Friday, March 26, 2010

No more bar codes?

Lines at the grocery store might become as obsolete as milkmen, if a new tag that seeks to replace bar codes becomes commonplace.

Researchers from Sunchon National University in Suncheon, South Korea, and Rice University in Houston have built a radio frequency identification tag that can be printed directly onto cereal boxes and potato chip bags. The tag uses ink laced with carbon nanotubes to print electronics on paper or plastic that could instantly transmit information about a cart full of groceries.

"You could run your cart by a detector and it tells you instantly what's in the cart," says James M. Tour of Rice University, whose research group invented the ink. "No more lines, you just walk out with your stuff."

For more information read New RFID Tag Could Mean the End of Bar Codes

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cloud computing

Have you heard the term cloud computing? If you haven't, you will soon. Simply put, cloud computing means using the Internet to provide your programs and store your data. The cloud is a metaphor for "the Internet." This started because in drawing networks, the Internet was usually represented by a drawing of a cloud.

For example, instead of spending $300 on a new copy of Microsoft Office, you might find that Google's free online suite, Google Docs, will do just fine. Needless to say, many companies are investigating cloud computing.

For more information read the Wikipedia entry on Cloud Computing.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Turn Your Body Into Your I/O with Skinput

Electronic devices are getting smaller, and so are their interfaces. If you've ever had problems typing on your mobile, or changing a song on your iPod while jogging, Chris Harrison has the answer. His Skinput prototype is a system that monitors acoustic signals on your arm to translate gestures and taps into input commands. Just by touching different points on your limb you can tell your portable device to change volume, answer a call, or turn itself off. Even better, Harrison can couple Skinput with a pico projector so that you can see a graphic interface on your arm and use the acoustic signals to control it.

Incorporating your body into your mobile systems could be the next big theme in human computer interfaces.

Read more at Turn Your Body Into Your I/O

Friday, February 26, 2010

Tiny Chip Made of Paper Diagnoses Diseases and Costs Just a Penny

Existing lab-on-a-chip designs can put the power of testing in the palm of your hand, but an upcoming model may represent the cheapest and most colorful one yet. A Harvard University chemist has created a prototype "chip" technology out of paper that could help diagnose HIV, malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases for just a penny each time, according to CNN.

A drop of blood on one side of the paper chip results in a colorful tree-like pattern that tells physicians or nurses whether a person has certain diseases. Water-repellent comic-book ink helps channel the blood into the tree-like pattern, as several layers of treated paper react to the blood and create the telling colors.

George Whitesides, a Harvard chemist, said that the colors can also reveal the severity of a disease rather than just saying if a person has it or not. It's not the most sophisticated lab-on-a-chip, but that's the point -- many of these could become cheap diagnostic tools for a developing world that often lacks physicians and clinics.

Read the article at Chip that diagnoses diseases for a penny

U.S Spooks Want a System That Automatically Gauges Who Can Be Trusted

Just as DARPA pushes the wackier Pentagon ideas and ARPA-E backs next-gen energy projects, IARPA serves the intelligence community by checking out "high-risk, high-payoff" research. The spooks' lab has now launched a "TRUST (Tools for Recognizing Useful Signals of Trustworthiness)" program that aims to figure out whom can be trusted, even under the most stressful or deceptive circumstances.

Trust has always presented a problem for the shadowy world of espionage, where believing in the wrong person could mean death and the loss of military or national secrets. A sobering reminder of that came in December 2009, when a trusted informant turned suicide bomber killed seven CIA analysts in Afghanistan who had been directing drone attacks against Pakistani militants.

IARPA's five-year plan aims to design experiments that can measure trust with high certainty -- a tricky proposition for a psychological study. Developing such experimental protocols could prove very useful for assessing levels of trust within one-on-one talks, or even during group interactions.

Read the complete article at

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cybersecurity: Here’s What Really Worries the Pentagon

In Washington, "cybersecurity" is a term that's come to have a thousand meanings, and none at all. Any crime, prank, intelligence operation, or foreign-government attack involving a computer has become a "cyber threat." But at the Pentagon, they aren't worried about some kid painting a Hitler moustache on Defense Secretary Robert Gates' online portrait. They're not even that concerned about a full-scale attack on the military's networks – even though the modern American way of war depends so heavily on the free flow of data. In the military, there's now broad agreement that one cyber threat trumps all others: electronic espionage, the infiltration (and possible corruption) of Defense Department networks.

Well-placed spy software not only opens a window for an adversary to look into American military operations. That window can also be used to extract information — everything from drone video feeds to ammunition requests to intelligence reports. Such an opening also gives that enemy a chance to introduce his own false data, turning American command-and-control systems against themselves. How does a soldier trust an order, if he doesn't know who else is listening – or who gave the order in the first place?

Read More

Friday, February 12, 2010

Pew Research quiz

This is not a humorous joke, but a Pew Research quiz.

See how well you do compared to the national averages. Once you see the results, you will know why the country is in the pathetic shape we're in. No one knows a damn thing!!! I contend the really uninformed Americans haven't even taken this test.

Test your knowledge with 12 questions, then be ready to shudder when you see how others did.

Pass it along to your friends and see how well they did!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

'Lab on a chip' that detects viruses developed by BYU researchers

A team of BYU engineers and chemists has created an inexpensive silicon microchip that reliably detects viruses, even at low concentrations.

For medicine, this development is promising for future lab diagnostics that could detect viruses before symptoms kick in and damage begins, well ahead of when traditional lab tests are able to catch them.

Read the complete article at

Thursday, January 21, 2010

To Charge your iPod, Plug in Your Jeans

A breakthrough in wearable computing lets researchers change ordinary cotton and polyester into electronic textiles that can double as rechargeable batteries. That means powering an iPod or cell phone could become as easy as plugging it into your tee shirt or jeans and charging the clothing overnight.

Read More

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Toyota Sees Robotic Nurses in Your Lonely Final Years

Japan's aging population and low birthrate point to a looming shortage of workers, and Japan's elder care facilities and hospitals are already competing for nurses. This fact has not escaped Toyota, which runs Toyota Memorial Hospital in Toyota City, Japan. Taking a lead from Honda, Toyota in 2004 announced plans to build "Toyota Partner Robots" and begin selling them in 2010 after extensive field trials at Toyota Memorial.

This is more than some futuristic fantasy. The government is drafting safety regulations for service robots, which would include nursing droids. A new agency, the Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, has launched a five-year project to improve safety standards for the machines. The South Korean Government has even drawn up a code of ethics for how robots should treat humans and, perhaps ironically, how humans should treat robots.

To read more click on Robotic Nurses

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Can Cell Phones Help Fight Alzheimer's?

Jan. 6, 2010 -- Cell phone exposure may be helpful in the fight against Alzheimer's disease, a new study shows.

The study, involving mice, provides evidence that long-term exposure to electromagnetic waves associated with cell phone use may protect against, and even reverse, Alzheimer's disease. The study is published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

To read the complete article click on

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Google Hack Attack Was Ultra Sophisticated, New Details Show

Hackers seeking source code from Google, Adobe and dozens of other high-profile companies used unprecedented tactics that combined encryption, stealth programming and an unknown hole in Internet Explorer, according to new details released by researchers at anti-virus firm McAfee.

"We have never ever, outside of the defense industry, seen commercial industrial companies come under that level of sophisticated attack," says Dmitri Alperovitch, vice president of threat research for McAfee. "It's totally changing the threat model."

Read More

Saturday, January 2, 2010

NZ's cyber spies win new powers

New Zealand: New cyber-monitoring measures have been quietly introduced giving police and Security Intelligence Service officers the power to monitor all aspects of someone's online life.

The measures are the largest expansion of police and SIS surveillance capabilities for decades, and mean that all mobile calls and texts, email, internet surfing and online shopping, chatting and social networking can be monitored anywhere in New Zealand.

Police and SIS must still obtain an interception warrant naming a person or place they want to monitor but, compared to the phone taps of the past, a single warrant now covers phone, email and all internet activity.

It can even monitor a person's location by detecting their mobile phone; all of this occurring almost instantaneously.

Police say in the year to June 2009, there were 68 interception warrant applications granted and 157 people prosecuted as a result of those interceptions.

Official papers obtained by the New Zealand Star-Times show that, despite government claims that it was done for domestic reasons, the new New Zealand spying capabilities are part of a push by United States agencies to have standardized surveillance capabilities available for their use from governments worldwide.

WOW! Click on NZ cyber spies for the complete article

Friday, December 18, 2009

China develops herbal medication to treat A/H1N1 flu

Chinese medical specialists announced Thursday they had developed a Chinese herbal medication to treat the A/H1N1 flu.

Seven months of scientific and clinical studies showed the remedy, called "Jin Hua Qing Gan Fang," was effective in treating A/H1N1 flu patients, said Wang Chen, president of Beijing's Chaoyang Hospital. "It can shorten patients' fever period and improve their respiratory systems. Doctors have found no negative effects on patients who were treated in this way," he said. "It is also very cheap, only about a quarter of the cost of Tamiflu," he said at a press conference held by the Beijing Municipal Government.

"We are further developing the medicine and trying to present it to the whole country and world as soon as possible, thus offering an alternative to treat the A/H1N1 flu," he said. For more information click on Herbal Medication

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Army Tests ‘Universal Remote’ for Future Troopers

On future battlefields, the Army wants to have an all-seeing array of drones, robots and sensors that will be tied together over a common network. But the real challenge will be bringing all that digital information down to the lowest level: the individual soldier.

That's the idea behind a recent series of tests pairing Land Warrior, a controversial array of infantry gadgets the service has trialed in Iraq and Afghanistan, with the Common Controller device, a developmental system that functions something like a "universal remote" for different robotic devices.

To read the complete article click on Army Universal Remote

Sunday, December 13, 2009

East Texas Palm Trees

Palm trees don't usually grow well in East Texas – probably because it gets too cold for them in winter. However, one shopping center in Tyler seems to have solved the winter problem:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Nanotech ink turns paper into batteries

"Stanford University researchers have demonstrated a way to turn ordinary paper ito a battery, which may be crumpled or pressed into any form. It's said the technology promises greater durability, higher efficiency, and faster energy transfer than traditional batteries. The technique uses special ink made of carbon nanotubes and silver nanowires. Thanks to the small diameters of these materials, the ink sticks strongly to the fibrous paper, allowing the battery to be extremely durable. The paper battery could last through 40,000 charge-discharge cycles — at least an order of magnitude more than lithium batteries. According to the researchers, the paper batteries will be low-cost, may be crumpled or folded, and can even be soaked in acidic or basic solutions, yet their performance does not degrade. 'We just haven't tested what happens when you burn it,' one of the researchers quipped." For more information click on Paper Into Battery

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Technology is bringing changes in health care

Amid all the noise of health care reform, a real revolution is happening.

Medical advancements that sound like science fiction -- growing your own organs, being cared for by robotic nurses, popping anti-aging pills -- are either at or near reality already. No matter what is decided about how we deliver and pay for health care in the future, the manner in which bodies and diseases are treated is about to change dramatically.

At least that's the opinion of the innovators in medicine and technology -- scientists, doctors, engineers and philosophers -- who gathered last month at a TEDMED, (that's Technology, Entertainment, Design Medicine) conference in San Diego to unveil solutions to some stubborn health care problems. These innovations are likely to be embraced not only because they could save money, but also because a large, vocal group is going to want them -- the baby boomers.

Click on Future Medical Technology for more information.