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First successful transplantation of a synthetic windpipe | KurzweilAI - 0 views

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    A 36-year-old man has received the world's first synthetic trachea, made from a synthetic scaffold seeded with his own stem cells, in an operation at the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden.

    Professor Paolo Macchiarini of Karolinska University Hospital and Karolinska Institutet led an international team, including professor Alexander Seifalian from University College London, who designed and built the nanocomposite tracheal scaffold, and Harvard Bioscience, which produced a specifically designed bioreactor used to seed the scaffold with the patient´s own stem cells.

    The cells were grown on the scaffold inside the bioreactor for two days before transplantation to the patient. Because the cells used to regenerate the trachea were the patient's own, there has been no rejection of the transplant and the patient is not taking immunosuppressive drugs.

    "The big conceptual breakthrough is that we can move from transplanting organs to manufacturing them for patients," says David Green, the president of Harvard Bioscience in Holliston, Massachusetts.

    Transplantations of tissue-engineered windpipes with synthetic scaffolds in combination with the patient's own stem cells as a standard procedure means that patients will not have to wait for a suitable donor organ. Patients could benefit from earlier surgery and have a greater chance of cure. This would be of especially great value for children, since the availability of donor tracheas is much lower than for adult patients.
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25% of US car accidents due to using gadgets | KurzweilAI - 0 views

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    Driving distractions such as cell phones and other electronic devices cause as much as 25% of all U.S. car accidents, researchers at the Governors Highway Safety Association have found, WinBETA notes.

    A major finding was that being distracted was the cause of 15 to 25% of all accidents, ranging from minor property damage to death.

    Their findings suggest that distracted driving accidents be reported in accident reports to assist in evaluating distracted driving laws and programs. They propose creating low-cost roadway measures that alert motorists when they are drifting out of their driving lane.

    They also propose that all cell phones be banned on the road, even hands-free versions.

    In another report by The New York Times, police in Syracuse and Hartford have handed out nearly 20,000 tickets for illegal use of a phone while driving - either for texting or use of a handheld phone.

    According to the federal government, these efforts have had the desired effect: distracted driving has fallen sharply. Their research shows that drivers talking on a phone are four times as likely to get into a crash as those not on a phone, and that the risks for motorists who text are at least twice as high. In Syracuse, handheld cellphone use and texting have each fallen by one-third. In Hartford, handheld cellphone use by drivers fell 57 percent while texting fell by 75 percent, the Times reports.

    Ref.: Vicki Harper. et al., Distracted Driving: What Research Shows and What States Can Do, GHSA, 2011
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EPFL spinoff turns thousands of 2D photos into 3D images | KurzweilAI - 0 views

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    Researchers in EPFL's Computer Vision Laboratory developed a computer-based modeling service that generates a 3D image from up to thousands of 2D shots, with all the processing done in the cloud.
    Since April, the EPFL startup Pix4D has been offering the modeling service with a fourth dimension: time. Now, individuals and small businesses looking for fast, cheap, large-scale 3D models can get them without investing in heavy processing, the company states.
    With Pix4D, users upload a series of photos of an object, and within 30 minutes they have a 3D image. The software defines "points of interest" from among the photos, or common points of high-contrast pixels. Next, the program pastes the images together seamlessly by matching up the points of interest. Much in the same way our two eyes work together to calculate depth, the software computes the distance and angle between two or more photos and lays the image over the model appropriately, creating a highly accurate 3D model that avoids the time intensive, "point by point" wireframe method.
    With Pix4D's 3D models, you can navigate in all directions as well as change the date on a timeline to see what a place looked like at different times of the year. The company is collaborating with several drone makers (including another EPFL startup,senseFly) to market their software as a package with senseFly's micro aerial vehicles, or autonomous drones.
    Pix4D's time element avoids waiting for Google to update its satellite data or for an expensive plane to fly by and take high-resolution photos. Farmers, for example, can now send relatively inexpensive flying drones into the air to take pictures as often as they like, allowing them to survey the evolution of their crops over large distances and long periods of time. And since the calculations are done on a cloud server, the client doesn't need a powerful computer of his or her own.
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'Wireless' humans could form backbone of new mobile networks | KurzweilAI - 0 views

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    Members of the public could form the backbone of powerful new mobile Internet networks by carrying wearable sensors, according to researchers from Queen's University Belfast.

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