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

CES 2021 Best of Innovation Award winner.

Very clever use of AI to measure yourself (and other things) for "Shop 'til You Drop" online purchases. Didn't have a chance to try this, but if it works, this means more impulse buys and fewer returns because of wrong size.  The MySize ID app uses sensors on a smartphone to measure the user’s size and match the measurements with those on a retailer’s size chart. The widget on the browser integrates into websites, allowing the user to shop conveniently for correctly sized clothing even with sizing inconsistencies between manufacturers.

For retailers, MySize offers analytics with aggregated data to help businesses understand customer behavior and their overall customer base, allowing them to restock and personalize shopping experiences more effectively.

Published in Stop Press

Nepox Virtual fitting room

The virtual fitting room is the virtual space where users can access their cloud stored 3D models. Catalogues of clothing and apparel are loaded from real 3D fashion brands millimetric data sets from 3D design compatible software such as Marvelous.

Rendering of real fashion items will help customers see exactly how clothing would fit them, brining traditional dressing rooms into the private and comfort of the consumer’s home. With advanced virtual reality physics rendering, and pretrained algorithms computing cloth simulation, a garment’s precise qualities will be transferred from cloud services into the virtual fitting roomOutfits and looks are also transferable as video or vector depending on the device capability, also making them shareable with social media accounts.Optional features will include virtual fitting room customisation, allowing it to be furnished and decorated by the customer to show them a model of themselves in a situation fitting a reality they wish to view.

Published in Contextual Technology
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

Another Last Gadget Standing award winning finalist!

I'm always looking for the value of consumer technology! This one caught my eye because I have a need for this in my home!  The Phyn Smart Water Assistant Uses AI to make leak detection and water savings simple. Coupled to a Smartphone App clearly shows how much water each and every fixture in a home uses, enabling tracking of water consumption, identify areas of excess use, and take action to conserve and save money. Can be installed with no plumber required, the DIY device is easily installed under a sink and provides water monitoring for the entire home, alerting homeowners within seconds of a leak being detected.
The key is AI  and ML software coupled to pressure sensing technology and the intelligent analysis and reporting (via smartphone)
You can track and view your water use daily and monthly to get ahead of your water costs. Using pressure sensing technology Phyn learns your system and communicates your water usage down to each fixture, and even sees leaks and ice crystals forming in your pipes well before they even have a chance to freeze over and burst, giving you time to time to take action and avoid damage.
With shut off valve accessory Phyn can automatically close off the water supply when problems are detected and alert homeowner within seconds of a leak being detected.

Published in Internet of Things

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

A good example of how innovative thinking can produce something from thin air! Samsung’s "SelfieType" will use artificial intelligence combined with the mobile’s camera for image recognition, and we can use it on any flat surface, such as a table, the plane’s seat tray or the kitchen countertop, among many other options.  Not for "hunt and peck" typists like me, but for touch typists only me thinks.  As long as they can become 'touch-less' typists. This is a great example of how the combinations of ingredients in a smartphone can be used in new ways to virtually do new things. That's what caught my eye. 

As the name implies, this is a technology that uses your phone's selfie camera to essentially act as an invisible keyboard by analyzing your finger movements.
Using the front (selfie) camera of the device and artificial intelligence, it analyzes the finger movements and converts them into QWERTY keyboard inputs.
Currently, Samsung SelfieType is in the development and testing phase in the company’s C-Lab. As clever and technologically elegant as it seems, even if it works, it probably doesn’t completely replace the need for a physical keyboard or even a touchscreen keyboard. But it sure will get people's attention when they see you doing it!

But virtual keyboards of the projecting type, with visible virtual keyboard in front of you have been around for a long time (15+ years) and never really caught on, but in that case it did mean carrying along with you an extra bit of hardware. “SelfieType” is part of the Korean manufacturer’s C-Lab start-up incubation project and promises possibly to eliminate the typing surface of physical keyboards to be used with our smartphones, tablets, and other future devices. So we will have to wait until this finds its way out of the Labs in a year or two to know. One thing going for it is it's just an app. No hardware to buy or distribute/deliver.

Published in VR, AR, 3D/360.
I have noted Bebop's sensing fabric for a few years now and knew that it would find it's way into some valuable applications spaces soon. Princpally being applied to wearables such as shoe insoles, sleeve control, etc. But it was this year's featured product that Caught My Eye - an interactive input glove for VR. The fabric specification was impressive, but it's the Touch and Haptics AI that make this a potential component for many applications.  
So I was very pleased to see the BeBop Sensors Forte Wireless Data Glove system, a fully featured affordable data glove to incorporate haptics and super accurate, rapid sensing for gaming and AR/VR environments for a more realistic VR experience. The hand tracking system tracks fingers and fingertips with haptics, the Forte Glove is an ultra-comfortable one-size-fits-all glove, conducive to lengthy Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality sessions due to its light weight and open airy design. Light and simple looking, it also can be worn inside a glove, for example. Sensing speed and accurately sensing finger movements are key features along with tactile feedback to the fingertips.   
The glove provides Super Accurate Rapid Sensing with data rates at 150 frames per second. With lag time eliminated, triggering has near instantaneous response times -- perfect for the most demanding Applications and Games.
Published in VR, AR, 3D/360.
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.

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