Wearable blood pressure sensor offers 24/7 continuous monitoring

High blood pressure constitutes one of the principal vital signs of your body and is a common risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and aneurysms, so diagnosing and monitoring it are critically important. However, with all this technology around us, getting reliable blood pressure readings is not always easy.

Visits to the doctor's office can provoke anxiety that distorts blood pressure readings, and even when accurate, such visits provide only one-time snapshots of the patient's condition. To overcome these obstacles, MIT engineers have built a wearable blood pressure sensor that can provide continuous, 24-hour monitoring.

Blood pressure does tend to change during the day. When we wake up, it typically is somewhat higher than it is after we've had a chance to sit down or .eat some breakfast. So, continuous monitoring offers a much broader image of one's cardiovascular health. The new monitor, which loops around the wrist and the index finger, is just as accurate as traditional cuff devices but much less cumbersome, allowing it to be worn for hours or days at a time.

"The human body is so complex, but the cuff gives only snapshot data," says Harry Asada, an MIT mechanical engineer who led the development of the new monitor. "If you get signals all of the time you can see the trends and capture the physical condition quite well."

Devices like this one could be used to keep track on hypertension during the whole day, as well as sleep apnea. The data gathered from this devices can be used eventually by the doctors to predict when a heart attack that may occur.

CardioSign is the company that is working on commercializing the device and hopes to start clinical trials soon. The company was launched by Asada's former student. He thinks that a commercial version of the device could be available within five years, once it becomes easier to use, more reliable and cheaper to manufacture.

The latest prototype was developed jointly with industrial sponsor Sharp Corporation, and Dr. Andrew Reisner of Massachusetts General Hospital took the lead in clinical applications and human subject tests.

No cuff required

Traditional blood pressure monitoring requires a cuff, wrapped around the upper arm and inflated until blood flow is completely cut off. The examiner then gradually releases the pressure, listening to the flow until the pulse can be detected.

With this new device for monitoring blood pressure, no cuff is required. The sensor use a method called pulse wave velocity, which allows blood pressure to be calculated by measuring the pulse at two points along an artery.

Using this method the errors due to height changes will be removed. The sensors can also be calibrated for more accurate measurements. Once the blood pressure information is gathered, the data can be transmitted via wireless Internet. This new blood pressure monitor runs on a tiny battery, about the same size as the ones that power watches.

The wearable blood pressure sensor was born from a collaboration called the Home Automation and Healthcare Consortium, which launched in 1995 and included several MIT faculty members and about 20 companies.

The project was funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and the Sharp Corporation.

Photos: Donna Coveney

BrainPort Device Lets Blind "See" with Their Tongues

Ok. This one got me twisted the first time I read it on the internet. It seems that scientists are currently developing a pair of sunglasses wired to an electric "lollipop" that really helps the visually impaired regain optical sensations via a different pathway.

Neuroscientist Paul Bach-y-Rita hypothesized in the 1960s that "we see with our brains not our eyes." This new device trades on that thinking and aims to partially restore the experience of vision for the blind and visually impaired by relying on the nerves on the tongue's surface to send light signals to the brain.

About two million optic nerves are required to transmit visual signals from the retina—the portion of the eye where light information is decoded or translated into nerve pulses—to the brain's primary visual cortex.

The magic device is called BrainPort and is currently being developed by neuroscientists at Middleton, Wisc.–based Wicab, Inc.

How does it work?
Visual data are collected through a small digital video camera about 1.5 centimeters in diameter that sits in the center of a pair of sunglasses worn by the user. Bypassing the eyes, the data are transmitted to a handheld base unit, which is a little larger than a cell phone. This unit houses such features as zoom control, light settings and shock intensity levels as well as a central processing unit (CPU), which converts the digital signal into electrical pulses—replacing the function of the retina.

From the CPU, the signals are sent to the tongue via a "lollipop," an electrode array about nine square centimeters that sits directly on the tongue. Each electrode corresponds to a set of pixels. White pixels yield a strong electrical pulse, whereas black pixels translate into no signal. Densely packed nerves at the tongue surface receive the incoming electrical signals, which feel a little like Pop Rocks or champagne bubbles to the user.

It's not really clear at the moment whether the information is then transferred to the brain's visual cortex, where sight information is normally sent, or to its somatosensory cortex, where touch data from the tongue is interpreted, Wicab neuroscientist Aimee Arnoldussen says. "We don't know with certainty," she adds.

Using BrainPort it's just like riding a bike
Within 15 minutes of using BrainPort, blind people can begin interpreting spatial information via this amazing device, says William Seiple, research director at the nonprofit vision healthcare and research organization Lighthouse International. The electrodes spatially correlate with the pixels so that if the camera detects light fixtures in the middle of a dark hallway, electrical stimulations will occur along the center of the tongue.

"It becomes a task of learning, no different than learning to ride a bike," Arnoldussen says, adding that the "process is similar to how a baby learns to see. Things may be strange at first, but over time they become familiar."

Wicab will submit BrainPort to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval at the end of the month, says Robert Beckman, president and chief executive officer of the company. He notes that the device could be approved for market by the end of 2009 at a cost of about $10,000 per machine.

Future Weapons, NEW THAAD Missile

The THAAD (theatre high-altitude area defence) missile system is an easily transportable defensive weapon system to protect against hostile incoming threats such as tactical and theatre ballistic missiles at ranges of 200km and at altitudes up to 150km.

The THAAD missile system provides the upper tier of a 'layered defensive shield' to protect high value strategic or tactical sites such as airfields or populations centres. The THAAD missile intercepts exo-atmospheric and endo-atmospheric threats.

Calvin Klein USB Sunglasses

Calvin Klein has introduced a new Sunglasses, its features a 4GB memory drive. The USB-powered memory drive is concealed inside the right arm. Calvin Klein USB Sunglasses will be available in October, Priced at $199.

[via Men.Style.com via GetUSB]

Robotic Technologies are no longer a thing of the future

We still live in an era of modern information technology where some people just can't get it right. For the religious right, it often seems that scientists think too far into the depths of the human genome, we dive and people are not more people and, therefore, stem cells, genetic mutations and are therefore unacceptable. Other people are intrigued by the fact that anyone can be found everywhere on the globe with mobile phones, and they believe that the tracking technology is too far and they want to move to the North Pole.

Scientists have one ultimate goal: to strength the world of science. They believe that everything they do is for the welfare of mankind, maybe forgetting that it is not always the case. Unlike natural scientists who are religious and others just a single scientist who has just a reverse position, even the most insensitive forewarning tech group of scientists seem to be worried. What is it? AI. Artificial intelligence.

Robots making robots, robots learning , which enables them to discover the motor skills and self-expression and so one. There is only one step from this Artificial Intelligence to self-aware. Imagine a robot that is more intelligent, more capable physically, and certainly more sustainable than a man. How will this affect the jobs all over the world? Statiticians will just cease to exist? What about the Economists or Cooks? A question should rise in anyone head right about now. If any part of our society can be replaced by a robot, what's the reason for mankind to still be here? We'll just sit around and eat all day? I understand why some people are terrified by this thought. And what about the social consequences? Can AI Robots own a house? Can AI Robots get married? I don't really know, but I sure don't want to find out the answer.

Now, let's talk about our security. Robots will control our home security, our internet security and so on. What if one day that robot gets broke. What will happen to us? If your computer is protected, you will not be attacked through telecommunications vulnerability. But what happens when the computer itself is attacking you?

Spiraling Skyscraper Farms for a Future Manhattan

As the world’s population continues to skyrocket and cities strain under the increased demand for resources, skyscraper farms offer an inspired approach towards creating sustainable vertical density. One of three finalists in this year’s Evolo Skyscraper Competition Eric Vergne’s Dystopian Farm project envisions a future New York City interspersed with elegantly spiraling biomorphic structures that will harness cutting-edge technology to provide the city with its own self-sustaining food source.

If we consider the future needs of our cities, few urban designs address the world’s burgeoning population better than vertical farms. It is a known fact that by 2050 nearly 80% of the world’s population will reside in urban centers, and 109 hectares of arable land will be needed to feed them. These organic structures you see in pictures abowe will harness systems such as airoponic watering, nutrient technology and controlled lighting and CO2 levels to meet the food demands of future populations.

Eric Vergne’s Dystopian Farm is a designer for the Hudson Yard area of Manhattan. He aims to provide New York with a sustainable food source while creating a dynamic social space that integrates producers with consumers.

In a trial to infusing dense urban areas with that CO2-consuming green spaces, Vergne envisions the structures as dynamically altering the fabric of city life: “Through food production and consumption, this skyscraper sets up a fluctuation of varying densities and collections of people, bringing together different social and cultural groups, creating new and unforseen urban experiences that form and dissipate within the flux of city life.”

This year’s Evolo Skyscraper Competition resulted in an incredible crop of 416 projects from designers, architects, and engineers in 64 different countries. Their website currently lists the finalists, boiled down to three winners and 15 special mentions.

Company claims new cell phone chip neutralizes radiation

A Belgian health products distributor plans to introduce a new stick-on cell phone chip that somehow counters the effects of heat and radiation in cell phones that some studies say could cause cancer.

The company, called Omega Pharma, will start selling its E-waves phone chip in pharmacies throughout Belgium starting tomorrow, and will eventually make the product available in other countries.

The launch is being sold in a sea of unanswered questions, including the following:

1. Do cell phones really cause cancer? In the past 20 years, we've gone from nobody using cell phones to everybody using them. Where's the brain-cancer epidemic?

2. Is this new chip yet another quack fix designed only to profit from public fears about cell phones? 

3. Will anyone else besides the company test this product? 

4. Is the chip itself safe? How does it work? Why should we trust it? 

If this thing sells, which it might, what does that say about public fears about cell phones? What should the handset makers do to counter these fears? 

When will someone do a real study that proves statistically significant increases in actual cancer, rather than just the likelihood of cancer?

First Drive: 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid. Better than Prius?

Ford has redesigned and re-engineered the midsize Fusion for 2010. Now it included its second-generation gas-electric hybrid technology into the model mix. The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid is now officially America's most fuel-efficient mid-size sedan. Fusion Hybrid is certified at 41 mpg city and 36 mpg highway.  

Trim Choices

A volume player, the single Fusion Hybrid model is a fully equipped 4-door, 5-passenger sedan. Starting with the standard Fusion’s SEL trim means that nice features such as automatic dual-zone climate control and power seats are already in place. To these Ford has added a single 110-volt power point, 6-speaker sound and reverse sensing system as standard equipment. And in a fit of eco-marketing, the seat fabric is made from 100 percent post-industrial materials. A full suite of options is available, including voice-activated navigation with an 8-inch touch screen and satellite radio.

Under the Hood

An Atkinson cycle version of the newly developed 2.5-liter twin-cam, 4-valve-per-cylinder 4-cylinder gasoline engine is the Fusion Hybrid’s prime mover. It makes 156 horsepower and is coupled to a continuously variable automatic transmission. Electric power comes from a 106 horsepower AC motor, for a combined maximum output of 191 ponies and generous torque, all driven through the front tires.

A second starter/generator motor starts the gas engine and provides braking power, which is used to recharge the 275-volt nickel-metal-hydride battery pack.

Because the gasoline engine is often not running — the Fusion Hybrid can reach an impressive 47 mph on battery power alone — the power steering and air conditioning are electrically powered. Furthermore, the gasoline engine and all computer controls are optimized to keep hot water on hand for the heater and defroster.

Inner Space

There is a generous spase inside for the passengers. A new dash, improved seat structures and upgraded materials are found throughout. The Hybrid does fix the rear seat to accommodate the battery pack and controller, so there is no pass-through capability.

An innovative LCD instrument cluster packs a library of powertrain information clearly and intuitively. Multiple menus both inform and subtly teach the finer points of hybrid driving, including a growing vine display to graphically underscore the instant and trip fuel-economy digital readouts. It sounds corny, but is actually fun.

Creative And Unique Cufflinks

This is a list with 50 Amazing Cuff Links. I've gathered the most creative works I could find on internet. Rise to the occasion with these sophisticatedly simple, yet intriguingly complex cufflinks.

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