US researchers develop wearable for smart stomach health

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A research team from University California Berkeley and the University of California San Diego has developed a wearable system for monitoring electrical activity in the stomach.

It is as accurate at diagnosing some medical conditions as current invasive methods, without traditional treatments’ restriction to clinical settings.

Gastrointestinal (GI) problems are the second leading cause for missing work or school in the US, and are responsible for 10 percent of patient visits to a doctor. But, according to a UCSD and UC Berkeley paper published in Nature, their prevalence is “at odds with bottlenecks in their diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up.”

Trying to figure out the source of problems in the GI tract can be a major challenge for doctors. In search of answers, patients are sometimes asked to undergo unpleasant or invasive procedures – such manometry, which requires a catheter to be inserted through the nose to measure pressure at different points inside the stomach.

Read more: Health IoT: Scientists develop diet wearable – for your teeth

“A new kind of medicine”

The problem is especially complicated with young children, who usually need sedation for invasive procedures. The wearable system developed by the UCSD and UC Berkeley team offers an alternative without sacrificing the accuracy of the results.

It consists of a custom circuitboard, a battery and off-the-shelf electrodes, and connects to a smartphone application. But the researchers’ real achievement has been to design algorithms capable of recognising and analysing the stomach’s varying electrical signals.

Read more: Health IoT: KardiaBand sensor could replace invasive blood tests

“We think our system will spark a new kind of medicine, where a gastroenterologist can quickly see where and when a part of the GI tract is showing abnormal rhythms and, as a result, make more accurate, faster, and personalised diagnoses,” said Armen Gharibans, one of the paper’s co-authors and a bioengineering postdoctoral researcher at the University of California San Diego.

Co-author Todd Coleman, a UC San Diego professor of bioengineering, points out that being able to monitor patients without an invasive procedure over longer periods of time could lead to better outcomes.

“This work opens the door to accurately monitoring the dynamic activity of the GI system,” he said. “Until now, it was quite challenging to accurately measure the electrical patterns of stomach activity in a continuous manner, outside of a clinical setting. From now on, we will be able to observe patterns and analyse them, in both healthy and unwell people as they go about their daily lives.”

Read more: Flexible wearables: a game-changer for connected healthcare

Widening the scope

It is expected that as well as spotting health problems, UCSD and UC Berkeley’s wearable technology could also help with their management. It could even inform the diets of healthy people, from competitive athletes to pregnant women.

“Changes to digestion and gastric health are hallmarks of two understudied processes: ageing and pregnancy,” said Benjamin Smarr, another of the paper’s co-authors and a chronobiologist at UC Berkeley.

“One of our hopes is that this technology will allow us to quantify the changes that happen during these critical periods in life. They affect the vast majority of humanity, and it will now be possible to study what’s going on, and build predictive, personal medical applications based on getting ahead of bad changes.”

Internet of Business says

2018 has certainly been the year of healthtech wearables, which have proven to be especially adept at monitoring changes in electrical activity within the body, which may indicate a variety of different medical conditions. Combined with AI and smart algorithms, doctors have been able to make accurate diagnoses that are comparable to traditional investigations, but far more swiftly and sensitively. Speeding up diagnoses, while offering non-invasive alternatives to longstanding procedures, will not only save lives, but perhaps encourage more people to seek treatment early.

Some more of our recent reports:

Read more: Consumer wearables can detect major heart problem

Read more: Perfect storm blows healthtech towards IoT cures

Read more: Health IoT: App helps sports stars predict and manage injuries

Read more: Flexible wearables: a game-changer for connected healthcare

 

The post US researchers develop wearable for smart stomach health appeared first on Internet of Business.

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Google may launch its own smart display device

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Lenovo Smart Display official

Google has released a few smart speaker Google Home devices to date, but we haven’t seen any Google Home models with a screen. Instead, Google has opted to partner with companies like Sony and Lenovo to create smart display products. That doesn’t mean that Google won’t ever make its own smart display, though.

Google has not ruled out launching its own smart display, according to Google VP Rishi Chandra. “It’s an emerging category,” Chandra told Variety. “I’m not saying we are not going to do it.”

Chandra added that Google has both parterned with other companies on devices and also released its own version of those devices in the past, and so with smart displays, it may have just made more sense to announce its partnerships first.

The Lenovo Smart Display (shown above) is a device that runs Android Things and offers the Google Assistant and comes in 8-inch and 10-inch screen sizes. The smaller model has an 8-inch 1280×800 display, 5MP wide angle camera, and a 1.75-inch 10W speaker, while the other model has a 10-inch 1920×1200 screen with 5MP wide angle camera and 2-inch 10W speaker.

A smart display could be a useful addition to someone’s home, letting them easily watch videos in the kitchen, view info like the weather and timers at a glance, and conduct video calls. A smart display seems especially useful in the kitchen, where you could watch recipe videos or view text while also getting a visual timer. 

We’ll have to wait and see if Google ever does end up release a Home-style smart display, but it seems like a product that Google could easily try at least once, especially since Amazon already offers two smart display products. Would you be interested in a smart display from Google?

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Pizza Hut’s ‘smart’ shoes turn you into a fashionable couch potato

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When it comes to fast-food PR stunts, Pizza Hut doesn't hold back. Seriously, this is the company that's made a jacket that keeps you as warm as, well, a pizza. The ridiculous garment came with the same insulating materials as those used in Pizza Hut…
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Every blockchain needs a tool for auditing its smart contracts

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At the 3rd Global Blockchain Summit held in Shanghai hosted by Wanxiang Blockchain Labs, Gnosis co-founder and CTO Stefan George, Huawei executive Huang Lian Jin, Factom founder and chief architect Paul Snow, and Stellar co-founder Jed McCaleb discussed the security issues of emerging blockchain projects. In particular, they emphasized the importance of conducting audits with a large community of developers to prevent potential technical problems. The security, privacy, and scalability issues faced by blockchain are unprecedented because decentralized applications and protocols have never been tested before. As blockchain projects such as Gnosis, Factom, and Stellar, along with technology conglomerates and financial institutions,…

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The best smart smoke alarm

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By Jennifer Pattison Tuohy This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read the full article here. It's ha…
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Tech Deals: $250 Off Galaxy S9 Bundle, $52 Off iPad Pro Smart Keyboard, 15% Off Select Smartphones & Laptops, More

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Deals, deals, and more deals today. Even the deals have multiple offerings within them. You yet again have another opportunity to save money with the purchase of excellent and powerful hardware. Check out the listings, take note of any discount codes, and complete the purchase as soon as possible.

[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

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[Update: New info on device] Facebook delays smart speaker reveal due to heightened privacy concerns

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Facebook has decided to delay the unveiling of a new line of smart speakers “in part because the public is currently so outraged about the social network’s data-privacy practices,” sources tell Bloomberg. The home devices were apparently planned to debut at Facebook’s developer conference in May, well ahead of their scheduled fall release date.

Read More

[Update: New info on device] Facebook delays smart speaker reveal due to heightened privacy concerns was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Fibaro Wall Plug review: A smart, well-designed outlet that monitors energy use

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Fibaro Wall Plug with USB port (Credit: Fibaro)

I’ve long used Belkin’s $ 35 Wemo Insight Switch in my home, both for automation and energy monitoring. Now, Fibaro has a new, competing product called the Fibaro Wall Plug. It comes in two options: a $ 50 version and a $ 60 model that adds an integrated USB plug. I’ve been testing  a review unit of the latter and it’s a great, if not more expensive alternative, that has some automation limitations depending on which hub you use.

Yes, you’ll need a hub for the Wall Plug because it uses a Z-Wave radio for connectivity. In my testing, I connected the Plug to a SmartThings hub — technically an Nvidia Shield TV with Samsung SmartThings USB Link — but to use all of the Plug’s smart functionality, you’ll really need a Fibaro Home Center controller and the Fibaro mobile app. I’ll explain why in a bit.

From a design standpoint, the plug is elegant. I like the look of it and also the fact that it doesn’t cover up the second outlet in your wall, which some smart plugs can do. The rounded corners and small-ish size of the 2.32-inch plug look very modern and clean.

Note that since SmartThings doesn’t natively support the Fibaro Wall Plug, I had to install two custom handlers so that the SmartThings hub would recognize and report usage on both the main outlet and the USB port. It’s a pretty easy, cut-and-paste process, but worth noting.

Getting connected

Once that’s done, there’s not much else to the installation of the Fibaro Plug though. You simply triple click a button on the Plug to put it in pairing mode and use your hub to complete the process. I was able to pair it with my SmartThings hub in under a minute.

Once connected, you just plug in any standard electrical or USB device to the Fibaro unit. I used it to power the Raspberry Pi we set up for our IoT Podcast VM and also some other appliances, such as my Keurig coffee maker and June oven. I also added the Plug to both my Amazon Echo and Google Home accounts so I could turn the plug on or off with voice commands. The Fibaro Plug worked with both assistants for basic power commands.

Monitoring energy usage

One of the unique features of the Fibaro Plug is the LED ring on the front of it. The color of the ring changes to indicate how much power the plug is drawing based on seven unique colors including white, red, green, blue, yellow, cyan or magenta. The latter, for example, shows between 1350W and 1800W.

The June Oven uses 1675W, causing the Wall Plug LED ring to show magenta.

Initially, the LED ring didn’t light up when the plug was under a load. A quick reset of the Plug (hold the Plug button until the LED turns yellow, let go and quickly tap the button) fixed it. Plus, you can see that information in real time or view the historical use with the SmartThings app for both the main outlet and the USB port. The LED is configurable if you don’t want it on at all or if you want to customize the colors for different power usage levels.

The SmartThings app can also control the state of the Fibaro Plug, meaning with one tap on your phone, you can turn the Plug on or off. You can even do this when away from your home. Personally, I like to have it always on since most appliances have their own power switch. However, if you’re planning to use the Plug with a lamp, this is an easy way to turn that light on or off, even if you’re not using a smart bulb.

Automations

It’s tricky when it comes to automation and getting information from the Fibaro Plug, however. Yes, you can create automations that turn the plug on or off — helpful for lights — but that’s about it in the SmartThings world. And unless you use the Fibaro hub and app, you won’t get energy alerts. And although it would be nice to know if my refrigerator lost power, I can live without the notifications on energy usage. But my plans for automating the plug fell a little short when using SmartThings with it.

For example, I’d like to put one of these plugs in our master bathroom and have my wife use it with her hair dryer. Why? Because drying her hair is the last thing she does in the morning before she heads down to the kitchen. If I could automate the kitchen light based on the power draw of the hair dryer, she’d automatically enter a well-lit kitchen. The only way I can see to do this would be to use a Fibaro gateway and corresponding Fibaro app.

Regardless, the Fibaro Plug works well if you understand the hub and software limitations when using it with SmartThings, which could eventually change with an updated device handler. If you do have a Fibaro Home Center, you’ll get all of the impressive functionality the Plug offers.

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HPE’s Aruba launches AI analytics for smart digital workspaces

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Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) company Aruba Networks has launched NetInsight, an AI-powered analytics tool that’s designed to help organisations set up, monitor, and manage IoT-based smart workspaces.

“Monitor, analyse, predict”

IoT networks can be complex, and integrating kit from different suppliers can be a challenge. Managing and maintaining these systems can also be a problem.

That’s where NetInsight comes in, according to the company. The new system has been designed to monitor IoT devices automatically, and to deliver predictive analytics about how well they’re functioning.

Aruba claims NetInsight will identify performance lags, suggest what might be causing them, and recommend configuration changes. The aim is to find and fix these problems before they impact on workflows or system performance within networks and organisations.

Improving the user experience

IoT implementations are often deployed in dynamic and unpredictable environments. But while these have evolved over time, many of the tools that IT professionals use to manage them have changed very little, and lack focus on the user experience.

However, IT managers increasingly demand tools that give them better insight into both problems and fixes at a glance. This is why NetInsight has been designed within the Aruba ‘mobile first’ approach, which was conceived to deliver information that is both accessible and actionable, said the company.

One customer is the University of Washington, which has to manage more than 12,000 Wi-Fi access points and over 150,000 devices on its campuses, hospitals, and clinics. In that environment, the network management challenges of size, complexity, unpredictable usage patterns, and performance-sensitive applications are significant, according to David Morton, director of Networks and Telecommunications at the University.

“Using Aruba NetInsight, we have access to network data with flow visualisations and actionable analytics,” he said. “That helps us make critical decisions about where expanded and new coverage is needed – such as outdoor Wi-Fi for new constructions. We can also validate the ‘before and after’ impacts of network changes, so we can proactively deliver the best possible user experience.”

• Aruba has also announced an expansion of its Aruba Edge Technology Partner Programme to include new partners CBRE, Deloitte, and global furniture maker Herman Miller.

Internet of Business says

As the IoT spreads, analytics and management tools are a fast-growing area. And as ever with connected programmes, the subtext is always data – not just data about users, but also about how the system itself is performing.

Read more: SAS, Cisco claim first platform for IoT analytics at the edge

 

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Google Play rolling out audiobook improvements, like Smart Resume and Bookmarks

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Google Play audiobooks update

A couple of months after launching audiobooks on Google Play, Google is adding new features for folks that like to listen to their books.

Google says that it’s got a handful of improvements for audiobooks, including some that integrate with Google Assistant and Google Home. They are:

  • Smart Resume, which will intelligently rewind you to the beginning of a word or sentence after you pause your audiobook, helping you to remember what was happening before you paused.
  • Bookmarks, which will let you save a spot in an audiobook to help you quickly jump back to a favorite quote or moment whenever you want.
  • Support for Google Assistant Routines, which let your Google Assistant perform multiple actions with a single command from you.
  • Improved speed controls that now let you listen at 3x faster than the normal speed or 0.5x slower than normal.
  • Family Library sharing, which lets you share your audiobooks and ebooks with up to five family members for free, is now available in 13 additional countries: Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Chile, Mexico, Japan (audiobooks only), and South Africa. 

These new features are rolling out today, and they’re available on Android, iOS, and devices with Google Assistant.

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