Technology

While expanding a reservoir in Snowmass Village, Colorado, construction workers stumbled upon a big bone. And then another, and another, and another. 

Nadine, a friendly human-like robot at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore will greet you back and shake your hand. Unlike conventional robots, the inventors say Nadine has her own personality, mood and emotions, and the next time you meet her, she will remember your name and your previous conversation with her.

She looks almost like a human being, with soft skin and flowing brunette hair. She smiles when greeting you, looks at you in the eye when talking, and can also shake hands with you. She can be happy or sad, depending on the conversation. Nadine is the doppelganger of its creator, Prof Nadia Thalmann, powered by intelligent software similar to Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana. 

Almost 10 years ago, we created the Science 2.0 movement, which was geared toward modernizing science collaboration, publication, communication and participation. And then...not much changed. Science is, at its heart, competitive and there is no benefit for most scientists in collaborating. The person who puts something all together at the end will win a Nobel Prize and everyone else will get nothing.

On the smaller scale, everyone who wants government funding is competing for it, so collaboration will only help another lab avoid expensive mistakes or get to a result sooner. Science 2.0 was greeted with enthusiasm...for someone else, anyway.

Two newly-developed driverless cars systems can identify a user's location and orientation in places where GPS does not function, and identify the various components of a road scene in real time on a regular camera or smartphone, performing the same job as sensors costing tens of thousands of dollars. 

Although the systems cannot currently control a driverless car, the ability to make a machine 'see' and accurately identify where it is and what it's looking at is a vital part of developing autonomous vehicles and robotics. 

If you are in science, the genome editing method called CRISPR  is not new, it has been all the rage since 2012 because of its superior ability of CRISPR to deliver a gene to the right spot compared to its genome editing competitors.

A pair of socks embedded with miniaturized microbial fuel cells and fueled with urine pumped by the wearer's footsteps has powered a wireless transmitter to send a signal to a PC., the first self-sufficient system powered by a wearable energy generator based on microbial fuel cell technology. 

A day or two ago, local ITV featured a news item about a man who had kept the same plastic bulk issue shopping carrier bag for 34 years, using it from time to time.

The bag celebrated 50 years since the first Tesco store was opened in 1929, and he had acquired this one in 1981, the year of the first London Marathon.


My new book came out on Amazon yesterday, and as I breath a long sigh of relief, I'm reflecting on how I reached that milestone and how technology made it both easier and more difficult to achieve. If you are a writer looking to self-publish an eBook on science or any other complex subject, you might want to consider what I've learned over the last few months.

If you think you really made a difference by overlaying your Facebook profile with a French flag, take 10 seconds to sign an online petitition or retweet a celebrity who matches your beliefs about science, you are a "slacktivist" - an activist who doesn't really care enough to do anything worthwhile.

Policymakers dismiss you smf friends don't take you seriously as you flit from cause célèbre to  cause célèbre, but you might be making a difference after all.

The examination room computer promises safer, more efficient and more effective patient care. But exam room computing is challenging and there is growing evidence that it can be a threat to patient safety and detrimental to good relationships and health outcomes, according to a commentary in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Regenstrief Institute sociologist Richard Frankel, Ph.D. presents POISED, a model he has devised for developing and reinforcing good exam room computer-use by physicians.