Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Scientists use Google Glass to map the future of medical testing

Scientists use Google Glass to map the future of medical testing (video)

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2014 — A team of researchers at UCLA has transformed Google Glass into powerful, wearable medical testing laboratory. Aydogan Ozcan and his team developed an application that reads dozens of different types of diagnostic tests for malaria, prostate cancer and HIV, to name a few. Glass uploads the results to secure servers and provides anonymous data to epidemiologists.

[caption id="attachment_303" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Scientists use Google Glass to map the future of medical testing  Augmented-Reality-Technology-044 Scientists use Google Glass to map the future of medical testing[/caption]

In the American Chemical Society's (ACS') newest Breakthrough Science video, Ozcan demonstrates how the app works, and explains the broad impact it could have on medicine. The video is available at:

The previous videos in the series are available here.

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The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 161,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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News Release Source :   Scientists use Google Glass to map the future of medical testing (video)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Google Glass As an Assistive Aid to Help People with Parkinson's

Google Glass puts the focus on Parkinson's

The next generation of wearable computing is being trialled for the first time to evaluate its potential to support people with Parkinson's.

Experts at Newcastle University are investigating Google Glass as an assistive aid to help people with Parkinson's retain their independence for longer.

[caption id="attachment_298" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Google Glass As an Assistive Aid to Help People with Parkinson's Augmented-Reality-Technology-043 Google Glass As an Assistive Aid to Help People with Parkinson's[/caption]

Glass is a wearable computer being developed by Google. Likened to the kind of technology fictionalised in the Hollywood Blockbuster Minority Report, at first glance Glass appears to be no more than a pair of designer glasses. But the system works like a hands-free smartphone, displaying information on the lens of the Glass. The technology is voice-operated and linked to the internet.

Not currently available outside the US, the five pairs of Glass at Newcastle University were donated by Google to allow researchers to test how they could be used to support people with long-term conditions.

Initial studies by the team - who are based in the University's Digital Interaction Group in Culture Lab, part of the School of Computing Science - have focussed on the acceptability of Glass. They have been working with a group of Parkinson's volunteers aged between 46-70 years.

Now they are working on the next stage of the project, using the technology to provide discreet prompts linked to key behaviours typical of Parkinson's, such as reminding the individual to speak up or to swallow to prevent drooling. Glass can also be used as a personal reminder for things such as medication and appointments.

The team will also be exploring how the motion sensors in Glass can be used to support people with 'freezing', a behaviour caused by motor blocking a common symptom of Parkinson's.

Led by Dr John Vines, PhD student Roisin McNaney and Dr Ivan Poliakov, this is the first UK trial of Glass. Presenting their initial findings later this month at the ACM Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) 2014 conference in Toronto, Canada, the team will show how emerging technologies can potentially be used to support people with progressive diseases such as Parkinson's and dementia.

"Glass opens up a new space for exploring the design and development of wearable systems," explains Dr Vines, who along with colleagues in Culture Lab is working on a number of projects investigating how technology can be used to support people in everyday life.

"It is very early days – Glass is such new technology we are still learning how it might be used but the beauty of this research project is we are designing the apps and systems for Glass in collaboration with the users so the resulting applications should exactly meet their needs.

"What was really encouraging from this early study was how well our volunteers took to the wearable technology and the fact that they could see the potential in it."

Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological condition affecting up to 10 million people worldwide, with onset generally in those over 50.

The condition manifests itself in motor symptoms including rigidity, tremor and 'bradykinesia' or slowness of movement.

These affect balance, gait, arm and facial movements. Motor blocks commonly affect people's legs during walking causing them to 'freeze'; speech and voice are typically affected in terms of volume and clarity and the automatic swallowing mechanism is blocked so individuals often drool.

Aside from the physical signs, there are a myriad of emotional and social factors relating to loss of independence, social confidence, embarrassment and stigma.

Roisin, a speech and language therapist whose PhD has primarily focussed on the use of external cues as behavioural prompts, says one of the big challenges is finding technology that is not only useful to people but is also discreet.

"People with Parkinson's are already coping with so much and one of the main causes of social isolation is the stigma around behaviours such as drooling and tremor which they have no control over," explains Roisin, who is using discreet prompts to remind people with Parkinson's to swallow to prevent drooling, a common side effect.

"The last thing we want is a system of cueing which is so obvious it adds to people's overall embarrassment. Wearable computing is still quite novel but as more people buy into the technology and start to wear it out and about for leisure then systems such as Glass offer us a real opportunity for the long-term treatment of progressive conditions."

Dr Vines adds: "Technology has the potential to play a central role in the development and improvement of people's lives. The challenge is understanding everyone's different needs and tailoring that technology so that it makes a real impact on society."

Claire Bale, Research Communications Manager at Parkinson's UK, said: "This new study looking into Google Glass is an exciting example of how new technologies could be used to improve the lives of people living with Parkinson's by tackling a wide variety of problems – from freezing to remembering to take their medication on time.

"But to really make the most of the potential of new technologies it's essential that researchers work in partnership with the real experts in the condition – people living with Parkinson's.

"Only people with the condition can tell us if these new approaches will genuinely improve their lives in meaningful and realistic ways."

Case studies:

Partners Lynn Tearse, 46, and Ken Booth, 56, from County Durham, were some of the first volunteers to try out Glass as part of the Newcastle University trial.

Ken, who was first diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1991, underwent Deep Brain Stimulation last year in a bid to relieve some of the side effects of the condition.

"The drugs just weren't working for me anymore," explains the former salesman.

"I'd been offered the operation five years ago but I was too scared and at the time I was managing with the medication. But by last year the tremor had got so bad I couldn't carry on.

"The difference is incredible. It hasn't stopped the episodes completely and I still have to take the medication but it's helping to control the symptoms so I can live my life."

Trialling Glass for a week, Ken says both he and Lynn are complete converts.

"They're just fantastic. The potential for someone with Parkinson's is endless. For me the biggest benefit was confidence. When you freeze your legs stop working but your body carries on moving forward and it's easy to fall.

"Because Glass is connected to the internet you can link it to computers and mobile phones. So if you're alone you just have to look through the Glass and carers, friends or relatives will be able to see exactly where you are and come and get you. Or you just tell it to call someone and it rings them."

Lynn, a retired teacher who was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2008, adds: "People would probably say you can do all these things on a smartphone but actually, with Parkinson's, negotiating a touch screen is really difficult.

"It's not just the tremor. During a 'down time' when the medication is starting to wear off and you're waiting for the next lot to kick in it can be like trying to do everything wearing a pair of boxing gloves. Your movements are very slow and your body won't do what you want it to."

Lynn says Glass could also be hugely helpful to unlock the brain when is 'freezes'.

"No-one really understands why it happens," explains Lynn, "but it happens when the flat surface in front of you breaks up or the space in front of you narrows such as a doorway. Revolving doors are particularly bad.

"Your legs gradually freeze up and the difficulty is getting started again. The brain seems to need a point beyond the blockage to fix on and people use different things – Ken will kick the end of his walking stick out in front of him but many people use laser pens to create a virtual line beyond the barrier. This is where Glass could really make a difference."

Using it as a medication reminder is another of the applications the Newcastle University team is looking at.

"The drugs don't cure Parkinson's, they control it so it's really important to take the medication on time," explains Ken.

"I was taking two or three different drugs every two hours, different combinations at different times of the day; some with water, some with food, the instructions are endless. Having a reminder that is literally in your face wherever you are and whatever you are doing would really help."

Lynn adds: "Parkinson's can be very isolating. Ken and I work together – we went away last month and I learnt to ski – but the Parkinson's symptoms and the drug side effects can be frightening and often embarrassing and not always well understood.

"Any technology which promotes confidence and helps people take better control of their condition and their life should be welcomed."

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Google Glass Could Help Stop Emerging Public Health Threats

Google Glass could help stop emerging public health threats around the world

The much-talked-about Google Glass — the eyewear with computer capabilities — could potentially save lives, especially in isolated or far-flung locations, say scientists. They are reporting development of a Google Glass app that takes a picture of a diagnostic test strip and sends the data to computers, which then rapidly beam back a diagnostic report to the user. The information also could help researchers track the spread of diseases around the world. The study appears in the journal ACS Nano, a publication of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

[caption id="attachment_294" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Google Glass Could Help Stop Emerging Public Health Threats Augmented-Reality-Technology-042.jpg Google Glass Could Help Stop Emerging Public Health Threats[/caption]

"It's very important to detect emerging public health threats early, before an epidemic arises and many lives are lost," says Aydogan Ozcan, Ph.D. "With our app for Google Glass and our remote computing and data analysis power, we can deliver a one-two punch — provide quantified biomedical test results for individual patients, plus analyze all those data to determine whether an outbreak is imminent."

Google Glass looks like a pair of eyeglasses without the lenses, but with a small rectangular transparent screen near the right eye that functions as a tiny computer screen. A mouse is built into the right arm of the frame.

Ozcan and colleagues at the University of California, Los Angeles, designed a custom app for Google Glass. The app uses Glass' built-in camera to take a picture of a diagnostic test, called a lateral flow immunochromatographic assay. A familiar example of such an assay is a home pregnancy test.

The wearable computer transmits images of these test strips with their custom-created Quick-Response (known as "QR") code identifiers to more powerful computers in other parts of the world for analysis. Then, a quantified diagnostic result is beamed back to the Google Glass user. If the user is in a remote area without Wi-Fi, then he or she can connect Glass to a smartphone to transmit the data along with geographical information for disease tracking.

In pilot tests, the team successfully used the method with HIV and prostate-specific antigen (known as "PSA") assays. Results were available within eight seconds for each individual test. They could even take a picture of several test strips next to each other in one image and come up with the correct diagnoses.

Other medical diagnostic devices based on smartphone technology, including one recently developed by Ozcan's team, require additional equipment to be attached to the device. Or they require extensive handling of the device and the tests. But the researchers note that their Google Glass set-up works without any external hardware attachments. It is also hands-free, allowing busy technicians to quickly go through many patient tests in a short period.

The researchers acknowledge funding from the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the U.S. Army Research Office, the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research and the National Institutes of Health.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 161,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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News Release Source :  Google Glass could help stop emerging public health threats around the world

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Intelligent Augmented Reality glasses designed for professors

Intelligent glasses designed for professors

This news release is available in Spanish.

The proposed system (Augmented Lecture Feedback System – ALFs) seeks to improve communication between students and professors during large lecture classes like those frequently given at universities. The way they work is quite intuitive: the professor wears a pair of augmented reality glasses that enable him/her to see symbols above each student; the symbols indicate the person's state while this activity is taking place. "These symbols are activated by the students via their cell phones and are used to tell the professor that they don't understand the explanation, or that they have understood it, to ask the professor to go more slowly, or to say whether or not they know the answer to the question that the professor has just asked the class," explains one of the researchers from UC3M's Grupo de Sistemas Interactivos (Interactive Systems Group), Telmo Zarraonandia. This way, the professor knows, simply by looking at the symbol a student has displayed over his/her head, exactly what that student wishes to communicate to him/her. In addition, on the upper part of the glasses, the system shows a diagram with the aggregate of the answers given by the students, which can be particularly useful in large groups.

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The main advantage of this device is that students have a new way to communicate that enables them to be in contact with the professor both immediately and privately, and without interrupting the class. "The channel that we've created will help overcome the problems of timidity or fear of speaking in front of the class that some students have", points out one of the researchers, Ignacio Aedo, a tenured professor in UC3M's Computer Science department. This way, the professor has a source of immediate information on what the students are grasping from his/her presentation. "The hope is that this system will make for more effective lecture classes, because receiving greater feedback, continuously, will allow the professor to adapt the class based on the students' actual knowledge and understanding, giving extra examples, varying the rhythm or skipping those parts of the lesson that the students indicate that they already know or remember," concludes Aedo. Moreover, through the glasses, the system allows the professor to visualize notes or comments that s/he doesn't want to forget to mention at specific moments, and which s/he can introduce in the system prior to the class.

Education of the future

The architecture of the system is described in a scientific article published in the British Journal of Educational Technology in a special monographic edition dedicated to the education of the future. The prototype that these researchers have developed is controlled by gestures, captured with a Microsoft Kinect; using these gestures, the professor selects the support slide for an explanation, or activates predetermined questions to which the students respond by displaying a variety of symbols that they select using their cell phones. The system can identify the students using facial recognition (by previously loading their photographs to a database) or, in larger groups, by using a positioning system based on markers.

In order for the students to be able to select the symbols, they just have to connect their cell phones to the server where the system is installed. The professor, on the other hand, just needs a pair of augmented reality glasses. "Because of their ability to display information on the user's field of vision, these devices have the potential to change the way in which we carry out many of our daily tasks, as well as offering many interesting possibilities from a research point of view," comments Telmo Zarraonandia. Currently, the various models of augmented reality glasses are costly and not very ergonomic because they are too heavy and make it difficult for the professor to move, but "it is hoped that in the next few years new models will come onto the market and these will be suitable for use in class, as might be the case with the new Google glasses, which could be adapted to this system," points out Ignacio Aedo.

This research is part of TIPEx (Information Technologies for Planning and Training in Emergencies), a project that has been funded by the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (Economy and Competitivity Ministry) in which researchers from the Universidad Politécnica of Valencia and the Universidad Pablo de Olavide also participate; the project examines how augmented reality and other technologies can be applied to the area of emergency management.

Further information:

Title: An augmented lecture feedback system to support learner and teacher communication Authors: Telmo Zarraonandia, Ignacio Aedo, Paloma Díaz, Álvaro Montero Journal: British Journal of Educational Technology. Volume: 44. Number: 4. July 2013 Article published on-line 4 June 2013 DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12047


News Release Source : Intelligent glasses designed for professors



Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Metaio to integrate 3D Augmented Reality into Intel® RealSense™ Computing SDK

Metaio to integrate 3D Augmented Reality into Intel® RealSense™ Computing SDK

MUNICH and SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Metaio, the world leader in augmented reality (AR) software and solutions, today announced at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) the planned integration of their patented 3D augmented reality tracking software with the Intel® RealSense™ Software Development Kit (SDK).


Winner of multiple awards, including the ISMAR Tracking Competition and the recent 2013 Volkswagen Tracking Competition, Metaio's augmented reality tracking technology recognizes real-world images, objects and environments in order to attach relevant digital or virtual information, in real-time. Tracking is perhaps the most important aspect of any augmented reality experience. Now, with the Intel® RealSense™ 3D camera integrating into 2 in 1, Ultrabook, notebook, and AIO devices, real and virtual objects environments will interact with each other in practical as well as entertainment applications. For example, someone could accurately map a room in their house and virtually rearrange the furniture on their computing devices.

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"Intel's vision is to make computing more immersive and enable human-like natural interactions with our devices," said Mark Yahiro, Managing Director, New Business, Perceptual Computing, Intel Corporation.  "Using Intel RealSense 3D camera technology in combination with Metaio's augmented reality tools, we look forward to blurring the virtual and real worlds further than ever before. For example, children will be able to play with their favorite toys and customize their experiences with digital interactions in creative new ways."

The Intel RealSense Software Development Kit (SDK) will be released in the first half of 2014. It will be an evolution of the Intel® Perceptual Computing SDK, which was released in 2012 and has been downloaded over twenty-five thousand times by developers worldwide.  The Intel® RealSense SDK will include voice recognition in more than 9 languages; background subtraction, a capability that enables developers to add green-screen-like functionality to applications; close-range hand and finger tracking that permits users to control their computing devices with mid-air hand and finger gestures; and face analysis, which identifies users and tracks their facial features across the camera's field of view. Once the addition of the 3D tracking and recognition engine by Metaio is completed, the Intel RealSense Computing SDK will offer developers advanced augmented reality features using depth data from the integrated Intel RealSense 3D camera in computing devices.

This anticipated integration brings new levels of interactivity to the SDKs of both Metaio and Intel. The 65,000 developers on Metaio's AR platform will have access to advanced human-computer interaction features offered by Intel. Developers will be able to create experiences that utilize hand gestures or facial recognition; manipulate backgrounds and environments in real time; and utilize voice recognition, all for new augmented reality applications that bridge the physical and digital worlds for natural, intuitive and immersive experiences.

"Developers need the best tools," said Metaio CTO Peter Meier. "Metaio's collaboration with Intel for the Intel RealSense SDK with depth camera integration will allow developers to push the boundaries on creativity and use of technology in completely new ways of human interactions with computing devices."

To learn more about the Metaio SDK and download it for free, please visit

About Metaio The worldwide leader in Augmented Reality (AR) research and technology, Metaio develops software products for visually interactive solutions between the real and the virtual world. Based on the Metaio Augmented Reality platform, digital and 3D content can be integrated seamlessly into the real world through the user's camera view. Serving over 65,000 developers and powering over 1,000 apps for enterprise, marketing, retail, publishing and industrial cases, over 30 Million consumers use Metaio's AR software. Learn more at



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