A DNA-based molecular tagging system that could take the place of printed barcodes

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A DNA-based molecular tagging system that could take the place of printed barcodes

University of Washington and Microsoft researchers have developed a DNA-based molecular tagging system. This GIF explains the process.

Many people have had the experience of being poked in the back by a plastic tag while trying on clothes in a store. That is just one example of radio frequency identification technology, which has become a mainstay not just in retail but also in manufacturing, logistics, transportation, health care and more. Other tagging systems include the scannable barcode and the QR code.

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Rapid disease pathogen identification a step closer following successful GeneCapture demonstration

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GeneCapture’s unique disposable cartridge design enables rapid multi-pathogen identification directly from samples.

 Soon it could only take an hour to find out what pathogen is making you ill, following the successful demonstration of the world’s first multi-pathogen identification using non-amplified RNA detection by GeneCapture, a company cofounded by researchers at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), a part of the University of Alabama System.

GeneCapture has licensed a molecular binding technology from UAH and the company’s CAPTURE PLATFORM is on track for commercialization within two years. The GeneCapture team has briefed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on its approach and has begun to prepare for the clinical testing required for FDA clearance. It is in discussions with industry leaders for various applications in health care rapid infection detection.

“We made history today—this is the first time an automated rapid pathogen identification has been reported directly from the RNA of the sample, with no modification or amplification of its genetic source, in about an hour,” says GeneCapture CEO and local entrepreneur Peggy Sammon. “We envision a future where finding out why you are sick can be solved almost anywhere, in an hour, and without being chained to a lab.”

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Amazon wants you to yell at your TV to buy things

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Alphabet is wrangling mosquitoes, Apple’s bendy phone and other patents from Big Tech.

Another week in lockdown has passed, and while the present might still feel quite uncertain, the future looks as zany as ever, at least as far as patents go. Alphabet is trying to trap mosquitoes, Amazon wants you to buy stuff off of your TV screen, Apple is getting in on the flexible phone trend, and Microsoft is trying to figure out your heart health from your camera.

And remember: The big tech companies file all kinds of crazy patents for things, and though most never amount to anything, some end up defining the future.

 

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Researchers create hand-held device for patients to read levels of cancer biomarker in their own blood

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Newswise: Researchers create hand-held device for patients to read levels of cancer biomarker in their own blood

Newswise — HAMILTON, ON, Oct. 8, 2020 — Researchers at McMaster and Brock universities have created the prototype for a hand-held device to measure a biomarker for cancer, paving the way for home-based cancer monitoring and to improve access to diagnostic testing.

The device works much like the monitors that diabetics use to test their blood-sugar levels and could be used in a medical clinic or at home, all without lab work, greatly simplifying the process for testing blood for cancer’s signature.

A user would mix a droplet of blood in a vial of reactive liquid, then place the mixture onto a strip and insert it into a reader. In minutes, the device would measure an antigen that indicates the degree to which cancer is present.

The prototype has been designed to monitor prostate specific antigen (PSA) and the technology can readily be adapted to measure other markers, depending on the form of cancer or other chronic disease.

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Cambridge researchers create a touchscreen you don’t have to touch

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We’d assume at this point that every smartphone user knows that their touchscreen is one of the nastiest devices they own. The surface of a touchscreen can be packed with viruses and bacteria that have the potential to make people sick. This is a particularly significant issue in the current world climate with the coronavirus pandemic leading to illnesses that could potentially kill people.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have been working on a new type of touchscreen that doesn’t have to be touched. It’s called the “no-touch touchscreen” and was developed specifically for use in cars. Researchers believe that it could have widespread applications in the post-COVID-19 world thanks to its ability to reduce the risk pathogen transmission from the surface of devices. The patent behind the technology is known as “predictive touch” and was developed as part of research collaboration with Jaguar Land Rover.

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Exclusive: Segway, the most hyped invention since the Macintosh, ends production

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Steve Jobs said it would be bigger than the PC. Some dubbed it the most hyped product since the Apple Macintosh. An era of secrecy bubbled up in the year 2000 about an invention that would change the world as people knew it. People speculated it was a hydrogen-powered hovercraft, or a device that would break the rules of gravity itself.

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AR contact lenses are the holy grail of sci-fi tech. Mojo is making them real

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Every technology has its trade-offs. The key to success is making sure that the benefits are so great that the trade-offs seem like minor nitpicks by comparison.

Steve Sinclair, the senior vice president of product and marketing at a Silicon Valley startup called Mojo Vision, is excited about the technology his company is developing. And he’s betting you’ll be excited, too — so excited that you’ll forget all about the fact that using it requires you to press two tiny screens up against your eyeballs.

If what Mojo has planned works, sticking a piece of tech directly onto your eyes every day will be as minor a drawback as your smartphone making your pocket a few ounces heavier.

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Photovoltaic-powered sensors for the ‘Internet of Things’

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MIT researchers have designed low-cost, photovoltaic-powered sensors on RFID tags that work in sunlight and dimmer indoor lighting, and can transmit data for years before needing replacement. Credit: MIT News

By 2025, experts estimate the number of Internet of Things devices—including sensors that gather real-time data about infrastructure and the environment—could rise to 75 billion worldwide. As it stands, however, those sensors require batteries that must be replaced frequently, which can be problematic for long-term monitoring.

MIT researchers have designed photovoltaic-powered sensors that could potentially transmit data for years before they need to be replaced. To do so, they mounted thin-film perovskite cells—known for their potential low cost, flexibility, and relative ease of fabrication—as energy-harvesters on inexpensive radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags.

The cells could power the sensors in both bright sunlight and dimmer indoor conditions. Moreover, the team found the solar power actually gives the sensors a major power boost that enables greater data-transmission distances and the ability to integrate multiple sensors onto a single RFID tag.

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Dory is aimed at bringing underwater drones to a wider audience

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The Dory underwater drone is presently on KickstarterChasing Innovation

 When consumer aerial camera-drones first hit the market, buyers were mostly limited to models costing $1,000 or more. These days, half-decent quadcopters can be had for under a hundred bucks. While not going quite that cheap, Chasing Innovation is now aiming to make underwater drones similarly more affordable, with the Dory.

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Skydio’s new auto-follow drone is basically a flying A.I. cinematographer

Up-and-coming unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) manufacturer Skydio unveiled a new drone today. The Skydio 2, as it’s called, is essentially a new-and-improved version of the Skydio R1 — an autonomy-focused camera drone that was released in early 2018. The new version boasts a bundle of improvements, including better battery life, longer range, and dramatically improved auto-follow capabilities

“Skydio 2 combines groundbreaking artificial intelligence with a best-in-class 4K60 HDR camera, 3.5 kilometers of wireless range, and 23 minutes of flight time in a drone that fits anywhere you can carry a 13-inch laptop,” the company said in a statement. “For experienced pilots, Skydio 2 makes every aspect of flying drones more creative, more fun, more useful, and less stressful. But it’s also capable of flying completely by itself with the skills of an expert pilot, opening up the power and magic of aerial capture to new audiences.”

Auto-follow mode has been a standard feature on camera drones for years now, but despite the fact that it’s relatively common, it’s typically more of an afterthought than a flagship feature on most drones. For Skydio, however, auto-follow functionality is the main event — and it shows. The company’s first-generation drone can fly and dodge obstacles better than practically any other drone on the market, and the Skydio 2 builds upon that already stellar foundation.

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Bosch’s electric stroller tech helps carry your baby uphill

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It’s connected to your phone, too.

It’s not just grown-ups that might appreciate electrified transport. Bosch has unveiled an “eStroller” system that uses dual electric motors and sensors to not only reduce the effort involved in carting your young one around, but prevent the stroller from going in unexpected directions. It’ll automatically study the road surface to help you push uphill, brake on the descent and keep it on track during lateral slopes. The technology will also bring the stroller to a halt if you lose control or battle fierce winds.

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Sony is crowdfunding a wearable ‘air conditioner’

 

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The Reon Pocket helps you stealthily cope with heatwaves and cold winters.

Are you struggling to cope with the heat outdoors? Sony might have a solution, if not as soon as you might like. The company’s First Flight program is crowdfunding a wearable ‘air conditioner,’ the Reon Pocket, that slips into a pouch in a special t-shirt. The stealthy device doesn’t condition the air as such. Rather, it sits at the base of your neck and uses the Peltier effect (where heat is absorbed or emitted when you pass an electrical current across a junction) to either lower your temperature by 23F or raise it by 14F, all without bulk or noise. You could wear a stuffy business outfit on a hot day and avoid looking like you’ve just stepped out of a sauna.

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