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New month, more Fives! Back from some travel and got some really interesting things to show you this week. Let's go!
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1. 3D Printed Electronics
A new startup called Voxel8 has created a new kind of 3D printer. Not only can this printer spit out your regular old PLA or ABS plastic, it can also print conductive ink traces in 3D shapes. Basically, this means you can route the traces of your circuit into complex shapes such that they are truly embedded into the design. No more being restricted by the confines of your silicon printed circuit board. Of course, you've still got to find a way to place on the components yourself but Autodesk has teamed up with these guys to help make that a bit easier. [Link]
2. Non-contact Health Tracking
Researchers have devised a clever way to estimate heart rate and oxygen saturation using the ambient light in a video stream. After reducing motion artifacts and background lighting, the researchers used the slight changes in skin color and tone to extract a PPG waveform (the waveform that is indicative of the rate and level of perfusion of blood throughout a cardiac cycle). They then use this and some cross validation to determine heart rate and even estimate the level of oxygen in your blood. This is a step beyond what you typically see when you see "non-invasive" in that the sensors don't even need to be attached to your body. Just a camera with a clear view! No more awkward finger clips! [Link]
3. Reading through Papyrus
Ok ok I know this doesn't seem like a big deal at first, but trust me, this is tough when you consider the how fragile these artifacts are. Researchers have used a special type of X-Ray imaging to reveal the letters in an unopened Herculaneum papyrus scroll. In this case, the scrolls have become carbonized which makes identifying the ink even more difficult. As you can see, the images are still quite tricky to make out but given the right eye and some photoshop skills you can start to make something up out. [Link]
4. Slowing Down Light
Ok so most of us know you can already slow light down quite a bit by passing it through a medium like glass or water. Some physicists tried to take that even one step further by challenging themselves to figure out to manipulate the speed of light while it was in a vacuum. Instead of passing it through a medium, they instead ran the light through a special mask (like a filter) that changed the shape of the light. Specifically, some photons of light began moving at a slight angle from the rest which had the affect of changing the speed for the whole group. [Link]
5. Text Summarizer
Where was this back in college or middle school? This is a slick implementation of many of the summarization algorithms people are developing for shorter news content to share between users. Grab a giant block of test and try it out yourself! I'm sure you'll be impressed. You can also try the Spritzlet service if you're into the whole "I should read every word" thing. It does an amazing job of positioning and highlighting words so you can speed read them easily.   [More]
Fives is written by Rohan Puri