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Smart Bandages Monitor Wounds, Deliver Drug Treatments

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An apple a day keeps the doctor away. But so could this smart bandage, developed by engineers at Tufts University.

The prototype is designed to remotely monitor chronic wounds and deliver drug treatments.

Still in its early stages, the research—published in the journal Small—describes the importance of flexible electronics in the team’s effort to transform bandaging from a passive to active treatment to “address a persistent and difficult medical challenge,” according to a Tufts press release.

Chronic skin wounds caused by burns, diabetes, and other conditions can restrict natural regeneration, often leading to infection or amputation.

Nearly 15 percent of Medicare beneficiaries require treatment for at least one type of chronic wound or infection, the University reported, citing research published in Value in Health. Add that up, and taxpayers are footing an estimated $28 billion annual bill.

These new lab-tested bandages—which deliver treatments in response to embedded sensors—are ideal for patients with limited mobility.

(via Tufts University)

“We’ve been able to take a new approach to bandages because of the emergence of flexible electronics,” co-study author Sameer Sonkusale, a professor at Tufts University’s School of Engineering, said in a statement.

“In fact, flexible electronics have made many wearable medical devices possible, but bandages have changed little since the beginnings of medicine,” he continued. “We are simply applying modern technology to an ancient art in the hopes of improving outcomes for an intractable problem.”

This isn’t exactly the first attempt at a so-called “smart bandage”: Scientists have been tinkering with the technology for nearly a decade, testing color-changing plasters, 3D-printed dressings, fish-skin covering, and a bandage that rips bacteria right out of your wound, like one of those nose strips.

In 2015, researchers at the University of Bath created a Band-Aid that uses gel-like material to help detect infection; last year, Swansea University’s Institute of Life Sciences designed a 5G-powered compress that detects how a wound is healing—and communicates with doctors.

Tufts University’s smart bandage was created with pH and temperature sensors and antibiotic drug delivery.

“[It’s] really a prototype for a wide range of possibilities,” Sonkusale said. “One can imagine embedding other sensing components, drugs, and growth factors that treat different conditions in response to different healing markers.”

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Autonomous Sexbots Are the Future

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In a 2017 TEDx talk, University of London lecturer and writer Kate Devlin pointed out that “There are no actual sex robots in production yet—just dolls.”

What a difference a year makes.

Chinese robotics developer DS Doll is currently working on the world’s first autonomous sex robot.

According to Daily Star, the Dalian-based firm is 3D-printing component parts for its AI-powered humanoid. The advanced technology helps boost production speed and efficiency, allowing for the mass production of sexy cyborgs.

Able to move its eyes, mouth, head, shoulders, and arms, the first prototype is “almost complete,” DS Doll told the UK tabloid; engineers are putting the finishing touches on the mobile legs.

A slew of video clips shared via the company’s Twitter account highlight the unnamed android’s … talents: Watch her shake to life before fitfully stretching her arms and turning her silicone head.

Not exactly the smooth operator you’d hope to bed, the electronic skeleton is designed to mimic the human body. DS Doll uses 3D printing to develop and stamp out specific, uniform shapes. It can even scan full human bodies and prototype parts for replication.

The company constructs 400 custom models each month; its premium-range mannequins sell for around $5,000.

“We are still in the researching process,” DS Doll chief development officer Qiao Wu told the Daily Star.

“The full-body robot will have more physical expression to help with human communication,” he explained. “One day, we hope the robot can be used in etiquette, presentation, human companionship, front-desk services, and other areas.”

Sex dolls (because Devlin’s right—most of these devices are nothing more than life-sized hunks of plastic with no understanding of consent) have come a long way from the tacky, low-grade inflatable masturbation toys of yore.

They still have a long way to go, though.

The line between man and machine continues to blur. Which is why activists are calling for sex robot regulations. Learn everything you always wanted to know about sex robots (but were afraid to ask) and more here.

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SpaceX Signs First Private Passenger For Lunar Flight

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DIY a Desktop Arcade Cabinet With Retro Picade Kit

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This is the year of retro gaming: Classic titles are reappearing on modern consoles, and nostalgic appliances are reappearing as modern consoles.

So it’s no surprise that hobbyist electronic firm Pimoroni recently launched a redesigned version of its Raspberry Pi-powered mini arcade machine.

Unveiled in August, the build-it-yourself Picade features authentic controls, a high-res 4:3 display, and a “punchy speaker to hear those 8-bit game soundtracks at their best.”

The kit takes about two to three hours to build (according to the experts who created it). All you need is a Raspberry Pi, micro-SD card, power supply, and £150 ($198) to spare.

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The original Picade was introduced in 2012 as the UK’s first Kickstarter project, collecting more than £74,000 ($98,000) toward a £33,000 ($44,000) goal.

Six years later, Pimoroni has updated its “ultimate desktop retro arcade machine,” now more compact, with a better display, dedicated power button, and Picade X HAT “packed full of useful features.”

Fans may also notice splashier artwork and packaging. Each Picade comes with “a bunch of extra goodies,” like an enamel pin, sticker selection, poster, and assembly instructions.

In an effort to drum up interest in the new toy, Sheffield-based Pimoroni asked folks around the world to come up with a retro game concept that would suit the new Picade.

Entries from the UK, Europe, and US included hand-drawn posters, punny titles, and “screenshots.” Ultimately, the team behind Trolley Wars—a Supermarket Sweep-like game—won for its “simplicity and button-bashing of arcade favorites of old.”

New packaging for a new machine (via Pimoroni)

Everything old is new again, and arcade cabinets are no exception: British manufacturer STOA last year rolled out custom-built cupboards, each handcrafted from start to finish for one or two players.

In place of traditional cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors, STOA uses modern LCD screens, with the same 4:3 aspect ratio as the Picade. Every device comes with a curated selection of games (Ms. Pac-Man, Street Fighter II, Paperboy, Mortal Kombat, Space Invaders, etc.), tailored to the client’s preference and design.

You can do anything with a Raspberry Pi and a little imagination: DIY a Spotify speaker, upcycle a karaoke machine, track foosball scores. Check out our recent Geek Pick, the Retroflag SUPERPi case for Nintendo lovers. And stay up to date on all things Raspberry Pi here.

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