While a lot more than camera gear goes into making those movies look the way they do, the fact that professional filmmakers are using cameras that many of us keep in our pockets is a pretty encouraging sign when it comes to what we should be able to produce.
I wanted to test out just what you can do to improve your phone’s photo- and video-taking abilities, so I tried out a few different things: some add-on lenses, a microphone, and a stabilizer. You can see the results in the video above.
Getting work done is difficult when you not only have bothersome coworkers but also have documents or spreadsheets that you have to edit and comb through that are not in an editable format. PDF is so great for that final presentable and finished look, but it isn’t so great when you find a typo or a error on a datatable. You can easily alter the formatting of your document with PDFConverterOCR 5. It’s on sale now in iPhoneHacks Deals Hub. Continue reading → iPhone Hacks | #1 iPhone, iPad, iOS Blog
VR headsets are amazing for making the most of power-packed 3D games and movies. They sort of transforms your smartphone into 3D cinema. If you have a great liking for larger than life viewing experience, you would love to pick out one of these best iPhone X, iPhone 8/8 Plus VR headsets.
The qualities that make these top VR headsets so special are the ability to let you fine-tune the viewing as desired. Bestowed with HD lens, they make your viewing an excellent experience and also don’t allow glare or eye fatigue to creep up.
Best VR Headsets for iPhone X, iPhone 8, and 8 Plus
Note: The price of Amazon products is subject to change as it depends on the manufacturer. Therefore, the price of the accessories mentioned in this post might not match the actual one.
What steals the show for Pasonomi VR headset is the trendy design. The headset comes with ergonomic head belt design that offers the needed comfort to let you continue to enjoy marvelous 3D games longer. Soft and thick foam doesn’t the pain strike your head.
High-quality resin lens plays a key role in providing larger than life experience. Adjustable pupil and sight distance makes it very handy for everyone. Moreover, Pasonomi works with a number of VR apps available in App Store and Google Play Store.
What headlines for ELEGIANT are the HD optical resin lenses that not only reduce distortion significantly but also magnify viewing. The head strap is designed to decrease pressure to the eye. Therefore, you won’t feel fatigued even after playing VR games for hours.
You can perfectly adjust lens depth and pupil distance to enhance viewing. Thick padded facial cushion adds more comfort; allowing you to break all the shackles and enjoy gaming in its full-fledged form. Beyond immersive viewing experience, ELEGIANT is compatible with smartphones with 4-6 inch screen sizes.
NSInew ticks off all the boxes to be a handy VR headset. Powered by high-definition lenses, it doesn’t allow glare, dizziness or eye fatigue to mar your user-experience. Hence, you will play games for hours without any pan at all.
I like its soft upholstery on the facial side which brings a lot of comfort into the play. There are three head straps, which allow you to perfectly adjust it. Lastly, this handy VR headset fits for all smartphones with 4-6 inch screen size and also comes with Bluetooth remote.
Primed to offer the whopping 103-degree field of view, DESTEK V4 brings life to your 3D watching experience. With anti-blue light HD lenses, it provides complete protection to your eyes. The face padding with soft leather makes your skin feel comfortable. As a result, you would enjoy your view without irritation.
The head strap features 9 degrees of adjustment upward to ensure the strap doesn’t touch your ears; therefore your head and nose don’t feel any pressure. It lets you perfectly adjust object/pupil distance separately to have the clearest view. Even better, the touch button offers you the essential convenience to control VR games.
DESTEK V4 supports smartphones with 4.5-6 inches sizes.
It’s the sporty design that has compelled me to give a close look to Sarki. The headset is well-built and comes with stereo headphones. I like its memory sponge, which doesn’t allow pressure to kill your gaming time.
This VR headset enables you to fine-tune both pupil distance (PD) and focal distance (FD), which makes it ideally suitable for 0-600°near-sighted viewing. The T-shaped straps naturally fit your head. It offers 120-degree wide viewing angle and supports devices with 4.7-6-inches size.
More importantly, the detachable front cover is designed for improved heat dissipation so that your smartphone remains cool throughout. Besides, you get a Bluetooth remote controller to remain in full control of gaming. (If you don’t want to have the remote controller, you can get it at just $ 34.99)
USP: Detachable front cover for improved heat dissipation Price: $ 42.99 on Amazon.com Buy it from Amazon
#6. Merge VR
The ability to deliver stunning virtual reality experience makes Merge VR a cut above the rest. Made of high-quality soft foam, the headset seamlessly fits any face. Thanks to dual input buttons, you are able to navigate through your games with consummate ease.
Lenses are perfectly adjusted to fit your eyes. The high-quality material can easily withstand drops. You can pick this top-notch VR headset in nice fascinating colors.
Pansonite is timed for an endless 3D movie watching and high-octane gaming. Featuring ergonomic design, the headset doesn’t let fatigue mar your joy. The soft foam fits all the contours of your face; allowing you to breathe comfortably.
The t-shaped strap is made of soft material and feels pretty warm. It comes with HD aspheric lens, which provides high-clarity and also keeps distortion at bay. The hassle-free adjustment of pupil distance (PD) and focal distance make it ideal for everyone. The wider FOV (Field Of View) makes viewing a remarkable experience.
Get the most out of panoramic spherical 360-degree video or watch some of your all-time favorite movies with IMAX cinema effect with VR WEAR! Another notable feature of this headset is the comfortable lens adjustment in 4 directions for each eye separately.
The finest quality lens with 105-degree vision angle boosts your viewing experience while reducing the dizzying effect. It has a hole for ventilation to keep overheating at bay. The soft construction doesn’t put any pressure on the nose and ear.
Based on your convenience, you can adjust straps. What’s more, it comes with 2 sticker sets to let you change the look of the virtual reality goggles. Besides, VR Wear supports smartphones with 4.5-6.3″ diagonal screen.
If you have set your sights on top-notch VR gaming experience, you shouldn’t miss out on BNEXT. So, what makes it such a hot deal for action-packed gaming?
Well, it’s the bigger lenses that deliver wide FOV that takes your viewing to the next level. Add to that the smooth-sailing adjustment of FD and PD. Head strap can be fully adjusted for perfect fit. Even better, BNEXT has got the support of over 300 VR games so that your marvelous run has an endless ride on the larger-than-life wilderness.
USP: Bigger lenses for wider viewing angle Price: $ 39.99 on Amazon.com Buy it from Amazon
The one feature, which I don’t fail to check out while buying any VR headset, is the proper heat dissipation design. It’s because it provides better ventilation. As a result, the smartphone remains chilled out and doesn’t get warm even after a marathon play. If you are a hardcore gamer or never seem to get enough of VR gaming, you should keep this headset in mind since it’s got this much-required feature.
With the anti-reflection and radiation protection, it offers the necessary shield to your eyes. Thus you don’t feel like putting it off even after a long run of play. Another feature that has caught my eyes in this headset is the ability to deliver the huge 120-degree field of view which exactly what you’d want to ramp up your viewing.
So, that concludes our finest list of VR headsets for iPhone!
So, which one of these top VR headsets has been able to successfully pass your acid test? I know it’s the one that has all the ingredients to stand tall in all the aspects, isn’t it? It would be a pleasure to know your pick.
The Internet of Things has invaded our homes with smart thermostats, smart locks, and smart toothbrushes. It has invaded our offices with smart assistants, data security, and connected devices between remote teams.
And corporate events are the new frontier.
Whether you’re unveiling a new product at SXSW or hosting your own expo, interconnectivity can and should be an integral part of your next big business trip.
The following four technologies allow for the best of both worlds: retaining the beloved tradition and human element of real-world events while leveraging the efficiency and slickness of the latest devices.
Mobile Event Apps
Ninety-one percent of event planners say that the use of a mobile event app has yielded a positive ROI. According to Eventbrite, the event technology platform, mobile apps have also been shown to increase attendance by 20 percent while lowering costs by as much as 30 percent. Those are the kinds of numbers that can turn a marginally viable event into a roaring success.
But to compete in this market, you have to look beyond the currentevent and plan for the future. Fortunately, these apps provide the most robust and efficient method of doing just that. Not only do they allow attendee engagement through the service, but they also provide valuable insights into your attendees’ motivations, values, and backgrounds. That’s critical for longer-term planning; mobile-first data companies like Zoomdata can use large volumes of accumulated or real-time data to visualize trends and pinpoint not just what’s happening at your own events, but at others’ as well.
You might be familiar with RFID (radio frequency identification) tags from large retail and grocery chains. In 2017, RFID Journal reported 39 percent more retailers using RFID over the previous year. Estimates put the number of devices in apparel alone at more than 8 billion.
But you might be surprised to learn that the technology is now booming in other sectors, including the events industry. It’s natural when you consider that a brief physical contact of one’s phone to an event poster is enough to exchange information. This is a step up in elegance and convenience from unsightly QR codes that require aiming phones at a black-and-white square. Clemi Hardie, founder of Noodle Live, sees RFID as a big part of the future of event information exchange: “Instead of installing hardware at the events, it will be preinstalled on our smartphones, so it will be perfectly normal to put up event posters that simply say ‘tap here for push notifications’ or ‘tap here to exchange contact details.’”
Virtual Event Attendance
As engaging and powerful as events are, there are some drawbacks to the traditional structure. The overhead and costs can be cumbersome, and getting the details of event planning perfectly right each time is always a challenge. But there’s no choice: When large numbers of people are traveling and taking time out of their hectic schedules to attend, getting things right is critical. Another drawback is the challenge of tracking attendee behavior, but that insight is useful for planning future events.
There’s now another option to complement the standard model: virtual event attendance through VR headsets. The approach has some key advantages. First, it greatly reduces overhead (by more than half) because no one has to travel, book physical space for the event, or consider other logistical details. It also allows distant community members to attend easily from their homes or offices. Finally, this paradigm is the big winner in gathering intelligence about the behaviors of attendees because their “movements” can be tracked and analyzed through the virtual attendance software.
Events have two main functions: opportunities for networking and learning from speakers. But augmented reality is now even enhancing what speakers can deliver. For example, the Microsoft HoloLens headsets are glasses that overlay imagery and information over whatever the event attendee is viewing live. It was demoed in 2017 for set designers from Cirque du Soleil, helping them better visualize their sets.
Imagine the richness of information available to attendees who can view speakers through such devices, with information overlaid at key times in their presentation. To fully take advantage of this technology, the AR models can be made available to speakers to allow them to plan how they could best exploit what this platform offers to enhance their presentations.
The good news with all these approaches is that the companies behind them want nothing more than to support customers in easily adopting their platforms. That means there is no excuse not to dive in to integrate some or all of these technologies, at the very least on a trial basis for your next event. But, like smartphones, chances are that once these options are available, event attendees will never want to return to the old-fashioned way of running events.
When everything else is getting smarter, why should your kitchen be left behind? It needs to be fully equipped so that you have more control and efficiency while making yummy food. Making sure your hunt meets the desired result; we have rounded up the best kitchen gadgets.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a master chef or a novice as these gadgets take you through the task effortlessly. So with just a bit of work, you can surprise your sweetheart by preparing finger-licking dish. And just in case, you want to beat every Robin Hood, set a timer to zoom past cooking at a record time!
Best Kitchen Gadgets
#1. Philips XL Airfryer
If you are on a big mission of losing a lot of fat, Philips XL Airfryer would be of immense help to you. Airfryer lets you fry lip-smacking food with up to 75% less fat. With the digital touchscreen interface, you can adjust temperature up to 390 degrees, making it more convenient for you to cook a variety of food.
The advance starfish design assists it in circulating hot air around the entire unit. As a result, food is cooked perfectly. The Airfryer also lets you grill, roast, steam and even bake food.
There is a smart preset button that remembers the settings for your favorite food. What’s more, it also lets you set a 60-minute timer with ready signal and auto shut-off feature to ensure you can cook delicious food at the desired speed.
Smart Weigh is designed to be a super handy kitchen scale. With the high precision sensor, it lets you weigh accurately. You can use the unit button to comfortably switch between oz, lbs, g, ml, fl’oz, etc.
The backlit LCD screen lets you easily read the weight. You will be able to reset current weight, and there is also an auto-off function. Additionally, Smart Weigh comes with two-year manufacturer warranty.
NINESTARS is a new age trashcan, which doesn’t let odor spread, and completely eradicates cross-contamination of germs. It has a garbage bag ring that keeps the bag hidden.
The battery comes with energy saving technology that boosts battery life by 20%. Made of high-quality stainless steel, the trashcan is very durable. Polished design with fingerprint resistance enhances its appearance. Non-skid base ensures it remains stable. Moreover, NINESTARS comes with one-year warranty.
Willing to master your cooking skill? Hestan Smart Cooking can be a fantastic coach for you! The set features a smart induction burner and tri-ply stainless-steel fry pan. The 1600-watt power-efficient burner uses powerful induction coils to offer immaculate temperature control ranging from 110-475 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can also use the touch control and ten power levels to handle it manually. The fry pan is constructed of high-grade aluminum alloy core and embedded temperature sensors which transmit data to the smart capsule located inside the handle. Using the integrated Bluetooth technology, the capsule communicates with Cue app and burner to provide a more systematic cooking experience.
Watch hundreds of video-guided recipes using the app to learn how to cook delicious food. Take the full advantage of the personalized cooking features to make tasty food.
USP: 1600-watt power-efficient burner Price: $ 499.99 [$ 429.40 on Amazon.com] Buy it from Amazon
Pure water is a must-have gadget for the healthy body. The hydrogen-rich water boosts the water absorption up to 80%. It also plays a big role in cleaning blood that eventually makes your look glow.
SmartShow comes with gyromagnetic turbine filtering technology and an imported separate filter cartridge that eliminate rust, incrustation, heavy metals, bacteria, and antibiotics. The smart filter also removes the unpleasant smell contained in in the running water to ensure you have clean and fresh water to drink. Integrated design of the jug helps you comfortably handle the bottle and pour out water.
USP: Gyromagnetic turbine filtering technology Price: $ 259 on Amazon.com Buy it from Amazon
#6. Gourmia GAP9820 Thermos
Don’t let your hot coffee or iced tea lose the real taste anymore! Gourmia GAP9820 is a very useful thermos beverage extremely hot or ice cold. The ultra large urn makes it easier to fill and serve coffee. Ergonomic push top spout lets you conveniently pour with a simple press.
The impressive easy-to-clean exterior and heavy-duty black plastic accents give it a modern look. Glass lined interior reinforces its structure. There is also a safety locking lid designed to prevent spills. Portable design makes the container for the restaurant, home, and office.
Keep the wine stay fresh until you have guzzled the last peg! Repour is an advance wine preserver that features an FDA approved oxygen-absorbing material to eradicate the oxygen both from the wine and the air in the bottle above the wine.
Each disposable stopper is capable of saving a full bottle of wine for weeks and months. But the biggest highlight of this wine saver is that you can manage it with utmost ease. Besides, Repour wine saver comes in three variants: 4 pack ($ 8.99), ten pack ($ 16.99), 72 pack ($ 71.99)
Unable to keep yourself at pace with cooking or wish to expedite your speed? Pick out Vremi, a digital timer, and clock with loud alarm. It features a large LCD screen display that shows large sized digits for hours, minutes and seconds.
You can use it as a regular clock, countdown and stopwatch timer to keep you in sync with not just your cooking but also workout. The warning beep sound in high volume lasts 60 seconds forces you to get into action.
Magnetic back allows you to attach the kitchen timer with metal surfaces like a refrigerator door and foldable stand. The integrated AAA battery offers long battery life. Furthermore, you can choose Vremi in three colors: black, blue and red.
This one is for the ones who love ice cream! With Gourmia, you can make not just super flavorsome ice cream, sorbet and even frozen yogurt in less than half an hour. The 15-quart bowl churns and freezes at a rapid rate to save plenty of your time.
Moreover, you will be able to make them at a much less price. You can keep a tab on how long your ice cream is churning using the digital timer and LCD that assist you in getting the desired result. The simple pour spout lets you add sprinkles, chocolate chips, nuts and sprinkles with ease.
#10. Hamilton Beach 25490A Dual Breakfast Sandwich Maker
Who doesn’t relish biting sandwich? With Hamilton Beach, you can make a tasty sandwich in just five minutes. It lets you make two double-deckers at once. Use a variety of fresh ingredients like eggs and cheese to cook mouth-watering food. Don’t forget to set a countdown timer if you wish to surpass even a pro chef. Additionally, you can comfortably remove all of its parts to clean it.
A recent Adobe survey of U.S. consumers revealed people spend on average 7.8 hours per day engaging with digital content — a figure that jumps to 11.1 hours per day among teenagers.
According to a provided statement from Adobe, brands must produce, execute and iterate on compelling content at ever-increasing velocity to engage with consumers, which is not an easy feat. To solve for these challenges, Adobe today unveiled tighter integrations and seamless workflows between creatives, marketers and data analysts in Adobe Experience Manager, part of Adobe Marketing Cloud in Adobe Experience Cloud.
These advances better enable brands to reach consumers across the full range of devices and channels. Adobe Sensei, the company’s AI and machine learning framework, further automates the delivery of personalized content, empowering marketers to work smarter and faster. New ways to pull creative content instantaneously from Adobe Creative Cloud into Marketing Cloud let brands integrate content and data more closely and deliver a seamlessly integrated experience.
“Content will always play an integral role in building brand loyalty, with personalization, authenticity and design reigning supreme,” said Aseem Chandra, senior vice president, Digital Experience Strategic Marketing at Adobe. “The new content capabilities we are announcing today empower brands to deliver digital experiences that delight consumers and uniquely integrate content and data.”
To learn more about about Experience Manager’s new intelligent content capabilities, click here.
As a global leader in all things autonomous, it’s no surprise that Japan is looking to robotics to revolutionise social care. But in such a sensitive sector, the barriers to mass adoption may be psychological rather than technological.
The number of people in Japan aged 65 or older is expected to reach more than seven million by 2025. By that same point in time, the country predicts a shortfall of 370,000 caregivers. So in pure mathematical terms, a workforce of robots ready to fill the void has obvious potential.
However, the greatest challenge is likely to be encouraging communities to embrace the technology.
Robots have the potential to ease the burden on overstretched social care staff by restoring elderly citizens’ autonomy, believes Dr Hirohisa Hirukawa, director of robot innovation research at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.
“Robotics cannot solve all of these issues; however, robotics will be able to make a contribution to some of these difficulties,” he said.
But there is still much to be done, as outlined in Japan’s overarching Robot Strategy. The report proposes that four out of every five care recipients will have some form of robotic support by 2020.
Currently, robots designed to help lift people in care facilities have been deployed in just eight per cent of the country’s nursing homes, for example.
Hirukawa sees plenty of room for improvement, both in terms of reducing the cost of the technology and fostering an atmosphere of acceptance towards it.
“The mindset of the people on the frontline of caregiving is that it must be human beings who provide this kind of care,” he said. “And on the side of those who receive care, of course initially there will be psychological resistance.”
Among the priorities for Japan’s social care robot development are lifting aids, mobility aids, wearable devices, and bots to support bathing and getting dressed.
Situational robots are preferred to all-around helpers. For example, one robotic mobility aid demonstrated by Hirukawa has built-in sensors that read the lie of the land. In this way, an elderly user could be assisted when on a steep incline, for example, while an automatic brake could help to reduce falls when going downhill.
In related medical news, San Fransisco startup Openwater has unveiled a wearable device capable of scanning the brain with a resolution a billion times higher than traditional MRI machines.
The device has been designed to fit inside a simple hat and relies on optoelectronics to build a picture of the brain.
Openwater’s stated ambition is for the device to track the flow of oxygenated blood to different parts of the brain and, eventually, to read thoughts in real time.
Internet of Business says
As Malek Murison explains, some of the barriers to robotic social care are cultural and psychological. But there are global implications too. Japan is just one of a number of countries that are exploring robotics, AI, and assistive technologies to help support an ageing population. In the UK, for example, the 65+ population will increase from 12 million today to 17 million by 2035. At the same time, investment in social care is falling in real terms by one-third. But robots must also overcome some serious technological challenges to work in health and social care. Among these are scene awareness, social intelligence, communication, data security, safe autonomy, safe failure, cleanliness, and validation by medical authorities. Last year, UK-RAS, the UK’s umbrella organisation for robotics and autonomous systems research, published an excellent white paper on the subject, which you can find here.
Having finally gained a solid footing in diverse industries and evolving markets in recent years, augmented reality has, indeed, arrived. And AR is now poised to do for healthcare what it’s doing for gaming, education, and entertainment.
“Looking to the near and distant future of medical technology, augmented reality (AR) will be central to innovation,” reads a 2017 report in HIT Consultant. “The medical field will be enhanced dramatically via the rise of augmented reality products emerging in the market. In just a few years, the entire healthcare experience will look entirely different from the medical environment today.”
Playing a pivotal role in AR’s rapid ascension within the healthcare space is stayhealthy, Inc., a lifestyle engagement technology company that develops innovative health measurement solutions.
A creator of web-enabled healthcare monitoring products, stayhealthy was founded in 1995 with the stated goal of making medical-grade health monitoring devices affordable and accessible to average people in their own homes, allowing them to proactively take control of their health.
The act of encouraging individuals to “take control,” however, isn’t limited to suggesting a range of physical activities or behaviors. A cornerstone of stayhealthy is their motto: “You are not fat, you have fat.” By changing the psychology that fat is something you have rather than something that you are, stayhealthy is striving to significantly empower people to take control of their life and their health with consistent action, solutions and tools.
In 2018, augmented reality will factor into the tools offered by stayhealthy in their endeavors. MMW can now confirm that stayhealthy is working with Augmently, Inc. to incorporate patented Augmented Realism (AR) to the stayhealthy learning experience, securing stayhealthy as the best in class, next generation product.
stayhealthy’s objective to transform healthcare from a spectator sport to something with which consumers can actively engage, will be aided greatly by the deployment of augmented reality throughout their suite of apps.
By presenting information and actionable advice in a fun, engaging, and gamified ways, people can begin to better understand not only where they are with their health today, but also what they can do to improve their wellbeing and longevity.
“Augmented reality enables a person to see and relate to their personal condition,” says John Collins, President and CEO of stayhealthy Inc. “Instead of a flat number, people will see the impact health has on their physical body, causing an emotional connection and awareness for the user, further keeping them actively engaged toward physical well being. When looking for the right partner, we knew we needed to find an agency that has the same high standards as we do at stayhealthy, Augmently Inc. is just that agency.”
A new survey from Zebra Technologies finds UK patients are comfortable with the use of wearables and mobile to monitor conditions and deliver care and that hospitals are ready to deploy them.
More than nine out of ten patients (95 percent) are willing to share health metrics collected from wearable devices with clinicians, according to a new survey and report from Zebra Technologies, Future of Healthcare: 2022 Hospital Vision Study.
The survey, which canvassed the views of nurse managers, IT decision-makers in healthcare and recently hospitalised patients, found that eight out ten patients also feel positive about mobile tools being used to improve their care.
That’s lucky, since the study also estimates that mobile devices will be not only by almost all nurses (97 percent) and physicians (98 percent) by 2022, but also by other care-team members: pharmacists, radiologists, lab technicians and patient transport staff.
The report finds rising adoption of clinical mobile solutions across all disciplines by 2022, in fact. This growth includes areas where mobility is already widely used (bedside nurses rising from 65 to 95 percent), as well as a major increase across other areas such as pharmacist and pharmacy technicians (from 42 to 96 percent), lab technicians (from 52 to 96 percent), and intensive care nurses (from 38 to 93 percent).
It claims a reduction in preventable errors as key benefit, with surveyed nursing managers and IT decision-makers saying that they expect clinical mobility to reduce errors in areas including medication administration (61 percent) and specimen collection labelling (52 percent).
The study found that by 2022, 91 percent of nurses are expected to access electronic health records (EHRs), medical and drug databases (92 percent) and lab diagnostic results (88 percent) using a mobile device, reducing time spent away from patients.
Almost seven out of ten of surveyed nurse managers also credit clinical mobility with improving staff communication and collaboration, as well as the quality of patient care. And almost two-thirds of IT decision-makers (64 percent) identify nurse-to-physician communications as a top area for improvement.
The report says that clinical mobility will be augmented with real-time location information to streamline workflows: Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) will be used to locate everything from equipment, supplies and pharmaceuticals to patients and staff. This visibility will allow administrators to increase bed availability, staff workflow and safety.
By 2022, 98 percent of surveyed IT decision-makers expect hospitals to use technology for predictive analytics and early notification of life-threatening conditions, such as sepsis and hospital-acquired infection, with alerts sent to clinicians’ mobile devices.
“Clinical mobility is a highly transformative, powerful trend which is having a significant impact on improving the quality of patient care around the world. The sheer number of nurses and IT managers that replied to our survey to say how much mobility has improved their work speaks to a clear trend of better mobile solutions adoption in healthcare,” said Chris Sullivan, global healthcare practice lead at Zebra Technologies.
“The fact that patients themselves are encouraged and enthusiastic about mobility shows it has a growing association with receiving the best standard of treatment.”
Over the past few years, CRISPR has been making headlines. Experts predict that this gene editing technology will transform our planet, revolutionizing the societies we live in and the organisms we live alongside. Compared to other tools used for genetic engineering, CRISPR (also known by its more technical name, CRISPR-Cas9) is precise, cheap, easy to use, and remarkably powerful.
Discovered in the early 1990s, and first used in biochemical experiments seven years later, CRISPR has rapidly become the most popular gene editing tool among researchers in fields such as human biology, agriculture, and microbiology.
Scientists are still in the earliest stages of figuring out how we can use CRISPR to change the world for the better. Of course, the power to alter DNA — the source code of life itself — brings with it many ethical questions and concerns. With this in mind, here are some of the most exciting uses for this revolutionary technique, and the hurdles that might slow or prevent these technologies from reaching their full potential.
1. CRISPR Could Correct The Genetic Errors That Cause Disease
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a heart condition that affects roughly 1 in every 500 people worldwide. Its symptoms are painful and often deadly. Mutations in a number of dominant genes cause the heart tissues to stiffen, which can lead to chest pain, weakness, and, in severe cases, sudden cardiac arrest. Thanks to recent medical advances, the average life expectancy of someone with HCM is close to that of the general population, but the condition can lead to life-threatening situations if left untreated.
But someday, we may be able to use gene editing to cure this disease once and for all.
In summer 2017, scientists at the Oregon Health and Science University used CRISPR to delete one of these defective genes ina number of viablehuman embryos. The results were promising: Of the 54 embryos that were injected with the CRISPR-Cas9 machinery 18 hours after fertilization, 36 did not show any mutations in the gene (practically no chance of developing the disease) and 13 were partially free of mutations (with a 50 percent chance of inheriting HCM).
Off-target genetic mutations and mosaics (only some cells adopt the changes, meaning that a fraction of people would inherit the mutation) were only present in 13 of the 54 embryos.
To further reduce the chance that only some cells would be changed, the researchers carried out another experiment in which they corrected the same gene in embryos directly at the time of fertilization. They found that only one was a mosaic — an impressive result, making the study substantially more efficient than similar studies (a 2015 clinical trial in China was not able to eliminate the possibility of mosaics).
“By using this technique, it’s possible to reduce the burden of this heritable disease on the family and eventually the human population,” Shoukhrat Mitalipov, lead author of the study and a researcher at the Oregon Health and Science University, said in a press release. Catching the mutation at in the earliest stages of embryonic development would either reduce or eliminate the need for treatment later in a patient’s life.
While some stem-cell scientists questioned if these dozens of mutations were actually fixed, the research helped scientists better understand CRISPR’s efficacy. Moreover, one of the co-authors of the HCM study has already expressed interest in applying the same technique to specific gene mutations (BRCA1 and 2) that increase the risk of breast cancer.
That said, scientists know that changing the genetic code in human embryos could have unintended consequences. What if CRISPR makes changes in the wrong place and unintentionally alters or removes healthy genes? How could that affect the patient?
In some parts of the world, such as China, scientists are free to experiment on human embryos largely unfettered. But this is not the case in the United States, Canada, or the United Kingdom.
In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently does not consider using public funding for studies that alter genes that can be inherited (the embryos in the Oregon researchers’ study were not destined for implantation and the study was funded privately). In Canada, editing genes that can be passed down to future generations is a criminal offense with a maximum penalty of ten years in jail. Meanwhile, in the U.K., the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority gave a team of scientists in London the license to edit genes in human embryos in 2016. Scientists in the U.K. are hoping this will establish a precedent, and keep the door open for future applications.
2. CRISPR Can Eliminate the Microbes That Cause Disease
Though treatments for HIV have turned the infection from a virulent killer to a livable health condition, scientists still haven’t found a cure. That could change with CRISPR. In 2017, a team of Chinese researchers successfully increased resistance to HIV in mice by replicating a mutation of a gene that effectively prevents the virus from entering cells. For now, scientists are only conducting these experiments in animals, but there’s reason to think the same methods could work in humans. The mutation that encourages HIV resistance naturally occurs in a small percentage of people. By using CRISPR to introduce the mutation to human stem cells that lack it, researchers could substantially bolster HIV resistance in humans in the future.
Another gene-editing trial in China is due to begin in July 2018 and will attempt to use CRISPR to disrupt the genes of the human papillomavirus (HPV) — a virus that has been shown to cause cervical cancer tumor growth — effectively destroying it.
In a slightly different approach, scientists in North Carolina used CRISPR to engineer bacteriophages, a type of virus that infects and duplicates itself inside a bacterium, to kill harmful bacteria. Since the 1920s, phages have been used in clinical trials to treat bacterial infections. But harvesting them from nature proved difficult, a lack of understanding at the time made results unpredictable, and the growing antibiotics market made their use unpopular.
Even today, some researchers fear that flooding the body with a large volume of phages may trigger immune reactions or cause antibiotic-resistant bacteria to also become resistant to phages that would otherwise eliminate them.
In February 2017, Harvard geneticist George Church made a surprising announcement before the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He claimed his team was just two years away from developing an embryo for an elephant-mammoth hybrid.
Church hopes that bringing back the woolly mammoth could keep global warming in check. “[Mammoths] keep the tundra from thawing by punching through snow and allowing cold air to come in,” Church told the New Scientist.
Church and his team are hoping to use CRISPR to combine genetic material from the Asian elephant (an endangered species that could potentially be saved) and the woolly mammoth. Samples of the latter were harvested from DNA recovered from frozen hairballs found in Siberia. By adding the mammoth’s genome to that of the Asian elephant, the resulting organism would have characteristics common to the woolly mammoth, such as long fur, which would serve as insulation in cold climates. The end goal is to implant this hybrid embryo into an elephant and bring it to full term, according to the New Scientist.
The work is promising, but many experts think that Church’s timeline is a bit too optimistic. Even if researchers had a functional hybrid embryo, growing it inside an artificial womb as Church suggests will be yet another hurdle to overcome. Granted, Church’s lab is already capable of growing a mouse embryo inside an artificial womb for half of its gestation period, about 10 days. But that doesn’t guarantee that we’ll witness the birth of a woolly mammoth hybrid in the next couple of years.
4. CRISPR Could Create New, Healthier Foods
CRISPR gene editing has proven to be promising in the field of agricultural research. Scientists from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York used the tool to increase the yield of tomato plants. The lab developed a method to edit the genes that determine tomato size, branching architecture and, ultimately, shape of the plant for a greater harvest.
“Each trait can now be controlled in the way a dimmer switch controls a light bulb,” said lead researcher and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory professor Zachary Lippman in a press release. “We can now work with the native DNA and enhance what nature has provided, which we believe can help break yield barriers.”
High-yield crops to feed a hungry world are just the beginning — scientists hope CRISPR could also help shed the stigma surrounding genetically modified organisms (GMOs). In 2016, agriculture technology company DuPont Pioneer announced a new variety of CRISPR-edited corn that, because of how researchers altered its genes, is technically not a GMO.
The distinction between GMOs and gene-edited crops is fairly simple. Traditional GMOs are made by inserting foreign DNA sequences into a crop’s genome, transmitting traits or properties to future organisms. Gene editing is more precise than that: it makes precise alterations to genes in specific locations of the native genome, often knocking out certain genes or changing their location, all without introducing foreign DNA.
While GMOs have been contentious among consumers, companies like DuPont Pioneer are hoping that gene-edited foods will be better received. In the decades that GMOs have been available in the American market, scientists have detected no health risks, though even the biggest proponents of GMOs admit that scientists still don’t know all of the long-term risks. The same goes for crops edited by CRISPR. Of course, scientists will continue to test and evaluate these crops to ensure there are no unexpected side effects, but this early work is remarkably promising. Eventually, CRISPR-edited crops will likely flood global markets.
5. CRISPR Could Eradicate The Planet’s Most Dangerous Pest
Gene-editing techniques like CRISPR could directly combat infectious diseases, but some researchers have decided to slow the spread of disease by eliminating its means of transmission. Scientists at the University of California, Riverside developed a kind of mosquito that is uniquely susceptible to changes made with CRISPR, giving scientists unprecedented control over the traits that the organism passes to its offspring. The result: yellow, three-eyed, wingless mosquitoes, created by altering genes responsible for eye, wing, and cuticle development.
By disrupting target genes in multiple locations of the mosquito’s genes, the team is testing a “gene drive” system to spread these inhibiting properties. Gene drives are a way to essentially ensure that a genetic trait will be inherited. By impairing the mosquito’s flight and vision, the Riverside team is hoping to greatly reduce its ability to spread dangerous infectious diseases among humans, such as dengue and yellow fever.
Other researchers are getting rid of mosquito populations by interfering with how they reproduce. At the Imperial College London in 2016, a team of researchers used CRISPR to target female reproduction of the type of mosquito that carries malaria through a gene drive system that influenced female-sterility traits into being more likely to be inherited.
But interfering with mosquito populations could have unforeseen consequences. Eliminating a species, even one that doesn’t appear to have much ecological value, could upset the careful balance of ecosystems. That could have disastrous consequences, such as disrupting the food web or increasing the risk that diseases like malaria could be spread by different species entirely.
Current scientific advancements show that CRISPR is not only an extremely versatile technology, it’s proving to be precise and increasingly safe to use. But a lot of progress still has to be made; we are only beginning to see the full potential of genome-editing tools like CRISPR-Cas9.
Technological and ethical hurdles still stand between us and a future in which we feed the planet with engineered food, eliminate genetic disorders, or bring extinct animal species back to life. But we are well on our way.