Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Science and Technology Meet Design to Monitor High RIsk Pregnancies

I'm always interested in new and ingenious ways to improve health for everyone, but especially pregnant moms and children. So, I was particularly excited to hear about research on wearable sensors that give physicians a heads up on early labor and baby movement.

Supported by the National Science Foundation, electrical/computer engineer Kapil Dandekar, industrial/fashion designer Genevieve Dion, and OB-GYN physician, Owen Montgomery have added radio frequency identification (RFID) technology into their “belly bands” for women with high-risk pregnancies. The wearable sensor constantly tracks movements and signals the physician via the Internet if a patient begins early contractions. A petite sensor band is in the works for babies at risk for sleep apnea.

Combining engineering, medicine and fashion design, this trifecta of human-centered technology offers simple-to-use, yet critical tools for better healthcare. Go science!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Curiosity and The First Day of School

Most of the time, people are resistant to change. We like the comfortable, "I have this down" feeling that comes with time and repeated experiences. 

I was thinking about this aversion to change while sitting in the slowed traffic that comes with the start back to school. I drive past 2 schools on my way to work, so I get to see eager students in their new clothes saying good-bye to caring, committed, and/or harried parents trying to get to work on time.

Well, okay maybe the older students are not so eager. Maybe not some at the middle school either. But mostly, the young ones are excited to see friends who they may not have seen over the summer months. 

Why aren't they all equally excited?

I believe young children are still mostly information sponges. They ask why a million times a day (or so it seems). Change is their watchword, their motto, their way of life. It isn't until much later when they have had a few failures or someone older has explained an idea is impossible that curiosity dims and change becomes something to be avoided. 

So the next time you talk with friends, parents, and colleagues, think about that. Curiosity is important and one we need to nurture and celebrate not just on the first day of school, but every day. Curiosity and asking why are the foundation of the scientific method. Go Science!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Microbiomes Explained Simply

As many of you know, my science training centered around biology and more specifically, microbiology. Microorganisms fascinated me the first time I looked in a microscope and my interest continues today in the form of microbiome research and the even smaller natural realms of nanoscience and nanotechnology. 

So you can imagine my excitement to find a new video,  The Hidden World of Microbiomes, by scientist, founder of PhD Comics, and illustrator, Jorge Cham, Ph.D. If you have never seen Jorge's science cartoons and videos, you are in for a science treat. They are simple to understand, brief, and fun!

I'll be revisiting my favorite videos/animations about science and exploration during these hot summer days on the YouTube PhD TV channel. Stay cool and Go Science!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Asteroid Day


I was out-of-town for the celebration, but just to catch up, June 30th was designated as Asteroid Day. It was created in 2015 to "bring together scientists, artists and concerned citizens to raise awareness of the hazards of asteroid impacts and build support for solutions that might avert disaster from the skies."

Museums and science centers around the globe host a ton of events and use the associated publicity to highlight STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and art events concerning the Earth and environment.

The June date aligns with the 40 meter wide asteroid that hit Tunguska, Siberia in 1908 and leveled 2,000 km of forest. The energy released has been estimated at 185 times that of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima. Not trivial, but by comparison Krakatoa's 1883 eruptions (4 over four hours) were so loud, they could be heard 3,000 miles away in Perth, Australia. The final blast was 10,000 times more powerful than the one unleashed by the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima. 

So, fingers crossed, only asteroids of the smaller, gentler kind will feel the gravitational tug to visit Earth anytime soon. In the meantime, we will keep working on ways to dissuade them and their larger cousins. Go science!