Spectrum: Gamers Make Better Surgeons?

Dog-nose precision, smart glass.

by / January 23, 2013

Smart Glass

A window of opportunity has arrived for jurisdictions trying to improve the energy efficiency of public buildings. View, a San Francisco startup, developed windows from electrochromatic materialsthat automaticallyadjust to temperature and brightness.

The windows are activated by a brick-shaped low-voltagedevice, which connects to Wi-Fi networks, so users can manually control the tinting from a wall switch or a networked device like a smartphone or computer.  

Source: Technology Review

Meet Donald Sadoway

He’s a materials chemistry professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and inventor of a liquid metal battery, a mixture of earth-abundant liquid metals and molten salt that can generate power. The batteries harness and store renewable energy from the sun and wind to produce power and reserve the unused portion, which could be sold to the electric grid. Sadoway was named one of the world’s 100 most influential people of 2012 by Time magazine and a featured speaker at this year’s TED Talks. Source: The Boston Channel

Photo: Professor Donald Sadoway and graduate student David Bradwell observe one of their small test batteries in the lab. The battery itself is inside the heavily insulated metal cylinder at center, which heats it to 700 degrees Celsius, while the wires at top charge up the battery and measure its performance. Photo by Patrick Gillooly

Gamers Make Better Surgeons?

Video gamers are better virtual surgeons than med students.

According to research conducted by the University of Texas Medical Branch, high school and college students who spend an average of two and four hours (respectively) per day playing video games did better at performing simulated surgery than physicians in training. During the simulation, students were graded on hand-eye coordination and how well they completed tasks like suturing. However, when the simulation was done without a gaming-type robotic aid to test cognitive traits, medical students outperformed gamers. Source: Popsci

Dog-Nose Precision

Armed with mechanical engineering and chemistry skills, researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, designed a dog nose-like device that can detect explosives. “[The] detector uses microfluidic nanotechnology to mimic the biological mechanism behind canine scent receptors,” according to the university. “The device is both highly sensitive to trace amounts of certain vapor molecules and able to tell a specific substance apart from similar molecules.”

Karen Stewartson

Karen Stewartson served as the managing editor of Government Technology for many years. She also contributed to Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines.