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Big Pharma Joins Google's Quest for Aging Antidote
September 04, 2014
Pharmaceutical giant AbbVie on Wednesday announced it was teaming up with Google-funded Calico, the life sciences initiative aimed at helping patients deal with diseases and other negative effects associated with aging. Under the terms of the partnership, both AbbVie and Calico will invest up to $250 million in the project, with the possibility of another $500 million each.
NASA's Opportunity to Lose Total Recall, Gain Spotless Mind
September 03, 2014
The United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration next month will reformat the flash memory of the Mars exploration rover Opportunity. Opportunity's been undergoing computer resets with increasing frequency -- it had 12 in August alone. Recovery from each of the resets takes one to two days, which means the rover was out of action for most of the month.
Digital Clone: You Won't Be Able to Live Without One
September 01, 2014
A very interesting book just hit the market. Written by Martine Rothblatt -- apparently she is America's top paid female CEO -- its title is Virtually Human: The Promise -- and the Peril -- of Digital Immortality. The subject is digital clones, and Rothblatt goes into depth about what they are, when they are coming, and the likelihood they eventually will have equal human rights.
Gadget Ogling: Sapphire Phones, Waterproof Reads, Connected Hats and a Runner's Salvation
August 29, 2014
A current trend among smartphone makers is to thrust a sapphire screen onto the face. Among the 17 million rumors regarding the next iPhone is that it will feature such a display -- the camera and Touch ID components already feature sapphire. Until Apple reveals the truth about its next smartphone, other manufacturers, like Huawei, are jostling for sapphire-embossed market share.
Ralph Lauren Takes a Swing at Fitness Tech
August 28, 2014
Ralph Lauren this week merged the tech and fashion worlds with a new smart Polo shirt. Knitted into the Polo Tech shirt's core are sensors that read biological and physiological information. The company partnered with Msignal to develop a "black box" that includes an accelerometer and gyroscope, which capture movement and direction. Data is captured and sent to the cloud for analysis.
Hacker Attacks on Healthcare Providers Jump 600 Percent
August 28, 2014
The recent data breach at Community Health Systems, in which Chinese hackers stole the personal information of 4.3 million patients, was another sign of a disturbing trend: Healthcare providers are coming under cyberattack at an alarming rate. "We've seen a 600 percent increase in attacks on the healthcare sector in the last 10 months," said Carl Leonard, senior manager at Websense Security Labs.
Robo Brain Teaches a Robot to Fish
August 28, 2014
Researchers are building Robo Brain, a large-scale computational system that collates information from the Internet, from computer simulations, and from real-life robot trials -- and learns from it. That knowledge base will be used to drive prototypes for robotics research, household robots and self-driving cars. The researchers have begun downloading an assortment of images and documents.
Scientists Zap Diamond With Laser to Record Quantum Behavior
August 27, 2014
Researchers recently developed a technique to record the quantum mechanical behavior of one electron in a nanoscale defect in diamond. The team used ultra-fast pulses of laser light both to control the defect's entire quantum state and to observe how the state of one electron in the defect changes over time. "This experiment uses a 'trapped' electron," said team leader David Awschalom.
To Your Health: Intel Inside Your Headphones
August 16, 2014
Intel on Friday announced it is working with rapper Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson's SMS Audio to develop earbuds that will monitor users' heart rates. The SMS Audio BioSport In-Ear Headphones will have an earhook and will be powered by the user's smartphone. They will be sweat- and water-resistant. The earbuds will be available from SMS Audio in Q4; pricing has not yet been announced.
Apple Flexes Muscles in Health Field
August 15, 2014
Apple has begun ramping up for an incursion into the healthcare market, two months after announcing its HealthKit app at WWDC. The app will collate all a user's fitness and health data. Apple reportedly has discussed HealthKit with healthcare providers Mount Sinai, the Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins, along with electronic health records provider Allscripts.
Stepping Up the Search for ET
August 11, 2014
Atmospheric pollution may not be among mankind's proudest achievements, but it's an incontrovertible sign that we are here. Could something similar help us find civilizations on other planets? That's the premise behind one of several recently announced new approaches to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. One involves detecting pollutants like Earth's in the atmospheres of other worlds.
I Think, Therefore IBM
August 08, 2014
IBM has announced the latest version of its neurosynaptic processor -- that is, a processor whose workings are inspired by the human brain. It has 5.4 billion transistors and an on-chip network of 4,096 neurosynaptic cores. IBM claims it is the first neurosynaptic chip to achieve 1 million programmable neurons, 256 million programmable synapses, and 46 billion synaptic operations per second.
Researchers Finagle Sound From Silent Video
August 06, 2014
Researchers from MIT, Microsoft and Adobe have developed an algorithm to extract audio information from video footage. They recovered intelligible speech from a video of a potato chip bag that was shot at a distance of 15 feet behind soundproof glass. The team also obtained useful audio signals from videos of aluminum foil, the surface of a glass of water, and the leaves of a potted plant.
LittleBits Leaps to the Cloud
July 31, 2014
LittleBits, the maker of what might best be thought of as electronic Legos, last week launched cloudBit, a module that provides users with access to the Internet. LittleBits offers modules that are used, like Legos, to build gizmos with electronic capabilities. The modules are held together by magnets, and no soldering or wiring is needed. "This is serious cool," said tech analyst Jim McGregor.
Stanford Researchers Build a Better Battery
July 29, 2014
A new way to extend battery life would allow smartphones to last three to four times longer on a single charge, Stanford University researchers have found. A team led by Yi Cui, professor of materials science and engineering, has developed pure metal anode prototypes, which differ from the lithium-ion batteries seen in most devices. "I think this is very promising," Cui said.
Google to Search for the Meaning of Health
July 25, 2014
Google is seeking 175 volunteers from whom it will collect bodily samples in an effort to create their biochemical fingerprints and establish the baseline for a healthy body. The Baseline study, to be run by Google X labs, will seek to connect traditional clinical observations of health, such as diet -- or habits, such as smoking -- with molecular-level changes.
Long, Hot Summer Angling for Military Health Records Contract
July 22, 2014
Vendors could be spending a busy summer preparing to respond to a major federal IT project. The Defense Department is planning to issue a request for bids on a multibillion dollar EHR system by the end of September. The objective of the program is to modernize DoD's EHR system and to make records accessible to the VA, as well as to private medical providers.
Google, Novartis Team on 'Invisible' Health Monitor
July 16, 2014
Novartis' Alcon eye care division has entered an in-license agreement governing all ocular medical uses for Google's smart contact lenses, it announced Tuesday. Google unveiled a prototype of its glucose-monitoring lens in January. Novartis is aiming to expand its healthcare horizons. There are 382 million diabetics around the world today and that number is expected to grow to 582 million by 2035.
DoD and VA Chart Course for Electronic Health Records
July 14, 2014
In the wake of the problem-plagued rollout of Obamacare, similar government health IT efforts are being closely scrutinized within the administration and by Congress. That's why the DoD recently released the third version of a multibillion dollar proposal for a much-improved military health records information system. The objective is to modernize DoD's electronic health records system.
Microwave Will Count the Calories in Food You Nuke
July 10, 2014
While the ever-expanding class of wearable fitness devices out there can tell users how many calories they've burned while undertaking any particular activity, realistic estimates of calories taken in have been few and far between. Enter a new microwave oven currently in the works at GE Global Research that will tell users just how much energy is included in the meal they're about to consume.
Tiny Spectrometer Tells You Exactly What You're Eating
July 08, 2014
For all those who have wondered about the ingredients in their lunchtime burrito, Consumer Physics is gearing up to release a handheld device designed to provide the answer. Dubbed "SCiO," the device is a tiny spectrometer that can scan food, medicines and plants to determine their molecular composition. SCiO can deliver nutrient values and evaluate ripeness and spoilage levels.
Salesforce.com, Philips Launch Health Cloud Revolution
July 01, 2014
Salesforce and Philips last week announced they had teamed up on a cloud computing initiative designed to transform existing healthcare platforms. The companies plan to create an open cloud-based healthcare platform that will allow everyone from software developers to health insurance companies to connect and exchange information via Salesforce's health cloud.
'Lifelike' New Robots Deliver News, Chat You Up
June 26, 2014
Two humanoid robots on Wednesday made their debut as part of a new exhibit at Japan's National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, or Miraikan. The newly unveiled Kodomoroid -- a child android -- and Otonaroid, an adult female android, are designed to fill human roles as the world's first android announcer and as the Miraikan's android science communicator, respectively.
Apple Gets Ready to Tell Consumers Why They Want a Smartwatch
June 20, 2014
Apple reportedly is preparing to ship multiple versions of a smartwatch this coming fall, as competition increases in the wearable technology space. Its long-rumored smartwatch reportedly will be available in multiple screen sizes and will include more than 10 sensors that will allow it to track the wearer's health and fitness metrics, among other information.

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