Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Digital


Although the time adolescents spend with digital technologies has sparked widespread concerns that their use might be negatively associated with mental well-being, these potential deleterious influences have not been rigorously studied. Using a preregistered plan for analyzing data collected from a representative sample of English adolescents ( n = 120,115), we obtained evidence that the links between digital-screen time and mental well-being are described by quadratic functions. Further, our results showed that these links vary as a function of when digital technologies are used (i.e., weekday vs. weekend), suggesting that a full understanding of the impact of these recreational activities will require examining their functionality among other daily pursuits. Overall, the evidence indicated that moderate use of digital technology is not intrinsically harmful and may be advantageous in a connected world. The findings inform recommendations for limiting adolescents' technology use and provide a template for conducting rigorous investigations into the relations between digital technology and children’s and adolescents' health.

Concepts: Critical thinking, Function, Technology, Function model, Digital, Recreation, Quadratic function


Recent advances in materials, mechanics, and electronic device design are rapidly establishing the foundations for health monitoring technologies that have “skin-like” properties, with options in chronic (weeks) integration with the epidermis. The resulting capabilities in physiological sensing greatly exceed those possible with conventional hard electronic systems, such as those found in wrist-mounted wearables, because of the intimate skin interface. However, most examples of such emerging classes of devices require batteries and/or hard-wired connections to enable operation. The work reported here introduces active optoelectronic systems that function without batteries and in an entirely wireless mode, with examples in thin, stretchable platforms designed for multiwavelength optical characterization of the skin. Magnetic inductive coupling and near-field communication (NFC) schemes deliver power to multicolored light-emitting diodes and extract digital data from integrated photodetectors in ways that are compatible with standard NFC-enabled platforms, such as smartphones and tablet computers. Examples in the monitoring of heart rate and temporal dynamics of arterial blood flow, in quantifying tissue oxygenation and ultraviolet dosimetry, and in performing four-color spectroscopic evaluation of the skin demonstrate the versatility of these concepts. The results have potential relevance in both hospital care and at-home diagnostics.

Concepts: Blood, Skin, Photodiode, Diode, Electronics, Electronic engineering, Digital, Multi-touch


IN THE RAPIDLY CHANGING CIRCUMSTANCES OF OUR INCREASINGLY DIGITAL WORLD, READING IS ALSO BECOMING AN INCREASINGLY DIGITAL EXPERIENCE: electronic books (e-books) are now outselling print books in the United States and the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, many readers still view e-books as less readable than print books. The present study thus used combined EEG and eyetracking measures in order to test whether reading from digital media requires higher cognitive effort than reading conventional books. Young and elderly adults read short texts on three different reading devices: a paper page, an e-reader and a tablet computer and answered comprehension questions about them while their eye movements and EEG were recorded. The results of a debriefing questionnaire replicated previous findings in that participants overwhelmingly chose the paper page over the two electronic devices as their preferred reading medium. Online measures, by contrast, showed shorter mean fixation durations and lower EEG theta band voltage density - known to covary with memory encoding and retrieval - for the older adults when reading from a tablet computer in comparison to the other two devices. Young adults showed comparable fixation durations and theta activity for all three devices. Comprehension accuracy did not differ across the three media for either group. We argue that these results can be explained in terms of the better text discriminability (higher contrast) produced by the backlit display of the tablet computer. Contrast sensitivity decreases with age and degraded contrast conditions lead to longer reading times, thus supporting the conclusion that older readers may benefit particularly from the enhanced contrast of the tablet. Our findings thus indicate that people’s subjective evaluation of digital reading media must be dissociated from the cognitive and neural effort expended in online information processing while reading from such devices.

Concepts: United Kingdom, Memory, Eye tracking, Computer, Electronics, E-book, Digital, Theta rhythm


Mobile, social, real-time: the ongoing revolution in the way people communicate has given rise to a new kind of epidemiology. Digital data sources, when harnessed appropriately, can provide local and timely information about disease and health dynamics in populations around the world. The rapid, unprecedented increase in the availability of relevant data from various digital sources creates considerable technical and computational challenges.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Demography, Sociology, Computer, 2000s music groups, World, Digital


A range of digitized health promotion practices have emerged in the digital era. Some of these practices are voluntarily undertaken by people who are interested in improving their health and fitness, but many others are employed in the interests of organizations and agencies. This article provides a critical commentary on digitized health promotion. I begin with an overview of the types of digital technologies that are used for health promotion, and follow this with a discussion of the socio-political implications of such use. It is contended that many digitized health promotion strategies focus on individual responsibility for health and fail to recognize the social, cultural and political dimensions of digital technology use. The increasing blurring between voluntary health promotion practices, professional health promotion, government and corporate strategies requires acknowledgement, as does the increasing power wielded by digital media corporations over digital technologies and the data they generate. These issues provoke questions for health promotion as a practice and field of research that hitherto have been little addressed.

Concepts: Technology, Responsibility, Health promotion, Digital, Corporation, Individual responsibility, Digital media


Diagnostics are essential for predictable restorative dentistry. Both patient and clinician must agree on a treatment goal before the final restorations are delivered to avoid future disappointments. However, fully understanding the patient’s desires is difficult. A useful tool to overcome this problem is the diagnostic wax-up and mock-up. A potential treatment outcome is modeled in wax prior to treatment and transferred into the patient’s mouth using silicon indexes and autopolymerizing resin to obtain the patient’s approval. Yet, this time-consuming procedure only produces a single version of the possible treatment outcome, which can be unsatisfactory for both the patient and the restorative team. Contemporary digital technologies may provide advantageous features to aid in this diagnostic treatment step. This article reviews opportunities digital technologies offer in the diagnostic phase, and presents clinical cases to illustrate the procedures.

Concepts: Medical terms, Patient, Diagnosis, The Final, Digital


Information, such as text printed on paper or images projected onto microfilm, can survive for over 500 years. However, the storage of digital information for time frames exceeding 50 years is challenging. Here we show that digital information can be stored on DNA and recovered without errors for considerably longer time frames. To allow for the perfect recovery of the information, we encapsulate the DNA in an inorganic matrix, and employ error-correcting codes to correct storage-related errors. Specifically, we translated 83 kB of information to 4991 DNA segments, each 158 nucleotides long, which were encapsulated in silica. Accelerated aging experiments were performed to measure DNA decay kinetics, which show that data can be archived on DNA for millennia under a wide range of conditions. The original information could be recovered error free, even after treating the DNA in silica at 70 °C for one week. This is thermally equivalent to storing information on DNA in central Europe for 2000 years.

Concepts: DNA, Error, Information theory, Storage, Central Europe, Digital, Error detection and correction, Digital physics


Digital technology has the potential to support teenagers and young adults (TYAs) with cancer from the onset of their disease into survivorship. We aimed to establish (1) the current pattern of use of TYA digital technologies within our service-user population, and (2) their preferences regarding digital information and support within the service.

Concepts: Cancer, The Current, Technology, The Onset, Information technology, Digital, Modem, Digital systems


Human footprints provide some of the most publically emotive and tangible evidence of our ancestors. To the scientific community they provide evidence of stature, presence, behaviour and in the case of early hominins potential evidence with respect to the evolution of gait. While rare in the geological record the number of footprint sites has increased in recent years along with the analytical tools available for their study. Many of these sites are at risk from rapid erosion, including the Ileret footprints in northern Kenya which are second only in age to those at Laetoli (Tanzania). Unlithified, soft-sediment footprint sites such these pose a significant geoconservation challenge. In the first part of this paper conservation and preservation options are explored leading to the conclusion that to ‘record and digitally rescue’ provides the only viable approach. Key to such strategies is the increasing availability of three-dimensional data capture either via optical laser scanning and/or digital photogrammetry. Within the discipline there is a developing schism between those that favour one approach over the other and a requirement from geoconservationists and the scientific community for some form of objective appraisal of these alternatives is necessary. Consequently in the second part of this paper we evaluate these alternative approaches and the role they can play in a ‘record and digitally rescue’ conservation strategy. Using modern footprint data, digital models created via optical laser scanning are compared to those generated by state-of-the-art photogrammetry. Both methods give comparable although subtly different results. This data is evaluated alongside a review of field deployment issues to provide guidance to the community with respect to the factors which need to be considered in digital conservation of human/hominin footprints.

Concepts: Scientific method, Laser, Data, The Conclusion, Ecological footprint, Digital, Footprint, Digital signal


We report the electronic recording of the touch contact and pressure using an active matrix pressure sensor array made of transparent zinc oxide thin-film transistors and tactile feedback display using an array of diaphragm actuators made of an interpenetrating polymer elastomer network. Digital replay, editing and manipulation of the recorded touch events were demonstrated with both spatial and temporal resolutions. Analog reproduction of the force is also shown possible using the polymer actuators, despite of the high driving voltage. The ability to record, store, edit, and replay touch information adds an additional dimension to digital technologies and extends the capabilities of modern information exchange with the potential to revolutionize physical learning, social networking, e-commerce, robotics, gaming, medical and military applications.

Concepts: Sensory system, Somatosensory system, Zinc oxide, Transducer, Proprioception, Electronics, Digital, Somatic sensory system