Stem Cell, Pocket UAV, Restorative Touch

Dated: 15 Oct 2014
Posted by Christine Chan
Category: Healthcare, Technology

Stem Cell: Researchers have used stem cells from human embryos to treat patients suffering from severe vision loss, the first time the technique has been shown to be both safe and potentially effective in a sustained way. The study was proven quite successful; one patient was a 75-year-old rancher from Kansas whose eyesight improved to the point where he could ride a horse again. Another patient went to the mall for the first time. Another traveled to the airport by herself.

Pocket UAV: A San Francisco-based drone maker has unveiled a device it calls a drone for the masses that can shoot video and fold up into the size and shape of a cellphone.  The AeriCam Anura is a pocket-sized drone with fold-away rotors that can be controlled and monitored over WiFi with a user’s smartphone.

Restorative Touch: Researchers at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, and the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, have discovered that patterns of electric signals sent by a computer into nerves in a patient’s arm and to his brain, can give 19 distinct sensations of touch to the patient’s prosthetic limb. They can even differentiate what is touching the limb, as well as more than a dozen distinct points and locations. The video demonstrating this technology can be found here.

Syria, Gesture Control, North Korea

Dated: 8 Oct 2014
Posted by Christine Chan
Category: International, Security, Technology

Syria: The United States increased air strikes on the town of Kobani on the Syrian-Turkish border on Tuesday after Kurdish forces said previous strikes were not fighting off ISIS advances. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Ergodan also warned of the high risk of Kobani falling to ISIS control. Although Turkey approved military action against ISIS and has moved tanks to its border with Syria, the government said it will not get more involved without a U.S. commitment to enhanced support of Syrian rebels against the Assad regime.

Gesture Control: Engineers have developed a new form of low-power wireless sensing technology that could let users “train” their smartphones to recognize and respond to specific hand gestures near the phone. The SideSwipe technology uses the phone’s wireless transmissions to sense nearby gestures, so it works when a device is out of sight in a pocket or bag, and could be built into future smartphones and tablets. The sensor uses the reflection of the phone’s own wireless transmissions to sense nearby gestures, enabling users to interact with their phones even when they are not holding the phone, looking at the display, or touching the screen.

North Korea: Strange behavior out of the totalitarian state as of lately.  With reports of a potential coup late last week, a surprise visit over the weekend by North Korean leaders to Seoul, which was reported as an amicable meeting, raised hopes of a potential détente.  However, an exchange of fire between the two countries’ navies yesterday and the admission of the North Korean labor camps as of this morning, illustrates the inconsistent and ambiguous nature of recent events.