Basically Skeleton is a really elegant boilerplate setup done through JS + CSS to scale a website from a desktop size to mobile resolutions. I’m currently using it on my own projects, it’s a great framework to get going if you want mobile usability.

Source: http://getskeleton.com/

Is your broccoli still organic if it’s harvested by droids? Plus “microRNA” in food can affect your genes, and glow-in-the-dark bacteria are the new invisible ink.

“Wired reports on Harvest Automation, a Massachusetts company developing small robots that can perform basic agricultural labor. The ones currently being tested in greenhouses and plant nurseries are ‘knee-high, wheeled machines.’ ‘Each robot has a gripper for grasping pots, a deck for carrying pots, and an array of sensors to keep track of where it is and what’s around it. Teams of robots zip around nursery fields, single-mindedly spacing and grouping plants. Key to making the robots flexible and cost-effective is designing them to work only with information provided by their sensors. They don’t construct a global map of their environment, and they don’t use GPS. The robots have sensors that detect boundary markers, a laser range finder to detect objects in front of them, and a gyroscope for navigating by dead reckoning. The robots determine how far they’ve traveled by keeping track of wheel rotations.’”

http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/11/11/13/0410217/startup-testing-mobile-farmbots

You are what you eat–and your genes have to sit up and take notice when you do.

“Tiny bits of genetic material, called microRNAs, can make their way from the food you eat into your blood stream, and change how your genes are expressed, according to a new study. A team of Chinese scientists found tiny bits of white rice microRNA floating around in people’s blood after a meal. When they looked at what was happening on a cellular level, they found that the microRNAs were changing gene expression, decreasing levels of a receptor that filters out LDL (bad) cholesterol. When the scientists gave mice both rice and a chemical to block the microRNAs, their levels of that receptor returned to normal—showing that the microRNAs weren’t just swimming through the blood stream, but acting on genes in the animals’ cells.” http://science.slashdot.org/story/11/09/21/2251238/What-You-Eat-Affects-Your-Genes

Move over e-ink–now there’s b-ink.

“Researchers have invented a new form of secret messaging using bacteria that make glowing proteins only under certain conditions. In addition to being useful to spies, the new technique could also allow companies to encode secret identifiers into crops, seeds, or other living commodities.”
http://science.slashdot.org/story/11/09/28/2010234/Encoding-Messages-In-Bacteria

Whether sea levels rise or fall, your amphibious house will ride the waves of climate change.

A controversial new study suggests that most of humankind’s maladies — from wars to epidemics to economic downturns — can be traced to climate fluctuations….

Climate shifts were a statistically significant cause of social disturbance, war, migration, epidemics, famine, and nutritional status, the researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. And climate caused famines, economic downturns, and catastrophic human events far more often than did any of the other 14 variables. The most direct way in which extreme climate shifts influence human society is through agriculture, Zhang says; a falling supply of crops will drive up the price of gold and cause inflation. Similarly, epidemics can be exacerbated by famine. And when people are miserable, they are likely to become angry with their governments and each other, resulting in war.

But golden ages rise out of these dark periods, the team argues. For instance, a 100-year cold period beginning in 1560 caused shortened crop growing seasons. The researchers found a causal linkage with a decline in average human height by nearly an inch during this period, and the century was rife with disease and conflict. But the world began to warm in 1650; when Charles II was crowned king of England in 1660, the coronation sparked the Enlightenment era in Europe.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/3KOUud3C3M4/

Meanwhile a different study pins a mini Ice Age in Europe on Christopher Columbus.

“Science News reports on a story which blames a centuries long cooling of Europe on the discovery of the new world. Scientists contend that the native depopulation and deforestation had a chilling effect on world-wide climate. ‘Trees that filled in this territory pulled billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, diminishing the heat-trapping capacity of the atmosphere and cooling climate, says Richard Nevle, a geochemist at Stanford University.’

http://news.slashdot.org/story/11/10/14/0345253/columbus-blamed-for-mini-ice-age

In this century, rising sea levels have inspired a new architectural style that might be called the ‘amphibian avant-garde.’

“Venice may soon be sharing its ‘Floating City’ moniker thanks to a research project developing ‘amphibian houses’ that are designed to float in the event of a flood. The FLOATEC project sees the primary market for the houses as the Netherlands, whose low-lying land makes it particularly susceptible to the effects of rising sea levels. Such housing technology could also allow small island-states in the Indian and Pacific Oceans that are at the risk of disappearing in the next 100 years to maintain their claim to statehood through the use of artificial, floating structures.”

http://science.slashdot.org/story/11/09/05/007211/Floating-Houses-Designed-For-Low-Lying-Countries

Philips Microbe House 5Imagine an apartment where kitchen waste provides electricity, your interactive bathroom mirror helps prevent disease, and mushrooms in your composter devour plastic bags.

If you call yourself a twenty-first century design student, you should be studying this.

Continue reading »

This is a pretty cool product that allows users to very quickly create website and moblile phone mockups.  It uses a very simple drag-and-drop interface.  The actual product is $79, but I used this free demo to create the mockups I wanted, then I took screen shots of them.

http://builds.balsamiq.com/b/mockups-web-demo/

The FDA is considering whether to recognize a game aimed at schizophrenics as a “therapeutic drug.” Does that mean you can overdose on GTA? In any case, it’s interesting finally to see a convergence between the two industries that refer to their audience as “users.”

“In what’s believed to be an industry first, a developer has begun talks with the American Food and Drug Administration to get its game recognized as a therapeutic drug. ‘Brain Plasticity has been fine-tuning a game to help people with schizophrenia improve the deficits in attention and memory that are often associated with the disorder. Early next year, they will conduct a study with 150 participants at 15 sites across the country. Participants will play the game for one hour, five times a week over a period of six months. If participants’ quality of life improves at that “dosage,” Brain Plasticity will push ahead with the FDA approval process.’”

http://games.slashdot.org/story/11/09/27/060223/Developer-Seeks-FDA-Approval-For-Therapeutic-Game

Meanwhile, in other virtual health news:

“Rite Aid today announced it is offering virtual face-to-face physician consultations through an in-store kiosk. The virtual consultation services are currently being tested in the Detroit area, but the company expects they will do well and the virtual consults will expand to other regions. The service costs $45 for a 10-minute physician consultation. Consultations with nurses are free.”

http://science.slashdot.org/story/11/09/27/0541231/Rite-Aid-Drug-Stores-Offer-Virtual-Doc-Visits

But wait, there’s more:

They are the two big tech buzzwords of the moment. Now a combination of 3D printing and augmented reality can help researchers design more effective drugs.

At Arthur Olsen’s Molecular Graphics Lab at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, research teams model biological viruses – including HIV – and attempt to work out what kind of proteins and ligand molecules can latch onto them, to see which might inhibit or disable them.

As Olsen shows in this video, 3D printing allows them to create accurate plastic models of virus segments and the potential drug molecules. With smart use of magnets they can be made to self-assemble, too.

But for calculating which drug will likely connect with a receptor area using the least energy, augmented reality comes into play: using small webcam targets on the model virus, they can map it to a computerised model of itself so the researcher can see it move on screen.

(Via Bruce Sterling)

http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/onepercent/2011/10/3d-printed-viruses-meet-their.html

And then there’s Deepak Chopra.

Leela, Deepak Chopra’s debut game for Xbox 360 Kinect and Wii, is part relaxation mechanism, part new age stoner candy.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/vu3zE2BRepc/

Not be outdone, AT&T wants to wire health care into diapers for the young and old. (Shades of Mike Scott’s wearable computing Friend Finder…)

a growing list of people could benefit from connected clothing, says AT&T, which claims ‘the stars have aligned’ for this technology. Prices of clothing sensors have come down; Wi-Fi and wireless networks have become ubiquitous; and mobile apps have become easier to design and simpler to use. ‘For example, parents of babies could cover them in connected clothing to check on their children when they were out of the house … And relatives of elderly people who are “aging in place” in their homes could check on their vital signs and make sure their loved ones haven’t fallen. This could help the elderly stay out of assisted living facilities, as most prefer to do.’”

http://science.slashdot.org/story/11/11/04/2119205/att-pushes-connected-clothing-for-healthcare

Inspired by the recent project in NMD104… It’s an interesting concept.

http://www.gizmag.com/throwable-ball-camera-captures-panoramic-images/20168/

A world like this would make life so simple.

Microsoft shows off a “holodesk” whose 3d environment you can manipulate with your hands. Add quantum levitation to make solid holo-objects move through space–revealed in a stunning video below–and a holodeck starts to look a lot less like Star Trek and a lot more like somebody’s research lab.

Continue reading »

http://www.yankodesign.com/2011/03/24/more-than-a-cyber-cafe/

 

I think this is a fantastic idea, really useful and would be utilized effectively by so many people.

 

Enjoy!

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