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Getting closer to replicators November 10, 2007

Posted by tomography in development, Future, Off Topic, What tomorrow brings?.
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The first affordable Desktop Factory 3D printer is just about to ship!, paving the way for even more sophisticated manufacturing in the future. Starting out with powdered plastic, it layers the plastic material so precisely that it exactly conforms to the software 3D model that serves as its guide. This home 3D printer brings us closer to the day when we’ll have replicators like those on Star Trek: The Next Generation, making entire meals at the touch of a button and creating complex objects from simple materials. In the meantime, soon you’ll be able to download spare parts for toys and build them in a few minutes, or even prototype your own designs, right in your home.

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Ever since the advent of 3D printing, researchers have been trying to figure out how to replicate organs and bones for use in surgeries. Printed organs are still many years away, but researchers in Japan have already begun testing 3D-printed bones on human patients with face or skull injuries.

Someday we may be able to replicate our own skeletons on affordable 3D printers.

source: Charlie White, S.E. Kramer

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Is there a doctor in Nintendo’s Wii? November 6, 2007

Posted by tomography in Cancer, Future, Off Topic.
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wii.jpg

Nintendo‘s latest wonder, the Wii console hit markets a short year ago, and people are still raving about it. It offers a new dimension in game play, where you actually get into the action by swinging the racquet, the bat, the golf club, etc. I tried it out myself just this weekend in a Budapest shopping mall, and I gotta tell you that even at the age of 25, I do not think that I would be too old for such fun.

But the Wii can go where none of its rivals have ever gone before. In an interesting experiment conducted by doctors at the Minneapolis Hospital, researchers are trying to help stroke victims regain their bodily functions. Patients use the Wii’s motion-sensing controller to simulate real-world actions, helping them recover balance, dexterity and motor control.

Jerry Pope, a 77-year-old former pro tennis player, suffered a stroke in June and has been using Wii Tennis along with regular rehabilitation techniques to recover lost function.

Because of the interaction of the game, I get the physical sensation of playing tennis, it can fool me into thinking that I’m doing what’s happening on the screen.

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We’ve seen reports of soldiers returning from Iraq using Wii as part of their rehab and a way to help them heal. We’ve heard directly from several cancer patients telling us the Wii is an integral part of their recovery and rehabilitation, and it makes a huge difference in their spirits.

Nintendo’s Perry Kaplan said.

Wii consoles have also been employed in similar programs at other hospitals. For example, in Edmonton, Alberta, a hospital was recently reported to be using a Wii system to help a boxer recover from a brain injury. More on this.

Starfleet TRICORDER? November 1, 2007

Posted by tomography in Cancer, CT, development, Future, Tomography, What tomorrow brings?.
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Two recent scientific discoveries mark the latest steps toward the ultimate medical-diagnosis technology: the tricorder. Bones McCoy made Star Trek‘s portable black box famous by using it to diagnose ailments without ever touching a patient. Now, studies show that the tricorder is closer to becoming reality. Scientists have been trying to construct a tricorder-like device for years, but no one has managed to pack all the functions of a true tricorder — point, pull a trigger and diagnose — into one hand held unit.

tricorder

Well, it’s not just science fiction any more — we could see such a contraption, thanks to the USA army and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). This high priority program is to save lives(mainly military yet) of blood loss through the development of a portable system that will automatically locate and noninvasively treat bleeding vessels in arms and legs. The envisioned system uses advanced diagnostic ultrasound techniques with automated control to locate the bleeding and to direct the delivery of High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) energy to the target site to stop the bleed.

Combining the technologies into one compact box may take decades. But the two latest discoveries offer incremental advances in diagnostic medicine — pointing toward more portable and less invasive medical technologies.

labonchipSeveral lab-on chip technologies have brought diagnosis to hand helds, but they still require a tissue sample. Chang and his co-authors have linked visible patterns in CT scans of liver-cancer patients with cancer-gene activity. – Like if imaging the human genome in their tumor. – For example, the scientists could determine whether the gene that spurs the growth of blood vessels (VEGF-vascular endothelial growth factor), was turned on or off, by statistically analyzing a CT image. Experimental treatments such as vaccines and gene therapies attack tumors by shutting down this gene’s ability to feed cancer tumors with new blood vessels. Instead of taking an invasive biopsy that could put sick patients at risk, a noninvasive CT scan could determine the activity of VEGF and many other genes.

In the other research, scientists have developed a compact, precision-magnetic microscope based on a new state of matter. The technology, the researchers said, is as effective as current imaging devices such as MEGs (magnetoencephalography) for the brain and MCGs (magnetocardiography) for the heart, which require a hospital visit because the devices are large and expensive. It’s made possible by a state of matter called the Bose-Einstein condensate (or if you have some more time, here I liked this one). becPhysicists at UC Berkeley have developed the device by harnessing a special property of Bose-Einstein condensates: Because they are cooled close to absolute zero, they are as free of vibrations and thermal noise as a quantum system can be, and are thus like a quiet, acoustically pristine concert hall. Tiny magnetic fields that might be unobservable in other systems are easily picked up.

“As with all new technologies, unexpected vistas might open.” – Dmitry Budker

Likely to hear some news in the near future! 🙂

sources – wired.com, smarteconomy, BEC homepage

Wonderbra October 30, 2007

Posted by tomography in Cancer, Future, Tomography, What tomorrow brings?.
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A breast-screening smart bra which allows users to detect breast cancer at the earliest stage is being developed by the Center for Materials Research and Innovation (CMRI) at the University of Bolton.

smartbraThe smart bra works using a microwave antennae system device which can be easily woven into the fabric of the bra. The bra uses a microwave antennae device and embedded microchips to collect information and create an image of the breast.

The antennae picks up any abnormal temperature changes in the breast tissue, abnormalities associated with cancer cells. Information about each breast is collected and transferred via conducting polymers. A separate controller unit analyses the information and sets off an alarm if the normal breast tissue temperature is exceeded. The cancer detection is based on the principle that metabolic activity and vascular circulation in both pre-cancerous tissue and the area surrounding a developing breast cancer is almost always higher than in normal breast tissue. This process results in an increase in regional internal and external temperatures of the breast. The microwave antennae has high sensitivity and can detect these temperature variations, which are the earliest indications of the breast cancer and/or a pre-cancerous state of the breast.

It is not only very safe but also very cost effective.

said Prof Siores