Smartphones contain a rich record of people’s activities, including who they know, who they talk to , where they go and what they do. Using this data, and specialized machine-learning algorithms, detailed and predictive models about people and their behaviors can be built to help with urban planning, personalized medicine, sustainability and medical diagnosis."
Researchers at MIT and Stanford have found a new way to transform waste heat into electricity, particularly in situations where the temperature gradient is small, below 100º C (180° F). The technology uses widely available materials, and could be used to recycle the large amounts of wasted heat generated in industrial processes and electric power plants.
As freshwater continues to dwindle, desalinating seawater has emerged as an option. Desalination has serious drawbacks, however In addition to high energy use, the process produces a reject-concentrated brine, which can have a serious impact on marine life when returned to the sea. Perhaps the most promising approach to solving this problem is to see the brine from desalination not as waste, but as a resource to be harvested for valuable materials.
Attention is being focused on the gut microbiome and its role in diseases ranging from infections to obesity, diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease. A new generation of therapeutics comprising a subset of microbes found in healthy gut are under clinical development with a view to improving medical treatments.
The Peres is designed to detect the freshness of food. Technology can go a long way towards keeping food fresher for longer, but it can also be used to check whether the food has passed its best-by date. We've seen plastics that indicate the freshness of food, and we've also covered food packaging that lets people know if it's still fresh. Now, a product called Peres aims to perform a similar task, but it does it with a sensor and a smartphone or tablet.
The ability to control a computer using only the power of the mind is closer than one might think. Brain-computer interfaces, where computers can read and interpret signals directly from the brain, have already achieved clinical success in allowing quadriplegics, those suffering “locked-in syndrome” or people who have had a stroke to move their own wheelchairs or even drink coffee from a cup by controlling the action of a robotic arm with their brain waves.
This field saw rapid progress in 2013 and appears set for imminent breakthroughs of scalable deployment of screenless display. Various companies have made significant breakthroughs in the field, including virtual reality headsets, bionic contact lenses, the development of mobile phones for the elderly and partially blind people, and hologram-like videos without the need for moving parts or glasses. This is something that I would really like to use one day.