The scale of the solar system. You know, for kids.
But do go on how it’s just a joke.
By October 14, the United States Antarctic Program will run out of money. With research suspended, both short-term studies and long-running data sets will be rendered useless.
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For those with brain damage or neurological disorders, treatment could be as close as the wardrobe.
An alternative to painful treatments and surgery for brain damage may now be available with a specially-designed elastic body suit fitted with electrodes, which was designed at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in collaboration with health care and business partners.
The Mollii garment could improve range of motion and reduce pain for people with brain injuries and neurological disorders such as MS and cerebral palsy.
The garment provides the body with electrical stimulation to ease tension and spasms. The result is reduced pain perception and increased mobility.
The idea originated with a Swedish chiropractor, Fredrik Lundqvist, who worked with rehabilitation of brain-damaged patients. Lundqvist struck upon the idea of sewing electrical stimuli – similar to TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) electrodes – into garments that the patient can wear.
He turned to KTH researchers Johan Gawell and Jonas Wistrand at the Department of Machine Design. “They produced a prototype of the product, and today they are working full time on the development of Mollii,” Lundqvist says.
“We need more engineers in care,” Lundqvist says. “I believe that dedicated, young people who are passionate about the future should be given a free hand to develop innovations.”
Designed with ordinary swimsuit material, the body suit has conductive elastic sewn into it, with electrodes located at the major muscles.
Battery-powered light current is conducted via silver wires to 58 electrodes attached to the inside of the garment, which in turn stimulate as many as distinct 42 muscles, according to the patient’s needs.
Batteries are placed in a small control box fitted at the waistband.
“The idea is that the clothes should be used for a few hours, three times a week, and the effect is expected to last for up to two days,” Lundqvist says.
Users are advised engage in movement through training and stretching during the treatment.
“To enhance the quality of life the patient may choose to use Mollii before it’s time to go to work, school or to a social event. That enables the body to function as well as possible when it is really needed,” he says.
The garment has been shown to be highly effective in patient examinations performed in collaboration with a PhD student Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute, Lundvist says. “One-hundred percent of the participants in the survey say they have experienced improvements in existing function or quality of life,” he says.
Stroke patients with paralysis on one side have been found to gain increased mobility in spastic limbs, in that they had improved gait and their arms and hands worked better after treatment.
“As a bonus, the patients often sleep better, and their pharyngeal motor skills and speech improved after using Mollii,” Lundqvist says.
The treatment of patients with movement difficulties and pain due to neurological damage can often require surgery, injections of botolinumtoxin (neurotoxin) or strong medications.
“These treatments mean high costs and side effects, while our clothes are simple and safe to use,” Lundqvist says. “You can reduce the number of hospital visits because the therapy can be performed at home. And when the mobility increases, there is less need for walkers or wheelchairs.”
Mollii is an approved CE marked medical device, but independent clinical tests have yet been performed. But the company behind the treatment, Inerventions, has launched a scientific study of the clinical effectiveness of the garment, in partnership with Rehab Medical clinics in Linköping and Borås. Lundqvist says the results should come next year.
Today, Mollii is available through the Swedish health care system as a personal tool prescribed by physical or occupational therapists. And the garment can also be purchased directly from Inerventions.
The price is about EUR 5,600 for two years guaranteed spasticity treatment. If the suit during that time becomes too small, the patient can switch to a new, tested garment at no additional cost.
In Denmark, the garment is already subsidized with municipal funds for treatment of nerve damage, based on recommendations from a physiotherapist.
Inerventions’ goal is to establish Mollii in Europe, the U.S. and Japan. The garment can in the future be used to help patients with chronic pain and people with Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS).
“It can also help children with physical disabilities or motor difficulties in the feet, such as constantly walking on toes or with their feet at inward angles,” Lundqvist says.
Tran Nguyen (Vietnam/USA)
Georgia-based artist Tran Nguyen spins visual stories underlining her passion for psychotherapeutic themes and imagery. Created using thin glazes of acrylic on paper and finished with colouring pencils, Nguyen’s work is nothing short of spectacular as it conveys pensive scenes charged with life and emotion.
In many of her works, Vietnamese-born Nguyen features female figures brimming with elegance and goddess-like charm. Although their expressions bear a certain softness and vulnerability, these figures also possess a powerful and magnetic aura – a striking feature which gives each painting character and depth.
Nguyen also places her figures at the heart of fascinating scenes echoing the artist’s curiosity towards fantasy art, surrealism and dreamscapes. Whether the abstract landscapes from her ‘Organic Geometry’ series, or the architectural ones found in pieces like ‘A Sentimental Swallow’ and ‘A Taste For Bittersweet Beds’, each setting perfectly embodies the spirit and mood of the figure to which it is intricately tied. Drawn with precision and often painted in atmospheric and earthy hues, these settings thus come across as a statement of Nguyen’s flair for detail and colour.
Through their play with textures and geometric patterns, their references to nature and their Klimt-like grace, Nguyen’s drawings are some of the most delicate interpretations one would find of mankind’s dreams, feelings and innermost thoughts. Her works offer a compelling look into one’s subconscious and, if anything, encourage each of us to dream.
Background: Nature recently published a paper on a new technology for windows. In a nutshell: glass has been prepared that selectively absorbs visible and near-infrared light when an electrochemical voltage is applied. This opens the way to ‘smart’ windows that block heat on demand, with or without optical transparency.
Given that residential and commercial buildings account for about 40 percent of energy use and 30 percent of energy-related carbon emissions in the US, this is quite a breakthrough.
Read Composite for smarter windows (Note: Nature subscription required for this one)
Design challenge: Our goal was to create a graphic that simply and elegantly showed the three limiting optical states of a new smart coating: (a) full transparency, (b) selectively near-infrared (NIR) blocking, and (c) darkened against both visible and NIR light transmission (as labelled in the final graphic, above).
The cover design (also above) showed the three states in one window, but for the graphic we wanted to be more explanatory while still conveying the simplicity of the concept.
A key challenge was to show the layers within the glass, to visually explain how applying a charge to this setup affects the nanocrystals and therefore the optical transparency of the glass matrix. It was drawn in an orthographic projection, with the layered structure of the glass drawn as blowouts using the same projection. This allowed all of the elements to sit nicely within the same visual space.
I experimented by showing more structure around the windows (such as in a brick wall) and by showing more of an external ‘scene’, but found that simple floating windows with a stylized depiction of sky and natural light was all that was needed.
Professor Stephen Hawking has predicted that it could be possible to preserve a mind as powerful as his on a computer - but not with technology existing today.
The cosmologist, 71, said the brain operates in a similar way to a computer programme, meaning it could in theory be kept running without a body to power it.
Prof Hawking was speaking after the premiere of a new biopic about his life, which he narrates himself, at the Cambridge Film Festival.
Asked about whether a person’s consciousness can live on after they die, he said: “I think the brain is like a programme in the mind, which is like a computer, so it’s theoretically possible to copy the brain onto a computer and so provide a form of life after death.
"However, this is way beyond our present capabilities. I think the conventional afterlife is a fairy tale for people afraid of the dark."
The film tells the story of Prof Hawking’s life, from his childhood in Oxford to his current home in Cambridge where he lives with the help of a group of carers.
It addresses how he moved from being diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 21, and being told he had three years left to live, to becoming the world’s most famous living scientist.
Addressing his condition, which has afflicted him for half a century, he says in the film: “Keeping an active mind has been vial to my survival,as has been maintaining a sense of humour.”
Speaking before the premiere on Thursday, Kip Thorne, the American physicist and a close friend of Prof Hawking, said: “I think his handicap allowed him to do science he may not otherwise have done.
"He is the most stubborn man I know and that stubbornness and that drive is in part motivated by his disability."
Learn more about “How Stephen Hawking Works"…