Gardeners making their rounds through Barcelona’s Parc del Centre del Poblenou these days are as likely to carry tablets as trowels. The city recently moved 178 of its irrigation points to an Internet-controlled system. While it is handy to manage watering at the keyboard instead of turning a knob on a pipe, much of the advantage is in the data that the new system sends back to a central software system the city has built. Continue reading
In a prototype of the helmet, a small halo-like coil generates a magnetic field above a person’s head; another coil, just above the ears, detects the magnetic field induced in the volunteer’s brain. Because liquid such as blood affects the magnetic field’s phase, the team behind the device was able to distinguish eight brain-injured patients from 46 healthy volunteers in a pilot study, they report in the journal PLOS One. Continue reading
Sentry duty is a tough assignment. Most of the time there’s nothing to see, and when a threat does pop up, it can be hard to spot. In some military studies, humans are shown to detect only 47 percent of visible dangers.
A project run by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) suggests that combining the abilities of human sentries with those of machine-vision systems could be a better way to identify danger. It also uses electroencephalography to identify spikes in brain activity that can correspond to subconscious recognition of an object. Continue reading
A device that measures someone’s unique response to a weak electric signal could let medical devices such as blood-pressure cuffs automatically identify the wearer and send measurements straight to his or her electronic medical record.
For now, nurses, patients, and doctors juggle the job of keeping patients’ identities straight. But computer scientist Cory Cornelius at Dartmouth College, in New Hampshire, has developed a wristwatch-like device that measures a person’s “bioimpedance” to identify him or her to medical monitoring devices.
Cornelius and colleagues presented a prototype sensor at the Usenix Advanced Computing System Association workshop in Bellevue, Washington, on Monday. Individual impedance varies because each person’s wrist, for example, is a unique jumble of bone, flesh, and blood vessels. Continue reading