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Updated: 3 hours 28 min ago

Can Technology Fix Medicine?

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 12:00

Medical data is a hot spot for venture investing and product innovation. The payoff could be better care.

After decades as a technological laggard, medicine has entered its data age. Mobile technologies, sensors, genome sequencing, and advances in analytic software now make it possible to capture vast amounts of information about our individual makeup and the environment around us. The sum of this information could transform medicine, turning a field aimed at treating the average patient into one that’s customized to each person while shifting more control and responsibility from doctors to patients.

Data-Driven Health Care

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 12:00

Chinese Researchers Stop Wheat Disease with Gene Editing

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 11:45

Researchers have created wheat that is resistant to a common disease, using advanced gene editing methods.

Advanced genome-editing techniques have been used to create a strain of wheat resistant to a destructive fungal pathogen—called powdery mildew—that is a major bane to the world’s top food source, according to scientists at one of China’s leading centers for agricultural research.

Flexible, Printed Batteries for Wearable Devices

Fri, 07/18/2014 - 09:32

Imprint Energy is developing a long-lasting, bendable, and rechargeable battery.

A California startup is developing flexible, rechargeable batteries that can be printed cheaply on commonly used industrial screen printers. Imprint Energy, of Alameda, California, has been testing its ultrathin zinc-polymer batteries in wrist-worn devices and hopes to sell them to manufacturers of wearable electronics, medical devices, smart labels, and environmental sensors.

Travel App Can Recommend Places by Looking at Them

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 00:00

Software that counts dogs, martini glasses, and mustaches in Instagram photos provides a novel way to rate businesses.

A travel app called Jetpac hopes to tackle two of the most pressing questions of our time: how can machines reliably extract information from images, and what exactly is the definition of a hipster?

Israeli Rocket Defense System Is Failing at Crucial Task, Expert Analysts Say

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 17:04

Although it appears to hit incoming Hamas rockets, Israel’s system could be falling short of detonating the rockets’ warheads.

Even though Israel’s U.S.-funded “Iron Dome” rocket-defense interceptors appear to be hitting Hamas rockets in recent days, they are almost certainly failing in the crucial job of detonating those rockets’ shrapnel-packed explosive warheads, expert analysts say.

Israeli Rocket Defense System Is Failing, Expert Analysts Say

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 17:04

Although it appears to hit incoming Hamas rockets, Israel’s system could be falling short of detonating the rockets’ warheads.

Even though Israel’s U.S.-funded “Iron Dome” rocket-defense interceptors appear to be hitting Hamas rockets in recent days, they are almost certainly failing in the crucial job of detonating those rockets’ shrapnel-packed explosive warheads, expert analysts say.

A Laboratory for Rare Cells Sheds Light on Cancer

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 14:45

A way of capturing cancer cells from the bloodstream opens a new front in personal cancer treatment.

In 1869, the Australian physician Thomas Ashworth put the blood of woman who had died of breast cancer under a microscope. Peering through it, he spotted “cells identical with those of the cancer itself.”

Low-Power, Color Displays

Wed, 07/09/2014 - 15:04

Oxford University researchers demonstrate that materials used in DVDs could make color displays that don’t sap power.

Researchers at Oxford University have used a type of phase-change material to make devices whose color changes instantly in response to a small jolt of power.  The materials, which are used in some types of DVDs, could lead to ultra-low-power, full-color displays, according to an article describing the work in the journal Nature.

Beijing Wants to Understand Its Smog

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 17:59

New effort would pinpoint the source, type, and dispersal patterns of smog across Beijing to drive street-level predictions and targeted remediation.

In a new tactic in Beijing’s growing battle on choking smog, sensors and analytics will pinpoint the source and trajectory of polluting particles and forecast levels three days in advance down to the resolution of individual streets.

How to Clean the Gas and Oil Industries’ Most Contaminated Water

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 13:12

A new process can cheaply clean extremely briny water coming up from oil wells.

In a nondescript site in Midland, Texas, an inexpensive new process is cleaning up some of the most contaminated water around—the extremely salty stuff that comes up with oil at wells. By the end of next month the technology is expected to be chugging 500,000 gallons per day, furnishing water that’s sufficiently clean to use in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for oil and natural gas production (see “Natural Gas Changes the Energy Map”).

Will Virtual Reality Reshape Documentary Journalism?

Fri, 07/04/2014 - 00:00

One documentary filmmaker believes an immersive experience will make a more lasting impression on audiences.

Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus VR in March 2014 for $4 billion brought a resurgence of interest in virtual reality to the mainstream, almost 30 years after the technology first entered the public consciousness. And while Oculus VR’s initial focus has been on video games, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, has described the hardware as “the next major computing platform that will come after mobile.”

Startup Lets Offices Know Who Just Walked In

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 17:16

A Boston-based startup is helping companies track their employees around the office using wireless sensor beacons, to improve collaboration.

In the office of the future, you may not so much walk into a room as log into it automatically. That’s what Sam Dunn, the CEO and co-founder of Boston-based startup Robin, thinks. The company is using wireless sensors to make rooms in office buildings aware of the people in them and let employees know exactly where their co-workers are.

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