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India to Get a Smartphone for the Blind
April 25, 2013
A company in India has developed a smartphone for the blind. The device will be equipped to read text messages and emails, and it will then convert the text to Braille. It will utilize shape memory alloy technology, which exploits a metal's ability to "remember" its original shape. The phone's screen is not a screen so much as a grid of pins that move up and down to form Braille characters.
Virtualization: An IT Prescription for Healthcare Providers
April 08, 2013
Healthcare providers know that technology can provide an answer to higher operating costs and ailing efficiencies within their organizations, but strict regulatory issues and other compliance matters have always proved to be tough obstacles. The security of patient health data, after all, must never be compromised in pursuit of greater efficiencies.
Relax and Sleep: Whatever Floats Your Dream Boat
March 29, 2013
Relax and Sleep Plus lets you choose and play ambient sounds that might help you sleep. I tried this app during a grueling jet-lagged visit to London. The UK has a seven-hour time difference from Los Angeles, which is my home base, so my day started there just as I normally would be going to sleep. For me, the net result of the time change was sleeplessness in the dead of local night.
Hackathon's Goal: A Smartphone Game That Scores Points for Cancer Research
March 02, 2013
A UK-based charity is sponsoring a weekend hackathon, but those invited won't be using their coding talents to advance any business causes. The 40 programmers, gamers, graphic designers and other specialists will spend the time designing a smartphone game that can let average users help with cancer research.
Big Blue Breaks Into Biotech With Bacteria-Blasting Hydrogel
January 29, 2013
Researchers from IBM and the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology have developed what they are calling the first antimicrobial hydrogel that is biodegradable, biocompatible and non-toxic. The hydrogel, which can penetrate diseased biofilms and eradicate drug-resistant bacteria upon contact, has applications ranging from antimicrobial cleaners to therapeutic delivery agents to tissue engineering.
Electronic Health Records Performance Lags Behind Potential
January 23, 2013
Major programs designed to reduce costs and improve healthcare through the automation of medical records have fallen short of the potential to do either, according to a recent Rand Corp. report. The effort to convert paper health documents to electronic form got a huge boost from the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act.
All Things Appy: 5 Best iOS Health and Fitness Apps
January 23, 2013
Many of us have got health and fitness on the mind as the new year gets under way, and the smartphone is proving itself to be a remarkable little healthcare provider. Among the useful apps in this vein is MyFitnessPal, which stores more than 2 million types of food in its database and provides a free barcode scanner to look up foods you've eaten -- or are about to.
Machine Learning, TDA and the Future of Invention
January 23, 2013
Ayasdi came out of stealth mode and told the world it had a new way to analyze big data, and I think the implications for CRM and social are very large indeed. The new way is called "topological data analysis" and hearing about it has the feel of hearing about relativity for the first time and learning that space is curved.
Looking Back at CES and Ahead to the Future of Tech
January 21, 2013
Part of the fun after CES is to weave the various announcements and showcases together to get a view of a future that might result from a blend of them. The goal, if you can call it that, is like imagining the cars of the 1950s and '60s, but from a 1920s perspective with then-recent developments such as compact hydraulic pumps and air conditioners in the forefront.
The Fitness Tech Explosion
January 11, 2013
With the holidays in the rear view mirror, many who did too much indulging have begun to notice a bulge that they may want to lose in the new year. It is easy to make and subsequently break new year's resolutions -- but the convergence of technology and fitness could help make it easier to keep them.
Alzheimer's Could Be the Trade-off for Deep-Space Pioneers
January 03, 2013
Cosmic radiation could accelerate the onset of Alzheimer's disease among astronauts, adding to the health risks it's already known to pose. Researchers at the University of Rochester looked at the effect of high-mass particles with a high charge. These so-called "HZE particles" are the nuclei of elements that include iron, silicon, titanium and calcium.
Healthcare Data Has to Be Both Secure and Right
December 17, 2012
Lake Health, a regional healthcare system in northeast Ohio, has been examining its information-security practices with a maturing approach. It is shifting from deploying security technologies to becoming more of a comprehensive risk-reduction practice provider internally for its own consumers. This has caused Lake Health to look at the quality of its data.
Study: Smartphone Dieters Shed More Pounds
December 11, 2012
People anticipating weight gain over the holiday season can look toward mobile technology to help them shed those extra pounds. Patients in weight loss treatment programs lost more weight when they coupled nutritional coaching and exercise with prompts from mobile apps, reported Northwestern University researchers.
Bringing Healthcare Home From the Hospital
December 01, 2012
As the dust settles on the 2012 election, one conclusion remains as inevitable now as before: The healthcare industry is in line for major changes, especially over the next two years. Industry and consumer factors are pushing the transformation to a patient-centered approach in care delivery, which will open new opportunities in connected-home technologies.
Basis Watches Every Move You Make
November 29, 2012
The Basis wearable fitness monitor -- announced back in January at the 2012 International CES -- has finally shipped. Already sold out for the holidays, according to the website, the Basis can be reserved for $199. The device enters a market with notable competition from Jawbone, LarkLife and Nike.
A Luke Skywalker-Type Arm's Just the Start for Revolutionary Polymer
November 15, 2012
Researchers at Stanford University have created a new flexible skin-like material that has the ability to heal itself, which could pave the way for a new generation of prosthetics. Further development could also lead to regeneration of organs and limitless other possibilities. Led by Zhenan Bao, Ph.D., the research team created a self-healing polymer that is touch-sensitive and self-healing.
FCC Draws mHealth Road Map, Part 2
November 02, 2012
The U.S. government's efforts to advance health technology include work taking place at two obvious agencies: the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. However, an unlikely player in the healthcare arena has emerged -- the Federal Communications Commission, which finds itself at the center of the mobile health, or mHealth, sector.
FCC Draws mHealth Road Map, Part 1
October 30, 2012
Smartphones can perform all kinds of neat tasks, such as instantly directing owners to the nearest sushi bar, or providing inning-by-inning updates of the World Series. Beyond these eye-catching consumer conveniences, the potential for more substantive uses for mobile telecom is enormous. One such area is healthcare, including a wide range of services.
Foursquare's New Ad Layer Ropes In More Brand-Friendly Users
July 26, 2012
Foursquare is following up on a feature it introduced last week that layers on new ad functionality for brands seeking to target local customers. Unveiled last week, "Local Updates" lets users keep up with places they like in their Friends tab. Now the social service has rolled out "Promoted Updates" in the Explore tab.
Virtual Organism Reveals Secrets of Cellular Processes
July 24, 2012
Bioengineering researchers at Stanford University have created a computational model of an entire organism, according to a report published in Cell. This model lets them predict cellular behaviors that haven't been observed, as well as new biological processes and parameters. The organism modeled is Mycoplasma genitalium, or M. genitalium, the smallest known genome that can constitute a cell.
Sensor-Equipped Gloves May Give Voice to Sign Language
July 12, 2012
Making use of sleek black gloves, sophisticated sensors, a microcontroller and a smartphone, students from the Ukraine have created a device that translates sign language into speech. Called "Enable Talk," the system won first place in the software design category at Microsoft's 10th annual Imagine Cup, held this year in Sydney, Australia.
Encryption on the Go, Part 2
June 06, 2012
The growing consumerization of IT is turning into a security nightmare for many IT departments, but it's perhaps hitting the healthcare industry worst. "BYOD is an emerging issue in healthcare, as staff bring their latest and greatest devices and ask to use them in their work," said Christina Thielst, vice president at Tower Strategies.
Rx for Medical Students: Take One Tablet
May 23, 2012
The educational e-book market has grown fiercer in the last few years, raising the question of where the end game will leave educational institutions in their attempts to reduce student churn, increase productivity and radically reduce costs. As the battling e-textbook giants try to cut exclusive deals and limit competitors' supplies of e-content, educators are wondering if their choices of learning material will be choked as a result.
Paralyzed Woman Takes Sip of Joe Using Mind-Powered Robo Arm
May 17, 2012
Researchers have developed a robotic arm that has enabled a paralyzed woman to drink a cup of coffee -- by directly controlling it with her mind. The development has raised the question of whether this approach could perhaps restore some mobility to similarly affected people in the future.

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