Spectrum: LEGO PancakeBot Helps With Breakfast

Plus, Netflix neutrality and those with Parkinson's may find new hope for an improved quality of life thanks to data.

by / April 3, 2015

Breakfast from a Bot?

The most important meal of the day just got easier for designer Miguel Valenzuela, maker of the LEGO PancakeBot. Load the attached ketchup bottle with batter, and the machine forms pancakes on a griddle situated underneath. Its X and Y axes control where the batter is dropped, and a C axis controls how much. Get out a spatula though, as flipping the breakfast treat still requires people power. Pass the syrup, please.  
Source: Inhabitat

Netflix Neutrality

On an average Sunday, about 30 percent of Internet bandwidth in the U.S. is taken up by activity from one company: Netflix. And the online streaming service outdid itself recently, with the release of the third season of its acclaimed series about fictional political power couple Frank and Claire Underwood, House of Cards. The event caused the service’s share of bandwidth to spike to 45 percent, as fans binge-watched the newest episodes.

So-called “data hogs” like Netflix will force telecom providers to improve their networks to ensure Internet access is still available for everyone else during peak times, critics argue, especially given the FCC’s February decision in support of net neutrality, which prevents providers from charging websites more for better bandwidth. Source: Business Insider

Real-Time Parkinson’s Data

The loss of nerve cells in the brain suffered by Parkinson’s patients makes it harder for them to create dopamine, a neurotransmitter that coordinates motor functions. But a portable monitoring system from European researchers led by Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, Spain, may offer new hope for an improved quality of life for those who have the disease.

A wraparound waist pack along with a smartphone-controlled headset allow doctors to monitor symptoms around the clock, improving their ability to document how the disease is progressing and manage treatment. The device contains an accelerometer and gyroscope sensors to detect falls or other irregularities in how the patient is walking. In response, the server could prompt the headset to offer a rhythm to help regulate movement. Now being tested by 50 patients, the REMPARK system could improve outpatient Parkinson’s treatment.
Source: Gizmag

Noelle Knell Editor

Government Technology editor Noelle Knell has more than 15 years of writing and editing experience, covering public projects, transportation, business and technology. A California native, she has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history. She can be reached via email and on Twitter.