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Alternative News – Disease-sensing tattoos? Princeton’s ‘Intellectual Property Accelerator Fund’ fuels innovation

Disease sensing Tattoo

We don’t yet have flying cars, but we may soon have disease-sensing tattoos. – daily alternative news

That’s one of the visions of technological innovation created by recent recipients of grants from a Princeton University program designed to bring new scientific breakthroughs from the lab to the marketplace.

With nine proposals awarded grants of $50,000 to $100,000 this year, the school’s Intellectual Property Accelerator Fund is funding innovations in a variety of fields, from molecular biology to physics to engineering.

“Part of the excitement is to see this research through to fruition,” said Salvatore Torquato, a grant recipient and professor of chemistry at the university. “The sky’s the limit at this point.”

With fellow researchers Paul Steinhardt and Marian Florescu — physics professors at Princeton and the University of Surrey in England, respectively — Torquato is working on a way to run computer circuits with light instead of electrons.

Akin to the fiber-optic technology used in television and internet cables, Torquato’s innovation would help make computers faster, more powerful and more efficient, he said.

The circuits use a honeycomb design, which lets light flow through and power silicon circuits. But while that design is thought to the be only way to use the light frequencies, it also restricts the path those circuits can take, Torquato said.

Distorting that honeycomb shape makes the possible circuit paths more flexible, Torquato discovered. The change would allow production of circuits small enough to fit into computers, phones and tablets, a feat that even some Nobel Prize-winning physicists once thought doubtful, Torquato said.

“Usually, if you challenge conventional wisdom, something interesting comes out of it, even if you fail,” he said. Beaming, he added, “In this case, we didn’t fail.”

A Smarter Smartphone Plan

Princeton colleagues Soumya Sen, Carlee Joe-Wong and Sangtae Ha also thought outside of the box to solve their problem: how to prevent mobile data service providers from crashing during peak usage hours, and to encourage users to shift to slower periods.

“We’ve seen a trend, not just of the price of data usage going up but the demand for bandwidth because of all the new smart devices coming out,” said Sen, a post-doctoral research associate. “It’s hurting consumers as well as providers, and we’re trying to create a win-win situation.”

To help even out usage throughout the day, the team concocted a formula for time-dependent pricing to replace unlimited data plans or the monthly quotas currently used by most providers.

Using a variety of factors, such as predicted traffic measurement, consumer behavior and price optimization, their program would create an hour-by-hour price breakdown for mobile data usage, with the idea of pull users to off-peak hours by offering discounted prices for data during those times.

The breakdown would change day by day, with a chart available for consumers a day in advance, to help them plan their usage for the next day, said Ha, an associate research scholar.

The group is also developing a “personal bandwidth manager” app to help consumers optimize their data usage, by offering further personalized breakdowns of which applications they use the most and how much bandwidth those applications use.

The app, which can be downloaded at datawizapp.com, also alerts users to upcoming changes in the data usage price and lets them freeze certain applications on their devices from being used during designated times.

With the model already producing positive results in a small trial based in Princeton, the group will use the grant money to conduct larger trials in different global locations and set up conferences with service providers to show off their work, they said.

“It’s incredible to see this research project I worked on put into the real world, and used by real people,” said Joe-Wong, a doctoral student.

A Tattoo With Antennae

Princeton engineering professor Michael McAlpine is also excited to bring his invention of “smart” tattoos out of the lab and into the marketplace. Applied like a temporary tattoo and using tiny gold wires and strings of silk, the imprint would allow for real-time detection of harmful bacteria after being placed on a person’s tooth or skin, McAlpine said.

Miniature antennae embedded in the tattoo, which can be dissolved in water and fades after about a day, could wirelessly report the detected substances to computers, he said.

“I read a story about a woman having an asthma attack in a grocery store, and she couldn’t breathe enough to tell first-responders what was wrong, but she had a tattoo on her arm that said she had asthma,” McAlpine said. “I thought, if she can have a passive tattoo that says ‘I have asthma,’ why not have an active tattoo that can continuously track your health?”

With the grant in place, McAlpine said, he will soon be testing his invention in hospitals and looking for ways to increase the tattoo’s staying power on the body.

John Ritter, director of the school’s office of technology and licensing, and dean of research A.J. Stewart Smith said they hope the grant program, currently in its sixth year, will have staying power as well.

“This is a very high quality year, the largest number of patents we’ve ever approved,” Smith said. “It’s good to bring recognition from the industry to these ideas and to the university.”

 

dailyalternative | alternative news – Disease-sensing tattoos? Princeton’s ‘Intellectual Property Accelerator Fund’ fuels innovation

via Disease-sensing tattoos? Princeton’s ‘Intellectual Property Accelerator Fund’ fuels innovation | NJ.com.

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Health & Science

Google Now Has Access To Millions of Patients’ Medical Records

A controversial deal between tech giant Google and the National Health Service (NHS) will allow artificial intelligence units access to 1.6 million confidential medical records. Since 2014, Google has partnered with several scientists in an attempt to understand human health, but a new report reveals the data gathering goes far beyond what was originally anticipated.

According to documents obtained by the New Scientist, the data sharing agreement between Google-owned artificial intelligence company DeepMind and the Royal Free NHS Trust gives access to the sensitive healthcare data of millions of NHS patients. The chilling and wide-reaching deal allows DeepMind access to the medical records of the 1.6 million people passing annually through the three London hospitals owned by the Trust — Barnet, Chase Farm, and the Royal Free.

The Google-owned A.I. firm announced in February it was working with the NHS to build an app called Streams — intended to help hospitals monitor patients with kidney disease. However, the new information has revealed that the extent of the data being shared goes much further and includes logs of day-to-day hospital activity, records of the location and status of patients, and even logs of who visits them and when.

Results of pathology and radiology tests are also shared, as is information from critical care and accident and emergency departments. In addition, DeepMind’s access to the centralised records of all NHS hospital treatments in the U.K. means the tech company can access historical data from the last five years, all while receiving a continuous stream of new data.

At the same time, DeepMind is developing a platform called Patient Rescue, which uses hospital data streams to build tools to carry out analysis and support diagnostic decisions. The New Scientist explained how it works:

Comparing a new patient’s information with millions of other cases, Patient Rescue might be able to predict that they are in the early stages of a disease that has not yet become symptomatic, for example. Doctors could then run tests to see if the prediction is correct.

While the Royal Free has not yet responded to the question of what — if any — opt-out mechanisms are available to patients, the New Scientist suggests this is unlikely to be a straightforward process. Despite the agreement stating Google cannot use the data in any other part of the company’s business, many will be seriously wary of the access the online tech giant now has to the confidential data of millions of people.

As the New Scientist wrote:

Data mining is the name of the game in the burgeoning field of machine learning and artificial intelligence, and there’s no company in the world better at that than Google.

 

daily alternative | alternative news – Google Now Has Access To Millions of Patients’ Medical Records

via Google Now Has Access To Millions of Patients’ Medical Records.

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