The Wonder, November 30 - Tech We're Thankful For: AI Sense Restoration and Seizure Prevention

INblog, technology, the wonder|BYsf appworks

A Weekly Snapshot of Life-Changing Technology

Written by MaCall Manor, on behalf of SF AppWorks

Macall Manor

Hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving! Here's some technology worth giving thanks for.

1. No Print Like Home

This month, project TERA is happening. And it involves an egg-shaped, 3D-printed short-term rental overlooking the Hudson River in NY. 

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Image © AI SpaceFactory and Plomp

Hot Take

But Really, Why?

AI SpaceFactory's cost efficient 3D-printed structures will rely on a robotic arm to pour out a mixture of basalt and biopolymers in an environmentally conscious effort to create sustainable dwellings.

All In-Printed

The space will include a sleeping pod, bathroom and shower, study, and other amenities. Can't complain about the stunning natural surroundings either. 

Aimed from the Stars

TERA is based off a former prototype Martian habitat built during a competition put on by NASA. The original project, called MARSHA, was crushed in an effort to demonstrate the force necessary to destroy it. The materials used in MARSHA have been recycled and reused in TERA, as a part of AI SpaceFactory's commitment to zero waste.

2. Sixth Sense

A more uncharted territory of VR is now being explored. Tactile sensation technology in the form of a wearable patch may help amputees regain feeling in lost limbs, or enable people to "hold hands" from across the world.

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Photo courtesy of Northwestern University

Hot Take

Can this patch be worn on the stomach to simulate a "full" feeling, so one doesn't gorge herself at Thanksgiving dinner? Asking for a friend.

All the Feelings

The solution is comprised of several disparate layers: cloth, silicone, polymer, and actuators. These layers are condensed into a formable patch that is wearable on various parts of the body. Information can be transmitted via vibrations through the patch without requiring wires or a battery, giving the wearer a feel for the density of the object he or she is touching.

A Sense of Hope

The implications of this technology are far reaching, but some of the most exciting prospects are for amputees--functional benefits with psychological significance. Imagine the feeling of holding your child's hand when you thought such a simple act was no longer possible.

3. A Cool Development

A new system developed by researchers at MIT and in Chile is capable of cooling things down by 26 degrees Fahrenheit without the use of electricity.

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Photo courtesy of researches at MIT

Hot Take

This is going to make things way cooler.

Temperamental 

The device's outcome is actually made possible through the natural process of an object cooling down, called radiative cooling. It blocks the sun's rays, while simultaneously radiating infrared light straight into space. The crucial component of this system is its polyethylene foam insulation, called an aerogel.

The Coolest Part

This technological development has possible usages ranging from longterm cooling of produce to air or even water. But according to Peter Bermel, an electrical and computer engineering professor from Purdue, the "main potential benefit of the polyethylene aerogel presented here may be its relative compactness and simplicity, compared to a number of prior experiments."

4. Pre-zures

AI is at it again at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, this time with a system capable of predicting seizures with an over 99% success rate.

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Hot Take

AI, or MVP?

The Difference

EEG tests already help us understand brain movements, but this new method combines the analysis of brain activity and predictive modeling. It uses a new mapping algorithm to also predict relevant areas of risk by analyzing electrical channels lighting up during seizures.

Seizing the Moment

Not only does this system boast striking accuracy, it's pretty impressive on the timing front, with the ability to predict a seizure up to an hour beforehand. With over 50 million people around the world suffering from epilepsy, this scientific breakthrough will certainly play a significant role in its field.

5. Slippery Slope

Scientists at Penn State University have created toilet coating with both environmental and...functional benefits.

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Hot Take

Impactful solutions in unlikely places.

Dropping Stats

Each day, over 141 billion liters of water are used to flush toilets. The scientists at Penn State University explain that using the spray coating will help decrease the amount of water necessary to flush excrement in a single flush by 90%. 

Solution #2

Not only could the spray coating offer a serious benefit to water conservation efforts, it also purportedly works against the harmful bacteria resulting from fecal residue in toilets.

Cheers! :)

Thanks for reading! If you enjoy the Wonder, please consider sharing it with a friend. We'll see you next month! 

-MaCall Manor, on behalf of SF AppWorks