https://futurism.com/artificial-swarm-intelligence-vladimir-putin-times-person-year/

Artificial “Swarm Intelligence” Says Vladimir Putin Will be TIME’s Person of the Year

AI “Future Teller”

When it comes to predicting the future, Google’s top engineer Ray Kurzweil is the futurist who holds the high score. The so-called “future teller” has an estimated 86 percent accuracy rate for his predictions. When it comes to making predictions, though, as the old saying goes, two heads are better than one — and a whole slew of thinkers may be infinitely better than two.

That’s the simplest way to explain the concept behind what Unanimous AI refers to as “artificial swarm intelligence:” instead of just having one Kurzweil making predictions, the brains of hundreds of thousands of people are put to work to make sense of the future together.

Artificial swarm intelligence, “combines real-time human input with [artificial intelligence] algorithms to produce an ’emergent hive mind’ that can be smarter than the individual humans or the software algorithms alone,” Unanimous AI founder and CEO Louis Rosenberg explained to Futurism. Human swarms, he said, are very smart. “Not only do they consistently outperform the individuals who comprise the group, they often function at the level of experts.”

Unanimous AI’s artificial swarm intelligence is called UNU, and it’s had a flurry of accurate predictions, including forecasts for the Super Bowl, the Oscars, the Stanley Cup, a fairly accurate March Madness bracket, as well as anticipating U.S. president Donald Trump as TIME Magazine’s 2016 Person of the Year. Now, it’s predicting that TIME’s 2017 Person of the Year will be Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The Perks of the Swarm

The methodology Unanimous AI researchers used to arrive at the prediction begins when randomly selected individuals are connected online to the Swarm AI platform. From there, they begin identifying the person least likely to win from TIME’s list of 33 candidates. In this year’s case, it only took a few minutes for the iterative process to narrow the list down to three contenders: presidents Trump and Putin, and the #MeToo sexual harassment and assault awareness campaign. From there, it narrowed the list down to two: Putin and Trump.

Unanimous AI will release an updated prediction by December 4, which would have taken into consideration the most up to date factors that could influence its final decision.

The magnets represent people connected to the Swarm AI platform. Image credit: Unanimous AI

The potential for the AI goes beyond Person of the Year predictions. “Swarm AI technology can also be used to enable groups of people to reach optimal decisions, maximizing the combined insights of the population. This could be used for business decisions, political decisions, even personal decisions,” Rosenberg said.

The biggest potential for Swarm AI may reside in its human factor — especially as AI is viewed by some with hearty skepticism and even quite a great deal of fear.

“[W]hen it comes to the long-term safety of AI, a big difference between a Swarm AI and a traditional AI is that swarming systems have real-time human participants as a core part of the system,” said Rosenberg, adding that “Swarm AI incorporates human values, emotions, sensibilities, and interests into the answers that it generates. Put simply, a Swarm AI system keeps humans in the loop, creating intelligent systems that keep human morals [is] a central part of the system.”

That all being said, Swarm AI has the potential to make AI less scary. As Rosenberg explained to Futurism, “Traditional AI has the capacity to replace humans with algorithms, increasing efficiency but losing human sensibilities. Swarm AI is a combination of human wisdom, values, and interests with the power of intelligent algorithms. The intent is not to replace people, but to make us smarter by thinking together.”

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https://hackaday.com/2017/11/29/rage-against-the-dying-of-the-light-with-a-raspi-night-vision-camera/

RAGE AGAINST THE DYING OF THE LIGHT WITH A RASPI NIGHT VISION CAMERA

One of the most interesting things about hacking is the difference between the vision we have at the beginning and the reality of we’ve built at the end. What began as a simple plan to build a night vision VR headset turned into a five-month adventure for [facelessloser] that culminated in this great-looking camera. He thought it would be easy, but almost every aspect presented some kind of challenge. The important thing is that he kept at it.

One of the major issues [facelessloser] encountered was power. He found that the Pi (Zero W), the screen, and the IR LEDs draw between 1.5 and 2A altogether. He was able to solve this one by using the charging board from a 2A power bank paired with a 1200mAh Li-Po built for the high draw required by vaping. If not for space issues, he might have used a 18650 or two.

Another challenge he faced was storing the video and images. He’d considered setting up the Pi as an access point to view them from a phone browser, but ultimately extended a USB port with an OTG cable to use flash drives. With a bit of Python he can watch for the drive to mount and then write to it. If the flash drive suddenly disappears, the Pi starts saving to the SD card.

There are two videos after the break, a walk through and a night vision demo. You’ll see a bit of a lag happening in the demo video—that’s because [facelessloser] is running the feed through PyGame first. No matter what nightlife you want to peep, it might be nice to add automated zoom with a rangefinder or get a closer look with some PiNoculars.

http://www.zdnet.com/article/what-is-the-raspberry-pi-3-everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-tiny-low-cost-computer/

What is the Raspberry Pi 3? Everything you need to know about the tiny, low-cost computer

An introduction to the Raspberry Pi 3 computer, from how to set it up, to what you can do with it.

Video: New laptop lets you easily view and upgrade Raspberry Pi

WHAT IS THE RASPBERRY PI 3?

The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B is the latest version of the $35 Raspberry Pi computer. The Pi isn’t like your typical machine, in its cheapest form it doesn’t have a case, and is simply a credit-card sized electronic board — of the type you might find inside a PC or laptop but much smaller.

See also: Raspberry Pi: The smart person’s guide

WHAT IS THE RASPBERRY PI 3 CAPABLE OF?

A surprising amount. As you can see below you can use the Pi 3 as a budget desktop, media center, retro games console, or router for starters. However that is just the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds of projects out there, where people have used the Pi to build tablets, laptops, phones, robots, smart mirrors, to take pictures on the edge of space, to run experiments on the International Space Station — and that’s without mentioning the wackier creations — self-driving goldfish anyone?

raspberry-pi-3-b.jpg
The Raspberry Pi 3.Image: Sony UK TEC

HOW DO I GET STARTED WITH THE RASPBERRY PI 3?

One thing to bear in mind is that the Pi by itself is just a bare board. You’ll also need a power supply, a monitor or TV, leads to connect to the monitor–typically HDMI, and a mouse and keyboard.

Once you’ve plugged in all the cables, the easiest way for new users to get up and running on the Pi is to download the NOOBS (New Out-Of-Box Software) installer. Once the download is complete, follow the instructions here and here and it will walk you through how to install an OS on the Pi. The installer makes it simple to set up various operating systems, although a good choice for first time users is the official OS Raspbian–although other operating systems are listed below.

The look and feel of Raspbian should be familiar to any desktop computer user. The OS, which is constantly being improved, recently had a graphical overhaul, and includes an optimized web browser, an office suite, programming tools, educational games, and other software.

HOW IS THE RASPBERRY PI 3 DIFFERENT FROM ITS PREDECESSORS?

The quad-core Raspberry Pi 3 is both faster and more capable than its predecessor, the Raspberry Pi 2. For those interested in benchmarks, the Pi 3’s CPU–the board’s main processor–has roughly 50-60 percent better performance in 32-bit mode than that of the Pi 2, and is 10x faster than the original single-core Raspberry Pi (based on a multi-threaded CPU benchmark in SysBench). Compared to the original Pi, real-world applications will see a performance increase of between 2.5x–for single-threaded applications–and more than 20x–when video playback is accelerated by the chip’s NEON engine.

Unlike its predecessor, the new board is capable of playing 1080p MP4 video at 60 frames per second (with a bitrate of about 5400Kbps), boosting the Pi’s media center credentials. That’s not to say, however, that all video will playback this smoothly, with performance dependent on the source video, the player used and bitrate.

The Pi 3 also supports wireless internet out of the box, with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

The latest board can also boot directly from a USB-attached hard drive or pen drive, as well as supporting booting from a network-attached file system, using PXE, which is useful for remotely updating a Pi and for sharing an operating system image between multiple machines.

CAN I USE THE RASPBERRY PI 3 AS A DESKTOP PC?

The Pi can be run as a budget desktop, providing you have the patience. However, don’t expect the Pi 3 to match a typical PC, it will lag loading heavier websites and, when browsing these demanding sites, having more than a handful of tabs open at once runs the risk of overloading the Pi’s memory–causing a lengthy freeze.

CAN I WORK ON A RASPBERRY PI 3?

You can but you’ll likely find it wearing, due to everything from loading web pages to alt-tabbing between applications taking slightly longer than you’re used to. Also, while I was able to run every application I needed, I mainly rely on web apps, and those who use more specialized local applications could find they’re not supported on the Pi’s predominantly Linux-based OSes.

However, the Pi works well as a thin-client, as I found when I tested its capabilities when running as a thin client for Windows 10, with performance being almost indistinguishable from running a modern Windows 10 PC, save for the very slow transfer of data to USB sticks.

CAN I BROWSE THE WEB USING THE RASPBERRY PI 3?

Yes, the latest version of the Raspberry Pi’s official OS has the Chromium browser, the open-source browser that Chrome is based on. It’s performance is reasonable, as long as you don’t open too many script-laden websites, and there are extensions that allow for smooth playback of video on YouTube and other sites.

CAN I USE THE RASPBERRY PI 3 AS A MEDIA CENTER?

Yes, there are various options if you want to use the Pi 3 as a media center but the most popular choices are the Kodi-based OSes OSMC or LibreElec.

The Pi 3 has the added advantage of a slightly faster graphics processor, which the Raspberry Pi Foundation has said is able to play local H.264-encoded video recorded at 1920×1080 resolution and 60 frames per second. Another advantage is built-in support for Wi-Fi makes it easier to stream content to the Pi, while native Bluetooth simplifies the hooking up peripherals.

CAN THE RASPBERRY PI 3 RUN PS1, N64, SNES, NES AND OTHER CLASSIC CONSOLE GAMES?

Yes, a wide range of vintage games will run on the Pi with the help of emulators like RetroPie, including some games from all of the systems listed above, although the more recent the system, the more likely it is that more demanding titles will struggle.

WHICH OPERATING SYSTEMS CAN I RUN ON THE PI?

The Pi can run the official Raspbian OS, Ubuntu Mate, Snappy Ubuntu Core, the Kodi-based media centers OSMC and LibreElec, the non-Linux based Risc OS (one for fans of 1990s Acorn computers). It can also run Windows 10 IoT Core, which is very different to the desktop version of Windows, as mentioned below.

However, these are just the officially recommended operating systems, and a large array of other weird and wonderful OSes also work on the Pi.

CAN THE RASPBERRY PI 3 RUN WINDOWS 10?

Yes, but it’s nothing like the full desktop version of Windows 10 that most people are familiar with. Instead the Pi 3 runs Windows 10 IoT Core, a cutdown version of Windows 10 that doesn’t boot into the graphical desktop and is designed to controlled via a command line interface on a remote computer. It can only run a single fullscreen Universal Windows Platform app at a time, for example a kiosk app for a retail store, although other software can run in the background.

However, the Pi can act as a Windows 10 thin client, where Windows 10 is run on a server and streamed to the Pi and, with a powerful enough server, the experience can be virtually identical to running a Windows 10 machine.

CAN THE RASPBERRY PI 3 RUN WINDOWS 10 DESKTOP APPS?

The Pi 3 can run Windows desktop apps, although it requires you to buy the ExaGear Desktop software and spend some time setting it up.

Performance is also poor, with the tools needed to run Windows apps on the Pi sucking up so much processing power that you’re basically restricted to running 20-year-old Windows apps and games, and simple modern text editors.

Basically, while it’s technically possible, it’s not something you’ll probably want to do.

CAN THE RASPBERRY PI 3 RUN UBUNTU?

It can run Ubuntu with various desktops, with the Raspberry Pi Foundation highlighting Ubuntu Mate and Ubuntu Snappy Core as standouts.

HOW CAN I GET THE MOST FROM MY RASPBERRY PI 3?

It’s good advice to get a case to protect the Pi from damage, especially if you’re going to be carrying the Pi around with you.

If performance is important to you, you can also invest in a high-speed micro SD card, as outlined below.

While the Pi can run a lot of different operating systems, if you’re after stability and performance then the official Raspbian operating system is a good choice, having been tuned to get the most from the Pi, and bundling a fast web browser and a decent selection of office and programming software.

If you didn’t install the Raspbian OS using the Noobs installer, and you’re running out of space, you can also go into the terminal and type ‘sudo raspi-config’ and then select the option to ‘Expand root partition to fill SD card’, which will ensure you’re using all available space on the card.

HOW CAN I GET HELP WITH THE RASPBERRY PI 3?

With more than 15 million boards sold since the first Pi launched in 2012, the board now boasts a strong community, which helps other users via the official Raspberry Pi site and forums.

HOW DO I KEEP THE RASPBERRY PI 3 UP TO DATE?

If you’re running the Pi’s official Raspbian operating system then keeping the Pi up to date is relatively straightforward. Just open the terminal and type sudo apt-get update. Once the update is complete, then type sudo apt-get dist-upgrade.

WHAT IS THE POWER CONSUMPTION OF THE RASPBERRY PI 3?

According to tests, the peak power consumption of the Pi 3 when under heavy load is about twice that of the Pi 2 (750mA vs 360mA), though for less-demanding workloads it should be broadly similar to earlier boards.

WHAT RASPBERRY PI 3 KITS ARE AVAILABLE?

There’s no shortage of Raspberry Pi kits available, that add everything from speech recognition, to robotic arms to build-it yourself laptops for kids to virtual assistants to the $35 board.

Due to the success of the Pi, if you’ve got an idea for a project, there’s probably a kit out there to suit your needs.

WHAT POWER SUPPLY DO I NEED FOR THE RASPBERRY PI 3?

The best choice is the official Raspberry Pi Foundation power supply, which is rated at 2.5A5.1V. This is in contrast to the 2A5V-rated supply used by earlier boards.

WHICH IS THE FASTEST MICRO SD CARD FOR THE RASPBERRY PI 3?

A particularly fast card in a recent round-up was found to be the SanDisk Extreme PLUS 64GB microSDXC. Be warned, however, that this card costs $58.95, more than the Pi 3 itself. For most users a standard class 4 micro SD card working at 4MB/s should suffice.

WHAT SIZE MICRO SD CARD DO I NEED FOR THE RASPBERRY PI 3?

If you’re installing the official Raspbian OS you’ll need at least an 8GB micro SD card, whereas for the Raspbian Lite you’ll need a minimum of 4GB.

CAN I USE WI-FI ON THE RASPBERRY PI 3?

Yes, the board supports 802.11n Wireless LAN (peak throughput of 150Mbps) and Bluetooth 4.1.

CAN I RUN A NETWORK OF RASPBERRY PI 3S?

Yes, and managing and updating the boards should be made simpler by the ability to boot from a network-attached file system using PXE, allowing admins to share operating system images between machines.

IS THE RASPBERRY PI 3 64-BIT?

Yes, it’s a 64-bit board. However, there are limited benefits to the 64-bit processor, outside of a few more operating systems possibly being able to run on the Pi, due to the Pi only supporting 1GB of memory.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has also said it wants to focus on optimizing the Pi’s official Raspbian OS for 32-bit performance to benefit the millions of older, 32-bit Pi boards that have already been sold.

WHO MAKES THE RASPBERRY PI?

The Raspberry Pi is made by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to advancing computer science education. Since its launch the Pi has gone on to be used in many schools, and its availability has also coincided with an almost tripling in the number of people applying to study computer science at Cambridge.

The foundation’s founder and board co-creator Eben Upton says he began designing the board as way to inspire children to learn about computing after being struck by how few people were applying to study computer science at Cambridge in the mid-2000s.

IS THE RASPBERRY PI JUST A MOTHERBOARD?

Yes, in it’s cheapest $35 incarnation, although there are a wide range of kits available that add extras like cases, leads and electronics for getting started with hardware hacking — all for an additional cost, of course.

HOW DO I KNOW WHICH VERSION OF THE RASPBERRY PI I HAVE?

It’s literally written on the top side of the board, for example, ‘Raspberry Pi 2 Model B V1.1’ on a Raspberry Pi 2, typically near upper edge of the board, just underneath the 40-pin header.

HOW CAN I USE THE RASPBERRY PI 3 TO LEARN PROGRAMMING?

The Pi’s official Raspbian OS is packed with software to help users learn how to program, including the drag-and-drop coding offered by Scratch, and various tools for writing and debugging using the Python programming language.

CAN I PROGRAM HARDWARE ON THE RASPBERRY PI?

You can, via the row of pins at the top edge of the board (of the 40, 26 are GPIO pins). By attaching hardware like LEDs, sensors and motors to these pins you are able to interact with them using the Pi. Writing simple programs will allow you to send signals via the pins to control the attached hardware–for example making an LED flash– or to read a signal sent from the attached hardware via the pins–for example to take a measurement from a sensor.

CAN THE RASPBERRY PI 3 DO SPEECH RECOGNITION?

Yes, the most well-known option is to use Jasper, which can even be installed on the Pi and used without an internet connection.

Most options for speech recognition rely on a cloud service, hence requiring an internet connection, such as Google Speech or Alexa Voice Service.

CAN I BUILD A CLUSTER OF RASPBERRY PI 3S?

You certainly can, a common starting point is to combine eight boards together into an OctaPi cluster–whose combined power is far faster than a single board when calculating prime factors, a key task when cracking encryption.

At the extreme end of the scale is this 750 Pi cluster that is being built at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and that is due to scale up to 10,000 boards in the future.

HOW DO I BUILD A CLUSTER OF RASPBERRY PI 3S?

There’s a tutorial on how to build your own OctaPi, including a step-by-step guide to setting up the software and the hardware.

CAN I TRAIN A NEURAL NETWORK USING THE RASPBERRY PI 3?

No, it’s not powerful enough to train neural networks to do anything useful, you’re better off training a network on a more powerful computer or using a graphics processing unit (GPU).

CAN I RUN A NEURAL NETWORK AND DO MACHINE LEARNING ON THE RASPBERRY PI 3?

Yes you can, although you’ll likely want to invest in some additional hardware to be effective. Intel recently released the $79 Movidius Neural Compute Stick, which accelerates the rate at which the Pi can carry out vision-related tasks, such as facial and object recognition, using its 12 specialized cores. It can accelerate machine-learning models built using the Caffe framework and Google’s TensorFlow library.

WHERE CAN I GET A RASPBERRY PI?

The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B is available now for £27-£30 via Premier Farnell and RS Components in the UK and for $35 in the US. You can also buy an official Raspberry Pi 3 starter kit which includes additional hardware and a book.

IS THERE A RASPBERRY PI 4?

No, and there won’t be for some time to come. In interviews Eben Upton has previously said not to expect a Pi 4 until 2019 at the earliest. In the meantime those who want upgrades such as more memory, faster processors, Gigabit Ethernet and support for 4K displays can check out these boards instead, though none have as strong a community as the Pi.

PREVIOUS AND RELATED COVERAGE

Turn an old monitor into a wall display with a Raspberry Pi [CNET]

Have an old monitor and Raspberry Pi lying around? Put them both to great use with this DIY wall-mounted display.

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B [CNET]

Find the latest prices

Hardware spotlight: The Raspberry Pi [Tech Pro Research]

The Raspberry Pi is a tiny, ultra-cheap computer–and it has taken the world by storm. This ebook offers an overview of what this little board can do and how it’s being put to use.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/ubc-mushroom-smartphone-app-1.4426396

Poisonous or not? UBC researcher developing mushroom app

Botany professor Mary Berbee says tool developed in response to growing interest in foraging

By Chad Pawson, CBC News Posted: Nov 30, 2017 9:07 AM PT Last Updated: Nov 30, 2017 1:06 PM PT

UBC botany professor Marry Berbee is working on a smartphone app that will help foragers determine if a mushroom is poisonous or not.

UBC botany professor Marry Berbee is working on a smartphone app that will help foragers determine if a mushroom is poisonous or not. (UBC Public Affairs)

A UBC botany professor is working on a new tool to help foragers avoid potentially dangerous mushrooms in the province.

“Mushrooms don’t have a whole lot of characteristics that you can use to distinguish them,” said Mary Berbee as part of a release from the school.

Berbee says the idea for the app is a response to an increased interest in foraging.

Berbee is working with several groups to develop the app including the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, which she says is also developing a poster, available in multiple languages to warn about the dangers of death cap mushrooms.

Amanita phalloides — the mushroom’s scientific name — has made news around the province as they appear to be proliferating and caused the death of a three-year old child in October 2016.

Berbee says a smartphone app is preferable to field guides because most people have a mobile device and apps can be regularly updated with information.

“The app shows all the look-a-likes for mushrooms that you might find in the area, and it’s easier to cross reference,” she said.

App ready for Sept. 2018

Berbee says people in Europe started describing mushrooms in the 1800s.

In the 1990s, others started to use DNA sequences to better understand species of mushrooms. Berbee says the sequencing shows the range of where a specific type can be found.

“About a third of our B.C. species are regional and not shared with Europe as previously assumed,” she said. “Many of them are new to science.”

Berbee says scientists have listed around 3,000 different mushrooms that exist in B.C., but admits the list is incomplete.

“That’s just what we know based on herbarium records,” she said.

Berbee says while she has observed some mushrooms on UBC’s Vancouver campus that would give a person a sore stomach if ingested, she hasn’t seen any deadly ones.

The app is expected to be ready in time for the next foraging season in September 2018, in the meantime an early online version can be found here.

B.C. mushroom foragers! Check out this early edition of a mushroom identifier app in development by botany professor Mary Berbee and @beatymuseumhttp://www.zoology.ubc.ca/~biodiv/mushroom/ 

https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/30/16718978/fda-medical-device-accessory-apple-watch-alivecor

FDA clears first EKG reader for Apple Watch

Image: AliveCor

The FDA has cleared the first medical device accessory for the Apple Watch, made by AliveCor, whose CEO is former Google+ boss Vic Gundotra. The accessory is AliveCor’s KardiaBand electrocardiogram (EKG) reader, a sensor that pairs with an app and can detect abnormal heart rhythm and atrial fibrillation (AFib). The user touches the sensor, which snaps into a slot on the watch’s band, to get an EKG reading in 30 seconds. The recording can then be sent to a doctor.

Using AI, the KardiaBand can predict and analyze someone’s heart rate based on data from both sick and healthy people, Bloomberg notes. “It doesn’t apply a generic range — instead, it determines what’s abnormal for you.” A device like this could play an important role in quickly diagnosing abnormalities and then alerting health-care professionals to life-threatening situations.

“Apple might be able to say ‘oh your heart rate is high’ …but what does that mean? Does that mean you should go to the hospital? And if you go to the hospital what are they going to do? Any doctor will say ‘ok come in, lets get an EKG reading’,” Gundotra toldTechCrunch. “It’s not possible to diagnose atrial fibrillation without FDA clearance. That is a big, big play.” Apple has an initiative called the Apple Heart Study and plans to use heart rate data in building further research.

Photo: AliveCor

AliveCor also announced a new feature in its Kardia app called SmartRhythm, that uses AI to analyze data from the watch’s heart rate and activity sensors. The app will evaluate the correlation between heart rate and activity, and if these appear abnormal, will alert the user to capture another EKG reading. A speech recognition function also allows patients to describe their symptoms aloud to the watch. The app will then generate analysis based on the data, which can be emailed to the user’s doctor.

KardiaBand is available now for $199, and requires a subscription to AliveCor’s premium service, which costs $99 a year. The company also has a similar EKG reading device called the KardiaMobile, but that device attaches onto the back of your smartphone instead.

https://www.thestar.com/business/tech_news/2017/11/30/apple-at-helm-of-study-using-apple-watch-to-check-for-leading-cause-of-stroke.html

Apple at helm of study using Apple Watch to check for leading cause of stroke

Apple will be running a study and submitting data to the Food and Drug Administration, looking at atrial fibrillation.

Apple Watch users are now able to enrol in a new study Apple is conducting with Stanford University School of Medicine.
Apple Watch users are now able to enrol in a new study Apple is conducting with Stanford University School of Medicine.  (APPLE INC. / VIA TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE)  

Apple’s trying out something entirely new: a medical study.

Apple Watch users are now able to enrol in a new study Apple is conducting with Stanford University School of Medicine, which uses the device’s heart-rate monitor to check for an irregular heart rate.

While others have used Apple’s software and devices in medical studies, this is the first time that it’s actually sponsored one itself. The move underscores Apple’s focus on using its products for health care.

Read more:

Apple confident ‘smartwatch’ will be a hit — and get smarter

Why the Apple Watch doesn’t work well with tattoos

“Working alongside the medical community, not only can we inform people of certain health conditions, we also hope to advance discoveries in heart science,” Apple chief operating officer Jeff Williams said in a statement.

Health and fitness have been a key focus for Apple, especially since launching the Apple Watch two years ago. Apple already employs a small staff of medical professionals to develop its health products and it is reportedly working on a diabetes glucose-monitoring device that won’t pierce the skin. It’s also worked with hospitals to include more of its tech in patients’ rooms.

This study takes all of that a step further: Now, Apple itself will be running a study and submitting data to the Food and Drug Administration. The heart-rate researcher will look specifically at atrial fibrillation — or afib — which refers to an irregular heart rate and is a leading cause of stroke and other heart conditions. The condition kills around 130,000 people per year, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To join the study, Apple Watch owners must download the Apple Heart Study app. Participants must be over age 22. Once they have signed up, the Watch and Heart Study app will work to detect irregular heartbeats. If it notices something amiss, it will notify that person on the Watch and iPhone. From there, he or she may opt to see a doctor online, for a free consult on their health. Apple and Stanford are partnering with Boston firm American Well to provide those consults.

Study researchers will also then send an electrocardiogram patch to participants experiencing irregular heartbeats, for a further reading.

Heart-rate monitoring features have been a core part of the Watch since it debuted as a heavily health- and fitness-focused product. More advanced software to take your pulse were a major addition to Apple’s latest Watch software upgrade, and users can already get alerts when you appear to have an elevated heart rate but aren’t active.

This move takes Apple a step further into actually using all that data to conduct its own medical research. The company declined to say whether it would take on further research in the future.

Apple has previously noted how its products can make it easier for researchers to find study participants, thanks to their broad reach. Traditionally, researchers have had to seek out study participants directly — through medical facilities, by email or with flyers. Then, they often must visit them in person to collect data. By enrolling using devices, Apple has said, it makes it easier for scientists to both find and monitor study participants.

At least 33 million units of the Watch have been sold, according to Asymco analyst Horace Dediu — Apple itself does not officially release sales figures, nor information on who is buying the Watch. But Apple researchers said they believe the Watch will provide a representative sample of the population for their study.

Apple declined to say how long the study will run.

https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/smartphone-addiction-creates-chemical-imbalances-in-brain-1.3700931

Smartphone addiction creates chemical imbalances in brain

New research finds that young people who become addicted to smartphones and the internet actually develop chemistry imbalances in their brains.

Researchers from Korea University in Seoul, South Korea, conducted a small study on 10 teen girls and 9 boys who had all been diagnosed with internet or smartphone addiction. Their average age was 15.5 years old.

The researchers used standardized addiction tests to measure the severity of the teens’ addiction to their phones, including asking them the extent to which their smartphone use affected their daily life, their social life, productivity, sleeping patterns and mood. All the addicted teenagers had significantly higher scores in depression, anxiety, insomnia and impulsivity.

The researchers then used magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) — a type of MRI that measures the brain’s chemical composition – to better understand the brains of the addicted teens, by comparing their scans with 19 gender- and age-matched healthy controls.

They looked at the anterior cingulate area of the brain, which has been shown to play a large role in addiction. They looked specifically at levels of gamma aminobutyric acid, or GABA, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in the regulation of vision and motor control, as well as anxiety. They also looked at levels of glutamate-glutamine (Glx), a neurotransmitter that causes neurons to become more electrically excited.

They found the ratio of GABA to Glx was significantly increased in the smartphone- and internet-addicted youth compared to the healthy controls. High GABA levels have been linked to many side effects, including drowsiness and anxiety.

The study’s lead researcher, Dr. Hyung Suk Seo, professor of neuroradiology, believes that increased GABA in the brains of the internet and smartphone addiction may be related to their loss of regulation in the parts of their brains that control cognition and emotion.

Twelve of the 19 addicted youth went on to receive nine weeks of cognitive behavioral therapy to deal with their addiction. Further MRS scans showed that GABA to Glx ratios in those addicted youth significantly decreased or normalized after therapy.

The study was presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.