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Monday
May142012

Could a Virus Actually Power Your iPhone?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Viruses might eventually be able to power the very phone, computer or tablet you’re reading this article on. And we’re not talking about those digital viruses or infestations — trojans, worms, and whatnot.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Berkeley Lab have found a way to generate power using human viruses. Yes, those viruses inside your body. With a harmless specially engineered M13 virus, the group has been able to power a small display. The viruses can convert mechanical force into electricity.

“In near future, we believe that we can develop personal electric generators. Basically, all of our daily activity related to mechanical movement (or vibration): walking, jogging, typing, etc.,” Seung-Wuk Lee, a faculty scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Physical Biosciences Division, told ABC News. “For example, by installing our piezoelectric thin films on your shoes, we can convert our walking energy to electric energy. Therefore, with a phone in our pocket connected to our shoes, we can charge our phone.”

So how does it all work? The scientists tapped a finger on an electrode coated with the viruses and the viruses then converted the force of the tap into an electric charge. And that force is critical to the equation.

This is the first time electricity has been conducted by “harnessing the piezoelectric properties of biological material,” Berkeley Lab’s press release states. What that really means is that it is the first time electricity has been made by a combination of force and viruses.

But the scientists are picturing even broader uses. “In the future, because our M13 virus-based piezoelectric material is biocompatible, we can implant the virus-based piezoelectric power generator in our body and capture our heart perspiration as a electric power source of the biomedical devices or biosensors. Therefore, no more charging of your pacemakers, hearing aids, personal health monitoring sensors,” Lee explained.

However, this is still a ways out. According to Lee, the current power generation from the virus-based generator is not enough to power a phone yet.

“We are currently working on enhancing the power output of the virus-based piezoelectric generators,” Lee said. “Through our approaches, we believe that we can achieve power enhancement 100-1000 times and develop the personal power generator in near future.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb252011

Addicted to Your Smartphone? One in Five Say 'Yes'

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- It doesn’t matter if it’s an iPhone or a BlackBerry, a new survey finds one in five smartphone owners are addicted to their high-tech toys.  The addiction is highest amongst iPhone owners, with 26 percent admitting being hooked.  The survey was conducted by Crowd Science, an online market research firm.

Additional findings from the smartphone survey:

  • People between the ages of 30 and 49 are the heaviest users of smartphone features, while respondents who are 50 years of age and older use fewer features, particularly text messaging, games and social media, and do so less frequently.
  • 58 percent of smartphone owners say they perform local and map-based activities at least once a week, while 25 percent say they do so less than once a month.  Eleven percent indicate they never do so.
  • 89 percent of smartphone owners believe it’s taboo to break up with someone via text message.
  • If their smartphone fell in a public toilet, 57 percent of respondents would fish it out.  Agreement was highest among iPhone owners, at 65 percent, compared with 49 percent for BlackBerry owners.


Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb042011

FDA Approves Diagnostic Radiology Apps for iPhone, iPad

Photo Courtesy - Apple, Inc.(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Friday approved a new mobile application that will allow doctors to view radiology images on their iPhone and iPad.  The application is the first to be cleared for making medical diagnoses based on computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and nuclear medicine technology.

Though it may benefit physicians not to be forced to wait for film or be confined to a workstation, the FDA notes that the application is not meant to replace full workstations and is only for use when a workstation is not accessible.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

Monday
Dec202010

Stressed? There's an App For That

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Awareness, a new iPhone app launched just last week, allows the ever-stressed -- particularly at holiday time -- to find psychological solace.

The "pocket therapist" application is "like an angel sitting on your shoulder," sounding a gentle chant to remind you to get in touch with your feelings -- anywhere, the developer says.

Ronit Herzfeld, a holistic therapist from New York City, said her creation can help users discover inner peace in the routine of their daily lives.

So far, 550 buyers have downloaded the application, and her developers are working on a new version for Google's Android that could be available in February.

For $3.99 the user is reminded by up to 25 gong tones a day to take a deep breath and assess their mental state. The application asks how you are feeling and, based on your mood, it plays up to 20 videos with instructions on how to alleviate the stressors.

The application also color-codes feelings: red is anger and yellow is fear. A pie chart can show how often you feel those emotions and charts your emotional state and associated triggers over a day, month, week, and year.

The iPhone is not meant to take the place of therapy, said Herzfeld, but for the "ordinary person" it can act as a "diary of feelings" where they can track their behavioral responses to different emotional states such as drinking, binge eating, or overworking.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio