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Health & Wellbeing

Wink Glasses - there won't be a dry eye in the house

The eye strain and resulting damage that often afflicts those who forget to blink while on a gaming marathon or glued to the Internet is a widespread problem. To combat this, Japan’s Masunaga Optical Manufacturing has unveiled Wink Glasses, which feature blink-sensing lenses that start to fog if the wearer neglects to keep their peepers hydrated.Read More

Swearing proven to have a 'pain-lessening effect'

Swearing has been around for centuries and is an almost universal human linguistic phenomenon. Now researchers have determined that swearing can have a ‘pain-lessening effect.’ Swearing taps into emotional brain centers and appears to arise in the right brain, whereas most language production occurs in the left cerebral hemisphere of the brain. The research shows one potential reason why swearing developed and why it persists.Read More

Stopping to smell the lemons can help reduce stress

Stopping to smell the roses is a good mantra to encourage you to take the time to appreciate what’s around you. Stopping to smell the lemons might not have the same ring to it, but scientists in Japan have shown how doing just that can actually alter gene activity and blood chemistry in ways that measurably reduce stress.Read More

The Royal Society for the Extremely Stupid is 2009 Most Successful SIG

They are now the most powerful lobbying force in the land. You can see the results of their campaigns on park benches, on street corners, on station platforms – and now their hectoring signage is sprouting on desolate beaches and once unspoiled stretches of moorland. They are more energetic than the RSPCA. They are more effective than the birdwatchers, the child‑protectors and the petrolheads put together. Indeed, for manic dedication they are only rivaled by Fathers4Justice. Ladies and gentlemen, let's have a big hand for this year's winner of the prize for the Most Successful Special Interest Group. I give you – the Royal Society for the Extremely Stupid.Read More

Shape Up Alarm Clock Dumbbell to wake masochists

We’ve looked at a few alarm clocks designed to rouse the reluctant riser from their slumber over the years. There’s the Puzzle Alarm Clock to get the gray matter working first thing in the morning and Clocky to get you up and running. Joining the ranks of masochistic devices is the Shape Up Alarm Clock Dumbbell which won’t stop screeching until you’ve done 30 reps.Read More

Coating technique helps bionic implants fit right in

Six million dollars probably wouldn’t get you much of a bionic man these days, but a new process for coating metal implants could vastly improve the lives of the growing number of people who have undergone complicated total joint replacement surgeries. The new electrochemical process improves the implants’ functionality, longevity and integration into the body by producing a coating that is virtually indistinguishable from the body’s own material.Read More

What’s on your mind – microelectrodes offer poke free brain control

The brain is one of our most delicate organs. It’s not really meant to be prodded and poked, hence the nice protective skull surrounding it. That fragility makes experimental devices that use tiny electrodes poking into the brain to help paralyzed people use computers and potentially let amputees control bionic limbs, a risky proposition. But now a new University of Utah study shows that brain signals controlling arm movements can be detected accurately using new microelectrodes that sit on the brain, but don't penetrate it.Read More

Robotic jaws give dentists something to chew on

In news that might be a little worrying when coupled with our recent story of the flesh-eating robotic clock, UK researchers have developed a Chewing Robot. Thankfully the uses for the Chewing Robot are more benign - it has been developed to study the wear and tear on dental elements, such as fillings, crowns and bridges. By reproducing the motion and forces sustained by teeth within a human mouth, the robot has the potential to dramatically improve the process of developing and testing new dental materials.Read More

Toyota makes a wheelchair steered by brain waves

Toyota and Japanese research foundation RIKEN have teamed up to create a revolutionary wheelchair steered by mind control. This remarkable development is one of the first practical uses of EEG (Electro-encephalogram) signals. Designed for people with severe disabilities, the Toyota/RIKEN wheelchair is fitted with an EEG detector in the form of a electrode array skull cap, a cheek puff detector and a display that assists with control. To turn left, right and move forward, the driver simply thinks about the movement and the wheelchair instantly and seamlessly responds. To stop the wheelchair, the driver puffs his/her cheek. A detector on the face picks up the signal and immediately stops the wheelchair. This form of braking is necessary for safety reasons as a puff detector is more reliable than the EEG reader.Read More

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