Sunday 30 April 2017

We Now Have an App That Can Activate Cells That Manage Diabetes

A new device allows researchers to control insulin-producing cells implanted in mice with a smartphone app.
While there is much work yet to do before human trials are possible, the device may one day mean diabetic maintenance without needles.


For people with diabetes, insulin injections are often an inevitable part of life. However, a new device created by Chinese researchers and tested in mice may make needles a thing of the past. The team implanted insulin-producing cells into diabetic mice and then used a smartphone app to “switch” those cells on. Within two hours, the blood sugar levels of the mice were stabilised by the device, which its creators are calling HydrogeLED.
To date, the device in its most advanced form — a hydrogel capsule the size of a coin — can be implanted under a mouse’s skin. The capsule contains the insulin-producing cells and LED lights. The cells are engineered release insulin only when those lights turn on.
The mouse’s blood sugar levels can be monitored with a separate Bluetooth-enabled glucometer that alerts the app when levels climb too high. The app will then switch on the LEDs, triggering the release of insulin. The user can also manually control how bright the LEDs are and how long they shine, thus controlling how much insulin the cells make.


There is no doubt that this is an amazing development, but it remains limited for now. The mice are confined within an electromagnetic field coil that acts much like a smart home hub; this is how the app can communicate with the server. The LEDs are powered by the electromagnetic field itself, which means that the entire system would stop working outside the coil.
In human terms, for the app to work reliably at this point, the patient would need to stay on permanent house arrest. Furthermore, the device in its current form still tests blood sugar with a needle.
Future versions of the HydrogeLED will ideally solve both of these issues. According to Popular Science, study author Haifeng Ye plans for 24-hour monitoring of blood sugar with a built-in glucometer that automatically triggers LEDs when insulin is needed. Also, incorporating batteries would allow patients to be totally mobile.
The HydrogeLED is not yet ready for human trials. Ye and his team have tested it over the course of 15 days in several animals, but will need to test it in more varieties of larger animals for longer periods of time. In addition, to ensure that the device won’t trigger an immune response or rejection in users, the team must ensure that all the materials in each component are safe for implantation.
That said, the HydrogeLED has the potential to change the way patients handle diabetes, making treatments more discreet and effective.
References: Popular Science, Science Translational Medicine

Sunday 23 April 2017

New planet that is size of Neptune discovered:

Astronomers have discovered a `lost' planet about the size of Neptune tucked away in a solar system 3,000 light years from Earth. The new planet, Kepler-150 f, was overlooked for several years, according to researchers at the Yale University in the US.
Computer algorithms identify most such “exoplanets“, which are planets located outside our solar system. The algorithms search through data from space mission surveys, looking for the telltale transits of planets orbiting in front of distant stars.
However, sometimes the computers miss something.In this case, it was a planet in the Kepler-150 system with a long orbit around its sun. Kepler-150 f takes 637 days to circle its sun, one of the longest orbits for any known system with five or more planets.
Nasa's Kepler Mission had found four other planets in the Kepler-150 system several years ago. All of them have orbits much closer to their sun than the new planet does.“Only by using our new technique of subtracting out the transit signals of known planets could we then actually see it for what it really was.Essentially , it was hiding in plain sight in a forest of other planetary transits,“ said a student of Yale.

Soon, you could upload your thoughts to a computer !

New Firm Working On Merging Brains And Computers

Tesla Inc founder and chief executive Elon Musk has laun ched a company called Neuralink Corp through which computers could merge with human brains, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Neuralink is pursuing what Musk calls the “neural lace“ technology , implanting tiny brain electrodes that may one day upload and download thoughts, the Journal reported. Musk has not made an official announcement, but Neuralink was registered in California as a “medical research“ firm, and he plans on funding the company mostly by himself, a person briefed on the plans said. It is unclear what sorts of products Neuralink might create, but people who have had discussions with the company describe a strategy similar to space launch company SpaceX and Tesla, the Journal report said. The technique could be used to improve memory or give humans added artificial intelligence.According to the Journal, leading academics in the field have been signed up to work at the company which is being funded privately by Musk, whose name is also tied to ambitious projects in space and electric cars. Specialists in the field envision a time when humans may be able to upload and download thoughts. In a tweet, Musk confirmed the existence of the company and said more details about the firm would be made public next week.

As well as heading electric car maker Tesla, Musk is involved with running space exploration company Space X, a project to reinvent transport called Hyperloop and, most recently , a firm investigating the feasibility of boring tunnels underneath Los Angeles -and a new project to power Australia. Tweeting about Neuralink, Musk conceded it would be “difficult to dedicate the time, but existential risk is too high not to“.
The hurdles involved in developing these devices are immense.Neuroscience researchers say we have very limited understanding about how the neurons in the human brain communicate, and our methods for collecting data on those neurons is rudimentary . Then there's the idea of people volunteering to have electronics placed inside their heads.

Saturday 15 April 2017

What is Ransomware and how to protect your computer against the ransomware attack

Massive Ransomeware attack...More than 75 countries affected...Please do not open any email which has attachments with *"tasksche.exe"* file. Expecting more havoc in this week ....Share this to everyone within your network please.....
Friday’s ransomware outbreak, which used recently revealed weaknesses in Microsoft’s Windows operating system to spread further and faster than any before, has prompted the Redmond-based developer to break its own rules on software maintenance in an effort to keep users safe.
The ransomware, also known as “WanaCrypt0r”, “WeCry”, “WanaCrypt” or “WeCrypt0r”, used a vulnerability in a Windows Server component to spread within corporate networks. The weakness was first revealed to the world as part of a massive dump of software vulnerabilities discovered by the NSA and then stolen by a group of hackers calling themselves “Shadow Brokers”.
Microsoft fixed the flaw shortly before the stolen data was published, leading many to conclude it had been surreptitiously tipped-off by the security agency about the existence of the flaw.
If your computer’s running on Microsoft Windows, you need to take these steps—right away.
Here’s why: in case you haven’t heard, hackers exploited a vulnerability in older Microsoft Windows servers to execute a large-scale global cyberattack on Friday using ransomware — a malicious software that holds your computer hostage for ransom — and a hacking tool stolen from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The massive attack left victims locked out of their PCs with a promise of restored access if $300 was paid in digital currency Bitcoin—and a threat of destroyed files if the ransom is not met.
If your computer’s running on Microsoft Windows, you need to take these steps—right away.
Here’s why: in case you haven’t heard, hackers exploited a vulnerability in older Microsoft Windows servers to execute a large-scale global cyberattack on Friday using ransomware — a malicious software that holds your computer hostage for ransom — and a hacking tool stolen from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The massive attack left victims locked out of their PCs with a promise of restored access if $300 was paid in digital currency Bitcoin—and a threat of destroyed files if the ransom is not met.
Ransomware does not typically work this quickly. But thanks to a stolen NSA cyber-weapon called EternalBlue, which was made public last month by a hacking group known as the “Shadow Brokers,” the malware spread rapidly by exploiting a security flaw in Microsoft Windows servers.

What users need to do

Simply put: make sure your Microsoft Windows server is up to date. Microsoft issued a patch in mid-March to fix the hole in Windows 7 and other supported versions of Windows: Vista, Server 2008, Server 2008 R2, 8.1, Server 2012, RT 8.1, 10, Server 2012 R2, and Server 2016. But those who did not apply the software update were—and still are—left exposed to the hack.
In light of the attack, Microsoft rolled out patches to protect older versions of Windows that “no longer receive mainstream support” from the company like Windows XP, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2003. Those running on Windows 10 are fine, as their software is not vulnerable to this particular cyberattack. Devices that are potentially susceptible are Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008, and earlier operating systems.
Microsoft recommends users upgrade to Windows 10 and install the security update MS17-010. With the update, Windows Defender Antivirus detects the malware as Ransom:Win32/WannaCrypt. The company also recommends Device Guard for businesses and Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection for blocking emails carrying malware.

What happens if you don’t take protective measures?

Even if you don’t actively download the file from a phishing email, your device could be at risk—the ransomware also spreads through file-sharing systems on networks. Microsoft explains that the worm-like functionalities of the ransomware infects “unpatched Windows machines in the local network” and “executes massive scanning on Internet IP addresses to find and infect other vulnerable computers.”

Infected devices will find the desktop background image replaced with a message, calling for the user to follow instructions until they reach the ransom screen. Here, there are two timers—one showing the amount of time left until files will be deleted and a second displaying time until the ransom will increase from $300.
At this point, people have two choices: pay up and hope their device is restored, or part ways with the contents of their computer. The U.S. government recommends not paying ransoms, as shelling out money does not certify the data will be recovered and succumbing to cybercriminals may encourage future attacks. But that’s easier said than done, when it’s your own files that have been hijacked.

How common is ransomware?

More common than you’d think. NPR reports that 40 percent of spam emails last year contained ransomware attachments. And the ransomware-related extortion industry is growing. In 2015, ransomware victims reported $24 million in total annual costs (e.g. ransom, tech support, security software), Reuters reported last year. In just the first three months of 2016, the reported expenses were already at $209 million.
General, good-sense advice: remotely back up your files on a regular basis. This way you’ll never have to give in to a ransomware request if and when your device is compromised. And, of course, always stay up-to-date with your computer’s software.
Have you checked out the patches released by Microsoft in March? Here’s the link, if it helps:
( Courtesy: Susmitha B)

Saturday 8 April 2017

Driverless Bus starting in London!

Over the next three weeks, Oxbotica’s new driverless shuttle, dubbed “Harry,” will be put to the test during a trial in Greenwich, London.
The BBC reports that around 100 people are expected to travel using the prototype, which can accommodate four people and move at a speed up to 16.1 kmh (10 mph). It comes equipped with five cameras and three lasers to help navigate a two-mile route close to London’s O2 Arena, which is frequented by pedestrians and cyclists.
“Very few people have experienced an autonomous vehicle, so this is about letting people see one in person,” chief executive Graeme Smith told the BBC. “We hope to gain acceptance from members of the public for vehicles sharing this kind of space with them. We are also looking at how people in the vehicle respond when being transported from A to B.”
According to Industry Minister Nick Hurd, “The UK has a history of innovation in the auto sector, and this type of technology has the potential to save lives as well as offer freedom to the elderly or those with mobility impairments.”
To that end, the shuttle has been designed to ensure safety in a pedestrian-frequented environment. It can see up to 100 meters (328 feet) ahead and will immediately stop should anything appear in its way, applying emergency brakes if required. While Harry has no steering wheel or brake pedal, a trained person will be on board to stop it manually during trial if needed.
Ensuring that autonomous systems function as designed during trials such as this one is the next step on the path to a future in which our roads are safer and smoother than we ever thought possible.

Wednesday 5 April 2017

Volvo Plans to Take on Tesla

Volvo plans to launch its first all-electric vehicle by 2019. The Swedish automaker, which is now owned by Chinese company Geely, wants to compete with Tesla's Model 3 in terms of price.
When electric vehicles were first introduced, people weren’t quick to buy into the idea due to fears of limited mileage on a single charge. EVs were also generally more expensive compared to gas-powered cars. But all that is changing.
EVs can now compete with other cars in terms of price, and a single charge can support a much greater range. Traditional car manufacturers are quick to adapt these new technologies to develop their own EVs, and among them is Volvo. The Swedish company, now owned by Chinese manufacturer Geely, has just revealed their first all-electric car.
It’s not clear yet whether Volvo’s new concept will be a sedan or an SUV, but reports do indicate that it will be able to cover roughly 402 kilometers (250 miles) on one full charge. The vehicle is expected to be priced between $35,000 and $40,000, putting it in the same range as Tesla’s Model 3. No word yet if this concept EV will also be equipped with Volvo’s autonomous driving system.
In any case, the vehicle will be made at the company’s factory in Luqiao, China, and is set to go into production in 2019. The Swedish car manufacturer is also planning to build a larger EV for 2019, making that a big year for Volvo EVs.
Volvo has said they expect to sell one million EVs by 2025, and this new all-electric vehicle will likely put a big dent in that goal. As more EVs like it hit the roads, we should be able to put a dent in the carbon emissions currently wreaking havoc on our planet as well.

Tuesday 4 April 2017

Volocopter- Flying to the Future

Who doesn’t love flying cars? Almost every science-fiction flick that’s set in the future features flying vehicles, which shows just how much people want flying cars.
Fortunately, the wait for these futuristic vehicles may soon be over, thanks to companies like German startup E-volo. The company has been working on a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft since 2011. Now, it is confident that it can bring its VTOL into a commercial setting.
E-volo’s latest multicopter, the Volocopter 2X, is its ticket into this future. The electric aircraft is designed for two passengers and can take off using a simple joystick. Its 18 rotors allow the Volocopter to fly very, very silently.
Specs-wise, the Volocopter can reach top speeds of roughly 100 kph (62 mph), but only for a limited amount of time and across not-so-long distances. This VTOL comes with nine batteries — it’s electric and clean — that give it enough power to fly at a cruising speed of 69 kph (43 mph) for a good 17 minutes.
E-volo plans to try out a flying taxi service with the Volocopter 2X by 2018. For this first planned taxi flight, the VTOL will be manned by a pilot. However, E-volo has put sensors in the Volocopter that could allow it to eventually fly autonomously.
E-volo also plans to get international approval in the near future to fly the Volocopter in the rest of Europe and in the United States. For now, this VTOL has been classified in Germany as an ultralight aircraft. In principle, anyone with a license as a sport-pilot in Germany would be able to fly the Volocopter.

Monday 3 April 2017

A New Hyperloop System is Slated to Connect European Cities by 2021

It looks like the Netherlands would soon join Slovakia, and the Czech Republic as the next European country to have a Hyperloop. A Dutch team from the Technical University of Delft (TU Delft) won this year’s edition of SpaceX’s competition to develop this next generation, super-fast transport technology, and they’re already setting up a full-scale testing center.
The Dutch team’s idea will be realised by tech startup Hardt Global Mobility, in partnership with TU Delft, the Dutch national railway NS, and construction company BAM. Building the 30 meter (98 foot) tube is the first step.
“In this facility we will test all systems that don’t require high speeds,” Hardt CEO Tim Houter told Reuters. “So think about the levitation system, but also the propulsion system, but really important, all the safety systems will be tested in this low-speed but full-scale testing facility.” The initial round of testing has already received $675,000 in funding. More would be needed for a high-speed test line by 2019 to accomplish their goal of setting up a Hyperloop system between Amsterdam and Paris by 2021.
First proposed in 2013 by SpaceX’s founder and CEO Elon Musk, the Hyperloop is transportation system for people and cargo that features pods traveling through tubes — or possibly tunnels — at roughly 1,126 k/h (700 mph). Apart from the European sites mentioned, other Hyperloop projects are already at work in Canada, Los Angeles, and Dubai.
References: Ap, Reuters