Tags Posts tagged with "tech trends"

tech trends

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Uber Technology Drives Into Portland

Uber technology and the company’s automobiles are making their way to Portland, OR. The company doesn’t have the best history with the city, but that won’t stop Portland from becoming the first U.S. market where Uber will push a set benchmarks for electrifying its fleet.

For the Portland version of Uber Electric, a program that the company rolled out to London last year, the ride-hailing company will team up with Drive Oregon, a partially state-funded nonprofit that seeks to get more electric vehicles on the road. With a combination of incentives and educational initiatives, Uber aims to make 10 percent of its Oregon fleet electric by 2019, statewide. Right now, the company says that 100 of the 6,000 active Portland Uber drivers use electric vehicles, so it has a lot of work to do.

To reach its 10 percent goal, Uber is pursuing a range of local collaborations. The company will work with Portland’s Black Parent Initiative to expand electric vehicle access to underserved communities, Cynergy E-Bikes to connect UberEATS couriers with electric bikes, and Arcimoto, an Oregon-based EV company. Uber is expected to use its auto-lease subsidiary Xchange Leasing to offer in-house deals to drivers wishing to get behind the wheel of an EV.

Uber stated about its mission in the city, “The City of Portland has also adopted some of the nation’s most aggressive measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Uber Electric will help Portland and the state of Oregon achieve these important clean energy goals.” Uber isn’t the only alternative transportation company going electric in Portland. Late last year, the city became the second market for BMW’s ReachNow, a Zipcar-like service with a focus on electric vehicles, and a previous initiative by Car2Go sprinkled electric smart cars onto its rainy streets all the way back in 2012.

In a world where a quarter of cars could drive themselves by 2030, Uber’s decision to take two years to recruit a few hundred EV drivers is more incremental than revolutionary. Still, it shows that the company is implementing both long and short-term strategies for rethinking transportation, even in the midst of one of the worst PR crises the tech industry has ever known.

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technology heart

New Technology Grows Organs From Salad?

Technology / New research has found that spinach leaves can be used as a scaffold for beating human heart cells. Researchers grew beating human heart cells on spinach leaves by perfusing them with a detergent solution, which stripped them of their plant cells. This proof-of-concept study suggests that multiple spinach leaves could be used to grow layers of healthy heart muscle that could one day be used to treat heart attack patients, the researchers believe.

technology heart

Glenn Gaudette, the study’s senior researcher and a professor of biomedical engineering technology at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Massachusetts stated, “We have a lot more work to do, but so far this is very promising. Adapting abundant plants that farmers have been cultivating for thousands of years for use in tissue engineering could solve a host of problems limiting the field.”

The researchers also said they believe they could deliver blood and oxygen to developing tissues by pouring fluids through the spinach leaves’ veins. Joshua Gershlak, a graduate student of biomedical engineering at WPI and the study’s lead researcher stated, “When I looked at the spinach leaf, its stem reminded me of an aorta; so I thought, let’s perfuse [the fluids] right through the stem.”

The scientists said spinach leaves make a good scaffold because once the plant cells are washed away, a cellulose structure remains. The researchers wrote in the study, “Cellulose is biocompatible [and] has been used in a wide variety of regenerative medicine applications, such as cartilage tissue engineering, bone tissue engineering and wound healing.”

In addition to spinach leaves, the researchers also removed plant cells from parsley, Artemesia annua (sweet wormwood), and peanut hairy roots. The researchers said scaffolds from these plants, and perhaps others, could be helpful for other types of specialized tissue regeneration.

Although spinach leaves have many veins, making them a well-suited scaffold for heart tissue, other plans show promise for other medical uses. Namely, the “cylindrical, hollow structure of the stem” of the jewelweed plant could be used as a graft for an artery. Additionally, wood from trees “might be useful in bone engineering,” due in part to its strength, they wrote.

Plants such as these may provide economic and environmental advantages to the biomedical field. The scientists wrote, “By exploiting the benign chemistry of plant tissue scaffolds, we could address the many limitations and high costs of synthetic, complex composite materials.”

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Scientists Are Hopeful Magnet Technology Will Replace Depression Drug Treatments

Most physicians will avoid technology to give patients a number of drugs to treat conditions like depression and anxiety, and up to two-thirds of patients won’t respond to their first medication. Another 10 to 30 percent of these same patients will never respond to drugs as therapy. However, NeuroQore hopes to replace medications with these magnetic pulses and believes it may be onto something with initial tests.


Co-founder Mehran Talebinjad stated, “We have an 87.5 percent remission success rate over drug-resistant depression. The startup is in the initial stages with only a small amount of subjects, but similar brain wave technology has been around to treat mental conditions since the 90s. Neurofeedback started up to help with anxiety, depression, PTSD, ADHD, different types of addiction, and impulse control. It is mainly used in clinics or social work professions where medications are not the first method of therapy, and works by stimulating parts of the brain to send a positive signal whenever a desired mood is achieved.

When an acceptable brainwave pattern occurs, the neurofeedback machine sends a cheerful tone (positive feedback) into the patient’s ears, which hopefully causes the brain to prolong that desirable brainwave pattern. Over time, the brain is trained to prolong a healthy brain wave pattern permanently. NeuroQore is based on rTMS technology. It works in a somewhat different way than other neurofeedback. Rather than sending cheerful tones through the ears to train the brain, it uses the magnetic pulses to send those tones directly into the brain to create positive feedback by itself.

NeuroQore also measures its results with biomarkers as physical evidence. Unlike with communicational therapy or medications, this takes out some of the guesswork of if and where the brain might be improving. According to NeuroQore and another source we asked who uses neurofeedback, there are also no side effects to these types of treatments. However, the downside is this type of treatment may also not work for everyone.

Talebinjad, who has a degree in biomedical engineering, came up with the idea after performing his first brain surgery. He stated, “Neuromodulation is super important and the brain is so complex. I realized during this surgery there wasn’t a lot of effective approaches out there.” NeuroQore is already approved in Canada, where its headquarters is in Ontario. The next challenge for Talebinjad and his team is getting FDA approval, though he says he does have a line out there. He anticipates setting up brain centers where patients can go and get the therapy throughout California soon.

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