GT Spectrum

Reports from the IT horizon

Predicting Osteoporosis
A new twist on an old technology will provide cheaper and simpler detection of osteoporosis, a disease that causes bones to become fragile and more likely to break.

Researchers at the University of Manchester's School of Dentistry pioneered use of X-rays to measure the thickness of patients' lower jaws in conjunction with "active shape modeling" software. A key indicator of osteoporosis is the width of a patient's jaw cortex, and if the software detects a measurement of less than three millimeters, the dentist is alerted.

This method works automatically during routine dental X-rays and reduces the costs involved with current screening technology, known as DXA testing. -- University of Manchester's School of Dentistry

Pass the Peas?
Soon, you could eat a Philly cheese steak in Atlanta while your sister in Oregon eats her California roll ... all while discussing international politics over the same virtual dinner table. Accenture is developing "The Virtual Family Dinner" -- technology allowing families to dine at the same "table" regardless of their locations.

A system of cameras and microphones captures the image of one diner and sends it to the other, and vice versa, displaying the audio and visual on a TV or computer screen.

The system could incorporate computers, TV sets and broadband already present in many homes, so customers could have the technology installed much the same as they do cable TV. -- TechJournal South

Trawling Antarctica's Depths
A new robot vessel capable of plunging 6.5 kilometers will probe the Antarctic deep, according to the BBC. Isis, the UK's first deep-diving remotely operated vehicle (ROV), will comb the Antarctic seabed in its inaugural science mission.

Researchers hope to uncover new information about the effects of glaciers on the ocean floor and about animals that inhabit these waters. While the scientists and engineers began their long journey to the Antarctic at the start of January 2007, Isis left the UK's shores in November 2006 and arrived at its destination in early January.

Once unpacked from its containers, the ROV will be placed aboard the British Antarctic Survey's ship -- the RSS James Clark Ross -- ready to explore the Marguerite Bay area on the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula. --

Majority Lurks
Less than 2 percent of all Internet users are frequent content contributors via Weblogs, between 10 percent and 15 percent contribute occasionally, and more than 50 percent read or watch the discussions of online communities. -- Gartner

IT Spending Increase
Worldwide technology spending varies by industry, and the following shows the percentage increase or decrease by industry from 2006 to 2007.

Media: 6.9 percent
Pharmaceuticals and medical products: 6.4 percent
Health care: 5.6 percent
Chemicals: 5.4 percent
Hospitality and Travel: 5.1 percent
Retail: 5.0 percent
Construction and Engineering: 3.8 percent
Transportation: 3.6 percent
IT: 3.6 percent
Banking and financial services: 3.2 percent
Energy: 3.0 percent
Manufacturing: 2.8 percent
Telecommunications: 2.8 percent
Education: 2.7 percent
Professional services: 2.5 percent
Metals and natural resources: 2.2 percent
Electronics: 2.1 percent
Utilities: 1.5 percent
Government: 1.3 percent
Insurance: 0.6 percent
Food and beverage processing: 0.4 percent
Consumer products: 5.6 percent

VoIP on the Rise
Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) continues to gain users in the residential telephone service market, according to In-Stat. The market research firm's newly launched Residential VoIP Tracker Service, shows that more than 9 million U.S. households have at least one active VoIP user, with many households reporting the use of more than one VoIP service.

Citizen Satisfaction
According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index's (ACSI) "e-Government Satisfaction Index," produced by the University of Michigan and sponsored by Foresee Results, aggregate citizen satisfaction with 87 federal Web sites in the fourth quarter of 2006 scored 73.9 on the ACSI's 100-point scale; only a slight 0.3 percent improvement from the third quarter. The fourth-quarter score, however, is unchanged from one year ago.
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