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

Concept: Information appliance


High blood pressure (BP) is a major cardiovascular risk factor that is treatable, yet hypertension awareness and control rates are low. Ubiquitous BP monitoring technology could improve hypertension management, but existing devices require an inflatable cuff and are not compatible with such anytime, anywhere measurement of BP. We extended the oscillometric principle, which is used by most automatic cuff devices, to develop a cuff-less BP monitoring device using a smartphone. As the user presses her/his finger against the smartphone, the external pressure of the underlying artery is steadily increased while the phone measures the applied pressure and resulting variable-amplitude blood volume oscillations. A smartphone application provides visual feedback to guide the amount of pressure applied over time via the finger pressing and computes systolic and diastolic BP from the measurements. We prospectively tested the smartphone-based device for real-time BP monitoring in human subjects to evaluate usability (n= 30) and accuracy against a standard automatic cuff-based device (n= 32). We likewise tested a finger cuff device, which uses the volume-clamp method of BP detection. About 90% of the users learned the finger actuation required by the smartphone-based device after one or two practice trials. The device yielded bias and precision errors of 3.3 and 8.8 mmHg for systolic BP and -5.6 and 7.7 mmHg for diastolic BP over a 40 to 50 mmHg range of BP. These errors were comparable to the finger cuff device. Cuff-less and calibration-free monitoring of systolic and diastolic BP may be feasible via a smartphone.

Concepts: Information appliance, Orthostatic hypotension, Artery, Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Hypertension, Blood, Blood pressure


Regular physical activity has established physical and mental health benefits; however, merely one quarter of the U.S. adult population meets national physical activity recommendations. In an effort to engage individuals who do not meet these guidelines, researchers have utilized popular emerging technologies, including mobile devices (ie, personal digital assistants [PDAs], mobile phones). This study is the first to synthesize current research focused on the use of mobile devices for increasing physical activity.

Concepts: Information appliance, Information appliances, Mobile computers, Smartphone, Personal digital assistants, Mobile device, Personal digital assistant, Mobile phone


Light-driven degradation of photoactive molecules could be one of the major obstacles to stable long term operation of organic dye-based solar light harvesting devices. One solution to this problem may be mimicking the regeneration functionality of a plant leaf. We report an organic dye photovoltaic system that has been endowed with such microfluidic regeneration functionality. A hydrogel medium with embedded channels allows rapid and uniform supply of photoactive reagents by a convection-diffusion mechanism. A washing-activation cycle enables reliable replacement of the organic component in a dye-sensitized photovoltaic system. Repetitive restoration of photovoltaic performance after intensive device degradation is demonstrated.

Concepts: Dye, Major, Term, Device, Chemistry, Information appliance, Photovoltaic module, Photovoltaics


Embedded systems control and monitor a great deal of our reality. While some “classic” features are intrinsically necessary, such as low power consumption, rugged operating ranges, fast response and low cost, these systems have evolved in the last few years to emphasize connectivity functions, thus contributing to the Internet of Things paradigm. A myriad of sensing/computing devices are being attached to everyday objects, each able to send and receive data and to act as a unique node in the Internet. Apart from the obvious necessity to process at least some data at the edge (to increase security and reduce power consumption and latency), a major breakthrough will arguably come when such devices are endowed with some level of autonomous “intelligence”. Intelligent computing aims to solve problems for which no efficient exact algorithm can exist or for which we cannot conceive an exact algorithm. Central to such intelligence is Computer Vision (CV), i.e., extracting meaning from images and video. While not everything needs CV, visual information is the richest source of information about the real world: people, places and things. The possibilities of embedded CV are endless if we consider new applications and technologies, such as deep learning, drones, home robotics, intelligent surveillance, intelligent toys, wearable cameras, etc. This paper describes the Eyes of Things (EoT) platform, a versatile computer vision platform tackling those challenges and opportunities.

Concepts: Linux, The Real World, Learning, Intelligence, Information appliance, Microprocessor, Computer, Problem solving


United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-mandated postapproval studies have long been a mainstay of the continued evaluation of high-risk medical devices after initial marketing approval; however, these studies often present challenges related to patient/physician recruitment and retention. Retrospective single-center studies also do not fully represent the spectrum of real-world performance nor are they likely to have a sufficiently large enough sample size to detect important signals. In recent years, The FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health has been promoting the development and use of patient registries to advance infrastructure and methodologies for medical device investigation. The FDA 2012 document, “Strengthening the National System for Medical Device Post-market Surveillance,” highlighted registries as a core foundational infrastructure when linked to other complementary data sources, including embedded unique device identification. The Vascular Quality Initiative (VQI) thoracic endovascular aortic repair for type B aortic dissection project is an innovative method of using quality improvement registries to meet the needs of device evaluation after market approval. Here we report the organization and background of this project and highlight the innovation facilitated by collaboration of physicians, the FDA, and device manufacturers.

Concepts: Medical device, Food and Drug Administration, Information appliance, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, Sufficiently large, Aortic dissection, Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act


We present a new, power-free and flexible detection system named MCFphone for portable colorimetric and fluorescence quantitative sandwich immunoassay detection of prostate specific antigen (PSA). The MCFphone is composed by a smartphone integrated with a magnifying lens, a simple light source and a miniaturised immunoassay platform, the Microcapillary Film (MCF). The excellent transparency and flat geometry of fluoropolymer MCF allowed quantitation of PSA in the range 0.9 to 60ng/ml with<7% precision in 13min using enzymatic amplification and a chromogenic substrate. The lower limit of detection was further improved from 0.4 to 0.08ng/ml in whole blood samples with the use of a fluorescence substrate. The MCFphone has shown capable of performing rapid (13 to 22min total assay time) colorimetric quantitative and highly sensitive fluorescence tests with good %Recovery, which represents a major step in the integration of a new generation of inexpensive and portable microfluidic devices with commercial immunoassay reagents and off-the-shelf smartphone technology.

Concepts: Information appliance, Magnifying glass, Surface tension, Measurement, Integral, Immunoassay, Microfluidics, Light


To quantify the relationships between youth use of television (TV) and other screen devices, including smartphones and tablets, and obesity risk factors.

Concepts: Radio, Information appliance, Vacuum tube, United Kingdom


This study explicates nomophobia by developing a research model that identifies several determinants of smartphone separation anxiety and by conducting semantic network analyses on smartphone users' verbal descriptions of the meaning of their smartphones. Structural equation modeling of the proposed model indicates that personal memories evoked by smartphones encourage users to extend their identity onto their devices. When users perceive smartphones as their extended selves, they are more likely to get attached to the devices, which, in turn, leads to nomophobia by heightening the phone proximity-seeking tendency. This finding is also supplemented by the results of the semantic network analyses revealing that the words related to memory, self, and proximity-seeking are indeed more frequently used in the high, compared with low, nomophobia group.

Concepts: Self, Mobile phone, Anxiety, Information appliance, Social network, Psychology, Semantics, Meaning of life


Cell phones and smart phones can be reconfigured as biomedical sensor devices but this requires specialized add-ons. In this paper we present a simple cell phone-based portable bioassay platform, which can be used with fluorescent assays in solution. The system consists of a tablet, a polarizer, a smart phone (camera) and a box that provides dark readout conditions. The assay in a well plate is placed on the tablet screen acting as an excitation source. A polarizer on top of the well plate separates excitation light from assay fluorescence emission enabling assay readout with a smartphone camera. The assay result is obtained by analysing the intensity of image pixels in an appropriate colour channel. With this device we carried out two assays, for collagenase and trypsin using fluorescein as the detected fluorophore. The results of collagenase assay with the lowest measured concentration of 3.75 µg/mL and 0.938 µg in total in the sample were comparable to those obtained by a microplate reader. The lowest measured amount of trypsin was 930 pg, which is comparable to the low detection limit of 400 pg for this assay obtained in a microplate reader. The device is sensitive enough to be used in point-of-care medical diagnostics of clinically relevant conditions, including arthritis, cystic fibrosis and acute pancreatitis.

Concepts: Nokia, IPhone, Light, Smartphone, Windows Mobile, Information appliance, Fluorescence, Mobile phone


We demonstrate a new platform, convex lens-induced nanoscale templating (CLINT), for dynamic manipulation and trapping of single DNA molecules. In the CLINT technique, the curved surface of a convex lens is used to deform a flexible coverslip above a substrate containing embedded nanotopography, creating a nanoscale gap that can be adjusted during an experiment to confine molecules within the embedded nanostructures. Critically, CLINT has the capability of transforming a macroscale flow cell into a nanofluidic device without the need for permanent direct bonding, thus simplifying sample loading, providing greater accessibility of the surface for functionalization, and enabling dynamic manipulation of confinement during device operation. Moreover, as DNA molecules present in the gap are driven into the embedded topography from above, CLINT eliminates the need for the high pressures or electric fields required to load DNA into direct-bonded nanofluidic devices. To demonstrate the versatility of CLINT, we confine DNA to nanogroove and nanopit structures, demonstrating DNA nanochannel-based stretching, denaturation mapping, and partitioning/trapping of single molecules in multiple embedded cavities. In particular, using ionic strengths that are in line with typical biological buffers, we have successfully extended DNA in sub-30-nm nanochannels, achieving high stretching (90%) that is in good agreement with Odijk deflection theory, and we have mapped genomic features using denaturation analysis.

Concepts: Molecule, Map, Information appliance, DNA