IF EVER a technology were ripe for disruption, it is the microscope. Benchtop microscopes have remained essentially unchanged since the 19th century—their shape a cartoonist’s cliché of science akin to alchemical glassware and Bunsen burners. And that lack of change has costs. Microscopes are expensive (several hundred dollars for a reasonable one) and need to be serviced and maintained. Unfortunately, one important use of them is in poor-world laboratories and clinics, for identifying pathogens, and such places often have small budgets and lack suitably trained technicians. (via Cheap microscopes: Yours to cut out and keep | The Economist)
It may seem like the stuff from spy and superhero movies but scientists have created “thefirst room-temperature light detector that can sense the full infrared spectrum” which, according to researchers at the University of Michigan,can be made so thin that it can be easily stacked on night vision contact lenses.
"Here’s how the rings work, in a nutshell. There are three detatchable rings that are worn on the the thumb and first two fingers of each hand, as well as a bracelet. As the user signs out whatever they want to say, the translation is then spoken through a digitized voice that comes from the bracelet. I’m not sure if it works real time or not, but that’s still some pretty amazing stuff. And that’s not all…
"The gesture-to-speak aspect works fine when the hearing-impaired person wants to talk to someone else, but what about vice versa? The bracelet carries the double duty of turning sound into text that runs across an LED display. It seems like the only thing these guys have left to do is actually make people hear again…"
But add to that the moments when sufferers try to enjoy a meal with friends or family. The frustration attendant with being unable to keep food on the fork or spoon becomes another consequence of the disorder.
Now a San Francisco startup called Lift Labs is selling a piece of assistive technology that counters hand tremors and lets users have a meal without embarrassment or annoyance. The device, called Liftware, mounts utensils on an active stabilizing platform that diminishes uncontrollable jerking movements.
This month, Lift Labs is matching donations to its Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to send Liftware to people in economic hardship. The company will send the devices to the International Essential Tremor Foundation for distribution to those in need. Click through to see the campaign video.
While selfies have become a major trend in the past year — even leading one Japanese company to developselfie camera stands for tourists — they’re actually a practical way capture a meaningful moment when there’s no-one else around to do it. With this in mind, SOLOSHOT is a robotic camera tripod that automatically tracks the subject as they move, enabling athletes and performers to create dynamic video selfies. READ MORE…
Like other service dogs for people with disabilities, Duffy actually already knew how to load and unload a washing machine. But dogs couldn’t start machines until a UK engineer created a voice-activated washer. Bark, and it’s on.
Celebrations are a time for indulging in certain luxuries, but they can lead to a fair amount of waste. We’ve already written about Throw & Grow biodegradable confetti — which turns into flowers after it’s been thrown at weddings — and now Christmas wrapping paper is getting the eco treatment, with Eden’s Paper enabling consumers to plant it and grow vegetables after they’ve finished swapping gifts. READ MORE…