Category Archives: Healthcare

Updates from Georgia Tech

Signals from Distant Lightning Could Help Secure Electric Substations
By John Toon – Side channel signals and bolts of lightning from distant storms could one day help prevent hackers from sabotaging electric power substations and other critical infrastructure, a new study suggests.

By analyzing electromagnetic signals emitted by substation components using an independent monitoring system, security personnel could tell if switches and transformers were being tampered with in remote equipment. Background lightning signals from thousands of miles away would authenticate those signals, preventing malicious actors from injecting fake monitoring information into the system.

The research, done by engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has been tested at substations with two different electric utilities, and by extensive modeling and simulation. Known as radio frequency-based distributed intrusion detection system (RFDIDS), the technique was described February 26 at the 2019 Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS) in San Diego.

“We should be able to remotely detect any attack that is modifying the magnetic field around substation components,” said Raheem Beyah, Motorola Foundation Professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and co-founder of Fortiphyd Logic, Inc. “We are using a physical phenomenon to determine whether a certain action at a substation has occurred or not.”

Opening substation breakers to cause a blackout is one potential power grid attack, and in December 2015, that technique was used to shut off power to 230,000 persons in the Ukraine. Attackers opened breakers in 30 substations and hacked into monitoring systems to convince power grid operators that the grid was operating normally. Topping that off, they also attacked call centers to prevent customers from telling operators what was happening. more>

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How the body and mind talk to one another to understand the world


By Sarah Garfinkel – When considering the senses, we tend to think of sight and sound, taste, touch and smell. However, these are classified as exteroceptive senses, that is, they tell us something about the outside world. In contrast, interoception is a sense that informs us about our internal bodily sensations, such as the pounding of our heart, the flutter of butterflies in our stomach or feelings of hunger.

The brain represents, integrates and prioritizes interoceptive information from the internal body. These are communicated through a set of distinct neural and humeral (ie, blood-borne) pathways. This sensing of internal states of the body is part of the interplay between body and brain: it maintains homeostasis, the physiological stability necessary for survival; it provides key motivational drivers such as hunger and thirst; it explicitly represents bodily sensations, such as bladder distension.

But that is not all, and herein lies the beauty of interoception, as our feelings, thoughts and perceptions are also influenced by the dynamic interaction between body and brain.

The shaping of emotional experience through the body’s internal physiology has long been recognized. The American philosopher William James argued in 1892 that the mental aspects of emotion, the ‘feeling states’, are a product of physiology. He reversed our intuitive causality, arguing that the physiological changes themselves give rise to the emotional state: our heart does not pound because we are afraid; fear arises from our pounding heart. more>

Updates from Ciena

Is technology the answer to stopping unsafe driving behaviors?
By Daniele Loffreda –  No matter how safe of a driver someone is, it just takes one instance of human error for an accident to happen. We shoot through the intersection just as the yellow light changes to red. We drift into the adjacent lane while responding to a text message. We nod out for a split-second because we didn’t get enough sleep the previous night.

Most times when taking these risks, we are lucky and manage to avoid an accident. But it only takes one unlucky moment to cause serious harm to yourself and your fellow motorists. For local departments of transportation (DOT), the multiplier effect of millions of drivers taking risks, can be devastating.

According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel:

  • Each year nearly 1.25 million people die in road crashes around the world, an average of 3,287 deaths a day
  • An additional 20-50 million people are injured or disabled annually
  • Road crashes cost USD $518 billion globally, costing individual countries from 1-2% of their annual GDP

According to the U.K.’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, human error is still the primary factor in 95% of road crashes.

Some innovative DOT’s have begun partnering with car manufacturers and technology vendors to make roadways safer by minimizing the potential for human error.  Many new vehicles are equipped with safety features like lane-departure correction, obstacle detection and collision avoidance.

And some manufacturers are beginning to include vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure technology (V2I) in their newer models.

Ciena is working with one trail-blazing DOT – the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). more>

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Updates from ITU

New ITU standards bring broadband to places as remote as Mount Everest
ITU News – New ITU standards aim to bring high-speed broadband services to rural communities with lightweight, terabit-capable optical cable that can be deployed on the ground’s surface with minimal expense and environmental impact.

The standards are giving developing countries the confidence to consider the roll-out of optical networks in some of the world’s most challenging conditions.

Nepal, for example, has highlighted its intention to use ITU-standardized lightweight optical cable to connect places as remote as Mount Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Trekking Trail.

Why lightweight optical cable?

Satellite communications are characterized by high latency, struggling to support the interactive services associated with broadband. Radiocommunications can provide ‘last-mile’ connectivity. But in the broadband era, optical infrastructure is indispensable – rural communities are often many, many kilometers away from core networks.

The Editor of the new standards, Haruo Okamura of Waseda University, offers a compelling example: “Optical cable is becoming an absolute must for telemedicine. Only optical cable provides capacity high enough and latency low enough for the live transmission of HD medical imagery to remote medical professionals.”

The installation of ultra-high speed optical networks, however, comes with a great deal of cost and complexity.

“Today the costs of optical cable installation are typically 70 to 80 per cent of the entire CAPEX of the network,” says Okamura. “The designs of conventional optical cables are specific to their installation environment – whether duct, directly buried, lashed aerial or submerged – with installation methods relying on specialized machinery and skilled labor.”

This challenge is made even greater by the low densities of remote rural communities, where fiber roll-outs demand a disproportionate level of initial capital investment relative to the potential return on such investment.

New ITU standards aim to change that equation by providing a low-cost ‘do-it-yourself’ solution able to be deployed in even the world’s most remote areas. more>

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Updates from Georgia Tech

Growing Pile of Human and Animal Waste Harbors Threats, Opportunities
By Josh Brown – As demand for meat and dairy products increases across the world, much attention has landed on how livestock impact the environment, from land usage to greenhouse gas emissions.

Now researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are highlighting another effect from animals raised for food and the humans who eat them: the waste they all leave behind.

In a paper published November 13 in Nature Sustainability, the research team put forth what they believe is the first global estimate of annual recoverable human and animal fecal biomass. In 2014, the most recent year with data, the number was 4.3 billion tons and growing, and waste from livestock outweighed that from humans five to one at the country level.

“Exposure to both human and animal waste represent a threat to public health, particularly in low-income areas of the world that may not have resources to implement the best management and sanitation practices,” said Joe Brown, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “But estimating the amount of recoverable feces in the world also highlights the enormous potential from a resource perspective.” more>

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Why Inequality Matters

By Thorvaldur Gylfason – Since the early 1970s, the share of national income paid to workers in advanced economies has fallen from 55 to 40 percent. A declining labor share goes along with increased inequality in the distribution of income and wealth as well as health. Medical researchers report that the wealthiest one percent of American men live 15 years longer than the poorest one percent and that the wealthiest one percent of American women can expect to live ten years longer than their poorer counterparts. The gap is widening.

Concerns about inequality have recently been thrust to the forefront of political discourse around the world. An important part of the explanation for the surprise victory of Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential election is that he did well among those voters who felt they had been left behind with stagnant real wages for decades while CEO compensation rose from 20 times the typical worker’s compensation in 1965 to 270 in 2008.

What could workers do?

As film maker Michael Moore puts it, they could throw Molotov cocktails at the powers that be. Trump was their Molotov. Similarly, in the 2016 referendum in the UK, those who felt left behind tended to vote for Brexit. more>

Updates from Georgia Tech

Finally, a Robust Fuel Cell that Runs on Methane at Practical Temperatures
By Ben Brumfield – Fuel cells have not been particularly known for their practicality and affordability, but that may have just changed. There’s a new cell that runs on cheap fuel at temperatures comparable to automobile engines and which slashes materials costs.

Though the cell is in the lab, it has high potential to someday electrically power homes and perhaps cars, say the researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology who led its development. In a new study in the journal Nature Energy the researchers detailed how they reimagined the entire fuel cell with the help of a newly invented fuel catalyst.

The catalyst has dispensed with high-priced hydrogen fuel by making its own out of cheap, readily available methane. And improvements throughout the cell cooled the seething operating temperatures that are customary in methane fuel cells dramatically, a striking engineering accomplishment. more>

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Updates from Georgia Tech

Looking Back in Time to Watch for a Different Kind of Black Hole
By John Toon – Black holes form when stars die, allowing the matter in them to collapse into an extremely dense object from which not even light can escape. Astronomers theorize that massive black holes could also form at the birth of a galaxy, but so far nobody has been able to look far enough back in time to observe the conditions creating these direct collapse black holes (DCBH).

The James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled for launch in 2021, might be able look far enough back into the early Universe to see a galaxy hosting a nascent massive black hole. Now, a simulation done by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology has suggested what astronomers should look for if they search the skies for a DCBH in its early stages.

DCBH formation would be initiated by the collapse of a large cloud of gas during the early formation of a galaxy, said John H. Wise, a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Physics and the Center for Relativistic Astrophysics. But before astronomers could hope to catch this formation, they would have to know what to look for in the spectra that the telescope could detect, which is principally infrared.

Black holes take about a million years to form, a blip in galactic time. In the DCBH simulation, that first step involves gas collapsing into a supermassive star as much as 100,000 times more massive than our sun. The star then undergoes gravitational instability and collapses into itself to form a massive black hole. Radiation from the black hole then triggers the formation of stars over period of about 500,000 years, the simulation suggested. more>

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Updates from ITU

How AI for healthcare can overcome obstacles and save lives
By Dr. Winnie Tang – Al has been widely applied in healthcare. It can identify early symptoms, diagnose diseases, help carry out operations, predict when an epidemic will break out and undertake hospital administrative tasks such as making appointments and registering patients.

Accenture, a consultancy firm, estimated that 10 promising Al applications could save up to USD 150 billion in annual medical expenses for the U.S. by 2026.

Among the 10 applications, the most valuable is the robot-assisted surgery, according to the research. A study of 379 patients who had undergone orthopedic surgeries found that an AI-assisted robotic technique resulted in a five-fold reduction in the complications compared to operations performed solely by human surgeons. more>

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Updates from Adobe

How Digital Textile Designers Make Wearable Art
Adobe – Thanks to digital design tools, textile design is experiencing something of a renaissance. The field attracts graphic designers and illustrators because it employs many techniques they are already familiar with, but it enables visual thinkers to expand beyond the page and the screen. Fabric offers new opportunities and challenges with designs that move, flutter, and twirl along with their wearers.

In addition, some creatives see designing textiles as a way to make the switch from corporate design to crafting objects that are more personal. Clothes have the power to be more abstract and intimate than many client-based assignments.

For her part, Kaylan K. turned to drawing at the age of six to cope with “a very traumatic childhood” in Montreal.

“Art was my way of escaping all of this trauma around me and putting my energy into something that makes me feel alive,” she explains. more>

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