Hydrogel injections could increase wounded soldier survival rates

If a team of researchers from MIT and Texas A&M University have their way, wounded soldiers will have soon have a better chance of survival. The project is a biodegradable gelatin that once injected, helps with blood coagulation, cutting down on blood loss internally. In some trials, the hydrogel decreased the time it took for the blood to clot by 77 percent after it maneuvered into position. The medical solution is still in the testing phase, but once its perfected, researchers hope to see soldiers add preloaded syringes packed with the material to their gear arsenals.

[Image credit: Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images]“

The time to get to a medical facility can take a half hour to an hour, and this hour is crucial; it can decide life and death,” explains Akhilesh Gaharwar, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Texas A&M. “Our material’s combination of injectability, rapid mechanical recovery, physiological stability and the ability to promote coagulation result in a hemostat for treating incompressible wounds in out-of-hospital, emergency situations.” What’s more, the group is currently working to develop the material into a two-stage treatment that aids with the regeneration of tissue, too.

via Hydrogel injections could increase wounded soldier survival rates.

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Wonderful prank gives housekeeper the home she was supposed to clean

Those make-good-stuff-happen pranks are getting crazy. After turning a waitress’ shift into the best day of her life, the people at Break decided to give away a house to Cara Simmons, a housekeeper and single mother of three. But first, they made her believe the new house was actually her new workplace.

In fact, the prank was for the entire family: They believed that the whole thing was only a nice day off for Cara. They were blown away when they discovered they got a new house that will be theirs for life.

via Wonderful prank gives housekeeper the home she was supposed to clean.

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Crowdfunding campaign hopes to beat Nike to auto-lacing shoes

Ever since Marty McFly first wore them in Back to the Future Part II, we’ve all dreamed of auto-lacing shoes. Nike has now said that a pair will launch in 2015, but despite that, a Canadian startup is taking to Kickstarter to try and beat the shoe giant to the punch with its Powerlace P-One shoes.

Despite their name, Powerlace shoes feature a non-electric system that relies on your body weight to tighten the laces. As soon as you step into the shoes, your heel presses down on a concealed disc that’s linked by wires to the laces. There’s a lever attached to the back of the shoe that allows you to release pressure to loosen the laces to your taste.

Visually, it’s unlikely the P-Ones will win many fans. They look like a typical pair of no-name running shoes, with huge and fairly unattractive “POWERLACE” branding plastered over their sides. The campaign is seeking an astronomically high $650,000 CAD (about $577,000) to make Powerlace a reality, with prices starting from $175 CAD ($155) for early birds and $195 CAD ($173) for everyone else. Should the campaign be successful, the first shoes are expected to ship next May. Given Nike’s unspecific “2015″ date for its auto-lacing shoes, not even a successful campaign can guarantee that the P-Ones will still be “the world’s first” by the the time they ship. click here to watch video

via Crowdfunding campaign hopes to beat Nike to auto-lacing shoes.

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Microsoft makes Office for iPad free to use, starts testing Android tablet version

Considering how popular Office has been on the desktop, you’d assume it’d be the go-to productivity suite on mobile too. In fact, though, the company has made a few missteps: The iPhone app is watered down, and as nice as the iPad version is, you need an Office subscription to do any sort of editing. Fortunately, though, Microsoft is changing course: The company just announced that it will offer basic editing as a standard feature on the iPad, the same way it already does on Android and the iPhone. Keep in mind that you’ll still need an Office 365 subscription to unlock certain advanced editing tools, but most of those are probably better-suited to business users anyway.Additionally, the company is beginning public beta testing on its first-ever Android tablet app, which will see a wide release early next year. The software, which includes standalone Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps, is still in development, but what we’ve seen so far suggests the apps have feature parity with the iPad suite. Also like the iPad app, it will include basic editing tools for free. You can sign up for the preview today, but it may take a while before you get a turn: Microsoft says it plans to add users gradually, with an eye toward testing a wide variety of devices.

via Microsoft makes Office for iPad free to use, starts testing Android tablet version.

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Microsoft’s bone-conducting headset guides the blind with audio cues

While nothing can replace the companionship of a guide dog, technology can help make treks through busy cities a lot less stressful and more enjoyable for the visually impaired. Microsoft, for one, is currently testing a new headset developed with help from UK charity Guide Dogs that uses 3D soundscape technology to guide its users with audio cues along the way. That bone-conducting headset can’t work alone, though: it needs to be connected to a smartphone, as well as to receive information from Bluetooth and WiFi beacons placed in intervals throughout the roads users take. For its pilot program, Microsoft attached makeshift beacons on neighborhood objects in a London suburb, where its first testers are giving it a spin. When company news writer Jennifer Warnick tried it out while blindfolded, she found herself so efficient in getting around with only sounds to guide her, that she felt like a “dry-land dolphin.”According to her detailed report on the experiment, the beacons would constantly send audio cues that sound like the galloping coconut noise from Monty Python to ensure her she’s taking the right way. She also reported hearing other sounds, such as sonar pings to warn her if she’s veering too close to curbs, as well as turn-by-turn voice directions, telling her how far she still has to walk to certain establishments, or if the bus she’s waiting for is approaching. It’ll obviously take a ton of effort bringing the headset to market, seeing as more permanent beacons will need to be installed everywhere. Hopefully, the company finds a way to bring the system to other places, for the sake of all the blind folks who’d love to be more independent

via Microsoft’s bone-conducting headset guides the blind with audio cues.

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A Giant Drill Came This Close to Tearing Through a Packed NYC Subway Car

A whole bunch of Queens commuters almost got to star in their very own horror movie yesterday when a rogue contractor accidentally bored through an F-train subway tunnel with a 10-inch drill bit. So, uh, happy Halloween. Or something.

According to the New York Post:

The operator heard a thundering noise on the roof and stopped the subway with the emergency brakes — and then discovered the drill extending from the roof of the tunnel to the floor, which struck down just inches from the side of the train.

Apparently, contractors weren’t even supposed to be drilling in that spot, but “some people don’t follow instructions.” Why no, no they don’t.

Fortunately for the 800-odd passengers on the train, the only physical damage was to the train’s (now-shattered) windows and (now-gouged) steel frame. But according to one passenger “It’s hard to believe that happened…How could someone screw up that bad?”

via A Giant Drill Came This Close to Tearing Through a Packed NYC Subway Car.

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This Algae Farm Eats Pollution From the Highway Below It

A highway overpass is the last place most of us would think to install a farm. But algae, that wonderful little ecological miracle, is different. Since it consumes sunlight and CO2 and spits out oxygen, places with high emissions are actually the perfect growing area. Which is why this overpass in France has its own algae farm.

Built this summer as part of a festival in Genève, the farm is actually fairly simple: It thrives on the emissions of cars that pass below it, augmented by sunlight. A series of pumps and filters regulate the system, and over time, the algae matures into what can be turned into any number of usable products. According to the designers behind it, the Dutch and French design firmCloud Collective, those uses can range from combustable biomass to material for use in cosmetics and other consumer-facing products.

Of course, this is just a proof of concept—an installation to explain how easy it would be to do this on a larger scale. But that’s just as important, at this point. Injecting an emerging system like algae into the public consciousness, bit by bit, shows how realistic a larger scale version could really be. [Cloud CollectiveDesignBoom]

via This Algae Farm Eats Pollution From the Highway Below It.

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