Scientists have developed a soft, non-toxic wearable sensor that can be attached to the hand to monitor force of a grasp and the motion of the fingers.
Children born prematurely often develop neuromotor and cognitive developmental disabilities. The best way to reduce the impacts of those disabilities is to catch them early through a series of cognitive and motor tests.
However, accurately measuring and recording the motor functions of small children is tricky. As any parent will tell you, toddlers tend to dislike wearing bulky devices on their hands and have a predilection for ingesting things they shouldn’t.
“We have developed a new type of conductive liquid that is no more dangerous than a small drop of salt water,” said Siyi Xu, a graduate student at Harvard University in the US.
“It is four times more conductive than previous biocompatible solutions, leading to cleaner, less noisy data,” Xu said.
The sensing solution is made from potassium iodide, which is a common dietary supplement, and glycerol, which is a common food additive.
After a short mixing period, the glycerol breaks the crystal structure of potassium iodide and forms potassium cations (K+) and iodide ions (I-), making the liquid conductive.
Since glycerol has a lower evaporation rate than water, and the potassium iodide is highly soluble, the liquid is both stable across a range of temperatures and humidity levels and highly conductive.
“Previous biocompatible soft sensors have been made using sodium chloride-glycerol solutions but these solutions have low conductivities, which makes the sensor data very noisy, and it also takes about 10 hours to prepare,” said Xu.
“We’ve shortened that down to about 20 minutes and get very clean data,” Xu said.
The design of the sensors also takes the need of children into account. Rather than a bulky glove, the silicon-rubber sensor sits on top of the finger and on the finger pad.
“We often see that children who are born early or who have been diagnosed with early developmental disorders have highly sensitive skin,” said Eugene Goldfield, an associate professor at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
“By sticking to the top of the finger, this device gives accurate information while getting around the sensitively of the child’s hand,” said Goldfield.
Researchers currently study motor function using motion capture. While the technology can tell a lot about movement, it cannot measure force, which is critical to diagnosing neuromotor and cognitive developmental disabilities.
“Early diagnosis is the name of the game when it comes to treating these developmental disabilities and this wearable sensor can give us a lot of advantages not currently available,” said Goldfield.
This paper only tested the device on adult hands. Next, the researchers plan to scale down the device and test it on the hands of children.
Nike Adapt Self-Lacing Smart Sneaker Will Require Regular Charging
Nike has found a new way to capture more information about its customers: through their sneakers.
At an event called the “Future of Footwear,” Nike unveiled a new shoe concept, called Nike Adapt, that tracks performance in real time, allowing the company to give weekend warriors athletic tips and also sell them more products.
“It’s the start of a new day,” said Michael Donaghu, Nike’s director of global footwear innovation. “It’s like we’re moving from footwear to firmwear.”
The shoes, with their data-tracking capability, present customers with a choice about privacy — if they opt not to share their data, they’ll miss out on a lot of the product’s capabilities. The company is starting with basketball shoes, which will sell for $350 (roughly Rs. 25,000).
The shoe self-tightens to an athlete’s preference – there are no laces – and is adjustable via an app. The products carry sensors, accelerometers and gyroscopes that can give Nike a full, personalized snapshot of its owner’s performance. They’ll need recharging every two weeks.
“It’s like having two smartphones strapped to your two feet,” said Michael Martin, Nike’s global head of digital products.
CEO Mark Parker discussed the new shoes in vague terms in December, calling it a “major step” in taking Nike’s new digital emphasis and embedding it into actual product.
Nike stores are also going digital. The company calls new flagship locations unveiled two months ago in New York and Shanghai “Houses of Innovation.” They blend online shopping with the in-person experience. To get the full experience, you essentially have to download the Nike app.
Nike is in the midst of a digital transformation. A large part of that is trying to get more of its customers to become members of the NikePlus loyalty program. The company has found members spend three times more than nonmembers when they shop at Nike.com.
Though Nike has seen rapid growth in apparel sales, shoes still accounted for 61 percent of the company’s $36.4 billion in revenue last fiscal year.
Nike auto-lacing shoes have been around since 2017, when the company sold a limited number of low-top sneakers for $720, the most expensive shoes it ever released.
These shoes will be available through Nike’s direct channels, and through retailers, and will debut in the NBA on the feet of Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum later this week.
The shoe’s technology is can be updated through the app, meaning its capabilities can change after it’s purchased. The Beaverton, Oregon-based company plans to release more products with the Adapt technology, including running shoes, sportswear and lifestyle items.
“The advantages we’re looking to provide the athlete are so substantial that you’ll see a mass of people wanting to make use of those benefits,” Martin said.
Microsoft Says Will Set Up 10 AI Labs, Train 5 Lakh Youth in India
Microsoft India to set up Artificial Intelligence (AI) labs in 10 universities and train five lakh youth across the country in disrupting technologies.
The company also said it will upskill over 10,000 developers over the next three years.
“We believe AI will enable Indian businesses and more for India’s progress, especially in education, skilling, healthcare and agriculture,” said Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India.
Microsoft AI today is fuelling digital transformation for over 700 customers and 60 per cent customers are large manufacturing and financial services enterprises.
Over 700 partners have geared up to support the AI ecosystem, said the company.
Microsoft in December announced a three-year “Intelligent Cloud Hub” collaborative programme in India, for empowering institutes to skill students in AI and Cloud technologies.
India is one of the first countries to have such a programme in which Microsoft will support selected institutes that have the best-in-class infrastructure, curriculum and content, onsite training for faculty and students, access for participating students to Cloud and AI services, developmental tools and developer support.
In April 2018, the company announced the Microsoft Professional Programme (MPP) for the public.
This programme is helping in providing job-ready skills along with real-world experience to engineers as well as others who plan on improving their skills in AI and data science, using a series of online courses.
“Microsoft also believes that it is imperative to build higher awareness and capabilities on security, privacy, trust and accountability,” said Maheshwari.
TP-Link Launches New Wi-Fi 6 Routers at CES 2019 With Something at Every Price Point
TP-Link has announced five new next-generation wireless products at CES 2019. All these routers are based on Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) with prices ranges from the affordable entry-level routers to expensive wireless routers meant for gaming. In December last year, TP-Link had introduced its first two Wi-Fi 6 routers based on Broadcom platforms. With its latest announcement at CES 2019, the company seems keen on bringing more Wi-Fi 6 products for everyone.
The new TP Link Deco X10 is a mesh networking-based wireless router. It comes in a pack of two (one main unit and a satellite), priced at $349.99 (roughly Rs. 24,340). It offers a wireless bandwidth of up to 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and up to 1,200Mbps on the 5GHz band.
The company has also announced a new Archer AX11000 gaming wireless router. It is a tri-band wireless router capable of a maximum wireless throughput of up to 4,804Mbps on the 5GHz bands and up to 1,148Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. TP-Link had added USB Type-C and USB Type-A ports to enable storage sharing across the network. The router will sell at $449.99 (roughly Rs. 31,300) and will be available later this month.
TP-Link’s new Archer AX6000 is a dual-band wireless router that offers features similar to the Archer AX11000 and is shipping right away. It includes a 2.5Gbps WAN port so in case you have a high-speed broadband connection, but you don’t play games, this might be the right router for you as it costs $100 (roughly Rs. 6,954) less than the Archer AX11000.
The basic TP-Link Archer AX1800 brings Wi-Fi 6 at an affordable price point. The Archer AX1800 is a dual-band wireless router which comes with a Gigabit WAN port and a USB 2.0 port to share data across the network. The router is priced at $129.99 (roughly Rs. 9,040). It will be available later this year.
TP-Link has also announced a new wireless range extender at CES 2019. The RE705X Wi-Fi range extender is a dual-band repeater which is priced at $99.99 (roughly Rs. 6,953). It will ship in the third quarter of 2019.