Braille iPad case concept could make tablets usable for the blind
The iPad is the best-selling consumer tablet, but it — and every other entry into the slate market — is rendered unusable to those without the ability to see. That could change if the Omnifer Braille iPad case ever moves from concept to store shelves. The unique folding case isn’t just protective, it also features a high-tech raised Braille technology that could be used with special apps, opening a whole new world to those with vision impairments.
The case covers roughly half of the iPad’s screen with a special Braille section that responds to changes in light. The glow of the tablet’s 9.7″ display would activate a special light-reactive chemical, and raise portions of the Braille section to be readable. Custom apps would be created to utilize this unique feature. As the area of the screen behind the Braille section changes, so would the raised bumps, opening the door to apps like digital magazines designed specifically for the blind.
Dolphins and Shark Attacks: Remarkable Healing Powers
The remarkably clever dolphin has amused us with its tricks and intrigued us with its intelligence, and now it turns out that it routinely defies death. It can ignore a wound that would kill a human within hours. Dolphins, according to a new study, are frequently attacked by sharks that leave gaping holes bigger than a basketball.
“Why don’t they bleed to death?” asks Michael Zasloff, professor of surgery and immunology at Georgetown University Medical Center. “Why don’t they get infections? Why aren’t they eaten after the injury? Why doesn’t the shark finish the job?”
Zasloff thinks he may have at least partial answers to those questions, although much more research needs to be done.
“I have concluded that what we see when we look at the dolphin is a medical miracle,” he said in a telephone interview. And if scientists can figure out exactly how the dolphin cheats death, maybe humans can eventually learn how to do it too, through better treatment of all sorts of injuries, not just shark bites.
Zasloff is a surgeon, not a dolphin expert, but his interest in this sea-going mammal began nine years ago when he was visiting a marine lab in Scotland. He was told that 70 to 80 percent of the dolphins that swim in the waters near Australia have shark bites.
“When I heard that I was taken aback,” he said. “How in the heck does a mammal, like you and me, survive a shark bite in the ocean, unattended, with no antibiotics?”
A shark bite involves more than just ripping out a large chunk of flesh. The shark leaves “the worst collection of toxic organisms” in the wound, so infection should follow. A human being would die of infection and shock within two or three days if not hospitalized. So how does a dolphin heal itself without medical treatment?
That question haunted Zasloff for nine years, but a few months ago, he began working with Australians who are in constant contact with bottlenose dolphins, including Trevor Hassard, director of the Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort on Moreton Island. The resort is different from most aquatic parks in that the dolphins are free to visit, where they get an easy meal, or leave and return to the wild whenever they so desire.
No Obvious Pain, and No Scars
Over the years Hassard and others who care for wild dolphins have seen hundreds of dolphins that have been attacked by sharks. If the attack was recent, an open wound, usually on the backside of the dolphin, seemed to have little effect on the animal. It swam normally, did not show any sign of pain — though dolphins clearly can experience pain — and acted as though nothing was wrong. And within about 30 days the wound was gone. There were no scars. No signs of the injury. Even the natural contour of the body was back to its normal shape.
Lucy Vodden was the subject of a painting brought home from kindergarten by a young Julian Lennon, who showed it to his dad, John, and told him it was “Lucy — in the sky with diamonds”.
Julian got back in touch with Lucy a few years ago when he heard that she was battling Lupus, an auto-immune disease.
Now, a plaque commemorating the woman who inspired the Beatles’ hit, will be placed in Liverpool in memory of Vodden who died in 2009 at age 46. (See the drawing below)
Following her death, Lennon became heavily involved with St Thomas’ Lupus Trust, which commissioned the plaque, and he become the Lupus Foundation of America’s Global Ambassador.
The video below was made for World Lupus Day May 10. Julian describes knowing Lucy and tells how her death inspired him to help raise money and awareness for the terrible disease, which affects millions.
Liverpool’s City Council agreed to the placing of a ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ plaque in Mathew Street in Liverpool, which is the Mecca for fans of the Beatles. The sculptor of the bronze plaque will be Lauren Voiers, who is the young sculptor responsible for the John Lennon Peace monument in Liverpool.
This will take place alongside the launch of the ‘Lucy Vodden Lupus Research Fellowship’ a lupus research project in Lucy’s name so all excess funds from the plaque will go towards that project.
The environment is of concern to a lot of us. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched an Apps for Environment contest that gives developers a free reign to design and implement any application that addresses one or more of seven priorities that have been set by the EPA.
The EPA Apps for Environment Challenge requires that your application use the EPA Environmental and Human Health data, is useful to individuals and communities and does addresses atleast one of EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s Seven Priorities, some of which include improving Air Quality, Safety of Chemicals and Protecting America’s waters. You are free to combine other environment and health data to augment your application.
Neuroscientist, Gary Small, tells CBS News’ Daniel Sieberg how technology may be making us smarter.
Kudzu is a plant that chokes other plants and is a menace to farmers and land owners. This was a science project that really could change the world, well at least Mars.
For his sixth grade science project, Schindler — now 17 years old — came up with the idea of planting kudzu on Mars.
“We breathe in oxygen, we breathe out CO2, and plants breathe in CO2 and breathe out oxygen. I started asking what would make it impossible to grow kudzu on Mars,” he said.
Experimenting with different gasses led him to find that helium killed the kudzu but without harming the other plants around it.
“At this point it was still very much, let’s grow kudzu on Mars,” Schindler said. “But what it really became is: How can I eliminate kudzu in an environmentally-friendly way?”
He came up with a modified drill shaft that hooks up to a helium tank.
“I drill the actual device into the ground which allows me to have something underground to disperse the helium with,” he explained.
His mom, Julie has helped him apply for a patent on the device and his methodology.
“When I first heard about Jacob’s ideas, I was a little skeptical. But the more I thought about it, I realized it could have some merit. Kudzu has large tubers and if the helium is choking out the oxygen, it could be suffocating them,” Enloe said.
He and Schindler have been recreating the initial kudzu experiments in a laboratory.
They expect to have some initial results soon.
In the meantime, Schindler has been testing out using kudzu as an alternative food source for Georgia’s Governor’s Honor Program — a summer education project for talented high school students in the state.
“The roots are a starch; it can be used as wine, salads, cakes and kudzu salsa. I’m interested in getting kudzu off the weed list and back on the plant list. It has many uses,” he said.
A 2005 study by Harvard Medical School found that a compound made from kudzu could help reduce alcohol cravings.
Gift giving is not only good for those that give gifts but studdies show that a positive act can actually make you, the giver, happy. There are few better antidotes for unhappiness than a cherished friendship. Resolve to nurture your closest relationships by not taking them for granted, show kindness to them, affirm them, and share time together. And the holidays are a great time to reconnect with old friends but also a great time to establish new relationships. Happiness isn’t somewhere off in the future, but in the laugh you share with a good friend over coffee.
For the holidays I like to give gifts that say I thinking about you but also I was thinking about your well being. A wonderful gift that many overlook is organic fruit, not that regular fruit can also be nice. But with mass production of fruit you have pesticides that are not good for you and at this point everyone understands that. Organic fruit has that mass appeal without the pesticides. There are sites that you can order organic fruit baskets from, making time to meet for that cup of coffee with your friends.
A site that has a great selection is www.goodlifebaskets.com and one of the reasons I really like them is they donate to NAMI.