Computational creativity and the future of AI

Health and Wellbeing

Skin for people with a high EQ – fashion of the future

September 21, 2006 As the Digital Age progresses, technology will be available to create masterpieces of all types, and high fashion will find itself with magical new abilities. A garment no longer need be made of earthly materials and can now become a highly complex interactive electronic device, or a biochemical machine responsive to subtle triggers like sensuality, affection and sensation. The SKIN fashion range of dynamic garments developed by the far-future research program at Philips Design came from ongoing research into emerging trends and societal shifts in the area of 'emotional sensing' and demonstrate several possibilities in the way electronics can be incorporated into fabrics and garments to express the emotions and personality of the wearer. The marvellously intricate wearable prototypes include 'Bubelle', a dress surrounded by a delicate 'bubble' illuminated by patterns that changed dependent on skin contact- and 'Frison', a body suit that reacts to being blown on by igniting a private constellation of tiny LEDs. The SKIN research project challenges the notion that our lives are automatically better because they are more digital. It looks at more 'analog' phenomena like emotional sensing and explores technologies that are 'sensitive' rather than 'intelligent'. An extraordinary image gallery with this story.  Read More

First Bionic Arm fitted to a female patient

September 15, 2006 The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), demonstrated its remarkable engineering and rehabilitation science know-how earlier this week by introducing Claudia Mitchell, the first woman to be successfully fitted with RIC’s Bionic Arm technology. The most advanced prosthesis of its kind, the RIC neuro-controlled Bionic Arm allows an amputee to move his or her prosthetic arm as if it is a real limb simply by thinking. The arm also empowers patients with more natural movement, greater range of motion and restores lost function. Using key learnings from the first successful Bionic Arm recipient, former power lineman and double amputee from Tennessee, Jesse Sullivan, RIC’s Bionic Arm initiative leader Dr. Kuiken and his team also have made significant advancements in the area of sensory feedback so that the patient can actually feel if they are touching hot or cold objects. We have excellent pictures and copies of Dr. Kuiken’s presentation to the media available in the image gallery. That's Claudia at top right in the main pic, the bionic arm bottom right, the nerve ending connections at top left and Dr. Kuiken and the first Bionic Man, Jesse Sullivan at bottom left.  Read More

The Hydracoach Intelligent Waterbottle

September 12, 2006 The human body is roughly two thirds water, and if we lose just one percent of that water, we get thirsty. Lose more than one percent and things start going quickly wrong, with fatigue and impaired physical performance resulting, though most of us don’t recognise the symptoms as hydration related. Doctors, nutritionists and fitness trainers invariably recommend that we drink more water yet keeping track of the fluids we drink is problematic. Most individuals find it difficult to simply remember to drink fluids on a regular basis, let alone calculate and track their daily intake. HydraCoach hydration monitors are capable of all this and more, allowing users to develop and easily adhere to customized fluid intake plans. The HydraCoach hydration monitor is a small electronic device comprising a low pressure, low volume, liquid flow sensing mechanism linked to an interactive display module. When the unit is inserted between a hydration source and its drinking port, a complete system is created that provides an accurate measurement of fluid intake for proper hydration. There’s also an intelligent HydraCoach water bottle which tracks and calculates your personal hydration needs, tracks your real-time fluid consumption, paces you throughout the day and motivates you to achieve and maintain optimal hydration. Just in case you figure that proper hydration is only for athletes, it’s also imperative for full brain function, people trying to lose weight, the elderly and individuals on medication. The Hydracoach Intelligent Waterbottle will cost just US$30 when it hits the shelves in December.  Read More

The WinePod micro winery kitchen appliance

September 5, 2006 Man has been making wine for more than 10,000 years but never has it been this easy. The WinePod is a new domestic device for artisan winemaking – a US$2000 micro winery just being readied for launch and seeking international distributors and we see this as a winner because it is just sooooo sophisticated. The insulated, self-cleaning, fully computerised, three foot tall, metallic urn-shaped appliance includes everything required to make 75 litres of the wine of your choice and is above all, easy to use. It wirelessly connects to your PC/Mac, which monitors Brix, pH and temperature to keep things happening exactly as they should and the WineCoach software mentors you through the wine-making process to obtain the best results for the particular variety of grapes you choose. Wine Coach enables you to collaborate with professional winemakers who are dedicated to the different wine types so you can learn the fine art of winemaking from your own personal consulting enologist. The software also enables you to compare notes and interact with fellow wine enthusiasts using the system and it can all be self-contained in an apartment or in a cupboard with the obvious rewards that the final product will bring. The waiting list already runs to April 2007 but a few orders might prompt an increase in production and we’re very bullish about the prospects for this baby.  Read More

The glowing Martini

September 2, 2006 In a society obsessed with anti-aging, it seems somehow appropriate that Olay's new Definity anti-aging line should be a sponsor of the TV Guide After Party for the 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, where several of the presenters were so pumped full of botox that they could have been mistaken for hand-puppets. At the afterparty, Olay Definity hosted a where the Olay Defini-tini, a signature drink was served exclusively. Inspired by Olay's new anti-aging line, Definity, which tackles the signs of aging beyond fine lines and wrinkles by addressing even skin tone and luminosity, the Defini-tini is a glowing cocktail created by celebrity mixologist and 2004 International Bartender of the Year, Alex Ott. Attempts to find out what made the cocktails luminous have not drawn a response but we don know they came in two flavours - Pear and Luscious Lemonade.  Read More

Close-proximity wireless technology set to improve the management of diabetes

August 24, 2006 Cambridge Consultants today revealed an innovative medical device concept for managing diabetes that uses NFC, the close-proximity wireless communications standard, to integrate glucometers and insulin pumps. The prototype device, developed in conjunction with Philips, demonstrates how NFC can be exploited to simplify treatment for millions of diabetics worldwide, and could be the first of a new generation of medical devices that use close-proximity wireless communications. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), diabetes is officially classified as a worldwide epidemic with the number of people with the disease to double to 366m by 2030. To tackle this growing global problem, the Cambridge Consultants concept device uses the unique characteristics of NFC to streamline treatment, by wirelessly linking a glucometer with an insulin pump. The glucometer records the blood sugar reading and then recommends a bolus dose of insulin. If the patient accepts the dose, then they simply swipe the glucometer against the insulin pump, which could be located beneath clothing, and the drug is delivered. This confirmation feature, which Cambridge Consultants dubs 'patient-in-the-loop dosing', enhances confidence and security, and allows the user to modify dosage calculations for lifestyle reasons.  Read More

The WheelChair Mover - an Ergonomic Mobility Solution

August 16, 2006 With a workforce that is growing older and both patients and facilities that are growing larger, hospitals and nursing home caregivers are enduring the highest rate of injury of any occupation. That’s the broad thinking that resulted in Dane Technologies’ WheelChair Mover, the healthcare industry's first power-assist device making patient wheelchair transport safe, smooth and easy.  Read More

The science of facial rejuvenation

August 16, 2006 You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can certainly take a good guess at when it was printed, and with the wealthiest generation in history heading for old age, it’s not surprising that massive effort is being focussed on anti-aging technologies. Since 1997 there has been a five-fold increase in the number of cosmetic procedures in the United States, with 11.5 million performed last year. The numbers are quite remarkable – over 90% of procedures were performed on women, and a similar percentage were focussed on the face – the cover that is obviously being adjudged too old: last year 3.3 million people had Botox injections, 1.6 million had Laser hair removal, 1.2 million had Hyaluronic acid treatments, 1.0 million had dermabrasion, 556,000 had chemical peels, 231,000 had Blepharoplasty (cosmetic eyelid surgery) and 201,000 had nose jobs (Rhinoplasty). With US$12.4 billion spent on cosmetic surgey, and more than US$10 billion spent on facial procedures, you'd think we wouldn't be surprised that a conference such as The Aging Face Conference exists ... and yet we are.  Read More

OSIM releases US$600 horseback riding exercise machine

August 15, 2006 Singapore’s Osim is in the business of making a range of high quality exercise and health related machinery and it certainly didn’t take the company long to come out with a rival for the Panasonic Joba which has been under development for several years and captivated Gizmag's female readers when we first wrote about it in early 2005 because it’s a perfect machine for maintaining a trim figure. The OSIM iGallop appears to work in exactly the same way as the Joba, working on the body’s core to shape and tone the tummy, hips, seat and thighs. It’s a zero impact exercise machine, and works the body by requiring multidirectional movements to maintain balance, with this constant balancing engaging certain muscle groups, and helping to improve balance, coordination and posture. The new iGallop starts shipping today at Brookstone, and the really good news is that it comes in at US$600, waaay less than Panasonic’s US$2000.  Read More

New Shear Thickening Fluid (STF) enables flexible, comfortable armor

August 13, 2006 Since warfare began, developing armor has been a balance between the need for protection and the need for comfort, flexibility and light weight. A new nanotechnology known as Shear Thickening Fluid (STF) created by scientists at ARL and UDTC looks set to provide the next generation of armor. STF has the ability to make ballistic fabrics highly resistant to penetration when impacted by a spike, knife or bullet without compromising their weight, comfort or flexibility. The potential applications of STF include a wide range of products such as body armor, vehicle armor, helmets, gloves and bomb blankets to protect soldiers and law enforcement officials plus myriad industrial safety applications all thr way through to protective clothing for motorcyclists. When the first products become available later this year, soldiers can expect to be much safer as the liquid body armor can be used in sleeves and pants, which are not usually protected by ballistic vests because they must stay flexible.  Read More

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