Color-Changing Tattoos Can Save Your Life

Most tattoo enthusiasts spend months to years contemplating the perfect design. I, on the other hand, take hours to decide whether to do Chinese take-out or cold pizza for dinner. And while body art is aesthetic and meaningful–can it be practical? MIT certainly thinks so. New color-changing ink technology can indicate changes in the body’s blood sugar and sodium levels.

Using a liquid with biosensors instead of traditional ink, scientists want to turn the surface of the human skin into an “interactive display.”

So far, the team has developed three different inks that shift color in response to changes in interstitial fluid.

The three inks measure glucose, pH, and sodium, which is a breakthrough for diabetics. For those on a strict diet (or simply nerds in the health data department), monitoring intakes and bodily adjustments has never been easier.

Unfortunately, the bio-sensing tattoos are still being tested and no human trials have been announced.

So far, DermalAbyss is only in the proof-of-concept stage, and there’s no indication of when it might become a real product.

Pigs, on the other hand, are seeing some luck.

The researchers have tested the inks on patches of pig skin, using injections to change the levels of the fluids to be detected.

Would you get a color-changing tattoo?

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3D Bioprinting: A New Toothy Trend

Though a relatively young concept, 3D printing has become the biggest trend of the decade–from building furniture to human body parts, it seems the possibility of a 3D-printed anything could eventually be on the market. This is because 3D printing is exponentially cheaper than using traditional machinery.

While I wouldn’t mind 3D printing an entirely brand-new wardrobe (in fact, I’d probably love it), I’ve always been somewhat of a skeptic when it comes to artificial organs. Most recently, 3D printing has been incorporated in creating blood vessels for alternative root canal treatments.

The findings are expected to have impact on root canal treatments which currently involves removing the tooth’s infected pulp and replacing it with a substance known as gutta-percha. This thermoplastic material is similar to rubber and is used to fill the inside of the tooth but cannot restore function since it removes the blood vessels.

The new approach uses pre-vascularized pulp-like tissue to promote dental pulp regeneration and allow for a better long-term treatment.

In layman’s terms, it is now possible to engineer blood vessels into extracted teeth.

Fabrication of artificial blood vessels can be a highly effective strategy for fully regenerating the function of teeth.

The dental industry holds much promise for 3D printing, although not typically on a biomedical sphere, as some see the technology as the future of crown production.

The Dubai Dental Authority plans to begin 3D printing teeth by the end of the year.

Remember kids–brush three times a day!

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New Electric Cargo Bike Revolutionizes Small Package Deliveries

Living in a city plagued by daily traffic jams, I often prefer to take my bike on errands. Granted, it’s a Nashbar AL1, nothing fancy but a perfectly practical performance hybrid. While I am wholly accustomed to throwing convenience store goodies into my trusty backpack, a cargo accessory would be much appreciated. Boy has the internet answered my prayers.

A Kickstarter project was recently launched in the hopes of funding CERO One, an electric cargo bike.

The CERO One is referred to as a compact cargo bike, as its physical dimensions and weight are well within reason for a standard bicycle, and it incorporates a space-saving handlebar twist function for storage in tight spaces.

To further tease your inner tech geek, there is a 93-mile-per-charge riding range on the dang thing!

The company offers three options for cargo space — a small basket, a large basket, and a platform — any of which can be mounted on either the front or the rear racks, depending on the cargo.

Oh, and it’s kid-friendly, too.

An optional Yepp Maxi Child Seat can be mounted to the rear rack without requiring an adapter, and so can panniers, although maybe not at the same time.

With only $6,000 of its $50,000 goal pledged, the CERO One has a long way to go–but I’m already saving up for it.

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Deaf Dog Learns Sign Language

As the owner of a senior dog with hip dysplasia, I have learned to adapt to the hassle of frequent visits to the vet and having to haul all 28 kilograms of my retriever-spitz mix Charley up the stairs every evening. Charley, who is perfectly functional in all other aspects (save for faltering vision in her right eye), is a handful. So hearing about Blue, a hard-of-hearing pit bull who learned sign language in only a few months, had me speechless.

Cops discovered [Blue] chained to a fence, abandoned and freezing, on West 170th Street in Washington Heights.

“At first we thought she was just scared and confused,” said Victoria Wells, the senior manager of behavior at the ASPCA rescue center. “But then we noticed whenever someone opened Blue’s kennel, she’d sleep right through all the commotion.”

“Any dog with a good sense of hearing would have been startled,”

In an attempt to boost Blue’s chances of finding a forever home, seven behavior specialists from the ASPCA trained Blue to understand signing.

First, Blue learned the “thumbs-up” signal.

Twenty-five other signals followed —come, sit, watch, stay… and lie down.

The ASPCA treats ten to twenty deaf dogs each year. According to them, Blue is ready for adoption.

Now if only I could get Charley to quit doing her business on the couch…

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Artificial Vision: The World’s First Synthetic Retina

Throughout the years, there have been quite a number of breakthroughs in the areas of health and science. With the help of in-ear aids, the previously deaf have the ability to ear. Those who’ve experienced the loss of a limb can function with the use of prosthetics. While extensive surgeries have attempted to aid the blind, only recently has there been a development in assistance for the visually impaired. An Oxford student has successfully created a synthetic retina.

The study could revolutionize the bionic implant industry and the development of new, less invasive technologies that more closely resemble human body tissues, helping to treat degenerative eye conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa.

[Oxford student] Vanessa Restrepo-Schild led the team in the development of a new synthetic, double layered retina which closely mimics the natural human retinal process.

Miss Restrepo-Schild said: … “I hope my research is the first step in a journey towards building technology that is soft and biodegradable instead of hard and wasteful.”

Miss Restrepo-Schild has filed a patent for the technology and the next phase of the work will see the Oxford team expand the replica’s function to include recognizing different colors.

Further testing and clinical trials will resume in the near future. Research regarding the human body continues to improve economically and in efficiency.

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Traveling Made Easier: Genius Earpiece Translates Foreign Languages As You Speak

The hassle of communicating in foreign countries has been a common struggle for many tourists. Ever tried to order a burger and ended up with dessert instead? You wouldn’t be the first one–but Lingmo International’s translation earpiece hopes you are the last.

The Translate One2One uses IBM Watson’s natural language understanding technology to understand both the words and context being spoken, before purportedly delivering a near-instant translation.

Translate One2One is incredibly multi-lingual.

The device can translate conversations across English, Japanese, French, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, German and Chinese.

Past translation devices have not always demonstrated accuracy, making conversation more difficult.

“Anyone who’s traveled will have found themselves in a similar scenario of incorrect translation, while realizing the social benefit of being able to converse across cultures,”

The device’s technology can even recognize dialects and slang phrases. Take that Google Translate!

The earpiece is now available for $179. Customers can also download an app version of Translate One2One.

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New Web Platform Allows Doctors To Prescribe Digital Treatments

With a plethora of existing conditions and viruses, the need to improve healthcare systems never stops. As hospitals and clinics are not always readily available to the majority (or perhaps we’d prefer an apple a day to keep the doctor away), app empire Swype has raised $8.5 million for Xealth, a web platform connecting patients and doctors.

Founded in May 2016, Xealth is a cloud-based digital platform that allows doctors to prescribe digital treatments such as instructional videos to patients.

“Healthcare’s just such a big challenge for the U.S. right now,”

“It felt like that big problem for all of us was worth attacking, and it seemed like it was also well poised to get disrupted digitally,”

The main issue lies in third party vendors, whose digital tools cannot be shared by doctors if they are not integrated with their hospital system.

Xealth is basically a connective tissue that lets hospitals and vendors hook up through the cloud and bypass all that work.

Xealth also tracks if patients are completing tasks [prescribed by doctors].

Doctors can easily keep tabs on patients and make sure they are following the instructions given to them. After all, we all know that one guy who never follows the regime.

While Xealth isn’t going to replace physical consultations, it is predicted to have a great impact on users. Xealth endorses other services such as shared decision-making programs and collation of patient data.

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Want To Fight Climate Change? Here’s How You Can Help

Climate change has been a hot topic for years. As it continues to worsen, we seem to have surrendered to the idea that there isn’t much we can do to stop it. What we don’t know is that now, more than ever, individual actions are all we need to make a difference.

There are simple ways to contribute within your home:

A simple home energy audit can show how much energy your home consumes.

Quality LED lightbulbs can last 25 times longer, are more durable, and use at least 75 percent less energy than other bulbs.

Water management not only helps cities become more resilient in the face of… natural disasters, but also saves energy.

Adding insulation, weather stripping, and caulking around your home can cut energy bills by more than 25 percent.

Cutting out meat, or even reducing consumption and favoring fish and chicken, can seriously save carbon.

Don’t drink bottled water. Landfills already contain more than 2 million tons of plastic bottles.

Outside the comfort of one’s home, there are many options within your community:

Support publications reporting on climate change. Great journalism makes us all better citizens and helps us learn more about the issues.

If your company has [a corporate sustainability initiative], find ways to get involved.

Take steps to completely neutralize your carbon footprint.

Shop local. It’s simple, straightforward, and an easy addition to your routine that supports local businesses.

Every action you take matters.

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Canada Advances In The Human Rights Movement

Over the last decade, the LGBT community has seen victory after victory. While most societies now openly identify gender diverse communities with respect, homosexuality remains a crime in at least 70 countries. Having passed the Bill C-16 on Thursday, June 15, Canada is one step ahead in advancing LGBT rights.

The Senate approved Bill C-16, which prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression, by a vote of 67 to 11.

Passage of the legislation “marks a significant step toward recognizing transgender and gender diverse communities as worthy of dignity and respect,”

Canada further supports other LGBT movements.

Earlier this month, Canada announced it will assume the role of co-chair of the new Equal Rights Coalition.

Canada also promotes the extension of human rights for sexual minorities within the Commonwealth.

The country, under the Trudeau administration, has clearly shown leadership in advancing human rights.

Canada has an opportunity to lead the effort to persuade world leaders that they need not fear the rights of their citizens to live their lives as they choose, including in how they express their sexuality and gender.

Minorities have experienced inevitable backlash but prove to be resilient in a quickly developing world.

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Apple To Make iPhone More Health-Centered

Developers are always looking for ways to make healthcare more accessible to the everyday smartphone user. The FitBit specializes in monitoring one’s daily steps and heart rate while Fooducate recognizes eating habits. It’s safe to say that Apple is determined to jump on the health-junkie bandwagon.

According to at least two sources in the know, Apple envisions creating a system that would enable patients to store vital health data… so it could easily be shared at the patient’s discretion with their doctors, hospitals, or other healthcare providers, on command.

Apple is tackling the longtime healthcare issue of data sharing between patients and doctors.

The same problem Apple is trying to solve in creating this iPhone-based healthcare data system is something the healthcare industry has been grappling with for years now. Patients often find that their healthcare data can’t easily be shared with or between their doctors — even despite today’s increasingly digital landscape.

How effective can this new system be?

Apple does have one key advantage: the majority of healthcare practitioners use iOS — with over 1 billion Apple devices currently active around the globe.

Lately, Apple has been taking major leaps towards improving the everyday lives of users in areas of finance, education, and health.

Do you think Apple is revolutionizing the healthcare industry?

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