- A children’s toy inspires a cheap, easy production method for high-tech diagnostic chips — microfluidic chips (with tiny liquid-filled channels) can cost $100k and more. Michelle Khine used the Shrinky Dinks childrens’ toy to make her own. “I thought if I could print out the [designs] at a certain resolution and then make them shrink, I could make channels the right size for microfluidics,” she says. (via BoingBoing)
- Complete Genomics publishes in Science on low-cost sequencing of 3 human genomes (press release) — The consumables cost for these three genomes sequenced on the proof-of-principle genomic DNA nanoarrays ranged from $8,005 for 87x coverage to $1,726 for 45x coverage for the samples described in this report. Drive that cost down! There’s a gold rush in biological discovery at the moment as we pick the low-hanging fruit of gross correlations between genome and physiome, but the science to reveal the workings of cause and effect is still in its infancy. We’re in the position of the 18th century natural philosophers who were playing with static electricity, oxygen, anaesthetics, and so on but who lacked today’s deeper insights into physical and chemical structure that explain the effects they were able to obtain. More data at this stage means more low-hanging fruit can be plucked, but the real power comes when we understand “how” and not just “what”. (via BoingBoing)
- Far From a Lab? Turn a Cellphone into a Microscope (NY Times) — for some tests, you can use a camphone instead of a microscope. In one prototype, a slide holding a finger prick of blood can be inserted over the phone’s camera sensor. The sensor detects the slide’s contents and sends the information wirelessly to a hospital or regional health center. For instance, the phones can detect the asymmetric shape of diseased blood cells or other abnormal cells, or note an increase of white blood cells, a sign of infection, he said.
- Augmented reality helps Marine mechanics carry out repair work (MIT TR) — A user wears a head-worn display, and the AR system provides assistance by showing 3-D arrows that point to a relevant component, text instructions, floating labels and warnings, and animated, 3-D models of the appropriate tools. An Android-powered G1 smart phone attached to the mechanic’s wrist provides touchscreen controls for cueing up the next sequence of instructions. [...] The mechanics using the AR system located and started repair tasks 56 percent faster, on average, than when wearing the untracked headset, and 47 percent faster than when using just a stationary computer screen.
ENTRIES TAGGED "sensors"
The iPhone, in addition to revolutionizing how people thought about mobile phone user interfaces, also was one of the first devices to offer a suite of sensors measuring everything from the visual environment to position to acceleration, all in a package that could fit in your shirt pocket. On December 3rd, O’Reilly will be offering a one-day online edition of the Where 2.0 conference, focusing on the iPhone sensors, and what you can do with them.
As the web increasingly becomes real-time, marketers and publishers need analytic tools that can produce real-time reports. As an example, the basic task of calculating the number of unique users is typically done in batch mode (e.g. daily) and in many cases using a random sample from relevant log files. If unique user counts can be accurately computed in real-time, publishers and marketers can mount A/B tests or referral analysis to dynamically adjust their campaigns.
DIY Diagnostic Chips, Genetics on $5k a Genome, Cellphones as Diagnostic Microscopes, AR-Equipped Mechanics Do It Heads-Up
Moth Mind Readers, Shiny UI Futures, Usable Newspapers, Hardware Testing
- A Battery-Free Implantable Neural Sensor (MIT Tech Review) — Electrical engineers at the University of Washington have developed an implantable neural sensing chip that needs less power. Uses RFID’s induction technology which means the power source can be up to a meter away. Proof of concept was implanted in a moth to sense central nervous system activity.
- New Microsoft Interface Technology — videos from Craig Mundie (Chief Research and Strategy Officer) on the MS Campus Tour talking about the future of UI using a sexy glass prototype that features tablet PC, gesture, speech recognition, and even eye tracking. Lustable.
- Adding Usability to Print — detailed description of a failed pitch to reinvent a newspaper, to bring web sensibility to print. Make the paper more usable, think cross media instead of separate media, while using the strength of the paper (pictures, info graphics, nice text) to the max… Make a product that people want to buy because it is more usable that the competitor, not because it wins graphic design prizes. (via Evolving Newsroom)
- StressAppTest — Google-created open source project to pound the living crap out of hardware by maximising random traffic to memory from processor and I/O, with the intent of creating a realistic high load situation in order to test the existing hardware devices in a computer.
While the iPhone doesn’t ship nearly as much as its humbler brethren – the iPhone opened up many minds about the potential of phones to do a whole lot more than talk. In that regard it is a peek into the future. The iPhone is a rich portable computer with onboard sensors. Specifically, it is a location-aware (GPS), motion-aware (accelerometer),…
Mobile Devices and AR: Besides employing the location of users (Wikitude), there are generally two ways to overlay data onto the real world: through markers ( (2D) bar codes) or through automatic object/image recognition algorithms (“markerless”). The Economist gives a good overview of the different mobile applications that are starting to emerge and lists a few areas where AR makes sense such as shopping (letting house-hunters which properties are for sale) and events (giving sports fans access to stats and player bios).
The emergence of sensors as sources of Big Data highlights the need for real-time analytic tools. Popular web apps like Twitter, Facebook, and blogs are also faced with having to analyze (mostly unstructured) data in near real-time. But as Truviso founder and UC Berkeley CS Professor Michael Franklin recently noted, there are mountains of structured data generated by web apps that lend themselves to real-time analysis.
Smart Grids, Open Source, Stuff That Matters, and Global Culture
- A Little Give and Take On Electricity (NY Times) — Dennis L. Arfmann, a lawyer at the Boulder office of Hogan & Hartson who specializes in environmental law, said he had no idea how much electricity he and his wife, Dr. Julie Brown, had used before he filled his roof with solar panels producing 4.5 kilowatts of power. During the day he sells power to Xcel and at night he buys it back; his goal is to cut his use so his net sales rise. All hardware networked, everywhere!
- Open Source World Map (Red Hat) — very nice map showing the intensity of open source use in countries around the world. (via Flowing Data)
- Imagine Cup — Microsoft’s contest to get students working on stuff that matters. The winners of the New Zealand leg, Team Think, tackled literacy: they devised a program for tablets that provides both handwriting recognition and audio output, eliminating the need for basic literacy to understand lessons or instructions. They hope to take this prototype to developing countries that have underutilised computers due to literacy issues. (via Idealog newsletter and Scoop)
- UGT — It is always morning when person comes into a channel, and it is always late night when person leaves. [...] The idea behind establishing this convention was to eliminate noise generated almost every time someone comes in and greets using some form of day-time based greeting, and then channel members on the other side of the globe start pointing out that it’s different time of the day for them. Now, instead of spending time figuring out what time of day is it for every member of the channel, we spend time explaining newcomers benefits of UGT. (via migurski on delicious).