Bionic Pancreas Improves Quality of Life

Reality-Shifting Comments: By Rebecca Smith

Over the summer of 2013, Helmsley Charitable Trust ran a summer camp for children with type 1 diabetes. The camp was a trial for a bionic pancreas which has tremendous potential to improve the quality of life for individuals who suffer from diabetes. The device works in tandem with continuous glucose monitor which is connected to an iPhone. 

The bionic pancreas works by reading the blood sugar of the user every 5 minutes and then secretes the necessary insulin or glucosamine without requiring the user to make any decisions about dosage. This saves the user time because they no longer have to check their blood sugar regularly or measure out the required dosage of medicine. 

Conversely, the device can be a potentially life saving piece of technology, especially for individuals who have a tendency to forget to monitor their blood sugar manually. Furthermore, the device eliminates the potential for someone to accidentally administer too much insulin or glucosamine which could be fatal. 

Overall, the device gives users more freedom to live without constantly worrying about their blood sugar. 

For more information, visit bionicpancreas.org

 

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Like any good piece of wearable tech, the LifeTip device tracks a wide range of the basic measurements; body temperature, posture, activity levels and even the wearer’s emotional state, but the prime feature is its ability to detect a heart attack. Going into cardiac arrest is probably not the best time to receive a push notification you might think, but the accompanying app will immediately contact emergency services as soon as the attach is detected. The gadget can clip onto a bra or a shirt button hole and is currently being crowdfunded on Indiegogo.

Maiden Flight of the Decimal Lab Drone

Reality-Shifting Comments: By Rebecca Smith

Recent activity in the Decimal Lab at UOIT has involved the maiden flight of a drone which the lab only just acquired. Those in attendance included Dr. Isabel Pedersen, Samantha Reid, Nathan Gale, and Cameron Nicoll. The flight took place both inside the lab and outside of UOIT’s Social Science and Humanities building on August 14th.

 

Colourful Controversy
Reality-Shifting Comments: By Rebecca Smith
While nail-polish might usually be considered a far cry from wearable technology, a team of four university students is currently working on a nail-polish formula that is breaking down barriers and stirring up controversy…literally. 
The polish is intended to detect date rape drugs in the drinks of the users and was developed in an attempt to counteract the rising number of sexual assault instances. The nail polish works by changing colours when it comes in contact with date rape drugs. Therefore, a user can test their drink by casually stirring their finger in it prior to consumption. If the colour of the polish changes, the user will know that something is wrong with their drink. 
While many people can appreciate the potential for this nail polish to improve the safety of women, others have a problem with the fact that the real issue is  being ignored. For example, Laci Green, a well-known YouTube blogger and self-proclaimed feminist claims that the nail polish may be distracting people from the fact that something needs to be done to stop perpetrators of sexual assault rather than expecting women to stop men who attempt to assault them. Green’s point is that something needs to be done in order to stop sexual predators before it reaches a point where women have to use precautions such as date-rape detecting nail polish. 
This is an excellent point, and I think we can all agree that it is always better to tackle a problem at it’s roots as opposed to trying to contain the problem by treating the symptoms. However, there is nothing wrong with at least giving women the option to use precautionary measures such as this nail polish. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people in the world who pray on women, and even though it is important to make strides towards preventing sexually predatory behaviors in individuals, it is also not a bad idea to give people another method of protecting themselves. I definitely see where Laci Green is coming from and I agree, but since it is impossible to change a problem so large as sexual assault over night, I think that the development of this type of nail polish can certainly offer women another method of protection and security. 

Colourful Controversy

Reality-Shifting Comments: By Rebecca Smith

While nail-polish might usually be considered a far cry from wearable technology, a team of four university students is currently working on a nail-polish formula that is breaking down barriers and stirring up controversy…literally. 

The polish is intended to detect date rape drugs in the drinks of the users and was developed in an attempt to counteract the rising number of sexual assault instances. The nail polish works by changing colours when it comes in contact with date rape drugs. Therefore, a user can test their drink by casually stirring their finger in it prior to consumption. If the colour of the polish changes, the user will know that something is wrong with their drink. 

While many people can appreciate the potential for this nail polish to improve the safety of women, others have a problem with the fact that the real issue is  being ignored. For example, Laci Green, a well-known YouTube blogger and self-proclaimed feminist claims that the nail polish may be distracting people from the fact that something needs to be done to stop perpetrators of sexual assault rather than expecting women to stop men who attempt to assault them. Green’s point is that something needs to be done in order to stop sexual predators before it reaches a point where women have to use precautions such as date-rape detecting nail polish. 

This is an excellent point, and I think we can all agree that it is always better to tackle a problem at it’s roots as opposed to trying to contain the problem by treating the symptoms. However, there is nothing wrong with at least giving women the option to use precautionary measures such as this nail polish. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people in the world who pray on women, and even though it is important to make strides towards preventing sexually predatory behaviors in individuals, it is also not a bad idea to give people another method of protecting themselves. I definitely see where Laci Green is coming from and I agree, but since it is impossible to change a problem so large as sexual assault over night, I think that the development of this type of nail polish can certainly offer women another method of protection and security. 

Breaking the Barrier Between Music and Musician

Reality-Shifting Comments: By Rebecca Smith

Imogen Heap, a musician from the UK has been working with a team of scientists, artists, and technologists in order to develop a piece of technology which will allow her to transcend the barrier between the human body and music. In order to do this, Heap developed the Mi Mu Gloves, a device which monitors body movements and transforms gestures into sounds to create music. 

Traditionally, an individual must use an instrument to create music (with the exception of vocals). However, through the use of the Mi Mu gloves, the user becomes the instrument. Thus, the wearer can transcend the barrier of music creation by essentially becoming their own instrument. 

Seat belts save lives, its a well known fact, but according to The Telegraph new developments have been made in order to save even more lives. Spanish engineers are currently working on a smart seat belt which detects heart rate and breathing rate in order to alert drivers when they are at risk of falling asleep at the wheel. 
A slower heart rate and shallow breathing are among the many signs of fatigue. By tracking these bodily functions, the smart seat belt may be able to prevent accidents. Many individuals may not even realize that they are becoming over tired when driving which can lead to accidents as a result of loss of consciousness, short attention span, and/or slower reflexes. By alerting drivers to changes in their breathing and heart rate, this device could certainly save lives. Just one more reason to always wear your seat belt!

Seat belts save lives, its a well known fact, but according to The Telegraph new developments have been made in order to save even more lives. Spanish engineers are currently working on a smart seat belt which detects heart rate and breathing rate in order to alert drivers when they are at risk of falling asleep at the wheel. 

A slower heart rate and shallow breathing are among the many signs of fatigue. By tracking these bodily functions, the smart seat belt may be able to prevent accidents. Many individuals may not even realize that they are becoming over tired when driving which can lead to accidents as a result of loss of consciousness, short attention span, and/or slower reflexes. By alerting drivers to changes in their breathing and heart rate, this device could certainly save lives. Just one more reason to always wear your seat belt!

Computerized pills anyone?
Reality-Shifting Comments: By Rebecca Smith
It might sound crazy, but scientists are working on creating poppy-sized computers within pills which record how a person’s body responds to a drug. The computerized pills work in combination with a patch on the skin in order to keep track of when the pill was taken and how it is working within the body. 
The concept is among the first steps towards a new wave in medicine known as “digital medicine”. While the computerized pills pose some challenges in development due to the limitations in size, power sources, and communication, scientists have managed to overcome these issues and the pills have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. However, the Food and Drug Administration did point out that the benefits of using the device are small at this point and if the device is going to be worth while, there certainly needs to be more development in the future. 
In the article, “Someday soon you may swallow a computer with your pill”, Alexis Madrigal points out another use for the devices specifically for the treatment of mental illness. Unfortunately, many individuals receiving treatment for a mental illness decide not to take their medication. While this also occurs in cases where mental illness is not involved, it is most common with mentally ill populations. In these cases, the pill could be extremely important because doctors will be able to keep track of whether their patient is taking his or her medication and how often. This knowledge could be extremely helpful in improving the success of treatment for mental illnesses. 
At this point it is not a question of functionality, but of popularity. Would YOU ingest a computer along with your medication? For many people this would be just a bit too Orwellian. For others, this would be just another part of our increasingly data-driven lives.  

Computerized pills anyone?

Reality-Shifting Comments: By Rebecca Smith

It might sound crazy, but scientists are working on creating poppy-sized computers within pills which record how a person’s body responds to a drug. The computerized pills work in combination with a patch on the skin in order to keep track of when the pill was taken and how it is working within the body. 

The concept is among the first steps towards a new wave in medicine known as “digital medicine”. While the computerized pills pose some challenges in development due to the limitations in size, power sources, and communication, scientists have managed to overcome these issues and the pills have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. However, the Food and Drug Administration did point out that the benefits of using the device are small at this point and if the device is going to be worth while, there certainly needs to be more development in the future. 

In the article, “Someday soon you may swallow a computer with your pill”, Alexis Madrigal points out another use for the devices specifically for the treatment of mental illness. Unfortunately, many individuals receiving treatment for a mental illness decide not to take their medication. While this also occurs in cases where mental illness is not involved, it is most common with mentally ill populations. In these cases, the pill could be extremely important because doctors will be able to keep track of whether their patient is taking his or her medication and how often. This knowledge could be extremely helpful in improving the success of treatment for mental illnesses. 

At this point it is not a question of functionality, but of popularity. Would YOU ingest a computer along with your medication? For many people this would be just a bit too Orwellian. For others, this would be just another part of our increasingly data-driven lives.  

Over-monitoring syndrome: A wearable technology born phenomenon
Reality-Shifting Comments: By Rebecca Smith
Dr. Joshua Klapow, a clinical psychologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham coined the term "over-monitoring syndrome" in order to describe a recent phenomenon resulting from fitness tracking gadgets. The term was established in reference to individuals who “get so caught up in tracking that it overtakes [them] emotionally and psychologically” (Fowler, 2014). This can be linked back to the idea that fitness tracking devices may enable eating disorders, but the term is intended to encompass less extreme cases as well. Essentially, Dr. Klapow claims that individuals are becoming more focused on the numbers rather than on the bigger picture. For example, an individual might become obsessed with the number of calories that they are consuming daily as opposed to tracking their progress towards their overall fitness goal. 
While this does not mean that the technology is a bad idea, it is certainly a good idea to keep this in mind when using the device. If you find yourself slipping into thought patterns with an emphasis on the numbers and not on your goal, it might be worth re-evaluating your use of the technology. 

Over-monitoring syndrome: A wearable technology born phenomenon

Reality-Shifting Comments: By Rebecca Smith

Dr. Joshua Klapow, a clinical psychologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham coined the term "over-monitoring syndrome" in order to describe a recent phenomenon resulting from fitness tracking gadgets. The term was established in reference to individuals who “get so caught up in tracking that it overtakes [them] emotionally and psychologically” (Fowler, 2014). This can be linked back to the idea that fitness tracking devices may enable eating disorders, but the term is intended to encompass less extreme cases as well. Essentially, Dr. Klapow claims that individuals are becoming more focused on the numbers rather than on the bigger picture. For example, an individual might become obsessed with the number of calories that they are consuming daily as opposed to tracking their progress towards their overall fitness goal. 

While this does not mean that the technology is a bad idea, it is certainly a good idea to keep this in mind when using the device. If you find yourself slipping into thought patterns with an emphasis on the numbers and not on your goal, it might be worth re-evaluating your use of the technology. 

Dream without limits using the Aurora headband

Reality-Shifting Comments: By Rebecca Smith

Have you ever wished that you could be more aware of your dream-state while in a dream? Coming to recognize that you are dreaming while you are in a dream can actually allow you to dream without limits which may improve the overall experience of dreams. That is the goal of the Aurora headband. The device is worn on the head while the user sleeps and stimulates the user through the use of small flashes of light which help the user’s brain recognize that they are dreaming. The intention of the stimulus is to trigger the brain into recognizing that the individual exists outside of the dream state which allows them to realize that they are in a dream. 

In addition to this, the device can help improve the sleep patterns of the user by monitoring their sleep routine and even acting as an alarm clock to wake the individual up at the point in their sleep cycle at which they will feel the most refreshed. 

It would be interesting to further the development of a product such as this in order to use it as a treatment for night terrors and nightmares. If an individual is able to recognize that they are dreaming while they are in the dream, it could be possible for the dream to seem less terrifying or even more easily manipulated for escaping whatever is causing the fear. While this technology is already full of potential as it stands now, there is still plenty of room for the expansion of this project.