Archive for July, 2018

It’s finally happened.  I’ve finally found the Greatest.  Idea.  Ever.  A wearable device actually worth wearing.  One designed to create an impenetrable force field around you.  That’s right.  We now have a wearable capable of ensuring that you’ll never get another mosquito bite for the rest of our life.

Mosquito bites are one of nature’s worse creations.  They itch, annoy us, prevent us from getting a good night’s rest, and may even prevent us from staying outside for as long as we’d like to or going to locations that we would have wanted to go to.  Not to mention the way they carry and transmit diseases.

They’re such a nuisance that people like Bill Gates have gone to great lengths to try and genetically engineer solutions as they aim to reduce Malaria’s impact on the developing world.  But what if there was a better way to deal with our mosquito problem?  What if, instead of playing God, we could just make it so that the mosquitos can’t even get close to us?  That’s where Bandito comes in.

Digital Trends explains how this incredible wearable works, “The first line of defense that the Bandito offers is the use of sonic waves set at a frequency that repels a variety of different types of bugs. The sound is imperceptible to the human ear, and won’t bother pets either, but will quickly drive mosquitoes away. The device  also uses non-toxic scent strips to release an odor that will smell good to humans but will repel bugs. Those scents include citronella, peppermint, and lemongrass.  Each of these methods is highly effective on its own, but when combined with one another, they should greatly reduce the number of insect bites that you’ll receive while outside.”

They add that, “An individual Bandito is built for consistent use throughout a single season. It comes with an internal battery that can function for about 500 hours, while each scent strip lasts about two weeks before it must be replaced. The device ships with 12 strips, which is enough to cover three months of consistent use outdoors.  Those numbers are based on using the Bandito for up to 5.5 hours each day.”

I don’t think I can overstate just how amazing this invention is.  Just imagine how great it would be if you could sleep with the window open on a warm summer night and not have to worry about waking up covered in bug bites.  Just think about how great it would be if you could go hiking off the beaten path near a pond or lake and not have to worry about wearing long clothing.  Armed with a single Bandito I could freely sit on my balcony and read a book or write a blog post for hours on end.  Currently, I’m afraid to even open the door to my balcony on account of all the bugs I may encounter out there.

All in all, I wonder if this technology could expand to other life forms?  Could I scrap my plans to develop mobile body armor and instead just wear a Bandito on a hike to keep all the snakes, scorpions, and spiders at bay?  Furthermore, could its size and range be expanded so that the sensors could blanket entire regions, keeping entire communities free from the risk of a mosquito born disease outbreak?

Only time will tell.  But for now if you want to learn more about what Bandito can do or if you want to support the creation of the greatest wearable of all-time be sure to check out their Indiegogo page.

Is Bandito the Greatest Idea Ever?

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#1,344 – Dandelion

Ever since I first heard about Google [X], the secretive moonshot laboratory said to be working on dozens of top-secret projects, most of which never see the light of day, I’ve often wondered what it is that they are up to.  What’s the Next Big Thing that could revolutionize society, up to three times over?  Well, now we know.  In addition to Driverless cars and Internet delivering hot air balloons, one of the things that they’ve been working on is a way to control the temperature in our homes.  I know that’s not as sexy as their scraped plans for a Space Elevator, but nonetheless, it’s still a pretty cool idea, pun intended.

The idea comes to us from a company known as Dandelion with the hope being that we can better utilize the terrain around our homes to cool them down and heat them up.

According to CNN, “Rather than relying on furnaces and traditional AC systems, Dandelion Air is a geothermal system that uses the ground’s energy via plastic pipes and a pump in the home. The systems move heat from the ground into the house in the winter, and heat from the house into the ground in the summer.”

Adds Fast Company, “Geothermal systems aren’t new, but they’re rare, in part because installing one is typically a custom, expensive job. Dandelion’s tech-filled system is designed to be immediately cheaper than using fossil fuels, and durable, so it also avoids high maintenance costs over time. After it’s installed and turned on, the tech inside automatically checks to make sure that it’s been installed correctly. It also checks performance data over time, so that it can quickly find and fix any issues that might occur.”

So while Dandelion isn’t likely to grab the headlines anytime soon, it may wind up being one of the most practical and cost-effective of Google’s moonshots.  At least until we find out what else they’re working on…

Image result for dandelion google

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A quick look at some of the latest mind blowing scientific research currently making the rounds.

Nanobot Spray

It has been said that the development of nanotechnology could have the same kind of impact that the discovery of microscopic bacteria once did as it would allow us to operate at a whole new scale that was previously unknown to us.  What we have to do now is figure out the best way to take advantage of this technology.  A new aerosol spray could be how we do it.

As Futurism puts it, “You may have sworn off aerosol sprays in the ’90s when everyone was talking about the hole in the ozone layer, but a team of researchers from MIT has found a use for aerosols that could be good for both the environment and our health. This spray contains nanobots, tiny sensors with the potential to do everything, from detecting dangerous leaks in pipelines, to diagnosing health issues.”

This spray would make it super easy to deploy these nanobots where needed.

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Dissolvable Microneedles 

In the future going to the doctor may become a far more pleasant experience than it is today thanks to a new drug delivery breakthrough.

As Futurism puts it, “A fear of needles may soon be a thing of the past, as a team at the University of Texas at Dallas has come up with a painless alternative to conventional syringes.

With the new method, drugs would still be injected into the body, but using a microneedle that patients can’t even feel. The needle is so thin that it would break off under the skin dissolving as it releases the intended substance over time. Although the system wouldn’t work for every kind of medication, ultra-thin needles are able to deliver a variety of drugs, provided they are made of small molecules.”

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AI Made From DNA 

It’s easy to assume that the future will either be dominated by Artificial Intelligence, the ability to use gene-editing techniques like CRISPR-CAS-9 to control our biological destiny, or both.  But I bet no one saw AI made from DNA coming.  Yet, that’s exactly what we may have.

According to Vice, “Last Wednesday, researchers at Caltech announced that they created an artificial neural network from synthetic DNA that is able to recognize numbers coded in molecules. It’s a novel implementation of a classic machine learning test that demonstrates how the very building blocks of life can be harnessed as a computer.”

It will be interesting to monitor this project going forward and see just how complex these neural networks can become.

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Grandmother Neurons

Need to recover quickly from jet lag? New research may help us figure out how to do just that.

According to New Atlas, “Humans have evolved to do stuff during the day and sleep at night, but international travel or shift work can throw off that natural rhythm. Finding ways to reset this circadian clock could be key, and now researchers at Washington University in St Louis have isolated a small cluster of ‘grandmother’ neurons that tell the rest of the brain when to go to bed, and found that stimulating those could help combat jet lag.”

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Here’s a quick look at everything that tickled my fancy over the last week:

Tiny Robot Olympics

DARPA is looking to host an Olympics of sorts in order to push innovation in the field of robotics.  The goal would be to design tiny bug-sized robots capable of conducting surveillance, assisting in search and rescue missions, or being used to repair hard to reach places inside of autonomous vehicles.  In other words DARPA is trying to bring the technology behind Ant-Man to life.

According to Popular Mechanics, “Researchers will design and test new ways to power the small robots, as well as try new materials that could improve the robots’ performance without compromising on size or weight. Competitions that test robots’ untethered actuator-power systems will measure how high and far a robot can jump, how much weight it can lift, how far it can throw objects, and how it fares in a tug-of-war. Another contest will evaluate complete robot designs to see their rock piling, climbing, navigation skills, or put them through a biathlon.”

Hopefully, NBC won’t be airing these Olympics on a 12 hour tape delay.  I don’t know what I would do with myself if the tug-of-war results are spoiled ahead of time on Twitter.

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Pocket Espresso Machine

Speaking of things that are tiny….there is now an espresso machine that you can put in your pocket and travel around with!

As Mental Floss puts it:

“If you’ve been putting off buying an espresso machine until you have the counter space, check out the Nanopresso from Wacaco. The gadget is smaller than most travel mugs, and it lets you brew hot, fresh coffee in even remote, electricity-free locations.

According to Bustle, Nanopresso operates through a hand-powered system. Just load water and your favorite blend of finely ground espresso in the right compartments, screw it back together, and pump the button on the side. Soon you’ll have a shot of espresso you can squeeze directly into the detachable cup.”

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No More Liquid Travel Ban?!?!

A detailed new Computed Tomography scanner could provide security personnel with such high resolution images that airports won’t need to restrict the amount of liquids that you can carry onto planes.  That means no more taking liquids out of your luggage, moving them into plastic bags, or having to discard items that don’t met the size threshold requirement.

According to The Guardian, “The regulations on carrying liquids, which require passengers to keep liquids of up to 100ml in transparent plastic bags, came into force in 2006.

The new technology, which could lead to the removal of the 100ml limit, has been tested at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport and John F Kennedy airport in New York City.”

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Amazon’s Part Finder

Phones are already pretty handy but now they can literally act like a handy man.

According to Digital Trends, “Your days of going to Lowe’s or Home Depot with a random screw in your hand and a look of quiet desperation on your face will soon be behind you, and it’s all thanks to Amazon. The online retail giant’s greatest gift to us this year may not have anything at all to do with Prime Day, but rather with a new mobile app feature that lets you simply point your smartphone camera at the spare part in question so that Amazon can scan it, match it with the correct item, and then send you to buy said item online.

The app is appropriately named ‘Part Finder,’ and could be a real game changer for home improvement projects everywhere.”

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Weird New Fruits

Not only can gene editing cure diseases and create designer babies but it may one day lead to the creation of exotic new fruits as well!  Or even significant improvements upon existing fruits such as creating sweeter tasting strawberries! As if that would even be needed.

According to The Guardian, “While researchers have previously produced plants with specific traits through traditional breeding techniques, experts say new technologies such as the gene-editing tool Crispr-Cas-9 could be used to bring about changes far more rapidly and efficiently.

It could, they say, potentially open the door to a new range of fruits and vegetables that look, taste and feel very different to those we are used to.”

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The Quantified Self Movement is in full swing as more and more people don wearables that track their footsteps and other vital signs.  That’s all well and good as they motivate us to get up and move around.  But what if we were to take the idea of a wearable one step further?  What if we all had wearables inside of us to track our progress from within?!?! Thanks to a new “FitBit for the stomach” that future may soon be possible.

According to The Week, “These so-called ‘conformable decoders’ are packaged inside a pill and swallowed by a patient…The pill dissolves, and an embedded device latches to the stomach lining. It can then start transmitting messages, revealing how your stomach behaves when you’re stressed, eating, or sleeping.

The device powers itself on heartbeats and other organ movements using a form of electrical energy Pierre Curie first discovered in the 1800s. And since it conforms to the stomach wall, the decoder can likely stay in the body indefinitely…Eventually, it could be used to diagnose gastrointestinal issues.”

If this conformable decoders prove to be comfortable and helpful could we soon find ourselves carrying around several of them throughout our bodies, to track how all of our various systems are working?  Could we have one that monitors our brains or one that monitors our immune system?!?

I’m not entirely sure.  But one thing is clear though.  When it comes to wearables we may be getting more than we bargained for.  Even if no one will notice that we have them.

Image result for comfortable decoder and stomach fitbit

Is a FitBit for the stomach the Greatest Idea Ever?

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#1,340 – Lumen

We all say that we want to work out more, eat better, and live healthier lifestyles.  Or at least that’s what we all should be saying.  Very few of us actually take the initiative to get in tune with our bodies, figure out a plan of action, and follow through on it.  Thankfully, there’s a new device hitting the market, called Lumen, that could help us do just that.

As New Atlas puts it, “There are a growing number of fitness trackers hitting the market that claim to offer detailed insights into your heath using a variety of biomarkers. Perhaps the most striking of these devices to date is Lumen, a tiny breathalyzer-styled gizmo that is claimed to measure a person’s metabolism from just a single breath.

Lumen’s technology is based on the very real metabolic measurement called respiratory quotient (RQ). For decades scientists and dieticians have used RQ to determine how a body is metabolizing macronutrients and which energy pathways are being individually favored, from carbohydrates to fat.”

In theory if you knew what fuel sources your body was pulling from you could optimize your diet to ensure that your body stays in balance at all times.  That’s where Lumen would come in.

“Instead of delivering your RQ value as a dry decimal, Lumen translates that data into a spectrum that spans fat to carbs and then suggests meal plans that can optimize your day according to your specific metabolic profile. Via a paired app, the system can subsequently track your sleep and activity to constantly modulate its recommendations.”

Is this knowledge enough to revolutionize health and fitness as we know it?  We shall see.  But I for one am intrigued.  Especially if improving my diet means I won’t have to go to the gym anymore.

Image result for lumen breathe

Is Lumen the Greatest Idea Ever?


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#1,339 – Koji

I’m not a foodie but I am a food snob when it comes to five things: pizza, bagels, delis, chicken fingers and steak.  Virtually the only five things I eat.  So suffice it to say I was really impressed when I heard about Koji, the Japanese fungus capable of dry-aging a steak 45 days in just 48 hours!  This is an unprecedented breakthrough that could revolutionize the way we prepare food.

As Popular Science explains:

“Koji ferments food. Japanese cooks have used it for centuries to make soy sauce, miso, and natural sweeteners. They also use it to brew sake. It’s considered the national mold. Kind of like a microscopic mascot that imparts umami wherever it goes.

The science behind koji is less well-known. Its spores are fond of hot and humid environments (what spore isn’t?), and grows on cooked rice. As they get bigger, they release biochemical agents-protease enzymes that break down protein and amylases that digest starch. When mixed with, say, soybeans, the ensuing culture helps transform the concoction into soy sauce.

But when applied to steak, koji does something amazing. Its powerful enzymes slowly tenderize the meat. Innovative chefs have found that in just 48 hours, koji can turn a fresh-cut piece of beef into something that resembles, in texture and taste, a 45-day-aged steak. A koji-aged New York strip, properly cooked, will offer up the same nutty and funky flavor as one that’s been professionally cured, and with a touch of miso sweetness.”

Hopefully, this new technique catches on and spreads from Hipster communities to the rest of society in short order.

Image result for koji steak

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For the most part I think I’ve lived at the perfect time.  Growing up before computers and cell phones became ubiquitous allowed me to have a normal childhood, free of distraction and full of imaginative wonderment.  While coming of age in the Internet Era has allowed me to enjoy all the conveniences of modern life.

However, my timing may have been off in one regard: growing up without Noveto.

According to CNBC, “The start-up has created a technology that can deliver audio directly to a single person, who’s not wearing headphones, allowing everyone else in the vicinity to go about their business uninterrupted. Meanwhile, the listener can also still clearly catch surrounding noise.”

This use of targeted sound means that two college roommates can co-exist in the same space while one studies for an exam and the other watches Rick and Morty.  It also means that long road trips, like the ones I dreaded as a kid when I knew I would be subjected to Oldies Music for four hours, can now become bearable.

Just think about how many marriages this technology can save.  Just think about how many childhood fights among siblings it can prevent. Just think about how much heartache and anguish it can stave off.  If only it existed when I was growing up.  It really is true what they say.  Timing is everything.


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Luckily I’ve never been car sick.  Not unless you count that one time my friend’s dad did 80 mph around the ramps in a parking garage at Yankee Stadium.  I can’t imagine it being a pleasant experience though.  Not only would it be annoying to deal with, but it would also make you not want to drive anywhere, resulting in social isolation and boredom.  Thankfully, the people who do suffer from car sickness now have a weapon at their disposal in the fight against this problematic condition: a pair of glasses that counteract the effects of their out-of-whack equilibrium.

According to Oddity Central:

“French car maker Citroën recently unveiled a pair of glassless, liquid-filled eye-glasses that can reportedly treat the symptoms of motion sickness.

Called Seetroën, the ingenious eyeglasses use Boarding Ring technology, which was created by a French start-up of the same name, to treat motion sickness in just a few minutes. According to the official press release, after being worn for 10 to 12 minutes, “the glasses enable the mind to resynchronise with the movement perceived by the inner ear while the eyes were focused on an immobile object such as a smartphone or a book,”…[best of all] the wearer can [then] just take them off and enjoy the rest of the journey.”

In other words, these glasses won’t prevent motion sickness but they will cure it after the fact.  Welcome news for everyone who has ever been afraid to travel in a car.  Unfortunately, there’s still no cure for bad driving.

Image result for Seetroën

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#1,336 – SpotMini

By now you may have seen those absolutely terrifying online videos of robotic humanoids opening doors, running at Usain Bolt like speeds, jumping over obstacles, and getting up on their own after mean humans repeatedly knock them down.  After watching the videos it’s not hard to imagine a not-too-distant future in which fully functional robots are living among us, or gasp, ruling over us, seeking revenge for how they were treated in these demo videos.

However, what may be more likely to happen, at least at first, is the adoption of pet robots.  After all, a humanoid robot that can open doors is admittedly a little bit creepy.  But a robotic dog that fetches the morning paper for you?  Well, that’s another story.

According to Inverse, “Stirring warmer feelings is SpotMini: The four-legged bot stands 2 feet, 9 inches and looks only slightly post-apocalyptic. If one puts a cardboard delivery box on its back, the machine with 17 joints and 3D vision could be called a very good doggo.”

Which is why you may be seeing a lot of them in the future as, “Boston Dynamics has plans to take its robotic helpers mainstream next year: By July 2019, it will be on pace to produce 1,000 SpotMini robots annually.”

Considering Amazon’s top secret Vesta Project which aims to put mobile Echo speakers in every home to serve as a Rosie the Robot type house assistant it’s becoming more and more likely that we’ll have robots living among us in the near future.  Which begs the question: will the SpotMini become man’s best friend?  Or will our furry four legged friends maintain that honor going forward?

Image result for spotmini

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