Endoscope Camera Can See Through Human Body

Technology is painting a bright and promising future for the medical industry. If smart brain implants and advanced computer systems are no longer just ideas, other new discoveries could be well within our reach. This includes an endoscope camera  that can see through the human body better than an x-ray.

Thanks to thousands of integrated photon detectors inside the camera, the device can detect individual particles of light being beamed through human tissue.

By reconciling light signals that come directly to the camera with scattered photons… the device is able to determine where the light-emitting endoscope is placed inside the body.

The technique, called ballistic imaging, is highly accurate and cheaper than resorting to a conventional x-ray. The device is also low-risk and a lot less scary than it sounds.

“The ability to see a device’s location is crucial for many applications in healthcare, as we move forwards with minimally invasive approaches to treating disease.”

There isn’t yet word on when the device will be available to use commercially. However, considering the pace of current technological developments, I can’t assume it’ll take much longer.

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A Camera to See the Sea like a Mantis Shrimp

Humans never stop trying to improve the world for fellow creatures. We turn empty lots into homes for bees, we make highways so that hedgehogs may survive our cities, we teach orcas human speech. But we don’t know everything, and there’s a lot to learn about the world through these animals’ eyes as well. In this instance, through the eyes of a shrimp:

For a small glimpse of the mantis shrimp’s view of the ocean, humans can now look through a mantis-shrimp-inspired camera from a team led by Viktor Gruev, an engineer at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Mantis shrimp have the ability to detect up to six types of polarization in the ocean, a property of light that is impossible for humans to see. To imitate this, Gruev’s team made miniature polarized lenses, popped them inside a video camera, and collaborated with marine biologists to study how different underwater creatures use polarization.

[T]he ability to see detect polarization is widespread among cuttlefish, octopus, squid, crabs, and even some fish. Perhaps marine animals use polarization to communicate with each other, or perhaps it enhances contrast underwater for them to detect predators.

Through their findings, the team was also able to raise another important factor in the survival of marine animals: navigation. Do the mantis shrimp and other animals actually use polarization as their very own GPS? Scientists are not yet certain as to exactly how. But the idea already sounds awesome.

And with this camera, the world just might get a whole lot bigger in the future.

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U.K. Tests World’s First High Definition Color Satellite

When student Alex Pietrow photographed Jupiter with a Game Boy, it was just a matter of time until a new satellite came around. Beating NASA to the punch, British companies Earth-i and and Surrey Satellite Tech built a complete and total gem. At only 100 kilograms, the CARBONITE-2 can capture HD images of Earth — in color!

We can collect up to 50 frames per second which is a lot of information,” Richard Blain, CEO of Earth-i [said]… “That allows us to stack the individual images and increase our effective resolution, achieving somewhere around 65 centimeters to 75 centimeters [25 to 29 inches].”

What makes the seemingly perfect machine even more impressive is that it’s just a prototype. Yes, it’s successor will be far more advanced, sending images back in mere minutes.

“The Vivid-i Constellation will provide capabilities we haven’t seen before including full-color video, and an assured stream of high-quality data from space to help improve both our planet and our lives on Earth,” Josef Aschbacher, director of Earth Observation Programmes at the European Space Agency (ESA), said.

Sure, HD satellites may seem trivial, like enjoying a film in 720p instead of the usual 360. But hey, if the world won’t be holding up for much longer, a pretty good selfie wouldn’t hurt.

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Algorithm Edits Phone Photos Before You Take Them

Since the birth of the smartphone, Google, Apple, and Android have been working to make newer models appropriate for… well, everything. Not only are they a source of entertainment — they are becoming equally health-centered. But smartphones cater to everyone, including amateur and professional photographers. This new algorithm edits phone photos before you even take them.

Machine learning networks were set to work on a database of 5,000 sample images improved by five professional photographers, teaching the software how to tweak a picture to get it looking its best.

Because of resolution issues, the algorithm processes in low-quality, later scaling up results without ruining the image. Using this mechanism, the app uses only a hundredth of the phone’s memory. Like most sterling apps, it also comes with additional features.

As well as brightening dark spots and balancing contrast, for example, the algorithms could even mimic the style of a particular photographer.

Does this mean my work has the potential to exhibit at the MET? While the app makes photography seem easy, let’s not forget that snapping a great picture also takes a level of skill.

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Bionic Eye Helps Blind Mother To See

A few months ago, Oxford student Vanessa Restrepo-Schild patented the world’s first synthetic retina. Researchers from the University of Washington then added fish eyes into the mix, to help cure blindness. Now, the most recent success for the vision-impaired is a bionic eye, which helped a blind mother to see for the first time in years.

The device consists of a camera that is attached to glasses and connected to a chip grafted onto the retina of the eye.

The images captured by the camera are converted into a series of electrical pulses that are transmitted to the chip.

The prosthesis, Argus II, doesn’t fully restore vision, but restores something far more important — the ability to perform everyday tasks.

“Without my Argus, I see nothing. With him, I see, yes, in a different way, but it gives me a lot of hope,” [said patient Sandra Cassell]

It’s not a complete cure, but Argus II is an easy fix and one that will certainly change lives.

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Refrigerator Camera Helps Monitor Food

The British food market is on a roll. Sainsbury recently manufactured a smart label that reminds home cooks when to use up an ingredient. However, the labels are only for ham packets. Kitchen company Smarter hopes its newest device will be a game-changer. FridgeCam is an affordable refrigerator camera that helps users monitor food in real time.

The Smarter FridgeCam takes food “selfies” which are sent to the user’s phone, allowing an instant reminder of what could be on the menu for their next meal. The app also monitors use-by dates, and issues automatic top-up reminders to buy more food products based on remaining quantities.

Why not use any camera? Well, for starters, I wouldn’t recommend shoving a point-and-shoot into your fridge. Plus, it costs less than $150, which is a steal compared to full-on smart refrigerators.

“The supermarkets tell us that the way we shop has fundamentally changed. People are shopping little and often and using different shops. The more we developed and trialled this technology, the more we found that it could not just help reduce food waste but it also encourages people to shop in a smarter and more efficient way,” [said Christian Lane, founder of Smarter]

The quirky gadget could help reduce the over-purchasing of food as well as encourage timely use. It may seem like a superfluous purchase, but at least you won’t be tossing perfectly good veggies.

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This Talking Camera Is For The Blind

Are you hard-of-hearing and in need of an aid? Do you have trouble walking and are seeking a sturdy wheelchair? Looks like you’re going to have to break the bank. Because most devices for the disabled don’t come cheap, Microsoft has come up with a solution. Seeing AI is a free app for the blind that works like a “talking camera.”

Fire up the free app and point your iPhone at anything, whether it’s a document, a menu card, a room or even a friend, and Seeing AI will tell you what it is with its voice.

Seeing AI is also supposed to be able to identify currency notes and products by barcode.

The app has proven to be impressively accurate, describing objects with great detail. It can even read books!

Microsoft hopes that this will make life a little bit easier for those with visual impairments. It… is one of several new initiatives driven by the company’s interest in exploring the possibilities that artificial intelligence can open up.

Seeing AI is evidence that help can exist where help is needed–affordably or for free.

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