Tech news stories
Digitizing the world’s medical records was supposed to make doctors’ lives easier and patients’ lives longer. But unlike banking and shopping, medicine has had a rough time transitioning to the new digital order. Because health care providers use different systems for their electronic health care records, it’s still difficult for a patient’s data to follow them through the medical ecosystem. Most of the time, siloed medical information is more of a nuisance than anything else. But when Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston, Texas, area last week, evacuations and rescue efforts forced patients to seek treatment anywhere they could. Most of the time access to their health records didn’t go with them. That information void can be almost as catastrophic as the catastrophe itself.
New research published in Scientific Reports reveals the startling ingenuity and intellectual capacities of Neanderthals, and the likely method used to cook up this ancient adhesive as far back as 200,000 years ago. Similar tar lumps and adhesive residues have also been found in Germany, the oldest of which dates back some 120,000 years ago.
Skycharting applications such as SkySafari 5, Starwalk 2, and Stellarium can turn your mobile device into a pocket-sized time machine. By manually setting the apps’ location, date and time, you can view the sky from anywhere on the planet at virtually any point in human history; past, present, or future.
Dot Incorp has created a tactile Braille smart watch for the blind which tells time with a simple touch. Article is in video format.
Scientists are beginning to unravel the mechanisms behind the therapeutic effects of psychedelic drugs. The answers to these mysteries may help scientists gain insight into what happens to the brain in disease, and perhaps learn more about the nature of consciousness itself.
BBC developed a headset that allows users to control their TVs with only their mind. News article is in video format.
Repairing limbs after serious injuries can be a challenge for orthopedic surgeons. A new technique being tested on large animals combines stem cell DNA therapy with ultrasound-stimulated microbubbles, called sonoporation-driven BMP gene therapy, to fix fractures.
The Mine Kafon is a ball made of bamboo, plastic, and iron. The balls detonate land mines, as the wind blows them through Afghani deserts. Article is in video format.
An estimated 465,000 people in the US will be getting notices from doctors that they should update the firmware that runs their life-sustaining pacemakers or risk falling victim to potentially fatal hacks. Like many wireless devices, pacemakers from Abbott Laboratories contain critical flaws that might allow hijackers within radio range to seize control while the pacemakers are running.
There is an online Tweet-storm happening to mirror the real life storm, and the science community from across the US is offering to help Texas researchers whose labs and life’s work are in jeopardy in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey’s epic flooding. Article contains numerous images of conversation threads on Twitter screenshots.
This groundbreaking article complete with case studies and a video, written by the neuroscientist himself, contains the story of a completely new technique for communicating with patients trapped in vegetative states between life and death. Since 1997, he has used hospital brain scanners to test patients in vegetative states to see if they were in fact still conscious, though trapped in their bodies. To say his results are mindblowing would be an understatement. Dr. Adrian Owen’s new book, Into The Grey Zone: A Neuroscientist Explores The Border Between Life And Death, is slated for release 7 September.
After centuries of looking with awe and wonder at the beauty of Saturn and its rings, we can now listen to them, thanks to the efforts of astrophysicists at the University of Toronto. Article contains an audiovisual link to listen to the recording of the composition.
More than 700m email addresses, as well as a number of passwords, have leaked publicly thanks to a misconfigured spambot, in one of the largest data breaches ever. The number of real humans’ contact details contained in the dump is likely to be lower, however, due to the number of fake, malformed and repeated email addresses contained in the dataset.
In the past, we’ve seen several artists merge pop music with high fashion, but it’s not so common for a singer-songwriter to bring science and technology into the mix. Viktoria Modesta wants to do just that, after having her leg amputated below-the-knee for health and mobility reasons. “People dismiss sci-fi and technology as something that’s not cool and not glamorous,” she says, “and I’ve made it my mission to change that.”
In an unusual reproducibility effort, 14 ecology labs across Europe have teamed up to watch grass grow, using identical soil and seeds shipped round the continent. Their study is part of a budding movement to bolster trust in ecological research. Following the reproducibility crisis that has gripped psychology and biomedical science, ecologists are starting to recognize that their own field might not be immune to doubts over the reliability of its findings.
A research team at the University of Bristol, UK, has developed a relatively cheap and small acoustic levitator that is capable of holding samples of interest in mid-air. Both scientists and students can build their own levitator at home or school to experiment with new applications of acoustic levitation.