Category Archives: Innovation

So other than that, lockdowns were an overwhelming success, right?

In 1915, chemistry lost its innocence when mustard gas poisoned British troops in Ypres, Belgium. Physics lost its innocence in 1945 amongst the radioactive rubble of Hiroshima, Japan. Public health lost its innocence in March 2020 when the world adopted lockdowns as a primary tool to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

The idea of lockdown was simple and beguiling – if we reduced all human contact to an absolute minimum, the virus would not spread, and our hospitals would not be overwhelmed.

However, the reality proved to be much more complicated and, indeed, much more harmful as governments sought to show how much they care about the mortality risks from COVID-19 at the expense of so many others.

What, in truth, does it take to minimize human contact? We found out this past year that it requires:

  • forcing the poor to migrate, by foot, to their home villages hundreds of miles away
  • quarantining healthy people, using digital tracking and physical force.
  • ….

In other words, it takes the wholehearted embrace of panic as a public health strategy.

Source: Editor’s Note – Collateral Global

Thus other than all the ways it failed, it was a great success.

New battery chemistry said to provide 10x faster charging than Li-Ion batteries

Researchers in Russia have developed a new type of battery technology that they say can charge approximately 10 times faster than existing lithium-ion batteries – a speed-up that could offer huge time-saving advantages if it got rolled out in everyday devices.”

A battery manufactured using our polymer will charge in seconds – about 10 times faster than a traditional lithium-ion battery,” says electrochemistry researcher Oleg Levin from St Petersburg University. “This has already been demonstrated through a series of experiments.”

The key to the new batteries is a kind of nitroxyl-based redox polymer, a material that can undergo reversible oxidation (loss of electrons) and reduction (gain of electrons) when it discharges and charges.

Source: New Type of Battery Can Charge 10x Faster Than Lithium-Ion Models

Innovation shifts to western states in the U.S.

What are the most innovative U.S. states?

Source: Geographic Patterns of Innovation Across U.S. States: 1980-2010 | St. Louis Fed

Between the 1980s and the 2000s, based on patents filed/1000 population, innovations has strongly increased in the western US, but we also see strong growth in the Intermountain region (ID, UT, CO), plus Texas, MN, MI and New England.

One big changes, besides the growth in computing and semiconductors, is that software patents were not allowed in the 1980s. That new category opened opportunities for many more patent filings.

How 21st Century News Ought to be

For the most part, how the news is reported to the consumer has changed little in decades, perhaps a century.

When the Internet became available, television stations began to offer print (and video) stories via web sites. Newspapers began to offer web sites – and occasionally offered video.

But few took advantage of the underlying technologies to develop interactive news and analysis tools.

There have been some gradual tip toe steps towards providing these kinds of tools. During elections, results are often presented in interactive, clickable maps or charts.

A very few news sites have offer a bit of Covid-19 data in interactive form. When the news is based on data – or time – there is so much that could be done to deliver a richer, more informative interactive news experience.

An interactive time line would enable the news consumer to scroll through past timeline events – or just linked news stories – by time. This would help us see how the issue has changed, over time, or how the reporting has changed, over time.

Several web sites provide interactive tools to explore Covid-19 related data. Occasionally, an online news web site here and there will offer similar functionality.

It is now 2021 and the news media is still stuck in the past and not thinking “outside of the box” to deliver enhanced value made possible by technology.

They remain stuck with click bait, fear inducing headlines. This is not the path forward for journalism success. It is long past time to embrace available technologies. They have demonstrated they can do it – but mostly for special features. It’s time to make these tools a standard part of reporting.

(Oh, and could you cite references? The story that says “a new study says” but never gives the title of the study, the publication, or a link, is DOA for me.)

Samsung demonstrates 3D holographic display

Samsung scientists have created an interactive slim-panel holographic display that increases the viewing angle for 3D videos by 30 times.

Source: Thin display increases the viewing angle for 3D videos by 30 times | Daily Mail Online

Note – stereoscopic 3D – used by existing 3D TVs and movies – is not the same as 3D holography. A hologram creates images by recording the interference pattern of light across, traditionally, a film.  Viewing a hologram is somewhat like looking at a 3D world through a window. As you physically move yourself to the left or right, the scene appears as if it were a real scene on the other side of the window – this means you can look slightly to the left and right of the object too.

A stereoscopic 3D image, on the other hand, presents two images – one to your left eye and one to your right eye. You cannot move your head around and see anything other than what was recorded in the two images.

The news article is not entirely clear but my interpretation is that Samsung has developed a digital equivalent of a holographic film that  presents images via the interference pattern waveform of a hologram.

This would be a significant advance because holograms do not required 3D glasses for viewing.

IOT, Covid: Smart Watch fitness trackers may help predict Covid-19 infections and outbreaks

Combines self reported data and information such as heart rate, from fitness trackers and smart phones to identify potential Covid-19 infections:
Source: Early results from DETECT study suggest fitness trackers and smartwatches can predict COVID-19 infection | Scripps Research

The smart phone app may be downloaded here. The app works with any smart watch phone app that uses Google Fit or Apple Health interfaces. The study has been underway since spring of 2020 and is expected to run for two years. Not only would this app track potential illness (similar to the Kinsa thermometer) but might also be used to eventually measure effectiveness of vaccines.