Researchers Create a No-Power Internet of Things

No-power Wi-Fi connectivity could fuel Internet of Things realityResearchers at the University of Washington have devised a way for battery-free devices to skim a connective link from errant WiFi signals, potentially increasing the reach of the Internet of Things to include just about any thing. The new tool, called a backscatter, looks like a thin plate of metal that works by “looking” for WiFi signals moving between the router and a laptop or smartphone.

They encode data by either reflecting or not reflecting the Wi-Fi router’s signals, slightly changing the wireless signal. Wi-Fi-enabled devices like laptops and smartphones would detect these minute changes and receive data from the tag. In this way, your [battery-free] smart watch could download emails or offload your workout data onto a Google spreadsheet.

Source: www.washington.edu

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New protein structure could help treat Alzheimer’s, related diseases

University of Washington bioengineers have designed a peptide structure that can stop the harmful changes of the body’s normal proteins into a state that’s linked to widespread diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and Lou Gehrig’s disease. The synthetic molecule blocks these proteins as they shift from their normal state into an abnormally folded form by targeting a toxic intermediate phase.

 

The discovery of a protein blocker could lead to ways to diagnose and even treat a large swath of diseases that are hard to pin down and rarely have a cure. The researchers hope their designed compounds could be used as diagnostics for amyloid diseases and as drugs to treat the diseases or at least slow progression.

“For example, patients could have a broad first-pass test done to see if they have an amyloid disease and then drill down further to determine which proteins are present to identify the specific disease,” Daggett said.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health (General Medicine Sciences), the National Science Foundation, the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation and Coins for Alzheimer’s Research Trust.

Source: www.washington.edu

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New Screen Technology May Correct Vision

Technology could lead to e-readers, smartphones, and displays that let users dispense with glasses.

 

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California at Berkeley have joined forces to produce a system which “predistorts” digital content for the individual observer in order to produce a correctly-perceived image without corrective eye wear. Drawing from UC Berkeley’s School of Optometry and Computer Science Division and MIT’s Media Lab and Camera Culture Group, the team has developed technology which can account for, but also potentially diagnose, a user’s vision correction.

 

As lead author Fu-Chung Huang explains, the project’s significance is that, “instead of relying on optics to correct your vision, we use computation. This is a very different class of correction, and it is non-intrusive.” Project leader Brian Barsky has further suggested that a potential impact of the technology may even be removing the need for invasive eye treatments and the effects of lowered visual function.

 

Source: newsoffice.mit.edu

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Extracting audio from visual information in video

Algorithm recovers speech from the vibrations of a potato-chip bag filmed through soundproof glass.

 

Researchers at MIT, Microsoft, and Adobe have developed an algorithm that can reconstruct an audio signal by analyzing minute vibrations of objects depicted in video. In one set of experiments, they were able to recover intelligible speech from the vibrations of a potato-chip bag photographed from 15 feet away through soundproof glass.

In other experiments, they extracted useful audio signals from videos of aluminum foil, the surface of a glass of water, and even the leaves of a potted plant. 

Source: newsoffice.mit.edu

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