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.
Samsung's Galaxy line of smartphones used to fare quite well in the repairability department, but last year's flagship S5 model took a tumble, scoring a meh-inducing 5/10. Will the newly redesigned S6 lead us back into star-studded territory, or will we sink further into the depths of a repairability black hole?
In 2003, the world contained just over 500 million Internet-connected devices. By 2010, this figure had risen to 12.5 billion connected objects, almost six devices per individual with access to the Internet. Now, as we move into 2015, the number of connected 'things' is expected to reach 25 billion, ultimately edging toward 50 billion by the end of the decade.
NASA engineer Brian Trease studied abroad in Japan as a high school student and used to fold fast-food wrappers into cranes using origami techniques he learned in library books. Inspired by this, he began to imagine that origami could be applied to building spacecraft components, particularly solar panels that could one day send solar power from space to be used on earth.
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