Computer aided medicine—Dr. Watson

TWO years ago IBM attracted a lot of attention when its “Watson” program beat two human champions at Jeopardy!   Which everyone knows is way harder then chess. IBM now plans to adapt the system for oncologists, with trials due to begin in two clinics.   Their ultimate goal is for Watson to compare patient notes with…

Simple and effective motivation to be active

Post CES it is nice to come across a product that is so simple in its execution  that you can’t help but to wonder why more companies don’t take similar paths.   Tractivity is a simple device that you clip to your shoe to track how much you walk.  Sure lots of products do that, but none…

Lessons from the one handed world

Accessibility is a big issue, between aging boomers, war veterans, and the general population nearly 63 million Americans, according to the US Census, have a reported physical or mental condition that limits their movements or activities.  Thats 1 in 5 Americans!      The Industrial Design community is now tackling what it means for housing,…

eBay decides to run a full data center on fuel cells

The six megawatts of cells will run on biogas, generated by organic waste at landfills or farms, and natural gas, use the grid only for backup power. I love this announcement, along  with the fact that Daimler Benz is opening a fuel cell plant in Vancouver,  as it gives amazing credibility to a technology sector, and a group…

The Art and Science of Glass

Glass is one of the most interesting materials, atleast to me.  It  can wrap around the handset of  a telephone (Corning Unveils Flexible, Paper-Thin Glass)  or be worked art.  If you are in Vancouver this weekend a new glass studio is opening up at the Medgatroid Building.  It is Canada’s first co-operative glassblowing & flameworking…

Can fracking be cleaned up?

  I would like to believe that one day we won’t need hydrocarbons but until that day comes a  new analysis by the US International Energy Agency says technologies exist—or are in development—that could largely address these concerns.  The biggest challenge is that companies are simply not following the instructions that came with the technology–what…

Simple technology solutions always have the biggest impact

This unique image, captured by motion-sensitive cameras, offers an extraordinary glimpse of an animal that many Canadians have never seen. A Canada lynx uses the Redearth Creek wildlife overpass to cross the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park at 8:34 a.m. on March 28, 2012. Since 1996, over 200,000 animals, including grizzlies, wolves and cougars,…

A TED speaker shares his secret for innovation in the medical industry

If you are a person who believes that the heart of innovation lies in bringing people from different backgrounds together then you will love this video.  However, if you believe medicine and all things health are best left to Physicians and medical bureaucrats watching this may result in changes to your blood pressure.  

Wired Lego Petri Dish Gives Real-Time Updates

A sample is placed on top of a small image-sensor chip, which uses an Android phone’s LED screen as a light source. The whole device is placed in an incubator, and the image-sensor chip connects to a laptop outside through a wire. As the image sensor snaps pictures of the cells growing in real-time, the…

Introducing the iBlood Lab

A cheap lens is all that is needed to enable an iPhone4 to discern the shapes of cells in a blood sample that can make it easier to diagnose conditions such as sickle-cell anemia in places without medical infrastructure. The system allows field workers to photograph blood samples from patients, and then send the micrographs…

Nudging the world toward smarter public policy

While you may hate when your kids do it  apparently it is a good thing for pubic policy!  In the UK a “Nudge unit” has been created to develop policies that will enhance the public welfare by helping citizens make better choices.   It advocates an Open Government system and applies the ideas of behavioral economics to…

Vision is the art of seeing the invisible.-

When Jonathan Swift wrote that quote I bet he didnt have visual prosthetics in mind. Second Sight, based in California, recently received their CE Mark (European FDA equivalent) for Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System (“Argus II”) . This device becomes the first approved treatment for sightless people. The system works by converting video images captured…

Maybe listening to heavy metal is a good way to learn?

A recent breakthrough study from UT Dallas found that brain nerve stimulation can actually accelerate learning in laboratory tests.  Another major finding of the study, published in the April 14 issue of Neuron, involves the positive changes detected after stimulation and learning were complete.  Researchers monitoring brain activity in rats found that brain responses eventually…

Designing the better prostate exam

The medical technology sector has not always been know for great user friendly designs.  There are certainly elements of it,  like the big needle a dentist uses, that need some rethinking.  In my books prostrate exams fall into that category.    A designer at GE Healthcare thought so as well and designed the MRI Chair. Prostate cancer…

Assistive Technology–a $50 billion market that you can feel good about

Like many people, I never really considered the Assistive Technology sector a big “Market Opportunity”.  My views changed quickly after tearing my nearly 50-year-old calf muscle piggy backing a 20-year-old.  Besides feeling like an old fart I also realized that we are all only temporarily able bodied and we are all going to need varying…

iPhone set to replace stethoscope

Hospitals are about to get really confusing.  It used to be you could tell the doctors from the other staff by the stethoscope slung casually around their neck.  Now your doctor may be any person in a white lab coat with ear phones on! An invention by Peter Bentley, a researcher from University College London turns an Apple…

An Implantable Antenna: silk biosensor could someday alert doctors to signs of disease.

Researchers have crafted a small antenna from liquid silk and micropatterned gold. The antenna is designed to spot specific proteins and chemicals in the body, and alert doctors wirelessly to signs of disease. Scientists say the implant could someday help patients with diabetes track their glucose levels without having to test themselves daily

Brain Plasticity–the act of rewiring your brain

Contrary to what has previously been believed, recent research advances have demonstrated that the adult brain has a certain capacity for plastic reorganization and self-repair after an event like a stroke or other injury.  The mechanisms are complex and operating at different levels, from molecular to synaptic to anatomical reorganization. However, with the right training,…

Bringing industry back to the city centre

For many years we have seen the flight of manufacturing from the core of our cities.   For many reasons a company that manufacturers a product in the middle of a city seems like a poor choice–or is it?   In Vancouver we have taken nearly all the industrial land and developed it into high rises. Now…

How B.C.’s economy can be green and still growing

Reprinted from Business in Vancouver May 19-25, 2009; issue 1021 http://www.biv.com It’s tough to sit down and put your feet up to watch a good hockey game or laugh through a sitcom these days without being bombarded by political statements about our province’s future and the green economy. But what is a green economy? Is…