Computational creativity and the future of AI

Blood Pressure

The Accent pacemaker sends a wireless signal to a home transmitter, which then forwards th...

The world’s very first fully implanted pacemaker, in 1958, lasted three hours before the batteries failed. It was replaced by one that lasted two days. Ultimately, Arne Larsson – surgical guinea pig – went on to receive 26 different pacemakers over the next 43 years. Now, a New York woman has become the first person in the world to receive a pacemaker that allows completely wireless monitoring, transmitting clinical data to her doctor each day via the Internet. And, if anything ever goes wrong, the doctor is alerted instantly.  Read More

Paul Gardner-Stephen and his Shoe Phone

The vision of Agent 86 mumbling into his shoe is one of the most endearing images from the slapstick 60s spy series Get Smart, but an Australian scientist who has built a working version of the shoe phone using 21st century technology sees serious applications for this kind of device in the medical field.  Read More

The tiny blood pressure sensor

High blood pressure is a major health risk and as the world’s population ages, that risk continues to climb. It can be a trial of patience for doctors and for sufferers, whose blood pressure often has to be consistently monitored over a long time until it can be regulated. A new sensor being developed by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft researchers together with the “Hyper-IMS” (Intravascular Monitoring System for Hypertension Patients) company aims to make this monitoring easier. To monitor blood pressure patients have traditionally had to wear a small case containing a blood pressure meter close to their body. An inflatable sleeve on their arm records their blood pressure values, for which it is regularly pumped up and deflated. This can prove to be a bit of a hassle, particularly at night but now the whole process is now due to become significantly simpler thanks to a tiny implant that can achieve the same result.  Read More

Finnair's A1700-2400 Cruiser
 Image credit: Kauko Helavuo

To celebrate its 85th anniversary, Finnair has served up a blue-sky vision of what the next 85 years of aviation could hold. Concentrating mainly on potential developments in environmentally friendly technology and lightweight material, the Departure 2093 website lists five aircraft that could grace our sky later this century.  Read More

Shock-proof blood pressure meter

October 24, 2007 Despite being sensitive instruments, blood pressure meters are often carried around in doctors’ coat pockets and as a result they're exposed to being bumped or dropped. Because they contain very fine mechanisms that react sensitively to any form of shock this causes them to produce false readings without the doctor necessarily noticing the problem, in turn leading to disastrous effects on patients’ treatment, as drug doses may have to be changed if the blood pressure exceeds a certain value. This new pressure meter, created by the Rudolf Riester company and researchers at the Fraunhofer Technology Development Group TEG in Stuttgart, employs a delicate damping system to protect the integrity of the meter.  Read More

The human battery: turning body heat into electric power

August 6, 2007 Previously ignored energy sources are being revisited as both the global will to conserve energy and the technological means to generate it radically improve. Electromagnetic radiation from our cities, acoustic noise and stray radio waves are now being re-classified as potential power sources and the human body itself is being re-examined as a battery thanks to advances enabling the energy from body heat, motion and even blood pressure to be harnessed. A new thermoelectric system created by researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute is at the forefront of these developments - running on a miniscule 200 millivolts the device is able to create an electrical charge from body heat and could lend itself to an endless array of applications that go way beyond powering your own mobile phone.  Read More

Smallest capacitance type pressure sensor used to detect absolute pressure

August 2, 2007 Alps Electric has completed development of the industry’s smallest (4.8mm long x 4.8mm wide x 1.8 mm high) capacitance type pressure sensor to detect absolute pressure. The sensor can be used to detect pressure in a range of situations from air pressure in tyres to blood pressure. The capacitance-type pressure sensor is generally characterized by high sensitivity and low current consumption and this product also minimizes the influence of temperature changes on pressure detection. Due to the ability of the ceramic packaging to withstand a wide range of temperatures, it can even be used in the volatile automotive environment.  Read More

Nanogenerator harvests energy from environmental sources

July 26, 2007 The prototype nanogenerator provides continuous direct-current electricity by harvesting mechanical energy from such environmental sources as ultrasonic waves, mechanical vibration or blood flow. Providing power for nanometer-scale devices has long been a challenge. Batteries and other traditional sources are too large, and tend to negate the size advantages of nanodevices. And since batteries contain toxic materials such as lithium and cadmium, they cannot be implanted into the body as part of biomedical applications. Because the nanogenerator is non-toxic and compatible with the body, the new nanogenerators could be integrated into implantable biomedical devices to wirelessly measure blood flow and blood pressure within the body. This device could be in your shoes for example and when you walk you could generate your own small current to power small electronics. Anything that makes the nanowires move within the generator can be used for generating power.  Read More

The Taser X-26.

May 18, 2007 The taser: a convenient, effective non-lethal way of incapacitating a person, or a potential killer? Amidst claims of misuse, abuse and taser-related deaths, a new study has been undertaken to document the short and medium term physiological effects this painful and common law enforcement tool can have on subjects. Kudos to those who volunteered to be shocked; those five seconds would have felt like an eternity.  Read More

The Alive Heart and Activity monitor transmits via bluetooth to a PDA or mobile phone in r...

May 9, 2007 Turning the health-care model upside down, a small Australian company is working on bluetooth technology that logs and transmits medical observation data to a central network through a mobile phone - so your doctor can call YOU when a problem is developing. Alive's bluetooth technology is already proving useful in the recovery of cardiac outpatients and the diagnosis of sleep apnea - and a range of products in development aim to make advancements in health monitoring for diabetics, mountaineers and athletes in training.  Read More

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