Links TechScience Future Websites Caught !

Cool ! Easing phantom limb pain using Virtual Reality

This seems to be a great way for amputees to ease their phantom limb pain :

The research has focused on a small group of patients who had lost a limb between one and 40 years ago. Two were upper limb amputees and two had lost parts of their legs. They all used the virtual world between seven and 10 times over the course of three months. Each session lasted for 30 minutes.

The patients were fitted with special data gloves and sensors, and their head and arm movements were monitored. They donned virtual reality helmets and entered a world where they could see their missing limb restored.

In this virtual universe, patients can move their fingers, hands, arms, feet and legs. They also have hand eye co-ordination, and can use their virtual limb to play ball games, the researchers say.

The results shocked the researchers: four of the five patients reported improvements in the phantom limb pain, and much faster than the team had expected.

Project leader Dr Craig Murray said: “One patient felt that the fingers of her amputated hand were continually clenched into her palm, which was very painful for her. However, after just one session using the virtual system she began to feel movement in her fingers and the pain began to ease.”

If this actually can be applied for all amputees, this would be a great way to help these people and get rid of the phantom pain for all of them. Bio-feedback at its best.

Blog News TechScience Future

Going Bedouin

Going Bedouin is the latest way of doing business being discussed.

Being in constant communication with each other.

I think it’ll work for small companies, but not if you have a 1000 people working for you – unless you can divide them up in their own sub-company.

Blog News TechScience Future

Real 3D images made from light

Real 3D light points

This is sooooooo cool !!!

I hope to see some more -practical- applications of this in the future to come…

Original link to article

Blog News TechScience Future

The 11-Year Quest to Create Disappearing Colored Bubbles – Popular Science

The 11-Year Quest to Create Disappearing Colored Bubbles – Popular Science

This article recounts the amazing discovery of coloured bubbles and how hard it is to make them.

In the end, it seems that they may only be a side-effect of the new dyes that were created : instead of colours that persist, they have invented colours that disappear (intentionally).

TechScience Future

Interesting Interview with Charles Stross

After reading ‘Iron Sunrise’, the latest novel by Charles Stross (the next one up is called Accelerando), I found a very good interview with him on the infinityplus website, covering lots of interesting topics. Worth reading.

Update : Science Fiction Weekly also has a good interview with him.

Links TechScience Future

A Novel Way of Treating Diarrhea

San-Francisco based Napo Pharmaceuticals has created a novel new drug against diarrhea which is quite unique in the way it works AND in how it is to be sold :

Crofelemer is unique in how it works because traditional anti-diarrhea medications like Lomotil and Loperamide decrease bowel motility, and are absorbed by the bloodstream. Crofelemer works locally, only in the gut, to stop the flow of “excess” water. (I use the term “excess” loosely because the water often lost in diarrhea cannot afford to be lost, and isn’t actually “excess” in the traditional sense of the word.)

This different mechanism of action is fantastic news for children whose immune systems haven’t fully developed, and AIDS patients whose immune systems are compromised: traditional anti-motility drugs can’t be used by either population because of their decreased immune response: allowing pathogens to linger longer in the GI tract can allow them to grow and infect the gut more than simply excreting them out. Crofelemer is unique because it doesn’t prevent bowel movements, it simply prevents diarrhea.

This drug discovered in the third world also has the greatest potential there: millions of children die every year from chronic diarrhea, and diarrhea can weaken those patients already dealing with AIDS, leading to quicker, higher mortality rates for that disease as well.

Aside from their drug being unique, Napo’s approach to making profits on Crofelemer is unique as well. The traditional model for creating profitable drugs is based on a first-world clientele: create a drug, and keep its prices high until the patent(s) expire to make up for the cost of bringing the drug to market. (Which can often reach and exceed half a billion dollars.) Napo, however, is skipping the first world and going right for the third world where the largest need and potential customer base is.

This could be great news for all the children and sick persons in third-world countries who can ill afford to lose (waste) any water they managed to acquire. There are also advantages too, for example for persons afflicted with the ‘irritable bowel syndrome’, aids patients and others who cannot digest or use the other existing drugs.

I think they are on to something here – selling drugs cheaply to large masses of people instead of only to rich people. PolyScience calls them the ‘Henry Fords of the medical industry’. Wait and see, is what I say.

In two other news items, Napo has licenced their drug to the Indian drug manfucturer Glenmark, with the drug being available in 2007.

Yahoo news :

Glenmark said it would have the exclusive right to develop the drug in more than 140 markets, outside North America, Japan, China and Europe.

Glenmark expects to launch the product in India and many other markets in 2007. It will pay Napo royalties ranging from “high single digits to early teens” on net sales of the product.

Glenmark said it will also participate in Napo’s latest round of financing by investing $1 million in its preferred stock.

Indian InfoLine:

“This collaboration will allow Napo to bring a novel therapy for these debilitating and sometimes deadly diseases to both traditional Western markets and resource constrained areas of the world,” Napo CEO Lisa Conte said.

“Glenmark currently manufactures several US FDA approved drugs, and they have the know-how to successfully deliver medicines to very large populations, which should ultimately provide for beneficial economies of scale and reduced cost of goods,” she added.

Links TechScience Future

Artificial Meat, Anyone ?

There have been a number of articles about growing muscle tissue from separate cells (aka ‘meat’) – separately from an animal, that is.

Writing in the journal Tissue Engineering, Matheny said scientists could grow cells from the muscle tissue of cattle, pigs, poultry or fish in large flat sheets on thin membranes. These sheets of cells would be grown and stretched, then removed from the membranes and stacked to increase thickness and resemble meat.

The advantages are several : you control which nutrients go in or are left out (can anyone say Omega3 for better cholestorol ?), and if taken up worldwide, less carbon-monoxide generated if you remove all the poultry/cows/pigs and whatnot that are kept for food. Also a lot less chances of any outside diseases and bad food given to the livestock poisening you.

But honestly, the idea is weird. One commenter from Ars.Technica said : “I don’t know wether to laugh, cry or barf”.

Still, it’s just something that you have to think about, and logically, hey why not ? I eat quorn all the time, which is a mycoprotein from the fungi family, aka mushroom and mold stuff. If I can eat that, why not this ?

Yup. Gonna have to think about this.

Links TechScience Future

Superwater kills bugs dead

An article in talks about a new kind of water that kills single-cell organisms, but which does not harm in any way multi-celled organisms (like people).

Developed by Oculus Innovative Sciences in Petaluma, the super-oxygenated water is claimed to be as effective a disinfectant as chlorine bleach, but is harmless to people, animals and plants. If accidentally ingested by a child, the likely impact is a bad case of clean teeth.

Links TechScience Future

New High-Capacity Microdrives coming

Hitachi is working on new micro-drives that are using a different sort of magnetic recording (perpendicular instead of longitudinal recording).

TechScience Future

Why the music industry has to set music to expire in order to survive

A strange and wacko idea just came over me while doing the dishes, while I was listening to music on my iPod Shuffle. Let me bounce it of your screen, and please do react with your own point of view.

In a few years time, the music industry must have completed their change of distributing music to either a ‘pay as you listen to all you want’ scheme or a ‘DRM-protected’ scheme or even a time-expiration scheme for them to survive. So what’s new you say ? They’re already trying to do that. But have you considered the reason why they want to do this ?

Well, here’s the twist I thought of : think of father and mother and children (and why not, then the grandchildren), all able to listen to music that’s as pristine as the day it was bought, wether yesterday or 10 years ago.

Heck, those songs will still be playing fine a hundred years from now !

In a few years, when the next generation of music lovers has grown up, imagine what will happen when those youngsters discover music : they have a library of music from their parents to draw on. And it won’t be sitting on a dusty old LP or tape cassette, like it did when I was a kid, no, it’ll be on the parents multimedia house server. And since it’s a digital copy, and as long as it’s unprotected, it’ll never ever become scratchy from much listening like those LP’s of mine did or lock itself up due to maximum number of times played.

I wonder if the music industry people are aware of this, and that this is the long-term plan behind their attempts to stop file-sharing and enabling DRM on all music. Or they could be obnoxious bone-headed morons protecting their profits, either way works I suppose.

Let me give you an example of how much music we’re talking about :
I’m not a very big music lover, but still, up to now in my life I have bought about 170 music CD’s. Say, 10 songs per Cd, that makes 1700 songs. Nowadays I don’t buy much CD’s anymore, but I do buy between 5 and 10 songs per month from the iTunes music shop (must ….control…. buying….impulse….). Say 7, that makes 84 songs per year at a minimum.
And yes, I do burn those iTunes songs to cd for backup, so that I can listen to in the car, but that also means they are DRM-unprotected. I can put them on another pc, or on a multimedia system.

If I extropalate those figures to the next 10 years, I’ll have about 2 800 songs, and that’s just for me. I believe I’m not a big music buyer. Now imagine a family with 2 teenagers, all music lovers. If they all buy music, similar to my way of buying, they’ll have about 11 200 songs to share between them in 10 years. I think that’s quite a lot of music.

Let’s assume that they are careful, and back it all up to cd/dvd and re-import or copy it into their house media system. What will prevent those teenagers, when they move out to college or get married, from bringing a digital copy of that music with them ? After all, they listened to it when they grew up, probably bought many a song, so they view it as a part of their lives. Do you really think they will buy a new copy of their favourite music because they moved out of their parents house ? I don’t think so.

What about those children’s children ? They’ll have a gargantuan music library to build on, all based on the music their family predecessors bought, and it has cost them nothing. Nada. Zilch. Will they go on buying music at the same rate ?

Sure, we all buy new music from time to time, but my feeling is that, if you already have a 100 000 songs in your library, you can probably find one to your liking in their as wel.