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By magnifying the smallest, even unnoticeable, changes in what we see, there are amazing things we can learn.

Michael Rubinstein and his team have created a video-processing tool called Videoscope. Check out the video above first and then you can learn more or upload your own videos into on the Videoscope website.


Pebble Time, the Color e-Paper Smartwatch

Why Electronic Paper?
Electronic Paper (or e-paper) is not anything new. It has been around for decades. E-paper was developed in the 1970s at Xerox by Nick Sheridon. Over the years, it has been used in wristwatches, e-books, newspapers, status displays on various electronics, mobile phones, and more. One electronic device that always comes to mind for me when I think of e-paper is Amazon’s e-book called Kindle.

Electronic paper is desirable to technology companies because it is less complex, cheaper, and can be viewed in brighter environments than other technologies (e.g. LCD). Downsides include slow refresh rate and sometimes faint images remain after they should have disappeared.

It’s Pebble Time
While many are either already wearing a smartwatch or are anticipating the arrival of the Apple Watch, a new contender has entered this space. Pebble is a color e-paper smartwatch with many of the features of more high tech smartwatches such as fitness tracking, notifications, microphone, music control, and over 6,500 apps. One big feature that sets Pebble apart from its competition is a 7-day battery life. A new Kickstarter campaign started today and at the time I am writing this post, over $7,500,000 has been pledged! Learn more about the watch and the campaign.


Recent Breakthroughs with DNA

There are several announcements about DNA over the last few weeks that you should know about. Many breakthroughs go unnoticed even though they are some of the most amazing things that we have accomplished. One of the biggest reasons that I created this blog was to bring innovations like these into a single place.

DNA Hard Drives
Scientists have figured out how to convert the four types of molecules that make up DNA into 0s and 1s, also known as binary code. We can now store data in DNA and retrieve it! There are some benefits to this medium. First, all of the world’s data can fit into a spoonful of DNA. Second, if the DNA is stored in a silica shell and subzero temperatures, it could last over a million years. Learn more.

CRISPR, the DNA Editing Tool
Over the pasts several years scientists have been removing and replacing pieces of DNA successfully. Examples of this process include fixing defective DNA in mice and editing the genes of plants. In other words, expect HUGE implications for medicine and agriculture! Learn more.

Epigenome Maps
Last week it was announced that 127 epigenomes of human cells have been mapped. Epigenomes can be thought of as molecular switches that can activate or deactivate our genes. This will help us to understand and treat diseases like Alzheimer’s and others. Learn more.

Play to Cure: Genes in Space
“The world’s first free mobile game that uses the collective force of players to analyse real genetic data and help beat cancer sooner.” Learn more.


Thoughts from Steve Jobs (and I) on Creativity

I came across an old speech that Steve Jobs gave the Academy of Achievement in June of 1982. He makes a few points that I firmly believe have helped me recognize problems and innovate to solve them.

1. Zoom out and look at the big picture. John Sculley, who was the CEO of Apple said that “Steve was not an engineer — he just saw different things that people were working on and connected the dots between them.” I think good ideas come from solving a piece of the big picture while revolutionary ideas come from questioning the big picture as a whole.

2. Fill your memory with great ideas and knowledge. This will give you the building blocks of information and wide view of possibilities that you can build off of or tweak to solve new problems.

3. Seek out unique experiences that not many other people have. Similar to the second point made above, Steve mentions in his speech that you will need different experiences than others have if you expect to have different ideas.


2014 Verizon Powerful Answers Award Series

Verizon’s annual Powerful Answers challenge completed its second year. The goal of the competition is to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems. A winner from each of the four core categories is rewarded $1 million prize. These categories include Education, Healthcare, Sustainability, and Transportation.

1870+ submissions from 78 countries were narrowed down to 40 finalists. This year’s winner of the each category is as follows:

EducationSesame Enable is a smartphone for the disabled. The touch-free interface can be controlled by voice or by small head movements.

HealthcareOrganize creates a single central registry for organ donation that can push the information to each of the state-based registries. They make it easier to register to be a organ donor without going to the DMV and to also help promote the cause on social platforms.

SustainabilityEco-Fuel Africa produces green charcoal, “a carbon neutral cooking fuel that is made from renewable biomass waste like sugarcane waste, coffee husks and rice husks.”

TransportationVaxess Technologies “uses silk to stabilize vaccines so they can be stored and shipped without refrigeration – eliminating the need for the cold chain.”

View the 2014 Verizon Powerful Answers Award Series on YouTube.


Last week when a baby stopped breathing and started turning blue, the clerk at a dance shop quickly called 911. Shortly after the call, Jeff Olson, a master technician at a nearby tire shop showed up and performed CPR before an EMS team could arrive at the scene.

Jeff, also a volunteer EMT, was alerted by a smartphone app called PulsePoint because he was only blocks away from the dance shop. Dispatchers can quickly alert nearby CPR-trained bystanders, according to their current GPS location, who have registered with the app. PulsePoint also alerts responders to the nearest location of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to assist in cardiac arrest emergencies.

This was the first save since the Fire Department in Spokane Washington started using the app at dispatch.


Wearable Fitness Technology

Ralph Lauren debuted their new Polo Tech shirt at this year’s US Open. The shirt will track biometric data and transmit it to your smartphone or tablet. This is done by biosensing silver fibers that are woven into the core of the shirt and a device that connects to the side of it.

Another company is this wearable fitness technology space is Athos. They not only developed a shirt but also shorts. When the little bluetooth device is inserted into the Athos clothing it tracks biometric data and senses real-time muscle effort. The data is then transmitted to your smartphone or tablet so you can make immediate adjustments to your workout.


See-through Solar Panels

A transparent luminescent solar concentrator created by researchers at Michigan State University will generate energy and not obstruct the view. This is achieved because the concentrator captures ultraviolet and infrared light without absorbing light in the visible spectrum. The captured light is directly to the edges where it is made into electricity. Currently it has a solar conversion efficiency of about 1 percent. The researchers are aiming for 5 percent, while current colored concentrators have an efficiency of about 7 percent. Learn more: Solar Energy That Doesn’t Block The View.


A Revolutionary Vaccine Cooler

In a warm climate like Africa, a vaccine can spoil in about five days. Vaccines need to be kept between 32 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit. To solve this issue, Global Good has spent four years inventing a new cooler that acts like a coffee thermos to keep vaccines fresh for over a month. During that time they did create coolers that could keep the vaccines fresh for up to 90 days but they were not durable nor easy to maintain. The latest (sixth) version can hold up to 200 vaccines. To learn more and see photos of the device, read Vaccine Cold Chain Device.


Google Mapping Gas Leaks

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Google Earth Outreach have partnered to find natural gas leaks in our cities. Google has attached sensors to their mapping vehicles so they can sense leaks while driving all of the roads in a city.

The goal of the partnership is to stop the leaks by bringing awareness to and working with the natural gas utilities and political leaders. Natural gas, which consists mostly of methane, is a valuable energy resource that we need to conserve but it can also affect the climate if leaked. Check out the leak results plotted on maps.