Ventricular fibrillation kills thousands of Americans each week by inducing abnormal electrical signals that turn their hearts into quivering "bags of worms" no longer able to pump blood. Victims die within minutes, unless the erratic heart rhythms can be halted with massive jolts of electricity from a defibrillator. Medical researchers have moved one step closer to understanding the causes of ventricular fibrillation through a series of high-resolution movies that show how the condition disrupts the electrical signals that normally govern the heart. The high-speed imaging system produced for the research also revealed that ventricular fibrillation may develop in two distinct phases. The movies pinpointed a series of unusual spiral waves that originate with "rotors" near the surface of the heart. The waves rapidly expand, flow across the heart muscle, merge, and even interfere with each other, causing heart cells to contract in an uncoordinated way. The imaging system used by the research team produces detailed information from as many as 16,000 points on a portion of the exterior surface of the heart. Operating at 838 frames per sec, it allowed the team, consisting of researchers and physicists from the U.S. and Canada, to capture the rapid and disorganized waveforms for analysis. The system relies on fluorescent dyes that respond to electrical changes in the cells of the heart muscle. The researchers expose the beating heart to high-intensity lights, then image and intensify specific wavelengths of light returned by the dyes. Knowing how these unique waves form and behave could provide the information needed to design and test control techniques that may provide an alternative to existing defibrillators--which deliver the electrical equivalent of "a bowling ball dropped onto your chest from a two-story building," according to William L. Ditto, professor of physics at the Georgia Institute of Technology, one of the study's co-authors. E-mail email@example.com .
According to a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, one of the factors in the collapse of the original World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001, was the reduction in the yield strength of the steel reinforcement as a result of the high temperatures of the fire and the loss of thermal insulation.
Robots are getting more agile and automation systems are becoming more complex. Yet the most impressive development in robotics and automation is increased intelligence. Machines in automation are increasingly able to analyze huge amounts of data. They are often able to see, speak, even imitate patterns of human thinking. Researchers at European Automation
call this deep learning.
The promise of the Internet of Things (IoT) is that devices, gadgets, and appliances we use every day will be able to communicate with one another. This potential is not limited to household items or smartphones, but also things we find in our yard and garden, as evidenced by a recent challenge from the element14 design community.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.