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How your car knows if you’ll have a heart attack
If Google has its way, cars will be driving themselves. But there are other ways to keep the roads safe other than trying to eliminate human drivers completely. One way is to turn the steering wheel into a digital nurse. By checking the driver’s health status, scientists hope that by baking sensors into the steering wheel, the car can monitor the driver’s vital signs to better understand what it needs to do to minimize risk.
Amplify’d from www.smartplanet.com
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Is TILE messing with your brain!?
(photo credit: Kevin Van Aeist)
Psychologists and scientists have been talking about the importance of feedback loops for a long time. Basically, a feedback loop is when you get real-time info about what you’re doing so you can change your behavior (if it’s bad) or feel super awesome about your behavior (if it’s good) – like when you see the impact your money is making or how you’re staying within your budget (or not) in TILE’s SpendGrowGive.
It’s helpful even if you kind of already know that what you’re doing might be a bit problematic. Think about those road signs that display your speed as you drive by – cars have a speedometer and there’s not a cop sitting there to ticket you or anything, but people tend to slow down anyway. Weird (or cool?)…
There are tons of new gadgets taking advantage of this concept to make people behave better (and improve their lives):
- This one helps consumers save energy by seeing how much money inefficient appliances are costing them.
- This one helps you be more rested by monitoring your brainwaves while you sleep. Creepy, but kind of awesome.
- And this one basically makes your whole life a videogame (anyone watch “The Matrix” recently?) by giving you points for doing basic (but healthy) stuff like walking your dog or brushing your teeth.
So, let the machines tell you what to do! But, wait, doesn’t that like basically make you into a robot? Maybe, but a super efficient, rested robot with sweet, shiny toys.
'Smart Skin' hope for Touch Sensor
Scientists have made a step forward in their ability to mimic the sense of touch.
A team from the US and China made an experimental array that can sense pressure in the same range as the human fingertip.
The advance could speed the development of smarter artificial skin capable of “feeling” activity on the surface.
The sensors, which are described in Science magazine, could also help give robots a more adaptive sense of touch.
Using bundles of vertical zinc oxide nanowires, the researchers built arrays consisting of about 8,000 transistors.
Each of the transistors can independently produce an electronic signal when placed under mechanical strain.
The touch-sensitive transistors - dubbed taxels - have a sensitivity comparable to that of a human fingertip.
“Any mechanical motion, such as the movement of arms or the fingers of a robot, could be translated to control signals,” said Zhong Lin Wang, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
“This could make artificial skin smarter and more like the human skin. It would allow the skin to feel activity on the surface.”
Continue Reading here.