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Monday, February 29, 2016

Using 3D To Print Batteries

The Appliance of 3D Science

We are at the beginnings of a science that could develop batteries lasting 50 times longer than they do today.

Mark Hilliard | February 22, 2016

Who says alchemy has to be about turning seemingly ordinary materials into gold? If you change them to ink, you have a licence to print money or at least spark a revolution.
It all started with graphene, says Prof Valeria Nicolosi from the laboratories on the second floor of the Science Gallery building at Trinity College Dublin, curving sharply over the railway line below.
The “thinnest material known to man”, she says, is made from carbon and contains billion of layers stacked one upon the other. When scientists found they could isolate a single sheet the size of an atom, it became very different and displayed special, amenable properties.

A research team from Harvard University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has demonstrated the ability to 3D print a battery.  Source:

<more at; related links and articles: (Researcher in Trinity College secures €2.5m funding. Prof Valeria Nicolosi’s team is developing new type of extremely long-lasting battery. February 15, 2016) and ('Super batteries' to be 3D printed from graphene ink. August 10, 2015)>

Humanities And STEM In Competition

A Rising Call to Promote STEM Education and Cut Liberal Arts Funding

Patricia Cohen | February 21, 2016

When the Kentucky governor, Matt Bevin, suggested last month that students majoring in French literature should not receive state funding for their college education, he joined a growing number of elected officials who want to nudge students away from the humanities and toward more job-friendly subjects like electrical engineering.
Frustrated by soaring tuition costs, crushing student loan debt and a lack of skilled workers, particularly in science and technology, more and more states have adopted the idea of rewarding public colleges and universities for churning out students educated in fields seen as important to the economy.

Thirty-two states—Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming—have a funding formula or policy in place to allocate a portion of funding based on performance indicators such as course completion, time to degree, transfer rates, the number of degrees awarded, or the number of low-income and minority graduates.  Five states—Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, South Dakota, and Vermont—are currently transitioning to some type of performance funding, meaning the Legislature or governing board has approved a performance funding program and the details are currently being worked out. Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin wants state colleges and universities to produce more electrical engineers and less French literature scholars. January 29, 2016) and (Performance-Based Funding for Higher Education. July 31, 2015)>

Booksellers Arrested For Illegal Trading (China)

Hong Kong Booksellers Confirm Arrests for Illegal Trading in China

Four men reveal details of alleged offences on TV as report says three of them might be allowed to return to Hong Kong

The Guardian/Reuters | February 29, 2016

Four of the five Hong Kong booksellers who went missing in October have appeared on television confirming for the first time they had been detained for “illegal book trading” in mainland China.
The five booksellers – including a British and a Swedish national – had been linked to the same Hong Kong publisher and bookshop that specialised in gossipy works on the private lives and power struggles of China’s Communist party leaders.
Their disappearances have prompted fears that mainland Chinese authorities may be using shadowy tactics that erode the “one country, two systems” formula under which Hong Kong has been governed since its return to China from British rule in 1997.

A printout showing Lee Bo, specializing in publications critical of China, and four other colleagues who went missing, is displayed outside a bookstore at Causeway Bay shopping district in Hong Kong, China January 6, 2016. Source:

<more at; related links and articles: (US calls on China to clarify status of missing Hong Kong booksellers. State department spokesman John Kirby says the US is ‘deeply concerned’ over the fate of the men, who are assumed to be in detention on the mainland. February 1, 2016) and (Hong Kong Bookseller Confesses on TV to Evading Rules on Shipping to Mainland. February 29, 2016)>

Brain Modems In Animals

U.S. Military Successfully Installs 'Brain Modems' in Animals

Part of project to develop 'cyborg soldiers' who use the cerebral implants to control machines. Darpa has successfully tested a brain modem on an animal subject. The military agency is hoping to develop technology that will allow soldiers to use their minds to control things like drones in war zones . The device will let the brain communicate directly with computers | Feburary 27, 2016

The U.S. military has successfully implanted and tested its first 'brain modem' on an animal subject.
The tiny, implanted chip, developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), uses a tiny sensor that travels through blood vessels, lodges in the brain and records neural activity.
Neurologists injected tiny sensors into livestocks’ veins and then recorded the electrical impulses that control the animals’ movements for six months.
The sensor, called a 'stentrode', a combination of the words 'stent' and 'electrode', is the first step in the military's desire to allow soldiers to control machinery with their minds.
Hypothetically, this could allow servicemen to use the 'brain modem' to maneuver drones.

The stentrode can record brain signals from within a blood vessel next to the brain. Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (Pentagon Research Could Make ‘Brain Modem’ a Reality. The tiny injectable machine could turn your noodle into a remote control. February 26, 2016) and (The Pentagon Wants to Put This in Your Brain. The U.S. military wants to build a brain modem that allows you to control objects by willpower. How realistic is it? January 22, 2016); further: (Moving with the power of thought. A device the size of a matchstick, implanted next to the brain’s motor cortex, could one day help paralysed people move their limbs. February 9, 2016)>

Complex Intelligence

Complex Intelligence

Esko Kilpi | February 28, 2016

A friend who works with Artificial Intelligence told me: “it is possible that there are unique things about humans, but in terms of intelligence it does not look that way. With the brain there is nothing that isn’t computable. The brain is a computer like any other.” I begged to differ.
There is still thinking about brains that is based on the model of human behavior used by neoclassical economists. This mathematical model suggests that human decision-making can be modeled as if our decisions were the outcome of solving differential equations.


<more at; related articles: (Roger Penrose - beyond algorithms. 2005.) and (The Brain Is Not Computable. A leading neuroscientist says Kurzweil’s Singularity isn’t going to happen. Instead, humans will assimilate machines. February 18, 2013)

Four Short Takes

#1 - Supercharged Raspberry Pi 3 adds Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and more speed, but still costs $35

Raspberry Pi CEO Eben Upton says Pi 3 is up to 60 percent faster than the Pi 2, warns of possible shortages

Agam Shah

<See original story at:>

Raspberry Pi has an in-store treat on its fourth anniversary.
It is now shipping the Raspberry Pi 3 computer, which at the same $35 price as its Pi 2 predecessor packs a more powerful 64-bit CPU, and for the first time, has built-in wireless capabilities.
The credit-card sized  Pi 3 is up to 60 percent faster than its predecessor, which has shipped in the millions.


#2 - Potential Treatment for Huntington's Disease Enters Clinical Testing | February 29, 2016

<See original story at:>

A drug that would be the first to target the cause of Huntington's disease (HD) is found effective and safe when tested in mice and monkeys.
The supporting data released today will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 68th Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada, April 15 to 21, 2016. A study to test the drug in humans has begun.
Huntington's disease is a rare, hereditary disease that causes uncontrolled movements, loss of intellectual abilities, emotional problems and eventually death. The disease is passed from parent to child through a mutation in the huntingtin gene. The mutation results in the production of a disease-causing huntingtin protein. Each child has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the gene mutation. Everyone who inherits the mutated gene will eventually develop the disease.


#3 - Google's Artificial Intelligence Gets Its First Art Show

Cade Metz | February 29, 2016

<See the original article at:>

On Friday evening, inside an old-movie-house-cum-art-gallery at the heart of San Francisco’s Mission district, Google graphics guru Blaise Agüera y Arcas delivered a speech to an audience of about three hundred geek hipsters.
He spoke alongside a series of images projected onto the wall that once held a movie screen, and at one point, he showed off a nearly 500-year-old double portrait by German Renaissance painter Hans Holbein. The portrait includes a strangely distorted image of a human skull, and as Agüera y Arcas explained, it’s unlikely that Holbein painted this by hand. He almost certainly used mirrors or lenses to project the image of a skull onto a canvas before tracing its outline. “He was using state-of-the-art technologies,” Agüera y Arcas told his audience.


#4 - NASA Wants to Send Your Artwork to an Asteroid.

To infinity, and Bennu [the asteroid]

Marty Beth Griggs | Februaryt 22, 2016

<See the original article at:>

Even if you weren't one of the record number of people to apply for NASA's astronaut program, you can still leave your mark on the cosmos.
As a part of the OSIRIS-REx (sic) mission to sample the asteroid Bennu (185911.61 miles away from Earth at its closest point), NASA will send along artwork from Earth loaded onto a hard drive.

Illustration showing OSIRIS-REx in orbit around asteroid Bennu. Source:

Kids' Search: Just Kiddle It

Just 'Kiddle' it: Child-friendly search engine uses humans to weed out adult content - but not all racy images are blocked

Kiddle is a website using Google's 'safe search' mode and editors. Results are filtered so 'safe' sites are shown and descriptions are simple. But users have spotted occasional racy images and inappropriate listings. The word 'gay' is blocked and a user said it was listed as 'bad word'

Sarah Griffiths | February 29, 2016

The internet may make homework a breeze for youngsters, but many parents worry their children may stumble across something inappropriate when searching online.
In a bid to solve this problem, a new search engine for children has launched called Kiddle.
Results are filtered so only 'safe' sites are shown and descriptions are written in simple language.
But it may not be as safe as it seems after tests reveal the occasional racy image can slip through the net, while searches containing 'bad words' are blocked - controversially including the word 'gay'.



<more at; related links and articles: (Kiddle. Visual Search Engine for Kids, powered by editors and Google Safe Search) and (What is Kiddle? The 'child-friendly' search engine which returns some worrying results. February 28, 2016)>

Friday, February 26, 2016

About The Brain

ALCOR Life Extension Foundation. The World's Leader in Cryonics | 2014

[Blogger's note: The ALCOR Life Extension Foundation houses 100+ cryogenically frozen brians for later recovery (first post in this section). The Blue Brain Team (second post in this section) is reconstructing a high definition section of the rat brain in 3D. The third post covers the procedure of serial electron microscopy to produce a high definition model of a section of the rat brain.]
The Alcor Life Extension Foundation is the world leader in cryonics, cryonics research, and cryonics technology. Cryonics is the science of using ultra-cold temperature to preserve human life with the intent of restoring good health when technology becomes available to do so. Alcor is a non-profit organization located in Scottsdale, Arizona, founded in 1972.

The central vision for the Human Brain Project (HBP) - reconstructing and simulating the human brain - was developed by Henry Markram, based on the research strategy developed in the Blue Brain Project. Starting in 2010, Markram created and coordinated the consortium of 80 European and International partners that developed the original HBP project proposal. In January 2013, after multiple rounds of peer review, the project was selected as one of two FET Flagships, to be funded with 1 billion euro over 10 years. The project began operations in October of the same year. The project currently includes 112 partners.



<more at; realted articles and links: (The Blue Brain Project website) and (Large-Volume Reconstruction of Brain Tissue from High-Resolution Serial Section Images Acquired by SEM-Based Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy. Masaaki Kuwajima, John M. Mendenhall, and Kristen M. Harris. Methods Mol Biol. 2013; 950: 253–273. doi:  10.1007/978-1-62703-137-0_15. [Abstract: With recent improvements in instrumentation and computational tools, serial section electron microscopy has become increasingly straightforward. A new method for imaging ultrathin serial sections is developed based on a field emission scanning electron microscope fitted with a transmitted electron detector. This method is capable of automatically acquiring high-resolution serial images with a large field size and very little optical and physical distortions. In this chapter, we describe the procedures leading to the generation and analyses of a large-volume stack of high-resolution images (64 μm × 64 μm × 10 μm, or larger, at 2 nm pixel size), including how to obtain large-area serial sections of uniform thickness from well-preserved brain tissue that is rapidly perfusion-fixed with mixed aldehydes, processed with a microwave-enhanced method, and embedded into epoxy resin.])>

Google Knows Where You Took Those Photos

Google Knows Where You Took Photos Using Pixels

Photos are broken down to the pixel-level, and Google's systems then try to cross-reference these with its gigantic image library.

Sky News | February 25, 2016

Google is developing technology that can pinpoint the location of any photo using nothing but the image's pixels.
Many services can establish where a photograph was taken using the hidden data which is often attached to most digital photographs.
However, Google wants to go a step further and has developed a system that can determine where an image was taken by scanning the landscape.
Photos are broken down to the pixel-level, and Google's systems then try to cross-reference these with its gigantic image library to see if it can match it.

Deep learning machine PlaNet recognises a range of visual cues, such as vegetation and landmarks, to guess a photo's location with 'superhuman levels of accuracy. The Eiffel Tower (top left) can be easily assigned to Paris, but the model showed the fjord photo (middle left) could have been taken in Norway or New Zealand
Deep learning machine PlaNet recognises a range of visual cues, such as vegetation and landmarks, to guess a photo's location with 'superhuman levels of accuracy. The Eiffel Tower (top left) can be easily assigned to Paris, but the model showed the fjord photo (middle left) could have been taken in Norway or New Zealand. Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (Google knows where you took your photos using individual pixels: AI tool locates landmarks with 'superhuman accuracy'. Deep learning machine PlaNet recognises a variety of visual cues. It uses them to guess a location with 'superhuman levels of accuracy'
The software was trained using 126 million images found online. During trials, it correctly guessed the country of origin 28% of the time and the continent of origin in almost half of cases. February 25, 2016) and (Everything Google knows about you (and how it knows it). November 19, 2014)>

Hacking ATMs

Malware and Skimmers, Explosions and Hammers: How Attackers Go After ATMs

Survey, YouTube offer proof that people are blowing up ATMs to get the cash inside.

Megan Geuss | February 25, 2016

What was the best way to steal cash from an ATM in 2015? Skimming still remains king, but a survey of 87 members of the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) says that card trapping and transaction reversal fraud are on the rise around the world.
In November 2015, ATMIA internally published a survey (PDF) describing the state of ATM hacking in the previous year, from how ATMs were attacked to how much money was lost from the attacks. The results showed that ATM operators were wising up to skimming operations, in which devices are placed in or on the ATM to capture card information so the skimmer can reuse the card numbers later. This caused "a deflection of crime from traditional electronic skimming towards more physical and less sophisticated forms of attack, especially card trapping and Transaction Reversal Fraud.”

More One of the cash machines allegedly blown up by a gang that was arrested for 30 ATM blasts. Source:

<more at; related articles: (+Video) (Watch: Dramatic moment Merseyside hole-in-the-wall gang blow up cash machines using 'gas bombs'. January 28, 2015) and (Dramatic moment ATM raiders used flammable gas to BLOW UP cash machines and escape with £81,000. Benjamin Barrett and Russel Bennett carried out raids around south Wales. They attacked ATMs with crow bars before pumping gas inside machines. Flash then seen as security doors are blown off ATMs in south Wales. Barrett, 30, and Bennett, 21, both from Bristol, jailed for burglary and conspiracy to cause explosion. April 30, 2015)>

Homes Of The Past

Recreating the Homes of the Past | 2016
Located in New York City’s Flatiron design district, Iliad specializes in luxury antiques and bespoke furniture inspired by early 20th-century design—Biedermeier, Art Deco, and Art Moderne. Filled with artwork and furniture masterpieces, Iliad looks more like a fine art gallery than an interior design studio. Co-founder Andrea Zemel launched the company in 2001 to revive a lineage of furniture design techniques that have been nearly lost in the United States. Andrea and her team resurrect bygone interiors using the forward-thinking technology of 3D printing.

Iliad Overview
Iliad’s New York City studio is filled with beautifully restored antiques and bespoke furniture. The hardware on this sideboard cabinet was printed with the Form 1+. Source:


<more at; related articles and links: (Iliad, New York website) and (The Form 1+. The world's best-selling desktop SLA 3D Printer)>

Helping Girls Get Interested In STEAM

High School Junior Publishes Book to Get Girls Interested in STEAM

Aaron Burgin | February 25, 2016

For as long as Nikki Arm can remember, science has been her passion. So when it came time for the longtime Girl Scout to select her Gold Award project, it was no surprise that it would focus on her love for science — especially robotics.Nikki, a 17-year-old junior at San Dieguito Academy, combined that love for science and robotics and her other love — creative writing — in a series of books aimed at promoting science, technology, engineering, arts and math, or STEAM, to young girls. She has the published the first book of the series, “Riley Loves Robotics,” a 32-page story done in Seuss-like prose about a little girl who turns to robotics to make 100 posters for the fictitious “Ocean Conservancy Day.”


<more at; related articles and links: (Riley Loves Robotics -- The Book) and (Riley Loves Robotics -- Nikki Arm)>

Homebrew Synthetic Biology Kit

Homebrew Biology Kit Brings Synthetic Biology to the Masses

Signe Brewster | February 6, 2016

Ever wanted to create your own organism? It’s now easier than ever. Just take a dash of E. coli, a pinch of jellyfish DNA, stir well and heat gently. As it bubbles away in a vial mounted on top of the stylish wooden box, the mixture slowly turns red. When done, this bioluminescent paint made by your customised bacteria will glow like a firefly.
At an event for synthetic biology start-ups in San Francisco on 4 February, Amino Labs showed off the Amino One, a tabletop bioreactor aimed at the consumer market.
The kit shrinks several lab components on to a device the size of a briefcase. Beginners will be able to modify and grow bacterial cells to create paint, medicinal compounds, scents and even foodstuffs such as yogurt, beer and bread.


<more at; related articles: (Quality control opens path to synthetic biology’s Ikea. March 26, 2013) and (Inroducing The Amino One ™ by Amino Labs. Enabling anyone to create and grow living cells for research, education or domestic life.)>

Play-Doh Fake Fingerprint Fools iPhone 6

Fake Play-Doh Fingerprint ‘Fools Security Scan to Hack into iPhone 6’ (+Video)

A tech start-up claims to have hacked an iPhone fingerprint sensor using a fake fingerprint made from Play-Doh.

Mark Blunden | February 25, 2016

Vkansee said it created the hack to show the superior resolution of its own fingerprint sensors.
The company created the false fingerprint by pushing Play-Doh into the cast of a finger made in dental paste.
The duplicate fingerprint is then placed on the sensor, which the  Standard saw fool the scanning security feature to unlock an iPhone 6.
Smartphone sensors currently scan information at 500 pixels per inch, but the company has developed one that works at four times the resolution.

A tech start-up claims to have hacked an iPhone fingerprint sensor using a fake fingerprint made from Play-Doh. Source:

<more at; related articles: (+Video) (Could your iPhone really be hacked using Play-Doh? Bebruary 26, 2016) and (Apple iPhone Unlocked With Play-Doh. February 26, 2016)>

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Why The Average Joe Should Care About Virtual Reality (VR)

How Virtual Reality Is Going to Change Your Life (+Video)

Chris Ciaccia | February 20, 2016

So you've probably seen some news recently about nearly every major tech company getting into virtual reality. Naturally, you're wondering what all the fuss is about.
Alphabet's (GOOG - Get Report) (GOOGL - Get Report) Google is reportedly working on a stand-alone virtual reality headset that wouldn't need a smartphone, PC or game console to work, which would be an industry first. There have been hints Apple (AAPL - Get Report) is working on something in the space, which if true, could be the company's next big product.


<more at; related articles and pages: (Watch this cryptic but amazing new video for Magic Leap’s VR technology. October 21, 2015) and (Could Virtual Reality Change Education Forever? January 11, 2016)>

Augmented Reality (AR) Headsets Could Do Away With Traditional Monitors

This New Augmented Reality Device Could Render Our External Monitors Obsolete

Meta unveils a novel and incredible augmented reality headset that could one day render our monitors useless. | February 21, 2016

Meta, a Redwood City-based tech company just unveiled their latest Augmented Reality (AR) glasses live on TED in Vancouver, and it’s pretty impressive.
The technology is anchored on the idea that the user should be the operating system, thus creating a more interactive platform and hopefully lowering the learning curve required to use it. This gives users a way to create a more natural method of interaction between digital information and user’s real, natural environment.
Admittedly, their concept is a far cry from our long-standing method of computer interaction, where people are found operating the machine behind computer screens. But as far as Meron Gribetz, CEO of Meta, is concerned, “we’re all going to be throwing away our external monitors.”


<more at; related articles and pages: (Meta website) and (+Video) (Meta Unveils Incredible Augmented Reality Headset at TED. February 17, 2016)

Computer Science As A Graduation Requirement (Chicago Public Schools)

Computer Science Could Become Graduation Requirement for CPS Students

Marwa Eltagouri | February 22, 2016

Chicago Public Schools officials said Monday they are ready to move ahead with an initiative long-touted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to make computer science a requirement for high school graduation.
"We want our students in Chicago to have exposure and training to the science, even if they go into other fields where it might not be as immediately applicable," district CEO Forrest Claypool said during a news conference at Curie Metropolitan High School.

Computer Science Is Now (Officially) a Graduation Requirement for Chicago Public School Students. Source:

<more at; related article: (Computer Science Is Now A High School Graduation Requirement In Chicago’s Public School District. February 24, 2016) and (Computer Science Is Now (Officially) a Graduation Requirement for Chicago Public School Students. February 24, 2016)>

Policing The Dark Web For Stolen Data

The Spider That Crawls the Dark Web Looking for Stolen Data

A start-up alerts organizations when their sensitive information pops up for sale online.

Kaveh Waddell | February 22, 2016

When police officers respond to a theft or a mugging, they’ll usually ask for the serial numbers of any valuable electronics that were taken. Those identifiers can help police know if a stolen item turns up at a local pawn shop, in a second-hand store, or on eBay. In many states, resellers have to check the serial numbers of certain items against a registry of stolen goods when the items come in.
But it’s a lot harder to track a stolen database of personal information, which can contain everything from names and addresses to financial details and fingerprints.

Fingerprint Database Runs on MapR. Source:

<more at; related articles: (Verizon Data Breach Investigations Reports. More than a decade of data tracking the evolution of cyber threats. Keep your organization on the winning side of cybercrime by understanding attackers’ methods. Access 11 years of historical data analyzing more than 100,000 security incidents. 2015) and (Terbium Labs Leverages MapR to Help Power Discovery of Stolen Data on the Dark Web. August 26, 2015)>

The Smart Toothbrush

Oral-B Genius Connected Toothbrush Uses Your Smartphone Camera

Shane McGlaun | February 22, 2016

Oral-B has unveiled a new toothbrush at MWC 2016 called the Oral-B Genius. This brush uses Position Detection Technology with sensors in the brush and video recognition tech that uses the camera on your smartphone. Together the sensor and smartphone camera keep an eye on areas of your teeth being brushed to help ensure no zone is missed.
The sensor and camera system gives instant feedback on areas that are being missed using the Oral-B App 4.1. Among the data the app gives users is pressure applied and brushing duration. The toothbrush itself has Oral-B oscillating-rotating-pulsating tech to help clean teeth better.


<more at; related articles: (Oral-B's App-Enabled Toothbrush Exposes Your Poor Hygiene. February 21, 2016) and (The MWC product that I want the most right now… and it’s not a phone. February 24, 2016)>

An AI Chatbot That Looks Surprisingly Human (Passes The Turing Test)

Your Next New Best Friend Might Be a Robot

Meet Xiaoice. She’s empathic, caring, and always available—just not human.

Yongdong Wang | February 4, 2016

[...] She is an artificially intelligent software program designed to chat with people, called a chatbot. Since the reporter didn’t give us a heads-up about the interview, all of her replies were spontaneous, generated by her own intelligence and linguistic systems. Her “father?” That’s the Microsoft Application and Services Group East Asia, which is under my leadership.
Xiaoice can exchange views on any topic. If it’s something she doesn’t know much about, she will try to cover it up. If that doesn’t work, she might become embarrassed or even angry, just like a human would.
In fact, she is so human that millions of people are eager to talk to her. When Xiaoice was released for a public test on WeChat (a popular messaging and calling app in China) on May 29 of last year, she received 1.5 million chat group invitations in the first 72 hours. Many people said that they didn’t realize she isn’t a human until 10 minutes into their conversation.


<more at; related articles: (Chatting With Xiaoice. July 31, 2015) and (Microsoft may be running the biggest Turing test in history. February 5, 2016)>

Forensics: Identifying The Wearer Of A Pair Of Shoes

Scientists Create New Technology That Can ID the Wearer of a Shoe

Kate Horowitz | February 22, 2016

For all the advancements in forensic technology over the past two decades, some areas continue to lag. Current shoeprint analysis techniques are still relatively old-fashioned and provide little information. Now, two British scientists have devised a new method that uses patterns of wear on the shoe’s sole to identify the wearer. They described their technique in the journal Scientific Reports last week.
Today, most shoeprint analysis can provide police with just two types of information: the type of shoe and its size. But the marks left behind by a suspect fleeing the scene or a missing person have much more information to offer. The trick is accessing it.


<more at; related articles: (Watch your step! A frustrated total internal reflection approach to forensic footwear imaging. J.A. Needham and J.S. Sharp. Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 21290 (2016) doi:10.1038/srep21290. [Abstract: Forensic image retrieval and processing are vital tools in the fight against crime e.g. during fingerprint capture. However, despite recent advances in machine vision technology and image processing techniques (and contrary to the claims of popular fiction) forensic image retrieval is still widely being performed using outdated practices involving inkpads and paper. Ongoing changes in government policy, increasing crime rates and the reduction of forensic service budgets increasingly require that evidence be gathered and processed more rapidly and efficiently. A consequence of this is that new, low-cost imaging technologies are required to simultaneously increase the quality and throughput of the processing of evidence. This is particularly true in the burgeoning field of forensic footwear analysis, where images of shoe prints are being used to link individuals to crime scenes. Here we describe one such approach based upon frustrated total internal reflection imaging that can be used to acquire images of regions where shoes contact rigid surfaces.]) and (The discrimination of two-dimensional military boot impressions based on wear patterns. T.L. Fruchtenicht, W.P. Herzig, and R.D. Blackledge. Science & Justice. April 2002Volume 42, Issue 2, Pages 97–104. DOI: [Abstract: A study was undertaken to determine the discrimination value of wear patterns in the comparison of two-dimensional footwear impressions with questioned shoes. In order to isolate the influence
on wear caused by individual differences in weight, bone structure, and walking styles, only right foot, size 10, military combat boots worn by US Marines were studied. A commercial footwear impression kit featuring a chemically infused pad and sensitized paper was used for boot impression acquisition. Feature measurement was accomplished with an image analysis system to acquire the two-dimensional impressions as files, and then using a commercial marker-measurement system. A total of 127 different right boot impressions were acquired, scanned, measured, and measurement values entered into the database. The power of the developed metrics to discriminate between outsole impression patterns was evaluated in a blind challenge experiment. The system analyst was provided with 26 coded outsole impression sheets as "unknowns", of these, 22 had been previously entered in the database and four were outside samples. No false matches were made, and of all the non-matching images in only one instance did all of its measurements fall within the 0.10 cm match criteria selected by the system operator.])>

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Augmented Reality Book

Augmented Reality Book Requires No Apps or Glasses (+Video)

Leo Lutero | February 23, 2016

Augmented reality is a technology that brings together the real and ‘unreal.’ However, there’s always that nagging sense of fakery since you’d have to look through a pair of expensive glasses or through a phone screen to see the magic. Now, creative studio Convivial has created a DIY tutorial on how to make an AR book that you can look directly at.
On an Instructable, they reveal how they built this digital screen-free AR experience. 


<more at (+Video) (Augmented Book Prototype) and (convivial studio. Experiential design studio creating artistic projects and installations utilising innovative technology. December 1, 2015)>

3.2 Billion People Online (Global Internet Population) But 4.1 Could Not Get On The Internet

Global Internet Population Grows to 3.2 Billion: Study

Phys,org | February 22, 2016

The number of people worldwide with Internet access reached 3.2 billion at the end of 2015, but the remaining 4.1 billion still could not get online, a Facebook-sponsored study showed.
Facebook's second annual "State of Connectivity" report, released late Sunday, showed that 200 million people gained Internet access in 2015, due to "more affordable data and rising global incomes."
The report said the remaining world population needs help to gain access to the Internet and the economic opportunities it enables.


<more at; related articles: (State of Connectivity 2015: A Report on Global Internet Access. February 21, 2016) and (Internet World Stats, November 2015)

Using A Microscope In 3D

Now in 3D! Microscope Offers New Way to View Live Cancer Cells

Nala Rogers | February 22, 2016

In what could transform the study of cells’ interactions with their environment, researchers have invented a microscope that can look at live cancer cells in 3D, with high resolution in every direction. Previously, high-resolution live imaging has been done with cells cultured on glass slides, which flattens samples. Live cells are highly sensitive to their surroundings, so the new microscopy strategy—which replaces glass slides with blocks of collagen—could help reveal more natural behaviors. The technique, called microenvironmental selective plane illumination microscopy (meSPIM), uses exceptionally long, thin beams of laser light to trigger fluorescence in a sample, causing it to glow.


<more at; related articles: (Microscope shows live cancer cells in high resolution 3D. February 23, 2016) and (Quantitative Multiscale Cell Imaging in Controlled 3D Microenvironments. Erik S. Welf, Meghan K. Driscoll, Kevin M. Dean, Claudia Schäfer, Jun Chu, Michael W. Davidson, Michael Z. Lin, Gaudenz Danuser, and Reto Fiolka. Developmental Cell. Volume 36, Issue 4, p 462–475, 22 February 2016. [Summary: The microenvironment determines cell behavior, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are poorly understood because quantitative studies of cell signaling and behavior have been challenging due to insufficient spatial and/or temporal resolution and limitations on microenvironmental control. Here we introduce microenvironmental selective plane illumination microscopy (meSPIM) for imaging and quantification of intracellular signaling and submicrometer cellular structures as well as large-scale cell morphological and environmental features. We demonstrate the utility of this approach by showing that the mechanical properties of the microenvironment regulate the transition of melanoma cells from actin-driven protrusion to blebbing, and we present tools to quantify how cells manipulate individual collagen fibers. We leverage the nearly isotropic resolution of meSPIM to quantify the local concentration of actin and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase signaling on the surfaces of cells deep within 3D collagen matrices and track the many small membrane protrusions that appear in these more physiologically relevant environments.])>