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IFA 2015: Samsung wants to put you to sleep

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At the recent IFA tech trade show in Berlin, Samsung unveiled SleepSence, a device designed to track and improve a user’s overall sleep quality.

At the IFA 2015 tech trade show in Berlin this weekend, Samsung Electronics this week unveiled SleepSense, a personal sleep tracking sensor aimed at improving a user’s sleep quality.

According to the company, the device analyses heart and respiratory rates, as well as physical movement, while you are sleeping. Each morning it compiles this data into a summary of the night’s sleep activity, and provides a sleep score which is mapped against average data based on age. With Samsung’s patented technology, users can use this information to analyse the quantity and quality of their sleep with the device’s mobile app.

“Sleep is an essential component of general wellbeing, but many struggle to achieve the recommended amount. Lack of sleep is associated with a host of health problems. Samsung’s SleepSense is a monitoring device that provides personalised sleep reports to help people better understand their sleeping habits, as well as expert recommendations on improving their sleep quality. We ultimately want to improve lives with this special device,” said Michelle Potgieter, Director of Corporate Marketing and Communications at Samsung South Africa.

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Samsung provided the following information on the device:

The SleepSense device is easy to use. Simply place it under your mattress and download the SleepSense app to your mobile phone. When you wake up, the device compiles your ‘sleep score’, which is sent to your phone, based on the following insights:

  • The time it took you to fall asleep and your total sleep time;
  • Your sleep efficiency, including the number of times you woke up and / or  got out of bed; and
  • The percentage of time you spent in the REM (rapid eye movement) and deep sleep cycles.

The device’s benefits go even further – it also helps to create an optimal sleeping environment to improve your chances of a good night’s sleep. It can connect to Samsung smart appliances to control air conditioning units and turn off the TV as you fall asleep. Through the Samsung SmartThings app it can control many other devices such as thermostats, security cameras and lights.

The device offers personalised guidelines on improving sleep quality, encompassing lifestyle, nutrition and exercise tips. These were developed alongside Harvard Medical School Professor Dr. Christos Mantzoros.

The Smart Alarm feature wakes you up gradually and peacefully after identifying the best time to do so (based on data collated from your sleep stages). The SleepSense ‘family care’ option lets users analyse the quality of family members’ sleep, via email.

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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Buy 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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Pizoelectrics: Healthcare’s new gymnasts of gadgetry

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Healthcare electronics is rapidly deploying for wellness, electroceuticals, and intrusive medical procedures, among other, powered by new technologies. Much of it is trending to diagnostics and treatment on the move, and removing the need for the patient to perform procedures on time. 

Instruments become wearables, including electronic skin patches and implants. The IDTechEx Research report, “Piezoelectric Harvesting and Sensing for Healthcare 2019-2029”, notes that sensors should preferably be self-powered, non-poisonous even on disposal, and many need to be biocompatible and even biodegradable. 

We need to detect biology, vibration, force, acceleration, stress and linear movement and do imaging. Devices must reject bacteria and be useful in wearables and Internet of Things nodes. Preferably we must move to one device performing multiple tasks. 

So is there a gymnast material category that has that awesome versatility? 

Piezoelectrics has a good claim. It measures all those parameters. That even includes biosensors where the piezo senses the swelling of a biomolecule recognizing a target analyte. The most important form of self-powered (one material, two functions) piezo sensing is ultrasound imaging, a market growing at 5.1% yearly. 

The IDTechEx Research report looks at what comes next, based on global travel and interviewing by its PhD level analysts in 2018 with continuous updates.  

Click here to read how Piezo has been reinvented.

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