Technology

Newly Updated Key Worldwide Brochure

Posted by on January 10, 2014 at 2:15 pm

The Key Worldwide has recently updated its capabilities and programs brochure that provides students and parents with an in-depth overview of the Key’s Complete College Program.

This service helps the student select the appropriate college with specific recommendations based on the individual’s academic and personal goals. The program works individually with students and their families to develop and implement a “game plan” complete with objectives and goals, and an understanding of how the results, if achieved, impact their ability to gain admission to the college of their choice.

You can download your free copy of the brochure by clicking here.

New Key Program Brochure Available

Posted by on August 31, 2013 at 2:49 pm

The Key Worldwide has made available a brand new brochure that provides students and parents with an in-depth overview of the Key’s Complete College Program.

This service helps the student select the appropriate college with specific recommendations based on the individual’s academic and personal goals. The program works individually with students and their families to develop and implement a “game plan” complete with objectives and goals, and an understanding of how the results, if achieved, impact their ability to gain admission to the college of their choice.

You can download your free copy of the brochure by clicking here.

Biometric Facial Indentification: Now, also, Under Your Skin

Posted by on July 16, 2013 at 4:06 pm

A biometric identification system is, in its most basic sense, a more “personal” security system. The reason why I say personal is due to the fact that biometric security recognizes physiological characteristics of the user; these systems commonly, but not exclusively, use fingerprints, palm prints, DNA, hand geometry,  iris and retina recognition, and facial recognition. However, all of these systems can be thwarted, in theory. A thief could get a mask of perfect proportion to the user or get fingerprints as well–you can even use a wet photocopy of a fingerprint to get through a fingerprint-scanning lock. Recently, at Jadavpur University in Kolkata, India, a group of scientists have developed a new–and supposedly impossible to foil–facial recognition biometric security system.

The group–Ayan Seal, Suranjan Ganguly, Debotosh Bhattacharjee, Mita Nasipuri, and Dipak Kr. Basu–wanted to solve the problems of the flawed biometric systems, as stated above. What could be as unique as your fingerprint, but nearly impossible to copy? According to the scientists: blood vessels. Each and every one of us has a unique pattern of intertwined veins, arteries, and capillaries under our skin. The face, in particular, is an area of the body with very thin skin and a very high density of blood vessels–the perfect choice for an ultra-high security biometric lock in the group’s opinion.

An image of the user is taken by a thermal imaging camera using an infrared scan, which will detect the blood vessels. This image is then taken from the camera and sent to a computer using a specially-designed algorithm to process every single vein, artery, and capillary in the user’s face. Using this alone, the system is said to be over 97% accurate–an incredibly high percentage considering current percent accuracy ratings of facial recognition software can fall anywhere from 47% to 90% accurate depending on the image the user supplied to the computer. This team of scientists believes that this system alone will be impossible to foil because the replicators would have to create a blood vessel “mask” identical to that of the user.

Many also think that this new blood vessel-scanning system could be used alongside other forms of biometric security such as facial imaging, fingerprint scanning, and hand geometry to form a nearly 100% accurate biometric security system.

 

Sources:

Innovation Toronto

Gizmag

Inderscience Publishers

The New York Times

Ayan Seal, Suranjan Ganguly, Debotosh Bhattacharjee, Mita Nasipuri, Dipak Kr. Basu. Automated thermal face recognition based on minutiae extractionInternational Journal of Computational Intelligence Studies, 2013

Image from Flickr

Microchip Memories

Posted by on May 30, 2013 at 9:22 pm

What if your memories could be downloaded, backed up, and implanted into your brain? According to CNN, scientists from MIT, University of South Carolina, and Wake Forest and other prestigious schools, are saying that major memory rejuvenation has been achieved on test mice and other specimen. Soon this technology will make its way into curing human memory and brain degeneration.

This is not as far fetched as it seems. For the past 15 years, doctors have been able to provide brain implants to treat neurological diseases like epilepsy and Parkinson’s. According to Rob Hampson, an associate professor of pharmacology and physiology, patients’ biggest critique and fears of these procedures are placing large, electrically charged pieces of hardware in their brain. Only about 80,000 people have had procedures for these bulky implants for deep brain stimulation in the 15 years they have been available. However, scientists now believe they can replicate the brain’s process of creating long-term memories and can condense the implants to a microchip.

Scientists, such as Ted Berger, a biomedical engineering professor at the University of Southern California, have targeted the hippocampus, which is key for converting short to long-term memories. Using high level math modeling based off of the hippocampus, the scientific team has been able to create a template for how memories are converted for majority of the brain. Berger claims that soon scientists will be able to record a memory being made in an undamaged part of the brain and then use the data to predict what a “downstream” damaged area should do. The chip would replaced the damaged section provide more normal brain function.

The ultimate goal of this technology is learning more and reversing degenerative memory diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Dementia and alleviate the fears many people have by making the procedure minimally invasive. However, these types of procedures have not been as effective on advanced stages of Dementia or Alzheimer’s where multiple areas of the brain are affected simultaneously.

However, the United Kingdom’s Alzheimer’s Society and others are still optimistic about the advancements. The U.S. military is excited to incorporate this type of technology with the many brain injuries soldiers face in combat. This type of technology could be available for volunteers within the next two years and can be used in hospitals as soon as five years from now. And who knows, soon people may even be able to store every event in their lives in something that could fit in the palm of their hand.

Sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/07/tech/brain-memory-implants-humans

Blood Testing: Now, Quite Literally, Under Your Skin

Posted by on March 20, 2013 at 11:13 pm

Scientists at the Swiss Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have created a prototype of a new blood test, one that doesn’t remove blood from the body. The implant contains five customizable sensors, making the applications of it range from monitoring thechronically ill to chemotherapy personalization. The device measures only a few cubic millimeters in size. It runs on 1/10 of a watt of power, which is supplied through the skin through a battery patch. The patch removes the need to operate every time the battery needs charging. The implant emits (safe) radio waves sending information to the patch for storage; the patch then sends the device to a cellphone via Bluetooth. This information is then sent to the patients doctor from the phone.

The implant’s diverse sensors have an extremely large range of possible tests. While this could be used to monitor blood sugar levels in a diabetic, the device can measure substances such as carboplatin – a drug used in chemotherapy to fight certain cancers. This ability would allow oncologists, who normally check how a patient is responding to a certain chemotherapy regimen every few weeks with a blood test, to be able to allows be checking up on their patients’ responses. This creates a far more personalized form of chemotherapy.

The research results from the EPFL on their implant will be presented today (March 20th) at Europe’s largest electronics conference and later published.

 

Sources: EPFL and Gizmag

Physical Therapy Without Physical Interaction

Posted by on February 26, 2013 at 6:02 am

Scientists and engineers are working together to change the entire practice of physical therapy. Scientists are now trying to perfect the art of telemedicine, or medical treatment that is conducted by a doctor without a physical interaction between doctor and patient, according to an article by ScienceDaily.com.

Whether it is regaining mobility or returning to athletic prowess, successful physical therapy can be based heavily on whether or not patients do their in-home exercises as prescribed by their physical therapist. Prior to new innovations in virtual physical therapy, doctors and patients would speak to one another about the progress the patient has made with their exercises using video chat or similar mediums.

Doctors can ask patients if they did their assigned exercises, but that is the limit to their facilitation. The patient could be doing the exercises incorrectly if they are taking the initiative to complete them at all. The issue is analogous to a parent monitoring their children’s homework; the parent could only assure accurate completion if they physically checked that the child had completed their assignment. There is no accountability or feedback in a process without advancements in telemedicine.

Professors from the University of Texas Dallas Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science developed a system to address this limitation. Using a series of 3D cameras, body sensors, and haptic devices, the program creates avatars for both doctors and patients, and places them in a virtual space where they can interact.

The 3D cameras allow motion to be captured and transmitted from the home to the doctor’s office in real time, thus allowing the physician to comment on how the patient performs the exercise, ensuring it is done correctly. The body sensors provide a more lifelike image and tracking of the patient’s movements. However, the most important innovation of this new system is the implementation of haptic devices, which is breaking new ground on how patient-doctor relationships will evolve.

Haptic devices are able to send resistance, vibration, or motion from person to person. Patients feel the force of a physician massaging their muscle or therapists provide resistance exercises, which is an important tool in the physical therapists arsenal.

After speaking with Cameron Alcala, a student who recently had physical therapy for a torn labrum, I had a greater understanding of the implications of how this technology could affect the field from a patient perspective. Alcala claimed that he was a little “skeptical [of virtual therapy] because [he] enjoyed the relationship that was formed with [his] therapist.” After speaking more about the topic, Alcala added, “the virtual therapy could definitely supplement scheduled appointments”. Alcala attributed this to the fact that he has poor posture and wished that a professional could analyze his in-home exercises and place him in the right positions.

Patients now can be held accountable for doing their exercises and doing them properly. According to Dr. Balakrishnan “Prabha” Prabhakaran from UT Dallas, this technology is a massive forward and can be applied to many teacher-student interactions such as dance lessons or any type of education where a teacher and student share the same space. Realistic feedback technology could be the future for education. Now doctors can check their patients’ “homework type” exercises on a day-to-day basis without an arranged appointment in the office.
Sources: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130205143336.htm

“Space Jellyfish”

Posted by on January 24, 2013 at 5:34 am

 

 

Professor Yoichiro Kawaguchi of the University of Tokyo Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies is building a robot. But it is not just any robot. This contraption was inspired by jellyfish. Professor Kawaguchi strives to capture the elegance and fluidity of swimming jellyfish in his robot. Eventually, he would like his artistic interpretation of a jellyfish to express different emotions. He is even considering equipping the robot for space travel! And if you ask me, this out-of-the-ordinary robot design certainly serves its purpose of being just that, out-of-the-ordinary.

Source:

Nakajima, Takuya, and Aki Tsukioka. “”Space Jellyfish” Created with Traditional Handicraft and High Tech.” DigInfo TV. DigInfo TV,

20 Jan. 2013. Web. 23 Jan. 2013.

Star Trek Replicator Becoming a Reality

Posted by on January 11, 2013 at 9:40 pm

The science fiction of today becomes the science reality of tomorrow.  The 1960′s TV show Star Trek is an excellent example.  Many of the gadgets on the TV show have become real items today.  For example automatic doors that slide to open, wireless communications ear piece (think bluetooth headsets today), and electronic tablets that you write on to name just a few.  Well at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) one other Star Trek gadget is becoming a household appliance, namely the “replicator.”  On the show, you could enter some data, push a button, and a little door would open with the object you needed magically assembled inside.

At CES, 3D Systems introduced a real life replicator, the CubeX Pro.

With the CubeX Pro Replicator, you can program the machine to magically make almost any shaped solid object out of plastic resin.  This is not done by machining or cutting away material from a solid block of plastic, but instead is accomplished by a process call “3D printing.”  In 3D printing, a laser or nozzle will activate a vat of liquid resin building a solid object from the bottom up, one micro layer at a time.  Almost any shape you can image can be created.  Just think how you could create any toy you ever wanted, even a toy action figure of yourself!  “Scotty, beam me up.”