Forgetfulness… Wait, What Was I Suppose To Write About??

If you are a fan of Steven Universe, then you might be familiar with a character named Opal. Opal is a fusion and “Giant Women” named by Steven between Amethyst and Pearl and has the traits of Agility and Accuracy; however, she has one trait that makes her a unique and funny character: She is forgetful.

I have come to relate with Opal somedays and I created this little theory known as the Opal Paradox. The Opal Paradox is the theory of; “There are days where I knew I have an important project that’s due tomorrow, then suddenly I forget about that project I was working on because I got distracted by technology, work, or by other distractions.” Long story short; The main reason that I forgot to submit this blog by 12:30 PM and missed my deadline.

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The First VISOR?

For any of you who have a love of Star Trek, I’m assuming you’ve seen, or at least know of Star Trek: The Next Generation. One of the main characters is man named Geordie La Forge, a Starfleet engineer who was born blind. Now, this isn’t a problem as this takes place in the 2300’s and the technology is far superior to ours. Mr. La Forge (before getting ocular implants) wore what is called a VISOR (Visual Instrument and Sensory Organ Replacement) that allowed him to see by detecting electromagnetic signals across the EM spectrum (between 1 Hz and 100,000 THz) and used them to send signals to the brain through implants. This seems a little excessive, even for this day in age, but the technology isn’t far off.

Black eSight3

This is the eSight 3, A device that, although doesn’t “fix” blindness, allows people who are legally blind to see clearly. It works for about 4/5 people and works best for those who suffer from Macular Degeneration, but it works on a number of other conditions as well.

eSight CEO Dr. Brian Mech wanted to take advantage of the current improvements and successes of VR to help people. The eSight 3 uses high-speed, high-definition cameras to capture what the user is looking at, and displays it on 2 OLED screens in front of the user’s eyes. Using a remote that is connected to the headset, the user is able to zoom in or brighten/darken so that she is given the best sight possible. The headset can also take photos, capturing what the user is seeing. This not only gives people their sight back, but also gives them freedom. They can safely walk around in public without aid so that they don’t have to rely on a guide dog or white cane. It also helps them read so that they won’t need to use braille.

A couple of the drawbacks are that it isn’t waterproof, nor are users able to drive while wearing it, but the stages it’s at now are remarkable.

eSight 3

Sitting at $10,000 a piece, it is most definitely not the most affordable thing out there, but for many of the users, what the eSight 3 does for them is priceless.

We may not be at the point of curing blindness, but this step forward is truly incredible and who can even imagine where we will be in 10 years. And who knows? Maybe we will reaching VISOR technology sooner than 2300.

 

Smart Fridge

For those of us who have ever bought groceries, we know that it can be expensive. And what’s worse than spending your hard-earned money on some irresistible foodstuffs? Putting it in the fridge, forgetting about it, and finding it a couple weeks later, untouched by anything but mold. Personally, I try to write things on the magnetic white board on the fridge, so I can try to remember to eat them. But let’s face it, it still happens.

SAMSUNG brings us a possible solution: The Family Hub Refrigerator.

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This ultra-futuristic fridge is loaded with features and a huge, touch screen display. It has 3 interior cameras, so you can keep track of what’s in your fridge. It’s also Wi-Fi enabled, which gives its capabilities a boost. It can connect to your phone via apps, and let you view the contents from anywhere. Alternately, if you don’t want to leave the house and look for food, there are apps available (namely, Shopping by MasterCard) that let you do your shopping, online, straight from your fridge.

But the Family Hub’s capabilities not only make managing food easier, it manages your life too.  The Hub uses apps that allow you to manage your day to day tasks, just like the traditional calendars, photos, and reminders we might stick to the door of the fridge. Its calendar can be synced with the entire family’s personal calendars, making sure nobody is left out and no appointment is forgotten. Notes can also be sent from the family’s phone straight to the fridge. And don’t forget those touching family photos. Why choose one or two when your fridge can display them as a slideshow on its vibrant screen?

On top of these capabilities, its Wi-Fi connection allows it to stream music! You can jam out while you cook, play relaxing music for a dinner, or play something sweet on date night. Don’t want to miss your show while your cooking? Mirror your TV screen to the fridge and keep an eye on your favorite stories. Need to check the weather before sending the kids out to school? The Samsung Family Hub can do that too. In fact, it has full internet browser capabilities just like a tablet or smart phone.

I could see this being very useful for me. I love to cook, and this would be an easy way to keep track of recipes, play music, and make sure I’m using up all the food that I purchase. Unfortunately, this fridge costs about $6000, while their regular refrigerators are about $2000. Maybe someday!

 

Virtual Reality Therapy

Virtual reality (VR) is not only for gaming, but it is also used to treat mental disorders, such as anxiety. Virtual reality is used as a form of therapy that helps treat phobias, such as the fear of heights and the fear of flying, by putting the individual in a life-like plane that the software creates by mimicking the sounds, sights, and feelings that one would get when flying on a plane. Although the VR has been around for many years, it is not widely available due to its cost. Patients who do use this form of treatment only use it for a limited number of times per session. During these sessions, it helps them to identify and recognize a change in disturbing thoughts and feelings, all in a controlled environment. The main challenge with the virtual reality treatment is the lack of clinical evidence and supportive data.

Virtual Reality is quite amazing once you’ve had a chance to try it out with either the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. Once you start doing something in the virtual reality, it feels so life like because you have to reach down if the object is on the ground like you would in real life. VR is like a trick that makes our brains believe it is somewhat real when we in fact know that it is not real. The software is customizable depending on what It’s being used for like gaming or a treatment method.

I find virtual reality therapy extremely interesting because I have a phobia called Arachnophobia, which is the fear of spiders and many creepy crawlers. I’m curious if being put into a virtual reality with them would help me get over my fear. I found that after researching more about VR therapy that Canada had brought two copies of the software in 2014 for $17,000 each. It’s nice to know there are treatments like Virtual reality to help treat mental disorders without the use of drugs. Virtual Reality is mainly used right now because it is very expensive to buy the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. I’m very excited to see what they will come up with next for the Virtual Reality treatment and how they will  improve its use in the future. I am definitely a big fan of Virtual Reality because it is so mind blowing to know what you are able to do while playing with this software.

 

Google ….. Contacts??

Everyone uses and loves Google, am I right?? Well the majority of us do.. and I really have no problem with Google Android phones, and using Google as my platform of choice, however Google is now making the “Google Contacts”. What are Google Contacts you may ask, well it isn’t a list of people you know, it is a literal contact you put into your eye.

So first off, there are many questions that immediately came to mind I decided to do a little research, which was slightly challenging seeing as how Google just applied for the patent last week, however there has been talk of Googles new found contacts and how they would work since September of 2015. So far it seems the purpose would be used to test an individuals glucose levels and to test air and temperature quality. My first reaction was how does it get power!?! Do you charge it? From what Google has stated they plan on having a ‘reader’ that would send radio transmission signals to and from your contact lens, and it powers from that reader, like a wireless docking station!

“The reader could also be built into “a pair of eyeglasses, jewelry (e.g., earrings, necklace), headband, head cover such as a hat or cap, earpiece, [or] other clothing” so that it could continually power the lens.” —Mobile Health News

Pretty neat huh, except its in your eye! gathering sensitive data about your body. Google isn’t know for its awesome security so I would be weary about that. Google has teamed up with Novartis for this endeavor and they are starting human trials this year.. I am looking forward to seeing the results from those trails as this could change the game for health practitioners around the globe, patient data being sent directly to them and being up to date with your body’s condition would be an added bonus!

Mainstream Organs

Common colds. Am I right?

Well, even though we can’t find a cure for that (because of the cells of the common cold constantly mutating and all) do you know one thing that stays constant almost always?

Organs.

organs

That’s right. Aside from growing and adapting based on your body type, those big squishy things inside of us pretty much stay the same. Unless plagued with disease, of course, which is definitely not a lot of fun for anyone.

Luckily for us, obtaining a new fresh organ made to your specifications is just around the corner! A company called Organovo has just recently developed the first commercial 3-D bio printer, meaning it can build organs cell-by-cell, based upon sample cells provided by the body of the customer.

Although they aren’t ready to be used for cures everywhere yet, in late 2014 they released their exVive3DTM Human Liver Tissue Product, which is basically a liver sample developed by the sample cells they obtained.

They aren’t able to build new livers quite yet, though. But with this new technology they can’t be that far off, as they have also developed a kidney.

bioprinting

The use of these home grown out-of-body organs right now is mainly for research. They use these “prototypes”, if you will, and basically give them diseases to study them and how the organ behaves. This will also contribute to the science of medicine and how these illnesses and diseases can be treated, without having lab rats.

So why in the world would we ever use this? Well, say you have a kidney failure. Just give these guys a few days, a minor surgery to get everything in place, and you are set for many years to come! Because the kidney (or whatever organ you choose) would be made from your cells, it’s more safe than using another person’s kidney, even if it is a relative. It will be made to your type, your body will recognize it, and will make the transition to a new organ a little more bearable.

So when will this technology be available? They say that within 3-8 years they will be able to make arteries and veins. In less than 20 years this new concept may become basic knowledge to us, making hospital trips and unexpected incidents a little easier to bear.

Thank you, Organovo, for making the steps towards a healthier life.

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Tea – A Bath for Your Tummy

Tea. Wikipedia describes it as “an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured leaves of the camellia sinensis plant.” I, however, prefer to call it liquid serenitea.

There are many different theories as to how tea was created, one story originated from a guy ripping his eyelids off into the dirt and then a plant sprouted from the ground and he thought ‘Hey. Why not?’ boiled it up and drank it. Weird? Sure. Creepy? Definitely.

But whatever story you believe, from eyelid soup to a goddess saving a nation, one thing is for certain; tea has amazing medicinal qualities.

Depending on how the leaves are treated, the tea you brew from it will have different health benefits.

Tea

One particular benefit that I’m looking for since starting this Interactive Media Arts course is stress relief.

This course is an abundance of fun, lots of great projects and good teachers to boot. But when I say ‘lots’ of projects, I mean lots. Sometimes the work load was so heavy that I wasn’t able to focus on anything other than getting my work done, which stressed me out and prevented me from getting any work done. funny how that works

That being said, one way to relax was to have a nice warm bath, but it’s very difficult to do homework in the bathtub. So we have to improvise.

See, the nice thing about tea is that it’s a bath for your tummy. It’s portable, for your convenience, and with so many varieties and health benefits, it’s hard to go wrong.

Tea is also completely tax free. And, unlike other hot drinks, it gives you caffeine without the buzz or crash.

Tea is also becoming rapidly more and more consumed in North America thanks to the hipsters and it is estimated that by 2017 there will be more tea drinkers then coffee drinkers.

Everyday we are bombarded with the stress of a developing-at-a-rapid-rate country, and in the result our bodies suffer for it. Instead of stressing out over balancing school, work, and friends, try a cup of tea sometime. It’s known to keep you healthy and cleanse you from the inside out.

If you’re not familiar with tea, head to your local tea shop and give a few a try. You never know, you could discover that it helps with stress more than you realize, as well as many other benefits.

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