Instant personal COVID testing on the horizon!

Researchers at Rice University have developed a microfluidic device that can test for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in a drop of blood and display its results once plugged into a cell phone. The test runs in under an hour, and works by detecting SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein using antibody-studded magnetic nanobeads. In tests, the device could detect very low levels of the protein, suggesting that it could function as a sensitive diagnostic tool.  

The fight against COVID-19 continues, and testing is one of our most commonly deployed and useful weapons in stopping the spread of the virus. PCR remains the gold standard test for the virus, but it is time consuming and requires highly trained lab technicians and equipment. Rapid tests, that can be performed in doctors’ clinics, airports, or even in pharmacies, would be very useful in helping to prevent transmission.

These issues have inspired this latest device, which can detect a viral protein in a small drop of blood, such as that from a finger prick. People may have personal preferences with regard to a finger prick or nasal swab, but it may be nice not to have to insert a large swab deep inside your nose to determine your COVID status. One of the other big benefits of the device is its portability.“What’s great about this device is that doesn’t require a laboratory,” said Peter Lillehoj, a researcher involved in the study, in a Rice announcement. “You can perform the entire test and generate the results at the collection site, health clinic or even a pharmacy. The entire system is easily transportable and easy to use.”The microfluidic chip contains magnetic nanobeads studded with antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein. “There are standard procedures to modify the beads with an antibody that targets a particular biomarker,” said Lillehoj. “When you combine them with a sample containing the biomarker, in this case SARS-CoV-2 N protein, they bond together. ”An external magnet draws the beads towards an electrochemical sensor that generates a current in response to the captured protein. When plugged into a standard smartphone, the device sends these data to an app for easy interpretation of the results. The test is rapid, providing results in as little as 55 minutes.

Published in Stop Press
Thursday, 16 January 2020 23:36

Moasure ONE - Motion-based Measuring Tool

Another one of the gems that caught my eye at the UK Pavilion at CES2020

Moasure’s patented technology uses motion sensors to measure and draw simultaneously to measure property and outdoor spaces.
Moasure ONE, is a motion-based measuring tool. Leveraging the latest accelerometers, gyros combined with a proprietary algorithm, Moasure ONE can measure in ways no other measuring tools can. Moasure ONE measures its own movement in three dimensions, allowing you to measure in innovative new ways from measuring the area of irregular space, through to calculating the radius of an arc. Capability that caught my eye? Measuring irregular property and outdoor spaces.

Published in Contextual Technology
Thursday, 16 January 2020 16:07

pix:mini - Smart Backpack for Kids!

pix:mini:  A Smart Backpack for kids! Cool, creative, games, sharing and safety aspects.  
It's a gadget, yes, but a fun toy and a customizable school backpack with LED screen and room inside for carrying all necessities. Used with Smartphone App and lets you design animations, display messages and cartoon characters, stay safe on the road and play games right on the backpack. The integrated in-app image editor allows you to create animations and display them on the screen of the backpack.  Kids can also share their creations with their friends. The glowing animation on the back is clearly visible on the road plus the geolocation feature will allow parents to see their kids on the map. A bit of fun with technology that lets kids shine!
Published in Contextual Technology

I am always on the lookout for things that already have an accepted place on your person (e.g. wrist, ears, shoes, glasses) or in your home (e.g. bathroom scale, kitchen counters, doorbell, etc) and also possibly in your car, workspace, etc. Especially if they look about the same, but take on additional functionality by having sensors, being connected, and applying additional software (e.g. AI and ML).  This falls into the "Personal Real Estate" category of mine, and so it caught my eye. It's a Google-enabled Smart Mirror with many features (too many?) that have potential to enhance your daily routine. Also makes it easy to get ready and stay connected with friends and family. Typically for the bathroom, can also be put in hallways, entryways or bedrooms simply by hanging it up like a traditional mirror or put it on a vanity or tabletop surface. In my opinion the bathroom is a good place (no camera please!) as it is typical to linger there - good time to catch up on news, weather, traffic, etc.

Capstone's Google-Enabled Smart Mirror blends traditional functionality with smart capabilities and if done right, potentially bridges the gap between technology and everyday life. Basically it in addition to being a mirror, it functions just like a tablet with both touchscreen and voice interfaces, internet access and Android’s operating system that allows users to download apps and use Google Voice Assistant for a variety of hands-free tasks. Users can ask Google to turn on the lights and start the coffee maker or ask to hear the morning news briefing, all while brushing their teeth. 
With the ability to navigate between multiple Google accounts, the Smart Mirror has face and voice recognition so each family member can modify the Smart Mirror to fit their own personal needs. 
This may also be a good place for a morning briefing on wellness and health, but I do have some concerns about consumer privacy in this location, so please Capstone, pay lots of attention to that aspect. I will be watching this space!

Published in Contextual Technology

I have been following BeBop Sensors “smart fabric” technology for a few years now and hoped that this particular sector of their development efforts would be the one that in the end would catch my eye as an important touch and haptics element of AR and VR applications. They appear to have been working non-stop on their enterprise-friendly haptic technology! Simulating the sensation of touch while in a virtual space is not a simple task, therefore many of the other available solutions are rather cumbersome. Their haptics producing wearable allow users to “feel” virtual objects while immersed in a VR experience and is simply a glove (less than a glove, actually :-)  

The important additiion to the functionality is that the latest iteration of its one-size-fits-all Forte Data Glove can now be combined with the Oculus Quest controllers, integrating BeBop’s hand tracking technology with the Quest’s 3D tracking for real life VR experiences. Together, these two tech systems, along with BeBop Sensors SDK, enable users to experience force, location, size, weight, bending, twisting, and various other senses of touch. BeBop Sensors software can now actually be integrated into the Oculus controllers’ 3D tracking functionality, so available to third party developers can now include haptics in their VR content and applications experiences. The Forte Data Glove has an adapter that quickly straps the small Oculus 3D controller onto the gloves so users can “feel” with their hands what they are exploring in their 3D Virtual experiences.
Forte Data Gloves are already in use by Fortune 500 Customers for Training, Medical Trials & Rehabilitation, Robot & Drone Controls, VR CAD Design & Review, and more, but I will now be most keenly watching the AR and VR applications and content sectors for killer apps for adding this element of our five senses to their experiences. (Smell is next BTW)

Published in VR, AR, 3D/360.

Smart glasses currently have several problems, one of which is being small enough to look "normal" when worn by consumers. Another problem is related to power – the battery is barely enough for several hours of operation.
Bosch seems to be making an attempt (along with many others :-) to solve these problems and offer smart glasses components for a wide range of types of users. It has developed a new approach to the production of augmented reality displays. The technology, called Light Drive, will turn any glasses into “smart” ones, practically without burdening them (they say). 

Their claims - The system is 30% flatter than existing solutions and the smallest system of its kind on the market. It weighs less than 10 grams. A MEMS-based bundled light scanner inside the Light Drive System scans a holographic element (HOE) that is integrated into the lenses of the glasses. As with solutions of all tupes of consumer AR glasses, the technology enables the user a hands-free, secure viewing of virtually all information from a connected mobile device. Technology-wise, it reflects light from a holographic element directly into the retina, projecting alerts, calls, wake-up calls, appointment reminders and short message services or navigation information. Besides, the technology will be ideal for notes-based information such as task lists, shopping lists, recipes or assembly instructions that are particularly practical, where it is important to keep your hands free.

Sort of a standard description for AR, but their new approach has caught my eye and gives me reason to make note and watch their developments. But, to be sure, AR is actually about valuable applications and content, so a bit of a chicken and egg situation which an acceptable consumer friendly type of glasses might begin to hatch. I am monitoring with interest...

Published in VR, AR, 3D/360.

Two that have Caught My Eye (so far) in terms of portability coupled with innovations that produce quality sound and party level volume when you want it. Libratone “TOO” and POW Audio “MO”
Don’t let their size fool you, both can fill a room with big, reasonably rich, authentic sound. Both not exactly cheap, but affordable. My experience with both of these confirmed their claims. 

 In their words:

 Libratone “TOO” is a wireless speaker made for adventure. You can take it with you wherever you go, indoors or out, and never compromise on sound quality with its 360 FullRoom® technology. The TOO comes ready for action, with 12+ hours of battery time, splash proof design and slim, yet sturdy, frame, meaning it can keep going long after the party stops.

 POW Audio “MO” is reimagining speaker construction with the ultra compact Mo, the first expression in a family of expandable, portable Bluetooth speakers. Using POW Audio’s patented WaveBloom™ technology, which expands to create a voluminous wave chamber, Mo brings listeners enhanced bass, loudness, and improved overall sound quality within a super portable, affordable package. When not in use, Mo folds down flat and listeners can pop up Mo and expand its WaveBloom™ chamber to allow for stunning sound quality, deep bass, and huge volume. 

 Select "Read More" below to click on the weblinks in this entry.

Thursday, 01 February 2018 14:07

KITSOUND VOICE - One Smart Speaker

KITSOUND VOICE - Smart, Voice command activated, great sound - all for £129.99

Last Gadget Standing finalist
Blending the style of the past with the technology of the future, the Voice One’s component-like sophistication oozes rich sound with stunning clarity – making a statement anywhere you care to appreciate good music.
Developed in collaboration with Amazon, combining the intelligence of Alexa with KitSound’s audio expertise, the Voice One features a stain-resistant Nano coated grill to protect against those little stains and splashes.
With built-in multi-room technology, you can connect up to 8 Voice One speakers together wirelessly. Stream your favourite playlists or connect an external music source to one of the speakers and re-distribute the sound to other speakers via Wi-Fi, allowing you to enjoy your music in every room – regardless if it’s online or a vinyl.
Immerse yourself in the deep, warm, hi-fi audio that’s been carefully hand-tuned to give you the smart speaker you’ve been waiting for.

I am always seeking what I call “technology enabled, consumer driven change”.

There is growing evidence that health conscious consumers will instigate much of the rapid change in healthcare, rather than organically in the healthcare industry itself. This is effectively where  personal emphasis on wellness and preventative healthcare will emerge rather than from the reactive nature of your relationship with your healthcare provider.

So here is one more personal item that could change the dynamics of heart health not just in terms of monitoring vitals, but also in building a very valuable contextual database of clinical data specific to the wearer! Normal Looking, and according to Omron, “Clinically Validated & Accurate” 

The HEARTGUIDE Wrist Watch works with a smartphone App and has a long list of vital sign monitoring sensors, but now Omron adds one measurement that has been missing from wrist wearables to date - a Blood Pressure Monitor.
It syncs with the Omron app to track and share vital data about your heart health and keeps track of physical activity and sleep as well.
Currently undergoing FDA testing, available later this year for about the same price as an Apple Watch.
But the real bonus for me came from a discussion I had with Dr. David Albert, MD, Founder & Chief Scientific Officer of AliveCor - an affiliate company to Omron Healthcare who I met with on the Omron booth. It is likely that the EKG Atrial Fibrillation sensing and recording of Alivecor’s Kardia Band device will also be incorporated in future versions. Kardia Band is an available product, a clinical grade wearable EKG which is already FDA-cleared and replaces your original Apple Watch® band. It provides access, analysis and data storage of a 30-second EKG anytime, anywhere.
Add that to your personal heart health Database!

A Cardiology Department on your Wrist!

Published in Digital Healthcare
Wednesday, 24 January 2018 15:47

Meater - Fantastic APPcessory for the Kitchen!

My Mantra: "The role of complex technology is to create simplicity." Mission accomplished!

The Meater Wireless Meat Thermometer from Apption Labs creates great results, but now that I have set one up and used it, it delivers great results as well. The slick device plus Smartphone application couldn’t have been easier to use.

This small skewer-like device produces perfectly cooked meat every time, to your specification on BBQ, oven or grill.
Dual sensors monitor internal meat temperature plus ambient temperature inside oven as well.
Simple to setup and simple to use. Connect the thermometer to your phone via Bluetooth. Also works with AppleTV, Kindle Fire and Alexa skill.
Enjoy drinks with your guests, your phone will alert you when your meat is ready!
Smart app on iPhone and Android suggests timing for all types of meat and walks you through every step of the cooking process.


I have one, use it and couldn’t be more pleased with it. And my non-technical gourmet cooking wife loves it too!

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