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MaCall Manor Nov 1, 2019 2:02:00 AM 4 min read

The Wonder - SPOOKY STUFF: Shape Shifting, Mind Control | SF AppWorks

A Monthly Snapshot of Life-Changing Technology

Happy Halloween, Wonderers! Speaking of skeletons:


1. X-Ray 3D


Augmented reality tech will provide surgeons with 3D imagery for an x-ray-like perspective of the human body, thanks to MediView’s $4.5 million fundraising effort.

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Hot Take

Wait until the plastic surgeons get their hands on this one.


Pixel Progress

The innovation is all about using AR to maximize precision. First MRI or T scans are used to create a 3D map of the patient. Then, while wearing the Fused Holographic Visualization system, the head surgeon can look at her patient and perceive the internal anatomy beneath the skin–including the position of organs, bones, blood vessels, and more.


Operation, 2020 edition

Animations accessed through HoloLens or other AR goggles enable
doctors to perform surgical procedures as if in a high-functioning video game–“a missile guidance system,” or, as MediView’s CEO John Black equates it to: “a kind of GPS…navigating to a specific point of the human body.” Pretty awesome.



“As the CEO, when I saw this technology I was visibly shaken. We’ve seen that same response from everybody in healthcare.”

-John Black



These holographic visuals will completely revolutionize surgery by allowing the surgeon to see tumors or cancerous legions in 3 dimensions, simultaneously enabling a clearer dialogue and understanding between patient and practitioner.


2. Hover Porshe


Porsche has joined forces with Boeing to build a prototype for a flying taxi.

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Hot Take

The VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) vehicle will rely on propellor forces for its upward mobility. There’s quite a lot of power needed to lift the machine, which will present a challenge to engineers.


The Bar is High

One of the biggest hurdles for the project is the law. As of now, there are regulations in place which prevent low-flying aircrafts in cities–something Porsche and Boeing will need to take up with state governments.


Boeing has also recently partnered with Kitty Hawk for this same technology…seems like a conflict of interest?


3. Mind Your Own Drone


A new military program in DARPA is developing tech for brain computer interfaces, in hopes it will one day be capable of mind controlling a fleet of drones.

Close-up of a drone flying over a man's open palm 

Photo by Dose Media from Unsplash


Drone’t You Know?

Graduate students at Carnegie Mellon are zapping bits of living mouse brain in hopes of creating a brain-connected interfacing system (potentially in the form of a headband) to control drones.


Crash Course

Brain computer interfaces have already played a critical role in the medical industry for veterans, even allowing quadriplegics to regain limited muscle control. Now, Next-generation Nonsurgical Neurotechnology Program is introducing a more…combative endeavor.


Hot Take

Let’s scratch the violence already, and focus on mind-controlled mini drones that bring you coffee when your synapses aren’t firing at the right speed.


4. Shape Shifters


Researchers at Harvard Wyss Institute have now created the most sophisticated ‘shape-shifting’ material structures in existence.

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Hot Take

In other news, I just figured out how to make an egg-in-a-hole for breakfast.


Stimulated, Stimulated

The shape shifting matter comes in the form of multi-material lattice structures able to expand or shrink in response to temperature fluctuations.


How. In. Hogwarts?!

Jennifer Lewis, a core faculty member at Wyss Institute, describes the researchers’ approach as encoding ‘instruction sets’ into 3D printed materials that help fuel movement as they shape shift. Essentially, it’s where mathematics and computation meet design form and geometry. Simple stuff, really.



Once perfected, the tech will boast a wide array of uses–including smart fabrics, robotics, and tissue engineering.


5. Solar Traffic Control


A Chicago startup is creating a system that integrates solar-powered sensors with a strategy to address the city’s ongoing issue with traffic congestion. But beware, the innovation comes in the form of a tax.

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Spacebot Surge

Co-founded by David Turner, SpaceBot Surge proposes to prop solar-powered sensors on street poles. The tech would monitor the flow of traffic, and capture driver data to be reported to the city. The system will opt for ‘eligible’ drivers to be taxed based on congestion levels.


Hot Take

Sitting in traffic AND being taxed for it? Not sure I’m ready for that.


Green Light

Although the fare might not initially seem appealing, Turner’s intentions are in the right place: “Investing in public transportation would be the biggest return on this new money, as opposed to building new roads,” he says.


6. E-Pray, Love


The Vatican introduces new “click to pray” eRosary beads that will connect to smartphones.

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Hot Take



For the Kids

The Vatican seems to be marketing the product as a sort of technology-conscious bridge to the millennial spiritual endeavor. Its sleek design speaks to a young wearer–hematite and agate rosary beads form a bracelet connecting to a silver ‘smart cross’.


Pray Different

Once set up, users can sync to an eRosary app with a variety of features. The device offers bluetooth capability, is water resistant, and get this–connects to an app when the wearer makes the sign of the cross. The app keeps track of completed prayers, and is accessible in multiple languages.


Thanks for reading! We’ll see you next month!

-MaCall Manor, on behalf of SF AppWorks

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MaCall Manor

MaCall Manor is an editor and writer based in San Francisco. She has always been a storyteller by trade, seeking to inspire with the work and content she creates. Brilliantly imaginative in filling out the details of the innovation processes and design thinking, she's passionate about all things creative, dancing, nature, and books/movies.