Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Health and Wellbeing

The Darma smart cushion is embedded with fiber optic sensors to track a person's posture t...

We have seen posture trackers that attach to our backs and waists, but if we were to look to any part of our body to keep tabs on our sitting habits, it would be our backsides that know best, right? The team behind Darma is banking on our buttocks painting a clearer picture, developing a smart cushion that monitors how we sit to provide feedback on posture, stress levels, heart rate and respiration.  Read More

Digitsole is a pair of smart insoles, controlled via a smartphone app

Digitsole is an interactive insole for your shoe, capable of performing three functions your run-of-the-mill insole would struggle with. It can warm your feet, track how many steps you take, and guesstimate how many calories you have burned. All functions are controlled via an accompanying smartphone app – available for iOS or Android, with Windows Phone on the way – connected via Bluetooth 4.0.  Read More

The project aims to use the city of Hong Kong as an urban laboratory in its attempt to stu...

A novel study undertaken by an international collaboration of universities – headed by King's College London – aims to assess the impact of toxic fumes and other pollutants on the residents of high-rise buildings. Such studies are becoming increasingly important to metropolitan areas where real estate is scarce, forcing us to build ever upwards in order to satiate the ever-increasing need for accommodation.  Read More

SVOne is a portable eye test lab

Is there anything smartphones can't do? Besides have taken over our lives as communication and entertainment hubs, a growing use of the devices is in eye healthcare. Guided by a socially-inclusive ethos, New York-based Smart Vision Labs has created a low-cost, portable iPhone-based gadget to help people in developing countries to diagnose vision problems.  Read More

The skin-like patch changes color as it detects changes in temperature of the skin's surfa...

Researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a health monitor capable of tracking heart and skin condition while worn discretely on the skin. Measuring around 5 cm squared (0.8 in sq), the patch is designed to be inconspicuous and alert the user to conditions ranging from dry skin to cardiovascular problems.  Read More

The discovery of an on/off switch for telomerase could provide a way to get human cells to...

Researchers at the Salk Institute have discovered an on/off switch for telomerase, an enzyme that rebuilds a cellular timekeeper known as a telomere. The scientists believe that the discovery could provide a way to get human cells to divide indefinitely without degenerating, thereby regenerating healthy organs even in old age.  Read More

 Researchers have developed a blood test that can diagnose depression in adults (Photo: Sh...

Diagnosing depression can be a difficult task, currently relying on patients reporting symptoms – something those suffering depression don't always do – and doctors correctly interpreting them – which isn't easy as the symptoms are non-specific. Now researchers have developed a blood test to diagnose depression in adults, providing the first objective, scientific diagnosis for the condition.  Read More

Robb Godshaw's Hamster Wheel Standing Desk is a new take on exercising at the office

Worried about the lack of exercise you get whilst sitting at your desk all day? In the belief that rodent recreational habits may hold the solution, Artist Robb Godshaw has published instructions for building his Hamster Wheel Standing Desk.  Read More

The prototype biospleen and components (Image: DARPA)

Today, when we think of the dangers of the battlefield, we think of wounds caused by bullets, bombs, and other weapons. But as late as the Spanish American war of 1898, the number of soldiers who died from infectious diseases as opposed to directly from combat injuries was seven to one. Thanks to the discovery of penicillin and other antibiotics, that ratio has swung dramatically the other way, but it’s still a major problem, not only for military personnel, but civilians too. DARPA is developing an artificial spleen, or "biospleen," as a way to help fight deadly infections without antibiotics.  Read More

The Compactix Glyder in use

By now, pretty much everyone has heard about the health risks involved with remaining seated and sedentary for long periods of time. Standing desks are designed to address the problem, as are miniature cycling and elliptical trainers that can be used under a conventional desk while you remain seated. One of the problems with those machines, however, is that your knees may bang against the underside of your desk as you're using them – plus, they can be noisy. That's where the Compactix Glyder comes in.  Read More

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