Category Archives: Technology

Online Shopping Revolution

When it comes to technology, there are many ways in this nebulous umbrella terms has changed our lives drastically, and many of them for the better.Tech take a number of different forms to accomplish a litany of different tasks, and the world today is a far cry from what it was mere decades as a result of bigger and better tech. Today is truly a golden age for mankind, in some respect. (cough, cough.) However, I would argue that there is one aspect that technology has all but perfected, and like many things, it goes unnoticed and is taken for granted. I’m talking, of course, about online shopping. Online shopping has taken what was once a huge hassle and turned it into the most convenient form it can be, for the most part, and I think that deserves more credit. Going to the grocery store every work or two was, and still is, a drag, bust just about everything else you could ever need is available online, so you can take care of the vast majority of your needs without ever leaving the house or talking to another human being. Sure, you have to wait a couple days for the delivery, but this is a small price to pay, if you ask me.

Think about, though, and you’ll soon realize how good you have it. For starters, you have companies like eBay and Amazon that are like the department stores of the internet. They have a little bit of everything, in this sense. eBay is also one of many sites that prioritizes the ability for users to sell their own items, be they used items that are no longer wanted or simply home made. Likewise, Etsy provides a place for people to sell hand made arts and crafts, especially jewelry. Then, of course, you have a litany of other, more niche, offerings available online. For instance, you could order some upscale clothing from Neiman Marcus, or you could instead buy something more down to earth from Forever 21. You can take care of the needs of your furry friends via PetSmart while Think Geek has you covered with regards to pop culture memorabilia. Speaking of memorabilia, if you’re into sports, Fanatics has you covered here. There really is something for everyone online nowadays. As mentioned before, groceries are out of reach for the time being, but Blue Apron and Hello Fresh offer you recipes and the ingredients with which to make them on a weekly basis, and dry good are available online in abundance, so it’s only a matter of time.

Effects of Emerging Technologies

Technology has affected and is still affecting people of all age brackets from all over the world. You can imagine the formats in which toddlers’ toys and items for old people are made these days. They are given touch of modernity to let them have the feel of the innovations the mind of the human person is capable of.

  • Internet Technology

Let us begin with Information Technology. Gone are the days when people melted for fear of where to get information or data for their usage. Whatever information you think you need has been well written out for you on the Internet. “Internet is the world on the computer”. The internet has a wealth of information on every area of human endeavour. It is a safe place of consultation or reference for students as well as professors. The internet is a place individuals and enterprise run to locate the information they need. For instance, when you need any service, just log into the Internet, and you will see one million and one individuals and organisations who render such services. Whatever it is you need, you can find it on the internet.

The world wide web as an aspect of technological advancement, has made the production and sharing of information a breeze. With the proper use of the internet, businesses that took “ages” to be accomplished are now executed within a twinkle of an eye. Even though the internet has numerous advantages, it has some disadvantages too. A lot of unhealthy materials are available on the internet. And these to the detriment of innocent minds. In as much as good people post relevant information on the net for the use of those who need them, people with bad intentions also post harmful materials on the internet. Materials on how to indulge in bad things abound on the internet. This is because a large part of the internet is not censored. Technological advancements have positive and negative effects on us. Let us talk about other facets of latest technologies and their effects.

  • Nano technology

Nano technology, like the Internet technology is spreading like a wild fire and its future effects are unimaginable. Nano technology spreads through large parts of human life. In the area of human health, nano technology is used for the treatment of cancer. It is used through the infrared to dismantle cancer tumors. Besides the health sector where nano technology has proved its relevance, it is also a force in the electronic sector. With nano, devices or applications of different types and sizes can be built. As a matter of fact, the military seems to be using the nano technology than anyone else. They are projecting its usage for combat, espionage and so forth. Nano technology has unimaginable possibilities. If care is not taken, without nano technology, a lot of damages could be achieved. And the world that has been built for many years might be destroyed within a few moment.

  • Energy Technology

So much has come out under this category. We have the solar energy, the wind powered plants, hydrogen battery technology. These have proved really useful in place of their alternative technologies. They have helped to break monopoly of various power sectors. Many homes in the US and Europe power their homes with solar energy. This and others are fruits of alternative energy. As good as these are, they come with some environmental hazards. They generate a level of pollutions in our environments like air and water pollution and heat generation to mention but a few. In a nutshell, as good and important as modern technologies are, efforts should be made to curb their negative impacts. Whenever there is a technological innovation, efforts should be made to forestall its negative impacts on the society.

Nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS)

Nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) are a class of devices integrating electrical and mechanical functionality on the nanoscale. NEMS form the logical next miniaturization step from so-called microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS devices. NEMS typically integrate transistor-like nanoelectronics with mechanical actuators, pumps, or motors, and may thereby form physical, biological, and chemical sensors. The name derives from typical device dimensions in the nanometer range, leading to low mass, high mechanical resonance frequencies, potentially large quantum mechanical effects such as zero point motion, and a high surface-to-volume ratio useful for surface-based sensing mechanisms. Uses include accelerometers, or detectors of chemical substances in the air.

Overview

As noted by Richard Feynman in his famous talk in 1959, “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom,” there are many potential applications of machines at smaller and smaller sizes; by building and controlling devices at smaller scales, all technology benefits. Among the expected benefits include greater efficiencies and reduced size, decreased power consumption and lower costs of production in electromechanical systems. In 2000, the first very-large-scale integration (VLSI) NEMS device was demonstrated by researchers at IBM. Its premise was an array of AFM tips which can heat/sense a deformable substrate in order to function as a memory device. Further devices have been described by Stefan de Haan. In 2007, the International Technical Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) contains NEMS Memory as a new entry for the Emerging Research Devices section.

Atomic force microscopy

A key application of NEMS is atomic force microscope tips. The increased sensitivity achieved by NEMS leads to smaller and more efficient sensors to detect stresses, vibrations, forces at the atomic level, and chemical signals. AFM tips and other detection at the nanoscale rely heavily on NEMS.

Approaches to miniaturization

Two complementary approaches to fabrication of NEMS can be found. The top-down approach uses the traditional microfabrication methods, i.e. optical, electron beam lithographyand thermal treatments, to manufacture devices. While being limited by the resolution of these methods, it allows a large degree of control over the resulting structures. In this manner devices such as nanowires, nanorods, and patterned nanostructures are fabricated from metallic thin films or etched semiconductor layers. Bottom-up approaches, in contrast, use the chemical properties of single molecules to cause single-molecule components to self-organize or self-assemble into some useful conformation, or rely on positional assembly. These approaches utilize the concepts of molecular self-assembly and/or molecular recognition. This allows fabrication of much smaller structures, albeit often at the cost of limited control of the fabrication process. A combination of these approaches may also be used, in which nanoscale molecules are integrated into a top-down framework. One such example is the carbon nanotube nanomotor.

Digital scent technology 

Digital scent technology (or olfactory technology) is the engineering discipline dealing with olfactory representation. It is a technology to sense, transmit and receive scent-enabled digital media (such as web pages, video games, movies and music). This sensing part of this technology works by using olfactometers and electronic noses.

History

1950s–1960s

In the late 1950s, Hans Laube invented the Smell-O-Vision, a system which released odor during the projection of a film so that the viewer could “smell” what was happening in the movie. The Smell-O-Vision faced competition with AromaRama, a similar system invented by Charles Weiss that emitted scents through the air-conditioning system of a theater.Variety dubbed the competition the battle of the smellies.

Smell-O-Vision did not work as intended. According to a Variety review of the mystery comedy film Scent of Mystery (1960), which featured the one and only use of Smell-O-Vision, aromas were released with a distracting hissing noise and audience members in the balcony complained that the scents reached them several seconds after the action was shown on the screen. In other parts of the theater, the odors were too faint, causing audience members to sniff loudly in an attempt to catch the scent. These technical problems were mostly corrected after the first few showings, but the poor word of mouth, in conjunction with generally negative reviews of the film itself, led to the decline of Smell-O-Vision.

1990s–2000s

In 1999, DigiScents developed a computer peripheral device called iSmell, which was designed to emit a smell when a user visited a web site or opened an email. The device contained a cartridge with 128 “primary odors”, which could be mixed to replicate natural and man-made odors. DigiScents had indexed thousands of common odors, which could be coded, digitized, and embedded into web pages or email. After $20 million in investment, DigiScents was shut down in 2001 when it was unable to obtain the additional funding it required. In 2000, AromaJet developed a scent-generating device prototype called Pinoke. No new announcements have been made since December 2000. In 2003, TriSenx (founded in 1999) launched a scent-generating device called Scent Dome, which by 2004 was tested by the UK internet service provider Telewest. This device was about the size of a teapot and could generate up to 60 different smells by releasing particles from one or more of 20 liquid-filled odor capsules. Computers fitted with a Scent Dome unit used software to recognize smell identifying codes embedded in an email or web page.

In 2004, Tsuji Wellness and France Telecom developed a scent-generating device called Kaori Web, which comes with 6 different cartridges for different smells. The Japanese firm, K-Opticom, had placed special units of this device in their internet cafes and other venues until the end of the experiment on March 20, 2005. Also in 2004, the Indian inventor Sandeep Gupta founded SAV Products, LLC and claimed to show a scent-generating device prototype at CES 2005. In 2005, researchers from the University of Huelva developed XML Smell, a protocol of XML that can transmit smells. The researchers also developed a scent-generating device and worked on miniaturising its size. Also in 2005, Thanko launched P@D Aroma Generator, a USB device that comes with 3 different cartridges for different smells. In 2005, Japanese researchers announced that they are working on a 3D television with touch and smell that would be commercially available on the market by the year 2020.

2010s

During ThinkNext 2010, the Israeli company Scentcom featured a demo of its scent-generating device. In June 2011, a press release from the University of California, San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering announced a paper published in Angewandte Chemie describing an optimization and minitaturization of a component that can select and release scents from 10,000 odors, that is intended to be part of a Digital scent solution for TVs and phones. In March 2013, a group of Japanese researchers unveiled a prototype invention they dubbed a “smelling screen”. The device combines a digital display with four small fans that direct an emitted odor to a specific spot on the screen. The fans operate at a very low speed, making it difficult for the user to perceive airflow; instead he or each perceives the smell as coming directly out of the screen and object displayed at that location. In December 2013 Amos Porat inventor and CTO Of scent2you Israel Company has built several prototypes that can control scents. At GDC 2015, FeelReal unveiled its odor generator VR peripheral. In 2016 Surina Hariri, Nur Ain Mustafa, Kasun Karunanayaka and Adrian David Cheok from Imagineering Institute, Iskandar Puteri, Malaysia experimented with Electrical stimulation of olfactory receptors.

NanoTechnology

Nanotechnology (nanotech) is manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale. The earliest, widespread description of nanotechnology referred to the particular technological goal of precisely manipulating atoms and molecules for fabrication of macroscale products, also now referred to as molecular nanotechnology. A more generalized description of nanotechnology was subsequently established by the National Nanotechnology Initiative, which defines nanotechnology as the manipulation of matter with at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometers. This definition reflects the fact that quantum mechanical effects are important at this quantum-realm scale, and so the definition shifted from a particular technological goal to a research category inclusive of all types of research and technologies that deal with the special properties of matter which occur below the given size threshold. It is therefore common to see the plural form “nanotechnologies” as well as “nanoscale technologies” to refer to the broad range of research and applications whose common trait is size. Because of the variety of potential applications (including industrial and military), governments have invested billions of dollars in nanotechnology research. Until 2012, through its National Nanotechnology Initiative, the USA has invested $3.7 billion, the European Union has invested $1.2 billion and Japan has $750 million.

Nanotechnology as defined by size is naturally very broad, including fields of science as diverse as surface science, organic chemistry, molecular biology, semiconductor physics, microfabrication, molecular engineering, etc.  The associated research and applications are equally diverse, ranging from extensions of conventional device physics to completely new approaches based upon molecular self-assembly, from developing new materials with dimensions on the nanoscale to direct control of matter on the atomic scale.

Scientists currently debate the future implications of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology may be able to create many new materials and devices with a vast range of applications, such as in nanomedicine, nanoelectronics, biomaterials energy production, and consumer products. On the other hand, nanotechnology raises many of the same issues as any new technology, including concerns about the toxicityand environmental impact of nanomaterials, and their potential effects on global economics, as well as speculation about various doomsday scenarios. These concerns have led to a debate among advocacy groups and governments on whether special regulation of nanotechnology is warranted

New Technology uses Sound Waves

A researcher at the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey has created breakthrough new medical technology based on sound waves. The use of sound for healing dates back thousands of years and is considered a branch of vibrational medicine, but this new technology does something different: it’s called time-reversal acoustics, and will, when commercialized, allow doctors to see inside patients’ bodies, conduct non-invasive surgeries, and pinpoint the destruction of tiny tumors or kidney stones, all without a single cut from a scalpel.

The applications of time-reversal acoustics are wide ranging: imaging, surgery, even the recharging of batteries for implanted medical devices. Yet the big story here goes beyond the coolness of this new technology: the science of time-reversal acoustics will open the minds of doctors, surgeons and western medical researchers to the benefits of vibrational medicine. This sort of technology breakthrough — when coupled with the rapid progress in phototherapy, color therapy and homeopathy — promises to bring about a revolution in medicine. We are moving from the outmoded age of chemical medicine (where most diseases were described as “chemical imbalances” by the pharmaceutical companies) to the age of vibrational medicine, where the natural forces of nature are harnessed to help create a healing response in patients. Sound therapy is just one of dozens of exciting fields in vibrational medicine that hold tremendous promise for improving the quality of our health care while dramatically lowering its cost.

The only barrier to the acceptance of vibrational medicine remains the firmly held (and oudated) beliefs of the older doctors and surgeons still practicing medicine. They don’t believe in vibrational medicine, and hence they claim it doesn’t exist. They aggressively attack homeopathy, acupuncture, sound therapy and mind/body medicine even in the face of an overwhelming body of sound evidence (no pun intended) that they work. Younger doctors, however, are far more curious about nature and are increasingly open to exploring and even prescribing these forms of medicine. When the majority of doctors start doing that, we will be firmly in the third age of medicine: vibrational medicine. We’ll treat patients without drugs, without invasive surgery, and without dangerous side effects. Health care costs will plummet, positive results will skyrocket, and the pharmaceutical industry will become practically obesolete.

Biometric Technology

It’s already tough to get a decent job in the Obama economy, but increasingly, technology is making it even tougher. That’s because more and more functions of society are becoming automated that is, machines are taking over duties that humans once performed.

What happens to the data, though? 
Security officials are using more machines that employ biometrics which can verify a person’s identity through various physical traits and that has raised questions and concerns about the advantages and strengths of humans versus machines in being able to detect would-be terrorists. Industry officials told the paper, however, that the advantages of biometrics and computers outweigh any inherent risks, and as such they are promoting more automation as a way to make air travel more efficient and less frustrating.

Eventually, experts say, technology could “get rid of the boarding pass completely,” with air travelers’ faces serving as their ticket and pass, Michael Ibbitson, chief information officer of London Gatwick Airport, told WSJ.
He said he performed a trial last year in which 3,000 travelers on board British Airways flights were processed without boarding passes. The travelers had their irises scanned when they checked in, which enabled cameras at security checkpoints and boarding gates to recognize them automatically. “We’re only just beginning to see what biometrics can do,” said Gatwick. Proponents including government and industry officials – and, most likely, scores of Americans who are fed up with being felt up, groped and humiliated by aggressive Transportation Security Administration screeners – say automating airport security procedures will free human screeners up to focus more specifically on suspicious behavior among travelers. Also, for some aspects of security, they note that computers can be much more thorough and efficient, as well as less error-prone, than humans. But critics rightfully worry about as usual stored data being hacked or stolen, and that too much automation will dull human screeners’ senses and intuition, thereby causing them to miss detecting something when it is just doesn’t feel right.

‘Smart Security’ initiative
“If you’re sweating profusely, for example, the person checking your ID would notice. But that computer taking an iris scan wouldn’t,” said aviation-security expert Arnold Barnett, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He adds that a key part of airport security is “looking at all kinds of things that can’t be captured by an algorithm.” Currently about 28 percent of the world’s airports use some form of biometric technology. That’s up from 18 percent in 2008, a survey by SITA, an airline information technology provider, says.

Technology to Allow Parents to Pick ‘Smartest’ Embryos

Eugenics is quickly becoming big business in China, where at least one genomics company is attempting to pave the way for parents to literally pick and choose the “best” embryos to obtain the smartest possible children. Quartz reports that the cognitive genomics (CG) division at the Shenzhen-based genomics company BGI is currently working on the controversial project, which could one day allow for pregnancies with “designer” babies.

Like the plot of a bizarre sci-fi flick, the goal is to create detailed maps of the genes of smart individuals for the purpose of identifying and selecting those genes in the embryos used for in vitro fertilization. Since as much as 80 percent of what determines IQ level is believed to be inherited, researchers believe that it may be possible to identify certain “smart” genes in human embryos that could be used to predict intelligence later in life. In this case, the BGI team is looking for genes directly associated with intelligence. Once identified, these genes could potentially be used as markers for choosing only those embryos that possess them in the proper sequence. Embryos that do not meet the intelligence threshold, on the other hand, could simply be discarded as “defective,” a controversial proposition that stands to open up a Pandora’s box of both ethical and moral dilemmas.

“Imagine what a couple might pay to ensure that they get the best out of 10 or 50 possible offspring, optimizing over their choice of heritable attributes,” writes Stephen Hsu, a CG lab member currently working on the project, on his blog. Chinese government funding ‘designer’ baby technology What BGI is proposing, however, is far different from, say, screening embryos for known genetic diseases before implanting them. The latter might be seen as simply reprieving an individual from a life of disease, while the former resembles some kind of genetic cleansing endeavor the devalues human life. Do we really want to create a world where only the smartest individuals are considered to have any value or worth, while those less fortunate from an intelligence standpoint are considered unworthy of existing?

“Sparing a baby from disease is different from picking Einsteins out of petri dishes so you can scrimp on Harvard tuition,” writes Gwynn Guilford for Quartz, illustrating this point. At the same time, consumer demand is not necessarily the driving force behind the initiative. According to reports, major funding for the project is coming from the China Development Bank, a state-owned bank that specifically lends money to government “pet” projects. In other words, the Chinese government, building upon its one-child eugenics policy, apparently now wants Chinese families to have only one smart child.

“China Development Bank, a state bank that lends to government pet projects, has given BGI $1.5 billion” for the project, adds Guilford about the setup. Other countries, like the U.K., are also showing interest in the technology, which could help it advance even more quickly if the governments of these countries decide to lend their support. In the eyes of BGI’s Chris Chang, who recently told The New Yorker that it is only a matter of time before “designer” baby technology becomes the ntiorm, embryo discriminaon has the potential to become national policy for many countries.

Israeli Missile Weapons Technology

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new method for inspecting the large intestine, also known as a colonoscopy, a procedure so unpleasant, and arguably painful, that many skip it, despite its high recommendation for those over 50 years old. While the new, less invasive method is not a substitute but an alternative, it includes the patient swallowing a bite-sized camera that travels throughout the intestine, snapping internal photographs, which are then sent to a device worn around the patient’s waist and later reviewed by a physician.

Company background
The device, known as PillCam, has been around since 2001 but was unable to compete directly with a regular colonoscopy because of the photographs’ lack of clarity. The FDA’s recent approval allows the device to be used as a substitute for those who cannot undergo a regular colonoscopy procedure, a demographic of nearly 750,000 U.S. patients annually.  PillCam was developed from missile defense systems by an Israel-based company called Given Imaging (GI) and is available in 80 countries including Japan and countries in Europe and Latin America In addition to its Israel-based headquarters, GI maintains several operating subsidiaries in the U.S., Germany, France, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong and Vietnam.

Inconsistency in FDA approval process
Recent reports revealed that the FDA’s method for approving medical devices and prescription drugs is anything but consistent; however, PillCam underwent testing that included 884 patients at 16 sites. Clinical trial results showed the “sensitivity for PillCam COLON was 88% and specificity was 82% in detecting adenomas at least 6 millimeters in size.”
Although there are likely important benefits associated with this new imaging device, because of ulterior financial motives behind most FDA approvals, one has to wonder what side effects, if any, exist. Douglas Rex, M.D., Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Chancellor’s Professor at Indiana University School of Medicine, says the polyp-detecting device is a “minimally invasive, radiation-free option that provides endoscopic images of the same basic type that has made colonoscopy so useful.”
GI claims that the PillCam has a “low to moderate risk that has no predicate on the market.”

Financial incentives 
Colon imaging has a global market of 3 million procedures a year, creating opportunity for a tremendous profit. Analysts estimate PillCam sales to reach over $60 million in North America alone by 2019. Debbie Wang, an analyst with MorningStar, said using the PillCam for colon imaging is extremely competitive financially in that it costs roughly $500 in comparison to a $4,000 colonoscopy.

Smart pills
The PillCam technology is similar to that of the “smart pill,” or the “Helius system,” a pill developed by California-based company Proteus Biomedical, Inc. The smart pill, a tiny digestible, silicon-based chip, has the capability of notifying your physician once a prescription drug has been ingested. Upon digestion, the pill’s trace amounts of magnesium and copper mix with your stomach acid resulting in an electrical charge that’s sent to an external skin patch. The patch transmits the data to your iPhone or computer, from where it is then sent directly to your doctor.  In addition to notifying your doctor that the pill has been taken, it’s also capable of providing a full-body analysis, including heart rate, body temperature, exercise levels and sleep patterns, and can even inform you of your next scheduled dosage. Reports confirm that the leading developer of technology imaging, GI, is to be purchased by medical device manufacturer Covidien PLC. The $860 million deal is to be completed by March 2014.

New light technology

New research on mice has shown that blue light stimulation of brain cells can recover memories in mice with Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, they found that artificial reactivation of positive memories through light could suppress the effects of stress-induced depression. A team led by RIKEN Brain Science Institute center director, Susumu Tonegawa, identified a population of brain cells that can be altered with light so that memories, emotions and even thoughts can be manipulated through a unique technique called optogenetics. Optogenetics integrates genetic and optical methods to control the mind. Its key molecule is a light-sensitive protein extracted from green algae, called channelrhodopsin. This particular protein can be inserted into memory cells and activated with fiber-optic blue light. Once activated by light, this protein stimulates its host.

The scientists found that optogenetics could successfully be used to manipulate memories in a mouse brain. They were able to implant a false memory causing depression which was then cured through the activation of happy memories. As reported by Open Transcripts, depression is a terrible brain disorder that globally afflicts 350 million people. In most cases, depression is caused by chronic stress and a series of negative memories.

According to Susumu Tonegawa and his team, negative and positive memories are always competing with each other in the brain. Through the use of optogenetics, the scientists were able to cure depression in mice by overwriting negative memories with positive ones. First, they implanted positive memories into the brain of a male mouse by letting it play with a female mouse. Then the mouse was subjected to chronic stress treatment which caused symptoms of depression. These feeling of depression were then cured by activating the positive memory through the use of light technology. Another effective way to ease feelings of depression is to diffuse essential oils throughout your home. Apart from being able to overwrite negative feelings, scientists were also able to recover memories lost to mice with early-stage Alzheimer’s, through the manipulation of genetically tagged cells and light.

Building on previous work that identified and activated memory cells, they found that fiber-optic light stimulation could regrow lost spines and help mice remember past experiences. As Tonegawa explained, mice with Alzheimer’s are still able to form memories; it is the ability to retrieve these memories that is lost. Through the use of optogenetic technology, the researchers were able to restore such memories. Their findings suggest that impaired retrieval of memories, rather than poor storage or encoding, may be the underlying cause of early Alzheimer’s disease.