When it is possible to alter past and present images, by methods like cloning, splicing, cropping, re-touching or re-sampling, we face the danger of a re-written history – a very Orwellian scenario.”

Examples highlighted in the report include photos shared by news outlets last year of crocodiles on Townsville streets during a flood which were later shown to be images of alligators in Florida from 2014. It also quotes a Reuters employee on their discovery that a harrowing video shared during Cyclone Idai, which devastated parts of Africa in 2019, had been shot in Libya five years earlier.

An image of Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s reaction to the US Senate’s passing of the civil rights bill in 1964, was manipulated to make it appear that he was flipping the bird to the camera. This edited version was shared widely on Twitter, Reddit, and white supremacist website The Daily Stormer.

Dr Thomson, Associate Professor Daniel Angus, Dr. Paula Dootson, Dr. Edward Hurcombe, and Adam Smith have mapped journalists’ current social media verification techniques and suggest which tools are most effective for which circumstances.

“Detection of false images is made harder by the number of visuals created daily – in excess of 3.2 billion photos and 720,000 hours of video – along with the speed at which they are produced, published, and shared,” said Dr. Thomson.

“Other considerations include the digital and visual literacy of those who see them. Yet being able to detect fraudulent edits masquerading as reality is critically important.

“While journalists who create visual media are not immune to ethical breaches, the practice of incorporating more user-generated and crowd-sourced visual content into news reports is growing.  Verification on social media will have to increase commensurately if we wish to improve trust in institutions and strengthen our democracy.”

Dr. Thomson said a recent quantitative study performed by the International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) found a very low usage of social media verification tools in newsrooms.

“The ICFJ surveyed over 2,700 journalists and newsroom managers in more than 130 countries and found only 11% of those surveyed used social media verification tools,” he said.

“The lack of user-friendly forensic tools available and low levels of digital media literacy, combined, are chief barriers to those seeking to stem the tide of visual mis/disinformation online.”

Associate Professor Angus said the study demonstrated an urgent need for better tools, developed with journalists, to provide greater clarity around the provenance and authenticity of images and other media.

“Despite knowing little about the provenance and veracity of the visual content they encounter, journalists have to quickly determine whether to re-publish or amplify this content,” he said.

“The many examples of misattributed, doctored, and faked imagery attest to the importance of accuracy, transparency, and trust in the arena of public discourse. People generally vote and make decisions based on information they receive via friends and family, politicians, organizations, and journalists.”

The researchers cite current manual detection strategies – using a reverse image search, examining image metadata, examining light and shadows; and using image editing software – but say more tools need to be developed, including more advanced machine learning methods, to verify visuals on social media.

 

“When it is possible to alter past and present images, by methods like cloning, splicing, cropping, re-touching or re-sampling, we face the danger of a re-written history – a very Orwellian scenario.” highlights important information, which may or may not be an actual quote. It uses distinct styling to set it apart from other content on the page.”

 

IT Predictions from the Past: How Accurate Were They?

predictions

source: eweek.com

eWEEK looks back at three years ago on the conversation around automation: As the internet gets increasingly more fragile, automation–as it is in most other IT categories–becomes a big factor in making it run more efficiently. How accurate were the predictions from thought leaders?

[Editor’s note: Each December, eWEEK asks IT professionals to look ahead to the next year and let us know what important trends they see coming. We’ll be publishing these predictions again this year, so get them ready to send us! Meanwhile, periodically we look back at previous years’ predictions to see how how accurate–or inaccurate–they were. In this case, the thoughts around automation were particularly on target. Enjoy!]

Networking in 2017 encompassed far, far more technology than simply the pipes used to hold data as it moves from one location to another. It always has. In 2018, networking will evolve even more into software-controlled, artificial intelligence-fortified systems that will be thinking far ahead of humans as data moves through its veins.

 

Continue reading “IT Predictions From The Past: How Accurate Were They?”

too much tech

‘I’m Not Sure We’ll Survive It’:  How Constant Tech Is Breaking Our Brains


source: fastcompany.com

 

If you’re worried that our brains are being permanently and irrevocably altered by the constant use of technology during the coronavirus pandemic, Jaron Lanier has bad news and worse news.

“I’m not sure we’ll survive it,” the VR pioneer and noted technology skeptic said this week during a virtual panel discussion at the 2020 Fast Company Innovation Festival.

 

Granted, he followed that up with a more optimistic afterthought: “I do think the capacity of people to become more self-directed [with their use of technology] during the pandemic is actually a good sign—and it gives me some hope,” he added.

Continue reading “‘I’m Not Sure We’ll Survive It’: How Constant Tech Is Breaking Our Brains”

source:  Fastcompany.com

As 2020’s experiment with working from home turns into something more permanent, gitlab—the world’s largest all-remote company—offers a glimpse of what’s ahead, for better or worse.

A group of employees at the tech firm is debating the merits of an inflatable kayak over Zoom.
“It’s definitely [for] calm waters,” says engineer Lien Van Den Steen, 
as Thursday afternoon sun streams through a window in her Ghent, Belgium, home. 
 

From his home in Minnesota, Timm Ideker, a regional sales director, drops a link into the chat for  a kayak that breaks into pieces for easy transportation. “I have some concerns that this just means it’s going to leak in seven places,” says Simon Mansfield, a member of GitLab’s sales team, in Cardiff, Wales..

For most employees, this sort of conversation would be a brief sidebar from work, but discussing  kayaks—and weekend plans and favorite board games—is the entire point of this call. Employees from any GitLab team (or time zone) log on to these recurring 30-minute Company Calls to replicate the casual conversations that happen naturally when coworkers share the same office.

Artemus Note:  If you REALLY want to see a GREAT media-rich article about what GitLab’s doing on this front, click here!  You won’t be sorry!!

Continue reading “Extremely Transparent & Incredibly Remote: GitLab and Remote Working”

source:  cnet.com

photo by Josh Sorensen for Pexels.com

Palmer Luckey rose to tech fame for inventing the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset that helped generate interest in the technology. Now he’s got a different type of tech product to show off: the Ghost 4 military drone.

Built by Luckey’s new company, called Anduril Industries, the two-meter aircraft can be carried in a backpack and is designed to withstand the sand, mud and seawater of military operations. Anduril, which announced the drone Thursday, said the Ghost 4 has a 100-minute flight time and can be autonomously or remotely piloted. It can carry cameras, radio-jamming systems or lasers to spotlight targets. And it can drop packages weighing as much as 35 pounds.

Onboard artificial intelligence algorithms have been tuned to identify and track people, missiles and battlefield equipment. One Ghost 4 drone can join with other Ghost 4 drones to form a data-sharing swarm to relay information back to Lattice, Anduril’s situation monitoring system.

Continue reading “Oculus Founder’s Ghost 4 Military Drones Use AI for Surveillance and Attack”

source: kottke.org (contributed by FAN Steve Jones)

 

Researchers have demonstrated that they can make a working 3D-printed copy of a key just by listening to how the key sounds when inserted into a lock. And you don’t need a fancy mic — a smartphone or smart doorbell will do nicely if you can get it close enough to the lock.

The next time you unlock your front door, it might be worth trying to insert your key as quietly as possible; researchers have discovered that the sound of your key being inserted into the lock gives attackers all they need to make a working copy of your front door key.It sounds unlikely, but security researchers say they have proven that the series of audible, metallic clicks made as a key penetrates a lock can now be deciphered by signal processing software to reveal the precise shape of the sequence of ridges on the key’s shaft. Knowing this (the actual cut of your key), a working copy of it can then be three-dimensionally (3D) printed.  The next time you unlock your front door, it might be worth trying to insert your key as quietly as possible; researchers have discovered that the sound of your key being inserted into the lock gives attackers all they need to make a working copy of your front door key.

It sounds unlikely, but security researchers say they have proven that the series of audible, metallic clicks made as a key penetrates a lock can now be deciphered by signal processing software to reveal the precise shape of the sequence of ridges on the key’s shaft. Knowing this (the actual cut of your key), a working copy of it can then be three-dimensionally (3D) printed.

How Soundarya Ramesh and her team accomplished this is a fascinating read.

 

Continue reading “Researchers Can Duplicate Keys from the Sounds They Make in Locks”