Thursday, 10 December 2015

Implantable LEDs Could Block Pain Wirelessly


Micro-LED Device – Block Pain with Touch of a Button

At Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, researchers are making discovery by implanting tiny LEDs beneath the skin in order to display particular areas of the body which tend to hurt. The so-called micro-LEDs that seem to be flexible and compatible with the body of the person can be wirelessly activated to block pain with a touch of a button.

The tiny device is said to represent a development in the emerging field of optogenetics that involves connecting light to control cells. The invention seems to be a small flexible light emitting diode or LED which tends to respond to the neural activity of the brain. Researchers had used lab mice to show how the device could manipulate parts of the brain which recognizes the pain.

The procedure comprises of changing the DNA construct of neurons in the brain that enables them to respond to light. The study to develop circuits in the nervous system and the spinal cord came up when Robert Gereau, director of the Pain Centre at Washington University in St. Louis partnered with John Rogers, professor of materials sciences and engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Soft/Flexible Device Implanted in Person’s Body

The researchers developed the soft, flexible device which could be implanted into a person’s body and theoretically blocks pain signals from the spinal cord or other parts of the body prior to the signals reaching the brain. Taking the pain into consideration could typically be something which tends to draw the attention to an area needing treatment by just turning it off and ignoring the problem may not be an appropriate solution.Hence this technology has been developed as a last resort system of pain relief while the other treatments have not been much successful.

According to Robert W. Gereau IV besides being a director of the Washington University Pain Centre, is also a Professor of Anesthesiology, states that their ultimate goal was to use this technology to treat pain and provide a switch to turn off the pain signals before they tend to reach the brain. The researchers had implanted the micro-LEDs in mice, whose nerve cells were hereditarily adapted to be sensitive to light.

Understand – Sensory Information Process in Spinal Cord

The indication was that on activating the light on these nerve cells it could trigger pain or block it. For research purpose, the medical LED devices were surgically implanted in mice to have light sensitive proteins on some of their nerve cells. In order to assess if this worked or not, the scientists directed the mice through a maze and when they walked through a selected area in the maze, the wireless device lit up and activated the pain pathways of their nerve cells, causing them some discomfort.

However, when the mouse left the area, the light cut off and instantly the mouse learned to avoid the painful part of the maze. The scientists now know that the micro-LED works and will continue to test ways of understanding better on how sensory information is processed in the spinal cord.

Ultimately they desiredto develop a device which could turn off pain totally in human beings. MIT Technology Review reports that researchers are hoping their findings will someday enable the doctors to control how a patient experiences pain and ease discomfort with the precise flip of a switch.

How IT Outsourcing can Benefit Your Small Business

For any small business to succeed whether it sells a product or service online or in a brick and mortar storefront, it needs up-to-the minute IT services to stay ahead of the game. You may require upgrading of hardware and software as well as online security but don’t have the capital to hire a dedicated IT employee. Companies such as Acora and others focus only on giving large or small businesses IT support. A dedicated IT team can customize its service to suit your business objectives, so you can focus on your sales and operations and not worry about your IT support.

The Main Benefits

The most important benefit of IT outsourcing is it allows the company’s managers to focus on customers and operations without splitting their time taking care of IT problems. This can also be solved by hiring a network administrator, but this means another salary and benefits that a small business may not be able to afford. In order to pay for this, the company may have to pass the extra expense on to customers. When a small business outsources its IT, it has a better chance to competitively price its product or service, and it gets top-level IT service that puts it on par with large enterprises.

Any business big or small can save money by outsourcing its IT operations. It is a good way to control capital outlay, especially for start-ups. This frees capital that the managers can funnel into the company.
Technology changes practically overnight and a professional IT service will be able to implement new technology quickly into your business. It has the facilities and expertise because that is its main focus. Experience is much more valuable to you than qualification. It may take weeks or months for an in-house IT employee to learn about the latest advances, and upgrade your operations. A professional will see the latest advances even before they arrive.

There are always risks involved with any business such as government regulations, financial conditions, markets and competition. IT services will assume and manage much of that risk for you because it has specific industry knowledge. This is especially true for security and compliance issues. It will know how to help you avoid risk in your IT operations.

Services IT Professionals Offer

If you sell products or services online, it’s especially important to have up to date security measures. Here are a few things professionals will do for your business:

  • Keep your firewall up to date
  • Audit your servers and workstations
  • Implement PCI security standards and maintain them
  • Implement payment structures such credit and debit cards
When due diligence is enacted on your IT operations by a professional IT service provider, the risks that are associated with maintaining credit card numbers, client data and sensitive competitive information will be minimized. Whenever there is software or hardware upgrades, you’ll get the required malware installed immediately, all the time saving money to focus on production or sales staff who directly drive revenue.

Ear and Tongue Sensors Combine to Understand -Silent Speech

Latest Invention - `Silent Speech’ – Magnetic Tongue Control System

Latest inventions can now recognize `silent speech’ by keeping checks on the tongue and ears. On training it to identify suitable phrases, it can enable people who tend to be disabled or work in loud environment, to control quietly the wearable devices.

This new devices depends in part on a magnetic tongue control system which had been earlier designed to aid people with paralysis to drive a power wheelchair through tongue movements. However, the researchers were worried that the technology which depends on a magnetic tongue piercing or a sensor affixed to the tongue could be too disturbing for some of the users.

The Tongue Drive System – TDS is the work of a team under the guidance of Jeonghee Kim at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, US. The system needs users to pierce their tongue with a barbell shaped device. A professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and technical lead on the wearable computer Google Glass, Thad Starner, had been motivated to attempt ear movements after an appointment with a dentist.

Dentist – Motivated Silent Speech Recognition

The dentist had stuck a finger in Starner’s ear and had asked him to bite down, some quick test for jaw function. As his jaw seemed to move, so also the space in his ears moved. This led him to wonder if he could do silent speech recognition with that experiment.

The subsequent device tends to combine tongue control with earpieces which seems somewhat like headphones and each of it is embedded with a proximity sensor which utilises infrared light to map the changing shape of the ear canal. Various words require various jaw movements, deforming the canal in slightly different ways.

The team had listed 12 phrases which could be essential, for the test, like `I need to use the bathroom’, or `Give me my medicine, please’. People were then recorded, repeating these while wearing the device. With the tongue and ear trackers in, the software could recognize what the wearer was saying, almost 90% of the time. With the use of ear trackers only, the accuracy seemed a bit lower. The researchers expect to build a phrasebook of useful words as well as sentences which could be recognisable from the ear data.


A graduate student at Georgia Technology, Abdelkareem Bedri states that they call them `jaw-emes’. Besides this, they have also started looking into other probable uses for the ear data. One experiment with an improved version of the ear trackers had reached 96% accuracy in recognizing simple jaw gestures, like a move from left to right.

These types of gestures would enable the wearer discreetly control the wearable device. Heartbeat monitoring too seems possible and can support the system to verify that it is placed properly in the ears of the wearer.

 Bruce Denby tends to work on silent speech in his lab at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris and states that demonstrating that the technology is `industry ready, could be crucialin bringing the technology to the market. He further added that `the true holy grail of silent speech is continuous speech recognition. However, the potential of recognizing even a limited set of phrases is a tremendous boon already for some disabled individuals.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Google Can Reset 75% of Android Phones Remotely


Google Can Reset Passcode of Older Versions of Android

The earlier operating software is at risk, namely codenamed Froyo, Ice Cream Sandwich, Gingerbread, Jelly Bean and KitKat. The older versions of Android devices could have their passcode reset by Google, remotely if the court order compels them to enable the authorities to look at the contents. According to a document by the New York District Attorney, it indicates that the phones and tablets running Android software which were released before Lollipop 5.0 seem to be vulnerable to resetting.

Latest software tend to use full disk encryption which means that Google is unable to comply with requests even if it is compelled to do so. Around 75% of Android devices still tend to use a software version which can be accessed remotely with a court order.

The document has mentioned that for some other types of Android devices, Google can reset the passcode when aided with search warrant as well as order instructing them to support law enforcement in removing data from the device. This procedure can be done remotely by Google and enables forensic examiners to view the contents of a device. The latest Android phones have encryption turned off by default, inspite of having the ability.

Automated System Enabling Complainants File

The process of turning it on differs by model though the same can usually be found in the settings menu somewhere. In the meanwhile, for copyright reasons, Google had mentioned that it receives 1,500 requests each minute for removal of specific results from its search engine. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Google provides an automated system enabling complainants file through an online form.

Every version of the Android operating system tends to have a numerical identifier and a name that has been historically the name of a dessert or candy such as Ice Cream sandwich. Unlike the devices of Apple, Android devices are manufactured by various different manufacturers which are referred to as Original Equipment Manufacturers or OEMs.

Android devices could set up a `pattern unlock’ passcode that is in line connecting at least 4 dots in a 9 dot grid in order to protect the data on their devices. Devices of specific operating systems provide the possibility of locking the device utilising numeric or alphanumeric passcode.

Fingerprint Readers Incorporated in Hardware

Some of the Android devices tend to have fingerprint readers, incorporated in the hardware of the device. However, the fingerprint reader is not assimilated in all Android devices due to the variety of OEMs developed Android devices. Google provide cloud storage in Google Drive as well as other locations and the data could be backed from an Android device, an iPhone, iPad or a computer, to Google’s cloud.

By default, Android devices do not tend to back up to Google cloud storage and hence a user must agree to choose to back up to the cloud where the choice is not a single but a series of choices, one for each kind of data.

Google had opposed the findings of the district attorney. Google’s security lead, Adrian Ludwig, had commented that `Google did not have the ability to facilitate unlocking any device that has been protected with a pin, fingerprint or password irrespective of the device being encrypted or not and for all the versions of Android’.

New Nanoparticle Steals Light, Beams It Stronger


New Nanoparticle - Layers of Unusual Materials

New type of ceramic nanoparticle has been developed by physicist, which is said to be making it easier to track drugs in the body, screen counterfeit money as well as boost the ability of solar cells to capture more energy. The particle which is onion-like is about 50 nanometres wide that is around 1000 times smaller than a human hair or the size of a virus.

Made from layers of unusual materials, its coating is of organic dye, a neodymium shell with a core made of ytterbium and thulium. Combined together, the layers tend to convert invisible near infrared light to blue and ultraviolet – UV light with high proficiency. The capability of changing one type of light to another is known as `up-conversion’ wherein this particle has the potential to do it 100 times more competently than the other particles.

The same is important since such particle can improve many prevailing technologies that tend to utilise dyes, biomarkers or fluorescent tracers. According to Tymish Y. Ohulchanskyy, deputy director University at Buffalo’s Institute, for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics – ILPB, he states that the particle for instance, could be utilised in special inks which could be invisible to the human eye, but tend to glow blue when it is hit by a low-energy laser pulse.

Develops Its Glow during Up-Conversion Procedure

Ohulchanskyy is of the opinion that the particles can be used in ensuring that expensive drugs reach their mark in the body. Presently the same is being done by using bio-imaging, which is a technique that labels cells with markers that shine under ultraviolet light shining from specialized imagers.

However, fluorescent markers could throw the incoming light from the imaging device but the latest nanoparticle does not do so. On the contrary it develops its own glow during the up-conversion procedure.

Ohulchanskyy comments that this feature is such which none of the other materials have displayed. Researchers state that the particle’s dye performs as an antenna, collecting photons from low-energy light sources. Shell of the neodymium handovers the energy to the core, wherein the ytterbium as well as the thulium accumulates the energy of many photons at once, emitting it as a single photon of blue and UV light.

Design Helpful in Overcoming Long-Standing Obstacles

Professor of chemistry at the University of Maryland as well as an expert in nanoparticles, Zhihong Nie, stated that he `was impressed with the new three layer particle. It is an outstanding paper in general. He further added that it is interesting to look at the energy cascade phenomenon and it should not be hard to replicate. He is of the belief that they could be able to scale it up’.

 Guanying Chen, professor of chemistry at Harbin Institute of Technology and ILPB research associate, has commented saying that `by creating special layers which helps in transferring energy efficiently from the surface of the particle to the core, which emits blue and UV light, the design helps in overcoming some of the long-standing obstacles which earlier technologies faced.

The research had been published in the journal – NanoLetters. It was led by researchers at SUNY-Buffalo, the Harbin Institute of Technology in China together with contributions from the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, Tomsk State University in Russia and the University of Massachusetts Medical School.