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Health and Wellbeing

The paraSITE - an inflatable shelter for the homeless that runs off expelled HVAC air

Artist Michael Rakowitz feels strongly about the issue of homelessness. So strongly that when he focussed his creative attentions on the subject he began manifesting practical outcomes, specifically the ParaSITE. The parasite is a is a small, collapsible, double-membrane shelter that uses the escaping warm air from a building’s HVAC system to inflate and warm the temporary home. Rakowitz has now been nominated for a prestigious Index Award for the paraSITE and his work is far from finished. We invited Michael to explain the project.  Read More

Designer Creates Fashionable Dinner Bib for Mother, a Stroke Victim

August 18, 2005 "No! My Mother is not wearing a giant baby bib," Joy Murphy repeated over and over when she tried to buy her mother an adult dinner bib. Murphy's Mother had suffered a stroke that left her paralysed on her left side and Mom had trouble keeping food in her mouth. The only adult dinner bibs on the market were just giant baby bibs. So she created fashionable adult dinner bibs for seniors. "I refused to buy the giant sized baby bibs," says Murphy. "They are too big, too ugly and too heavy. My Mother is not wearing a giant baby bib because she deserves something better, she deserves something stylish, fashionable and more dignified." So Murphy, a seamstress, designer and online entrepreneur went to work in her attic workshop and created fashionable dinner bibs for men and women called Aunt Joy's Fancy Bibs.  Read More

Urine-Powered Batteries for Biochip Devices

August 17, 2005 – Scientists at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) in Singapore have developed the first urine-activated paper battery for use in biochip devices. This battery could potentially be the perfect power source for cheap, disposable healthcare test-kits for diseases such as diabetes. While researchers around the world race to produce ever smaller and more effective diagnostic biochips that can be mass produced cheaply, they have been unsuccessful in finding a power source that is as small and as cheap to fabricate as the detection technology itself. IBN’s latest invention solves this problem by using the urine test sample as the power source for the testing device. The chemical composition of urine is widely used to test for signs of various diseases and as an indicator of a person’s general state of health.  Read More

ElectroNeedles may provide diabetes patients a painless way to check blood glucose levels

August 5, 2005 Two tiny devices recently developed by researchers at the United States National Nuclear Security Administration's Sandia National Laboratories could mean the elimination of blood drawing by diabetes patients to test glucose levels or by medical personnel to determine if someone is having a heart attack. Test results would be instantaneous. The two arrays of micron-sized needles operate similarly by penetrating painlessly into the skin. Arranged in varying numbers on a small patch, the needles can measure molecules inside the body, eliminating the need to withdraw blood from a patient.  Read More


 Monsanto files patent for new invention: the pig

August 3, 2005 Greenpeace has unearthed two particularly disturbing patent applications from Monsanto Corporation that would make the corporate giant the sole owner of that famous Monsanto invention: the pig. The patent applications were published in February 2005 at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva. A Greenpeace researcher who monitors patent applications, Christoph Then, uncovered the fact that Monsanto is seeking patents not only on methods of breeding, but on actual breeding herds of pigs as well as the offspring that result. According to Then, "I couldn't believe this. I've been reviewing patents for 10 years and I had to read this three times. Monsanto isn't just seeking a patent for the method, they are seeking a patent on the actual pigs.”  Read More

Life Balancing Software

July 31, 2005 Leading a balanced life is good for you. We all know that. Even the Dalai Lama teaches, 'A balanced and skillful approach to life, taking care to avoid extremes, becomes a very important factor in conducting one's everyday existence. It is important in all aspects of life.” So how do we manage to get it wrong so frequently? Why do we continually forget about the reasons we’re doing the hard yards in the first place. If you’re an ideal football coach or politician in that you’re “smart enough to understand the game and dumb enough to think it’s important”, Llamagraphics software Life Balance is for you! Life Balance is coaching software that provides a dynamically ordered To Do List driven by the importance of your goals, your desired allocation of time and effort, and feedback from what you get done each day. Check out this MP3 that describes how to use the software to organize your life into your high level goals, the projects that help you achieve those goals, and the tasks you need to accomplish to complete those projects. It sure beats confronting an endless to-do list!  Read More

The Talking First Aid Kit

July 29, 2005 If you’ve never done a first aid course, the chances are that a first aid kit would be of little use to you in an emergency. Given that the majority of people haven’t the foggiest idea about first aid, the talking first aid kit makes a lot of sense, particularly if it’s you with the sudden, potentially life-threatening injuries. Intelligent First Aid is designed to help people, with little or no first aid training, provide assistance to an injured person in the crucial minutes before professional help arrives. The kit includes individually wrapped packs of supplies critical for common injuries, such as bleeding, breathing problems, or broken bones. The audio chip affixed to each injury card takes the technology a step further – just press the button and it narrates step by step instructions to manage the injury, pausing and repeating when necessary.  Read More

KWIKTOP: The bottle combination lock

July 13, 2005 We’ve all seen and heard horror stories of what can happen with shared refrigerators and opened bottles of drink in such environments, be they in the family or extended family home, in the workplace, in schools, colleges and universities, in sporting clubs, bars, nightclubs, backpacking and travelling – sometimes it’s a joke, sometimes it’s just someone having a mouthful of your drink and with the advent of Rohypnol and other clear, odourless, tasteless drugs it can be much worse. Now there’s a simple solution to prevent someone leaving their cooties or worse in your drinks. It's a bottle combination lock.  Read More

MetroNap PODS - power napping for productivity

July 12, 2005 MetroNaps is a new take on an old idea – providing purpose-built comfortable facilities for a daytime powernap in city locations. The concept of daytime naps was once a ritualistic part of all our lives as children and in many latin and equatorial countries, the siesta is still a part of the culture. Even NASA has investigated the benefits of controlled naps and found was that performance was improved 34 percent and alertness improved 54 percent.  Read More

Citizen releases personal doctor healthcare system

July 6, 2005 As the world ages, the health care system will come under a lot of pressure in coming decades and with one of the oldest populations, Japan is more accutely aware of this than any country. hence, we suspect, the reason for this latest device which could be a portent of things to come in all nations - home health care devices. Citizen Watch and its subsidiary Citizen Systems Corporation have developed what is being marketed as a personal doctor home health care management system which will go on sale in Tokyo this Friday. The system comes with a blood pressure monitor, PC computer software for health management and tracking of the main vital stats and a wireless connection kit which transmits the readings from the blood pressure monitor to the PC.  Read More

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