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Predicting your brain age from your sleep

A number of mental health diseases (e.g. Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, epilepsy, bipolar disorder, major depression) are associated with a brain age that is older than the person’s chronological age. A simple way to determine brain age could potentially serve as a marker for such impairments, but today brain age is measured using expensive MRI processes. Researchers in the US have shown that by measuring the patient’s EEG during sleep they can predict their brain age. With an ageing population, cheap predictors of potential impairments become more important. Measuring EEG’s is potentially something that could be done at home with relatively low-cost equipment. https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1805/1805.06391.pdf

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A wearable device that can read your mind

MIT researchers have created a wearable device called AlterEgo that can recognize nonverbal prompts, essentially “reading your mind.” We can’t live without our digital devices. But at the moment, the use of those devices is very disruptive. MIT is experimented with new technologies to develop something that would allow us to benefit from the information offered by these devices, but in a way that allows us to “remain in the present.” https://www.dezeen.com/2018/04/09/mit-media-lab-alterego-device-technology/

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Concrete that bends

Concrete is a brittle material. Placed under stress, it cannot bend very far before it fractures. Some pavements and roads that are being poured now will crack within a few years and require expensive repairs. It is now possible to make concrete bendable without fracturing. Bendable concrete makes infrastructure safer, extends its life and reduces maintenance costs. It’s called engineered cementitious composite (ECC). http://www.inkl.com/newsletters/morning-edition/news/bendable-concrete-with-a-design-inspired-by-seashells-can-make-us-infrastructure-safer-and-more-durable?

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Restaurants become retailers

Pondicheri, an Indian restaurant in Houston, with a branch in New York, is an example of a restaurant becoming retail. When it opened seven years ago, it sold only two products. Now it offers more than 70 products, from spices — the best-seller — to prepared food kits, pickles, chutneys, frozen sauces and stocks, and oils. The owners recognise that younger customers want to cook and retail now makes up about 9 per cent of their sales. The trend follows the continued expansion of Eataly, which has successfully meshed the retail-restaurant experience. www.pondicheri.com/

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World first- lung cancer surgery blasts tumour without puncturing skin

Surgeons at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London used GPS-style technology to reach a tumour on a lung, without using cuts or needles, or needing to puncture the lung. After inserting a catheter through the patient’s mouth, the surgeons were able to use 3D images to guide them to the tumour and blast it with a targeted dose of microwave energy. Footage shows the tumour exploding, not unlike the target of a missile strike, or an enemy in a computer game. https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/the-times/lung-cancer-surgery-blasts-tumour-without-puncturing-skin/news-story/5d9ffdc13d8bcd365ac1ceb81ca1ca05

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A simple way to get customer feedback

This terminal has four plastic buttons adorned with faces ranging from a smiling dark green to an angry bright red. HappyOrNot is distributed in Australia and New Zealand by Push My Button, its sole reseller in the two countries. You may have noticed the terminals at overseas airports, in your doctor’s surgery or when shopping. Very interestingly this idea comes from Finland which is ranked #1 on the World Happiness Report published by the UN this month! towww.happy-or-not.com/en/

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Wine labels that come alive with AR!

When you have downloaded the “Living Wine Labels” app you can view The Walking Dead wine label through your smartphone to watch it come to life with augmented reality. The Blood Red Blend label has an image of Sheriff Rick Grimes staring down the undead. When the app is launched and pointed at the label, you see Sheriff Rick fight off the ‘walkers’. The Cabernet Sauvignon label features a horde of zombies, and they break out of the label onto your phone screen. When you point the app at both labels through the app, when the bottles are side by side, the characters fight each other. Designed for clever dinner party entertainment! www.skybound.com/the-walking-dead/news-events/news-eventsnew-walking-dead-wines-will-feature-ar-labels/

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High heels becoming unfashionable

Women are trading in their high-heeled stiletto shoes for sneakers and ballet flats. Workplaces are becoming more casual, and it’s increasingly acceptable to wear sneakers to dinner. More people are working from home, and those who do go into the office are often walking to work. Fitness trackers like the Fitbit have also made people more aware of how much they are — or should be — moving. For people counting their steps, it makes sense to wear comfortable footwear and clothing. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2018/03/07/high-heels-are-the-worst-and-women-are-finally-ditching-them/?

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A plastic-free supermarket aisle

Supermarket chain Ekoplaza has piloted a “world first” plastic-free supermarket aisle in Amsterdam, prompting calls from campaigners for retailers to roll them out in more places. Goods within the aisle will carry the Plastic Free Mark, a label introduced by A Plastic Planet to help shoppers easily identify products that are completely free of plastic packaging. Plastic-free aisles are seen as an innovative way of testing the compostable biomaterials that offer a more environmentally friendly alternative to plastic packaging. www.inkl.com/glance/news/netherlands-opens-world-s-first-plastic-free-supermarket-aisle-as-uk-urged-to-follow-example?

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Free public transport to reduce road traffic

Germany has surprised neighbours with a radical proposal to reduce road traffic by making public transport free. The proposal will be tested by the end of this year in five cities across western Germany, including former capital Bonn and industrial cities Essen and Mannheim. Countries that fail to keep to EU limits could face legal action at the European Court of Justice, the EU’s highest tribunal, which can levy fines on member states. www.inkl.com/newsletters/morning-edition/news/germany-eyes-free-public-transport-to-banish-air-pollution?

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