The Newest Millennial Wedding Trend? 3D Printing...

3D printing has come a long way in the last few years. Although the 3D printing process has been around since the 1980s, it’s recently become a sophisticated and viable way to create almost anything. This technology is becoming more accessible and versatile, too. Not only can you create household knick-knacks and important gadgets with a 3D printer, you can even celebrate your special day with help from one. Believe it or not, weddings are becoming a popular outlet for 3D printing. Recent bride Nina Tandon decided that she wanted to walk down the aisle in a customized silk sari gown produced by a 3D printer. The vases for her floral centerpieces were made from 3D-printed molds, and the flowers in her bouquet and hair were, too. Most spectacularly, her customized engagement ring was formed by a 3D printer. Not surprisingly, the popularity of 3D printing — especially for big life events, like weddings — is much higher in the millennial sect. This is partially due to younger generations embracing new technologies and non-traditional options. In addition to being open to the idea of using 3D printing for weddings, millennials are also more positive about lab-created diamonds than those from older generations are. About 80% of millennials feel happy, or at least neutral, toward the idea of lab-created diamonds. It stands to reason that this positive attitude towards other new technologies would be observed in younger generations. But the newness is not the only draw. In addition to the cutting-edge aspect, millennials are seeking out uniqueness. Because digital fabrication allows for total customization, they can create one-of-a-kind pieces that are not only aesthetically interesting, but meaningful, too. In the case of Nina Tandon’s wedding to her husband, Noah Keating, their 3D-printed items held a...

New Sleep Apnea Device On Its Way to U.S....

There have been many documented medical issues resulting from sleep apnea, but as CBS news reports, erratic driving is now linked to sleep deprivation. “Worse lane position deviation is a marker of poor driving performance and this is significantly worse in sleep apnea patients who fail the simulator as compared to controls [people without a sleep disorder],” said study leader Dr. Akshay Dwarakanth. The study found that people with sleeping issues were much more likely to fail driving tests than people without the disorder. The most prevalent issue within these test subjects was lane deviation, which could result in serious roadway dangers. Dwarakanth and fellow researchers looked at 129 adults with untreated sleep apnea and 79 adults who sleep fine at night. “Comparing with controls may be useful in advising patients whether they are at increased risk of an accident,” added the researchers. Despite the fact that roughly 60 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea or some form of sleep disorder, there have been some major improvements in treatments over the last few years. According to The Australian, Chris Hart, a dentist who suffered from sleep apnea himself, developed a new device as he tried to stay awake in a café shop. The O2Vent concept was developed when Hart was just chewing on a straw out of boredom and sleep deprivation. Now, through Oventus Medical, Hart oversees the production of roughly 10,000 O2Vents a year. He plans on launching the device in the U.S. within the next six months. “There’s an awakening of the patient when they’re in treatment that life can be so much better,” said Hart. There are plenty of benefits of getting a healthy amount of sleep, including feeling more alert and productive throughout the day, improved immune systems, less fatigue,...

Netflix Asking FCC to Remove Internet Data Limits...

Netflix is asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to do something about the data cap users have on their plans. Netflix is the largest user of bandwidth on the Internet, accounting for over 38% of all traffic during primetime viewing hours. WKBW reports that cable companies, which also offer Internet services, cap users’ bandwidth in order to compete against companies like Netflix and Hulu. “Watching television shows and movies on the internet is no longer a novelty,” read Netflix’s letter to the FCC. “Consumers increasingly expect more from their broadband connection, and they expect that broadband Internet will deliver a television experience that is the same or better than what they receive from their cable service, satellite provider, or local broadcaster.” According to Fortune, Netflix’s letter comes at a strategic time, as the FCC is preparing its annual report for Congress outlining the state of broadband access in the United States — the “Broadband Progress Report.” Netflix believes the data caps aren’t consistent with the Telecommunications Act’s ruling, which calls for advanced telecommunications to be delivered to all Americans “in a reasonable and timely fashion.” “A data cap or allotment of 300 GB (gigabytes) of data per month or higher is required just to meet the Internet television needs of an average American,” Netflix added. Another main reason for Netflix’s complaint is the use of “zero ratings” for large phone companies. These companies are now using promotions that allow consumers to watch certain types of content without reducing their monthly data allotment. Netflix is claiming that those promotions violate the FCC’s “net neutrality” rules, which prohibit Internet providers from giving special treatment to certain types of content. “The Commission would keep an eye on new developments in this area and we are continuing to do so,” said Kim...

Buyers Willing to Pay More For Smart Homes...

In today’s world, we not only expect our phones to be smart, but our houses, too. Although some smart home technologies are still in development, their existence is gaining in popularity. Just a few years ago, the possibility of buying a house loaded with built-in technology was restricted to the more affluent sectors of the buying market. Now, these smart homes are available for all different price ranges and types. Even homes that were built in the 1920s and ’30s are able to be renovated in ways that incorporate this coveted technology. Furthermore, there’s a larger demand to accompany these advancements. In a survey of approximately 22,000 prospective home buyers, 65% stated that they’d be willing to spend more money on a home equipped with smart technology. The catch is, these buyers want to purchase a move-in ready home. In a separate study, 54% of participants said that, in a choice between two otherwise identical homes, they would choose a home with smart technology. The allure of a smart home isn’t as unique to millennials as some might think, either. In addition to the 61% of millennials who would prefer a smart home, 59% of parents with dependent children would also favor one. Appraisers and agents are acknowledging the value smart technology can add to a home. On the minimal end, buyers expect to see houses equipped with smart security features, appliances that connect to networks, and smart thermostats for automatic temperature control. With advancements being made in smart technologies on a constant basis, sellers should think about incorporating these elements into their homes prior to listing. It can have a big effect on the final sales price, and given the growing economy, increased demand, and need for affordable housing, the market is expected...

Young Girl Helps Father Develop Autism Treatment Software...

Applied behavioral analysis, or ABA, is a method of treating autism spectrum disorders, and other related developmental disorders, that helps develop communication, behavioral, and social skills in children ages zero to 18. This form of therapy helps control autism-related behaviors that inhibit the child’s ability to function on a day-to-day basis. Autism spectrum disorder affects one in every 68 children, with numbers growing. With no cure for the condition, new treatments and technologies are being developed. This treatment often takes place with the help of an ABA therapist, and uses techniques that are specially formulated for each child in order to care for them in the most effective way possible. During this year’s TechCrunch Disrupt SF Hackathon, six-year-old Shriya Sreeju presented the Autism Solutions robot, which helps children with autism learn to understand emotions better, as well as help them focus. The robot is built upon the existing Pepper robot, which has been programmed to perceive emotion and interact with humans organically. By downloading different software, Pepper “evolves with you,” according to SoftBank Robotics, the company that released Pepper. It is able to recognize your likes, dislikes, personality, mood, and habits. In this way, Pepper can be programmed to be a child’s personal ABA therapist. Sreeju’s father, Sreejumon Purayil, coded the software presented to TechCrunch Disrupt, but she played an integral part in deciding how the robot should work. She said that first, Pepper would show a flashcard on its screen. “If the kid shows the right card, they get a high five and the robot will say good job!” said Sreeju. “When the kid gets two high fives, Pepper will do a happy dance and show a smiley on screen, to help show emotion.” Purayil says that he and his daughter have explored...

Your Car’s ABS Isn’t What You Thought It Was, Says New Study From the AAA...

You’ve probably assumed that the automatic brake system (ABS) in your car was there to save your life. In exchange for its maintenance, including replacing the brake pads around every 20,000 miles, you might’ve assumed the ABS system would prevent crashes — but according to the American Automobile Association, this simply is not always so. According to the AAA, some systems are only intended to reduce the severity of accidents, as they announced in a recently published study. Few drivers are aware of this critical fact. The study found that there is a wide performance gap when it comes to new brake technology, which automatically activates the brakes in situations where a driver might fail to do so. This feature is expected to be a fully standard feature in all U.S. cars by 2022. The study tested five 2016 model vehicles — Volvo XC 90, Subaru Legacy, Lincoln MKX, Honda Civic, and Volkswagen Passat — and surveyed 1,000 U.S. drivers to gauge both buying habits and trust in automatic emergency brakes. It was found that those systems that were designed to prevent crashes reduced vehicle speed by nearly twice that of those that are simply meant to lessen crash intensity. The preventative systems were found to succeed in avoiding collisions 60% of the time in certain tests, while the second type of system only avoided collisions 33% of the time. The lack of understanding about the different kinds of ABS could lead to the placement of dangerous and possibly deadly confidence by drivers in their automated technology — and lead them to take more risks on the...

INTEGRAL Discovers New FXTs in the Galactic Plane...

Astronomers have discovered and identified two new X-ray transients (FXTs) in space. These FXTs both have short outburst and speedy rise times, and were found in the archival data of European Space Agency’s INTErnational Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory spacecraft (INTEGRAL). “It seems plausible that other such sources wait to be discovered,” said the researchers in an August 29 paper published on arXiv.org. “Further exploitations of the entire INTEGRAL data archive may yield additional discoveries of this kind of interesting X-ray transients.” The INTEGRAL spacecraft has been using its X-ray detector to scan the sky since 2002. By using X-rays, gamma rays, and visible light, it can search space for virtually anything. Hard X-rays, which uses higher energy of anything higher than five kiloelectronvolts (keV), can penetrate through all kinds of materials including industrial objects, metals, and the final frontier. According to Phys.org, FTXs are extremely hard to identify because they are unpredictable and often have very brief activity. The research team working alongside INTEGRAL is led by Vito Sguera of the Institute of Space Astrophysics and CPB in Italy. “We report on the analysis of archival INTEGRAL data pertaining to observations of specific regions of the galactic plane with the aim of finding new FTXs,” the team stated. “As a result, we report on the discovery of two new such sources which have not been previously detected by any other X-ray telescope.” The FXTs are named IGR J03346 and IGR J20344, respectively. Each contains hard X-ray activity above 20 keV and reach their peak activity after 15 to 30 minutes. Despite the fact that many other FXTs are uneducated and hiding within the galaxy, it’ll be difficult to identify new FTXs as INTEGRAL only will continue its voyage until 2018. It’s unknown whether or not...

Biotech Researchers Cultivate New Hope for Treating Hair Loss...

By the age of 50, approximately 85% of men have significantly thinning hair. However, men aren’t the only ones who suffer from hair loss. Angela Christiano is a researcher at Columbia University, and she has a condition known as alopecia areata, which leads to sudden and substantial hair loss. Like countless other patients who suffer from this condition, she’s not satisfied with the treatments currently on the market. In an aptly named project titled “Rapunzel,” Christiano is attempting to grow a full head of human hair in a lab using stem cells. Christiano’s work reflects a thriving interest in the biotech community to treat hair loss as a medical condition, rather than a cosmetic one. “Hair is hot right now,” said Dr. Melissa Piliang, a dermatologist at Cleveland Clinic. “But it’s hard to grow hair.” Christiano’s approach would be radical if it succeeds. The only two treatments currently on the market at the moment are both over 20 years old, and many are crying out for an update. However, that’s not to say that traditional methods don’t work for some people. For instance, Nicola Hanratty, a woman in the UK, has discovered an unlikely alternative that has helped her. With her hairline receding completely at 19, Hanratty sought out any form of treatment that could help. Strangely enough, her saving grace came to her in the form of hair pieces glued on by a medical adhesive. “A lot of people define a woman’s beauty by her hair, so it was devastating to see mine disappearing,” Hanratty said. Unlike wigs or some extensions, the process Hanratty went through allows her to wash, blow-dry, and style her hair as she normally would. Aside from having her hair pieces removed and re-applied one a month to avoid bacterial growth,...

Air Conditioned Shirts Could Soon Become a Reality...

If your air conditioning unit is over 12 years old, its maintenance can be a big pain. However, a new technology may just be able to keep you cooler without running your AC into the ground. The human body is excellent at generating heat, and clothing manufacturers have developed the best fabrics for keeping that heat locked in during the winter. But recently, scientists from Stanford University report that they may have finally solved the issue of keeping your body cool without an external source such as a fan or AC unit. In a paper published in Science, the researchers report working with a material that is commonly used in food plastic wrap, of all things. In order to give this material breathability, they treated it to contain just the right-sized micro-pores that can release body heat, but remain opaque at the same time. Of course, there are other fabrics still suited to the summer weather until this product is further developed. Cotton is one of the best fabrics, both breathable and warm when necessary, but manufacturers recommend keeping it away from the dryer, as it could shrink. Linen, on the other hand, has been used for centuries, and for good reason. This lightweight fabric was designed to handle the heat. Extremely breathable and surprisingly soft, this fabric has been used for everything from baby blankets to wall hangings. But most notably, it is used in summer shirts and dresses because of its light weight and ability to release heat. Natural fabrics like cotton and linen are currently the best on the market to keep you cool. However, this new material and the concept of air-conditioned shirts are getting people excited. When researchers tested their “fabric” against materials like cotton and linen on a...

Tired of Messy Ice Creams? Well, the Drip Drop is Here to Solve All Your Ice Cream Woes...

It may just be the coolest, most ingenious solution in the ice cream world since the invention of the ice cream cone in 1904. Americans all love ice cream, and in fact, a full 90% of U.S. households regularly indulge in a sweet, frozen treat. However, the indulgence often comes brain freeze, messy clothes, and sticky hands, but luckily, two boys from Colorado have come up with an ingenious solution to cut back on those sticky drips that happen when enjoying an ice cream cone. Its called the Drip Drop, and it will prevent ice cream cone drips and spills from getting all over the place. Sam Nassif and Oliver Greenwald, both 15, have recently won a $50,000 prize for a 33% investment in their business from Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran in the hopes of promoting their ingenious product. The idea is easy. The Drip Drop is a saucer, made from the same material as an ice cream cone, with a hole in the middle to fit around most conventional ice cream cones. The saucer comes in different flavors, and has the ability to be customized with chocolate, candies, or frosting for a double-decker treat. Nassif and Greenwald were inspired to fix a simple problem, seeing people struggle with drips. 3Ders.com reports them saying, “Our coaches told us to keep our eyes open for everyday problems all around us. So we were walking past an ice cream shop and we saw these two little kids with sticky hands and messy clothes from their ice cream cones.” So they took to their school’s 3D printer and printed out a simplified prototype of the Drip Drop. Their idea has been in the works for about five years and has won numerous awards at their school. While...

Authorities Find Suspicious Search Inquiries After Man Sends Live Ball Python to Ex’s Apartment...

In Wisconsin, a man faces stalking charges for sending his ex-girlfriend a live ball python. The defendant, Eric Burrows, had made multiple threats to his ex-girlfriend prior to sending the live snake to her doorstep, according to the Sheboygan County District Attorney’s Office. The threats included letters to both her apartment complex and employer’s address, voicemails, and text messages to her and her ex-husband. Burrows also reportedly threatened to post nude photos of the victim online. Authorities x-rayed the package after the woman received it on Aug. 18 to find the python as well as a note that read, “Surprise you lying [expletive]. Enjoy, this is who you are. Now do you care.” At first, the defendant denied writing threatening letters, but later said he might know something about the python delivery after being made aware of surveillance footage that shows him delivering the package. Further investigation, including a search of Burrows’ cell phone, found that the defendant had attempted to access the woman’s Facebook account, searched the her apartment complex, as well as phrases such as, “how do you know if you are stalking someone,” “warning signs of stalking behavior,” as well as similar searches. Surprisingly, some people don’t know that certain activities can land them in jail. Burrows’ search inquiries lead one to believe that he was unsure if what he was doing constituted as stalking behaviors. In the U.S. alone, 68 million people have existing criminal records. Since ignorance of the law is very rarely a viable defense, many of the convicted persons who have not expunged their records committed their crimes unknowingly. Burrows will report to court on Sept. 21 for a preliminary hearing. He is currently being held on a $2,500 cash...

Untreated Urinary Tract Infections Could Have Serious Risks for Children Later in Life...

Urinary catheters have been used for over 3,500 years. If left untreated of if not properly treated right away, urinary tract infections (UTIs) in a child could lead to serious health consequences later in life. Urinary tract infections may be confined to the bladder itself, but once any of that bacteria reaches the kidneys, fever and other issues are likely to ensue. Most children will have a fever before the age of three, and many of those children will contract urinary tract infections. If these infections aren’t treated properly and right away, scar tissue can form on the kidneys. This scar tissue represents a loss of nephrons in the kidneys, which perform essential filtering functions throughout life. If an individual suffers a loss of nephrons, their body can’t make more. Humans are born with a set number of nephrons for life, which means damage to these filters is irreversible and could have serious health consequences. Even more concerning is that women with urinary tract infections are often dismissed and mistreated, leading to more kidney damage. Over half of all women will experience a UTI at some point in their lives, and consultant urologist Professor James Malone Lee has revealed that many of those cases aren’t treated properly. “UTIs can be dismissed as minor when for a lot of women they cause misery, wrecking personal lives,” he said. His team is scheduled to release a study of over 1,000 women with UTIs who had treatment with two high-dose antibiotics, hoping to demonstrate “an improvement on the current failure rate with hard-to-treat cases.” Malone said that the problem is not the strength of the antibiotics prescribed to women with urinary tract infections, but the length of time they’re prescribed to be taking them. “Everyone has become...

iRobot CEO Has Bigger Plans for the Roomba Manufacturer...

The commercial success of the Roomba has revolutionized the way the world vacuums. CEO Colin Angle co-founded iRobot, the company that manufactures the Roomba, in 1990 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has served as a director since 1992. In 2002, iRobot released its first model of the Roomba. In a recent interview, Angle said that he’d never imagined the product’s immense commercial success. Since then, the company has developed the Braava, a mopping robot; the Mirra, for pool cleaning; and the Looj, for gutter cleaning. iRobot has become a global brand, bringing self-operating vacuums, mops, and outdoor cleaning equipment to millions of households worldwide. However, Angle wants to emphasize that iRobot is not just a vacuum cleaner company, nor is it just a cleaning company in general. With a large aging population, the company wants to create products that make all household maintenance and tasks more manageable. “What iRobot is going to be most appreciated for is not going to be vacuums,” said Angle. “It’s going to be allowing people to live independently longer so that we can maintain our standard of living as a society.” One of iRobot’s most recent projects is a product that will aid in mowing the lawn. Among Americans who have yards, 90% of them believe that lawn care is important. The U.S. population of senior citizens is growing rapidly, and with old age comes a decline in mobility. Not all of these individuals receive geriatric care or even have family members to come help them. Common mobility problems among the elderly include fibromyalgia, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis, as well as decreased bone density and overall weakness. These issues make simple tasks like lawn care and lawn mowing, cleaning, and heavy lifting difficult, if not impossible. Many...

Auto and Technology Industries Clash Over Talking Car Technology...

Approximately 27 million cars are recycled annually, but soon those recycled parts may be going towards a new age of cars that can communicate with one another. Cars that can speak to each other wirelessly are finally ready to take on the roads. Not only can these vehicles talk to each other, but their communication could be key in preventing countless accidents on the road in the future. However, the auto industry faces some issues before being able to roll their project out. Cable television and high-tech industries are planning to take away a significant portion of radio airwaves dedicated to automobiles back in 1999. Their hope is to use these airwaves to create super high-speed WiFi networks, but the auto industry likely needs these airwaves to ensure its technology works. The government and auto industry have spent upwards of $1 billion researching and developing vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology, which means all that time and money are at stake. However, V2V technology isn’t the only area of automobile technology that’s struggling. Electric vehicles are seemingly on the rise, but once the wild success of Tesla is laid aside, it’s evident that electric vehicle sales are actually declining. <br. Electric vehicles were once the pinnacle of automobile technology, but even newer technologies are threatening to push them out of the market. The fiercest competitor at the moment is the self-driving vehicle. Uber is rolling out a small fleet of autonomous vehicles in Pittsburgh; Ford has committed to a fully autonomous test fleet by 2021; GM has hinted at setting up a self-driving fleet in big cities; and Google’s work on its driverless Google Car speeds ahead, uninhibited. It’s unclear as of right now whether or not consumers will actually want self-driving cars to be a part...

Overheated Electronics Are Causing Chaos Across the States...

Overheated electronics can be a serious problem, as they have the potential to cause fires and extreme home damage. Many companies often manufacture their electronics to be heat-resistant. Some add extreme cooling components to the computers, while others will add temperature market materials, which will liquefy when they reach 413 °F. One man in Dania Beach Florida is living to tell his tale about exploding electronics after his son’s overheated hoverboard caught on fire in his sister’s bedroom. Lawrence Gaalswyk was working from home when he heard sudden popping noises from the next room over. Getting up to check, he noticed a frightening orange glow coming from his son’s room. His hoverboard had overheated and exploded and shot its batteries out like projectiles into his 12-year-old sister’s bedroom. The hoverboard, which is a skateboard that runs on mechanized energy, had been plugged into its charger for a couple weeks. The fire damage caused by these specific boards cost Gaalswyk between $25,000 and $50,000 as the fire ransacked two bedrooms. Gaalswyk bought the secondhand hoverboards online. Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue Spokesman Mike Jachles warns about the risks that come with buying electronics that have not been properly tested and checked for security. He tells theSun Sentinel, “If you’re buying electronics, first of all, make sure you’re buying reliable electronics that are certified and tested by an approved laboratory, like Underwriters Laboratories.It’s not worth it to buy electronics that don’t have any quality control or testing for safety.” However, electronic aficionados have come up with a way to stop the overheating of computers in order to prevent dangerous house fires. The method is a little unconventional, and it uses copper pennies. All you have to do is take a few copper pennies — made before the...

More Than Half of Organizations Facing Security Issues in the Cloud...

There are approximately 26.5 million businesses in the United States, and a good portion of them utilize the cloud for various aspects of their companies. However, over half of those businesses utilizing the cloud are experiencing security issues. Approximately 59% of organizations surveyed reported cloud security incidents related to unsolicited external sharing, and 47% reported incidents regarding access from unauthorized devices, according to the Mitigating Risks For Cloud Applications, a survey of 176 information security professionals conducted by the Cloud Security Alliance and Bitglass. In addition, the report also details that survey respondents reported that cloud data synced to lost/stolen devices, employees credential compromise, and malicious insiders were problems. However, those issues received less than a third of votes. The report honed in on the software-as-a-service segment of the cloud market, which continues to steadily grow. This comes as a result of companies realizing that SaaS apps can be more secure than on premise-based business and office productivity apps. Despite all of the security issues, though, the cloud still topped SurePayroll’s third annual favorite tech tools survey. While last year’s winner was Dropbox, the cloud beat out all of the competition by a fairly large margin for 2016. One company, however, has been claimed the title of king of cloud computing: Amazon. Amazon delivers “many times the aggregate size of all other providers in the market,” said research firm Gartner. It also dominates when it comes to holding corporate customer data, according to another report by Gartner. Fortunately, Amazon’s size has nothing to do with the security issues cloud users have been facing lately. Users are more concerned with a lack of regulation and insurance that cloud users will obey and enforce said regulations. “If you only have visibility into one application, you don’t...

Millions of Volkswagen Cars Can be Unlocked by Hackers, Researchers Say...

An estimated 15 million cars are sold over the Internet each year, but buyers should be wary of purchasing any kind of Volkswagen vehicle, as researchers have just found that hackers could unlock millions of the vehicles remotely. A homemade radio is the only hardware an attacker requires to unlock one of the many millions of vehicles that could be affected. The problem affects a range of vehicles manufactured between 1995 and 2016 — including Volkswagens and various models from Audi, Seat, and Skoda. Two separate methods of attack were tested on different models and described in a paper by researchers from the University of Birmingham and German security firm Kasper & Oswald. In both cases, it was revealed that relatively cheap, homemade equipment allows hackers to listen in on the frequency of key fobs when unlocking their cars. Those signals can then be replicated using the same equipment — meaning that it can successfully pretend to be a specific key and then unlock the hacker’s car of choice. The team of researchers recently presented their findings at a security conference in Texas. Fortunately, their research also found that it’s not possible to start a car with the crude hacking technology. However, they’re not the only ones making advances in automobile science. In 2011, President Obama announced an agreement made between 13 different vehicle manufacturers to increase the average fuel economy of cars built in 2025 to 54.5 miles per gallon, but certain factors in the economy are making that claim look like a rather ambitious one. A pair of recent government reports suggested that fuel economy could possibly have a best-case scenario of 50 miles per gallon, but no more. One way to potentially reach Obama’s lofty goal may be to reduce the...

Study Uses DNA Database to Identify Genetic Causes of Depression...

Gene testing company 23andMe has sold more than 1 million of its at-home gene sequencing kits to date. While the $199 kits are mostly just for fun and curiosity, the growing database of customers who have willingly shared their genetic results with third-party researchers and scientists may be helping to build a better understanding of how DNA influences both our physical and mental health. A new study recently published in the journal Nature Genetics has identified 15 key DNA locations that may affect a person’s chances of developing clinical depression. The researchers were able to utilize data from more than 450,000 23andMe users to compare the gene sequences of depressed and non-depressed individuals and to track patterns and variations in DNA that may correspond with neuron development in the brain. The study is the largest of its kind, thanks to the wealth of data made available. Past attempts to pinpoint genetic variables in complicated psychological issues like depression have been marginal at best. “Everyone is recognizing that this is a numbers problem,” said lead researcher Ashley Winslow, director of neurogenetics at the Orphan Disease Center at the University of Pennsylvania and a former scientist for Pfizer. “It’s hard if not impossible to get to the numbers that we saw in the 23andMe study.” Winslow and her colleagues at UPenn teamed with researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital to comb the DNA data and identify possible areas of genetic susceptibility. While the results are unlikely to lead to any new treatments anytime soon, it does carve a path of better understanding for the mechanisms behind depression, which can be highly stigmatized in society; it’s estimated that over 80% of people with depression never seek out professional help. “We hope these findings help people understand that depression...

Dr. Google is Ready to See You — the Search Engine Giant Brings Futuristic Medical Technology Alive...

Even though a full 82% of American adults take at least one medication prescribed to them by a doctor, they may soon be turning to search engine giant Google for medical help. Googles’s parent company, Alphabet, has just announced a partnership with GlaxoSmithKline, Britain’s biggest drug company. This alliance is set to propel Google into the world of biotechnological engineering, bringing futuristic innovations to its users all in the name of science. Alphabet has also worked with Verily Life Sciences on the production of some innovative medical products. Take the smart contact lenses, for example. These contact lenses are designed to help those who suffer from diabetes. They include a wireless chip with a tiny glucose sensor in the lens. This is meant to monitor the amount of glucose in one’s tears, and it will send this information to a separate device to make the patient aware of their too high or too low levels. Then there is the “tricorder,” the Star Trek-esque device capable of diagnosing diseases within seconds. Verily has been working on this technology for the past few years, and is hoping Google’s technology can help them develop it for patient use. Even more impressive is the Liftware spoon, fitted with a vibrating unit that will help lessen the effect of tremors. Already being used in the medical field, this device’s cause is near and dear to Google co-founder Sergey Brin, as his mother suffers from Parkinson’s Disease. According to The Guardian, Brin has donated more than $50 million dollars to help fight Parkinson’s Disease. All in all, this special spoon can reduce the side effect of tremors by 76%. For Google, it seems that nothing is impossible. In a particularly unusual project, the tech company has teamed up with Calico,...

Miami Ice Cream Shop Brings in New Technology to Spice Up Their Frozen Treats...

Approximately 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream and other frozen dessert products are produced in the U.s. annually, but few of them are made like the treats in one Miami ice cream shop. At F27, there are no pre-packaged paper cartons filled with frozen treats. Instead, customers are presented with a combination of science and art as their orders are made in front of them with liquid nitrogen. “Several years ago, we were given an assignment to come up with a new business or improve a business that already existed,” said Carlouis de Palma, owner of the experimental ice cream parlor. “I’ve always been interested in finding innovative ways to create a better product, and in St. Maarten, where I’m from, ice cream is an art. This is what led me to liquid nitrogen.” After an order is placed at the counter, custom-designed machines inject liquid nitrogen into a vanilla base and freeze the product in less than 60 seconds, which eliminates the formation of large crystals and enhances the smooth, creamy texture. Customers can create their frozen confection by choosing any combination of flavors and toppings, or sticking to the ice cream parlor’s menu of custom creations. More and more customers are coming from all areas to try these creative concoctions, but not all are likely coming to see the liquid nitrogen do its work. Given the recent, intense heat, some likely just want to cool off. Florida officially tops the nation in the number of metro areas expected to see a dangerous combination of heat and humidity, according to a report released by Climate Central. “Heat is already the number one weather-related killer in the U.S. It’s not floods or hurricane or tornadoes,” said Alyson Kenward, an author of the report and...