Oak Ridge, TN —Designers of medical equipment and diagnostic systems should check out progress on the Virtual Human project being lead by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL; www.ornl. gov/virtualhuman). This collection of assets on the Internet is aimed at modeling organs and their behavior on the systems level. The project looks to establish servers with resources, including: libraries of physiological models and anatomical data (for developing equivalent physical "phantom" models of various organs that can be made for device testing); actual patient data (such as EKG and EEG traces); and databases of metabolic and bioprocesses. These would all be linked by a "client" user interface.
For designing seat belts or airbags, for example, designers could use the Virtual Human to study how the organs in the chest would respond to and be affected by a blunt-object or accident trauma. Organ exposure to toxins, such as mercury vapor inhalation, and treatment could also be modeled. With precise models of "well" and "problem" physiological characteristics, designers of safety, medical-imaging, and diagnostic systems will be able to evaluate effectiveness of products earlier in the design cycle.
More often than not, with the purchase of a sports car comes the sacrifice of any sort of utility. In other words, you can forget about a large trunk, extra seats for the kids, and more importantly driving in snowy (or inclement) weather. But what if there was a vehicle that offered the best of both worlds; great handling and practicality?
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
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