Archive for the ‘wearables’ category: Page 15

Feb 26, 2018

New technique allows printing of flexible, stretchable silver nanowire circuits

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, health, nanotechnology, wearables

Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a new technique that allows them to print circuits on flexible, stretchable substrates using silver nanowires. The advance makes it possible to integrate the material into a wide array of electronic devices.

Silver nanowires have drawn significant interest in recent years for use in many applications, ranging from prosthetic devices to wearable health sensors, due to their flexibility, stretchability and conductive properties. While proof-of-concept experiments have been promising, there have been significant challenges to printing highly integrated using silver nanowires.

Silver nanoparticles can be used to print circuits, but the nanoparticles produce circuits that are more brittle and less conductive than silver nanowires. But conventional techniques for printing circuits don’t work well with silver nanowires; the nanowires often clog the printing nozzles.

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Feb 20, 2018

Using a laser to wirelessly charge a smartphone safely across a room

Posted by in categories: computing, engineering, mobile phones, wearables

Although mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones let us communicate, work and access information wirelessly, their batteries must still be charged by plugging them in to an outlet. But engineers at the University of Washington have for the first time developed a method to safely charge a smartphone wirelessly using a laser.

As the team reports in a paper published online in December in the Proceedings of the Association for Computing Machinery on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable & Ubiquitous Technologies, a narrow, invisible beam from a laser emitter can deliver charge to a sitting across a room — and can potentially charge a smartphone as quickly as a standard USB cable. To accomplish this, the team mounted a thin power cell to the back of a smartphone, which charges the smartphone using power from the laser. In addition, the team custom-designed safety features — including a metal, flat-plate heatsink on the smartphone to dissipate from the laser, as well as a reflector-based mechanism to shut off the laser if a person tries to move in the charging beam’s path.

“Safety was our focus in designing this system,” said co-author Shyam Gollakota, an associate professor in the UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. “We have designed, constructed and tested this laser-based charging system with a rapid-response safety mechanism, which ensures that the laser emitter will terminate the charging beam before a person comes into the path of the laser.”

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Feb 18, 2018

Artificial muscles power up with new gel-based robotics

Posted by in categories: cyborgs, life extension, robotics/AI, wearables

A collaborative research team has designed a wearable robot to support a person’s hip joint while walking. The team, led by Minoru Hashimoto, a professor of textile science and technology at Shinshu University in Japan, published the details of their prototype in Smart Materials and Structures, a journal published by the Institute of Physics.

“With a rapidly aging society, an increasing number of elderly people require care after suffering from stroke, and other-age related disabilities. Various technologies, devices, and robots are emerging to aid caretakers,” wrote Hashimoto, noting that several technologies meant to assist a person with walking are often cumbersome to the user. “[In our] current study, [we] sought to develop a lightweight, soft, wearable assist wear for supporting activities of daily life for older people with weakened muscles and those with mobility issues.”

The wearable system consists of plasticized polyvinyl chloride (PVC) gel, mesh electrodes, and applied voltage. The mesh electrodes sandwich the gel, and when voltage is applied, the gel flexes and contracts, like a muscle. It’s a wearable actuator, the mechanism that causes movement.

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Feb 17, 2018

Japanese researchers develop ultrathin, highly elastic skin display

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health, mobile phones, privacy, wearables

A new ultrathin elastic display that fits snugly on the skin can show the moving waveform of an electrocardiogram recorded by a breathable, on-skin electrode sensor. Combined with a wireless communication module, this integrated biomedical sensor system, called “skin electronics,” can transmit biometric data to the cloud.

This latest research by a Japanese academic-industrial collaboration, led by Professor Takao Someya at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Engineering, is slated for a news briefing and talk at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas on February 17th.

Thanks to advances in semiconductor technology, wearable devices can now monitor health by measuring vital signs or taking an electrocardiogram, and then transmitting the data wirelessly to a smartphone. The readings or electrocardiogram waveforms can be displayed on the screen in real time, or sent to the cloud or a memory device where the information is stored.

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Feb 7, 2018

Japan lays groundwork for boom in robot carers

Posted by in categories: government, robotics/AI, wearables

The next research priorities include wearable mobility aid devices and technology that guides people to the toilet at what it predicts is the right time.

According to Japan’s robot strategy, the government hopes that four in five care recipients accept having some support provided by robots by 2020.

Japanese government wants to increase acceptance of technology that could help fill the gap in the nursing workforce.

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Feb 2, 2018

Amazon’s idea for employee-tracking wearables raises concerns

Posted by in category: wearables

The company has patents for wristbands that track warehouse employees’ movements.

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Jan 31, 2018

Engineers develop flexible lithium battery for wearable electronics

Posted by in categories: engineering, mobile phones, wearables

The rapid development of flexible and wearable electronics is giving rise to an exciting range of applications, from smart watches and flexible displays—such as smart phones, tablets, and TV—to smart fabrics, smart glass, transdermal patches, sensors, and more. With this rise, demand has increased for high-performance flexible batteries. Up to now, however, researchers have had difficulty obtaining both good flexibility and high energy density concurrently in lithium-ion batteries.

A team led by Yuan Yang, assistant professor of materials science and engineering in the department of applied physics and mathematics at Columbia Engineering, has developed a prototype that addresses this challenge: a Li-on battery shaped like the human spine that allows remarkable flexibility, high , and stable voltage no matter how it is flexed or twisted. The study is published today in Advanced Materials.

“The density of our prototype is one of the highest reported so far,” says Yang. “We’ve developed a simple and scalable approach to fabricate a flexible spine-like that has excellent electrochemical and mechanical properties. Our design is a very promising candidate as the first-generation, flexible, commercial lithium-ion battery. We are now optimizing the design and improving its performance.”

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Jan 15, 2018

Robots heal injured pig oesaphagus

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, robotics/AI, wearables

In the process outlined in the paper, a robotic implant about ten centimetres long is attached to the outside of the organ with two steel ‘O’ rings fixed around the tubular sections of the oesophagus. The unit containing the motor, sensors and electronics is sheathed in a biocompatible waterproof skin and connected by cable to a wearable control unit outside the body, and mechanostimulation encourages cell growth in the area between the rings.

The results were encouraging. Over nine days the implant extended the test pigs’ oesophageal length by 77% between the two rings, not by stretching the organ but by stimulating cellular growth within it. During this period the organ also experienced normal blood flow and functionality.

It sounds like something out of Star Trek, but an international team report success with a cell-regenerating robot implant. Andrew P Street reports.

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Jan 11, 2018

Tougher WiFi security will keep you safe at the coffee shop

Posted by in categories: encryption, habitats, internet, security, wearables

WiFi security hasn’t changed much since WPA2 came to be in 2004, and that’s becoming increasingly apparent when public hotspots are frequently risky and glaring exploits are all too common. It’s about to get a long-due upgrade, though: the Wi-Fi Alliance plans to roll out a WPA3 standard that addresses a number of weak points. For many, the highlight will be individualized data encryption. Even if you’re on an open public network, you won’t have to worry quite so much about someone snooping on your data.

You’ll also see safeguards even when people have terrible passwords, and a simplified security process for devices that have either a tiny display or none at all (say, wearable devices or smart home gadgets). And companies or governments that need stricter security will have access to a 192-bit security suite.

WPA3 should arrive sometime in 2018, and comes on the back of other improvements like more thorough testing to catch potential vulnerabilities before they require emergency patches. These initiatives aren’t going to guarantee airtight security when you’re at the coffee shop, but they could at least eliminate some of WiFi’s more worrying flaws.

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Jan 7, 2018

Biomechanical Energy Instead of Batteries?

Posted by in categories: energy, wearables

Why wearable? Many industrial and academic studies are currently addressed to design and to optimize the technologies related to portable and wireless.

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