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University of Rochester

Health & Wellbeing

Quick Trainer to help toilet train autistic kids

A new toilet-training device developed by researchers at the University of Rochester combines a wearable sensor pad, Bluetooth technology, an iOS device and accompanying app to help toilet train intellectually disabled children. Rather than just providing entertainment like the iPotty, the Quick Trainer issues an alert the moment the child starts to pee, so adults can take them to the toilet and encourage them to use it. If all goes well, they are rewarded with treats to encourage them to head to the toilet the next time the need arises.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Brain cells created from human skin cells offer potential MS treatment

Myelin is a fatty tissue that covers the fibers between nerve cells – it’s not unlike the insulation on electrical wiring. When that tissue is compromised, the cells have difficulty communicating, and neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis can be the result. If the myelin of MS sufferers could be regrown, then it’s possible that the disease could be cured. Recently, a team of scientists successfully regenerated myelin in mice, using human skin cells that were reprogrammed into brain cells. Read More

Space

Alzheimer’s added to dangers faced by deep space astronauts

Psychiatrists involved with the early days of NASA’s space program were concerned astronauts might succumb to “space madness” as a result of experiencing prolonged periods of microgravity and claustrophobic isolation. While their fears turned out to be unfounded, a new study has found cause for concern for the mental faculties of astronauts on planned future deep space missions. The study shows that the levels of radiation an astronaut would be exposed to on a mission to Mars could cause cognitive problems and accelerate the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.Read More

Giving smartphones emotional intelligence

It would be great if smartphones could sense moods – especially when they've dropped a call three times in five minutes. Engineers at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York have developed a prototype app that provides phones with a form of emotional intelligence that could have wide applications in phones and beyond. Read More

Science

Researchers send neutrino-message through 260 yards of rock

Neutrinos have been in the news recently, and although it appears that they probably do not travel faster than light, they still hold court as three of the strangest of the known subatomic particles. Undeterred by these arcane particles, Fermilab scientists have succeeded in communicating with neutrino pulses through 240 meters (262 yards) of rock at a rate of 0.1 bits per second.Read More

Games

Sorry, parents – video games are good for the mind

For some time now, it’s been one of those “well-known facts” that playing video games increases one’s hand-eye coordination... much to the consternation of parents and spouses trying to convince family members that their obsessive gaming has no redeeming value. Now, research conducted at the University of Rochester indicates that playing action video games also increases peoples’ ability to make right decisions faster. Ironically, an activity that involves sitting on the couch helps people to think on their feet.Read More

Science

Light-activated membrane acts like a traffic signal for gas

Colored lights have been controlling the flow of motorists since the first traffic light was installed in 1868 in London. Now scientists have developed a membrane that uses colored light to control the flow of gas. The membrane blocks gas from flowing through it when one color of light is shined on its surface, and permits gas to flow through when another color of light is used. The technology could be useful in research applications and controlled drug delivery as well as industrial processing tanks that require the ability to turn the flow of gas on and off safely.Read More

Medical

‘Black metal’ discovery could advance the use of T-rays for medical scanning

Scientist Chunlei Guo discovered a way to change the surface of a variety of metals so they absorbed virtually all light by using intense laser light in late 2006. He followed up his “black metal” discovery in 2008 by discovering how to use the same basic process to alter surface properties to turn metals a variety of colors. Now Guo and his University of Rochester colleagues have discovered that the altered black metals can detect electromagnetic radiation with frequencies in the terahertz range, also known as T-rays, which have potential in medical and scientific scanning applications, as well as security scanners. Read More

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