Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category


Doctoral student Joseph Choi demonstrates a multidirectional ‘perfect paraxial’ cloak using 4 lenses.


Choi uses his hand to further demonstrate his device.


A laser shows the paths that light rays travel through the system, showing regions that can be used for cloaking an object.

Scientists at the University of Rochester have discovered a way to hide large objects from sight using inexpensive and readily available lenses.

Cloaking is the process by which an object becomes hidden from view, while everything else around the cloaked object appears undisturbed.

“A lot of people have worked on a lot of different aspects of optical cloaking for years,” John Howell, a professor of physics at the upstate New York school, said on Friday.

The so-called Rochester Cloak is not really a tangible cloak at all. Rather the device looks like equipment used by an optometrist. When an object is placed behind the layered lenses it seems to disappear.

Previous cloaking methods have been complicated, expensive, and not able to hide objects in three dimensions when viewed at varying angles, they say.

“From what, we know this is the first cloaking device that provides three-dimensional, continuously multidirectional cloaking,” said Joseph Choi, a graduate student who helped develop the method at Rochester, which is renowned for its optical research.

In their tests, the researchers have cloaked a hand, a face, and a ruler – making each object appear “invisible” while the image behind the hidden object remains in view. The implications for the discovery are endless, they say.

“I imagine this could be used to cloak a trailer on the back of a semi-truck so the driver can see directly behind him,” Choi said. “It can be used for surgery, in the military, in interior design, art.”

Howell said the Rochester Cloak, like the fictitious cloak described in the pages of the Harry Potter series, causes no distortion of the background object.

Building the device does not break the bank either. It cost Howell and Choi a little over $US1000 ($1140) in materials to create it and they believe it can be done even cheaper.

Although a patent is pending, they have released simple instructions on how to create a Rochester Cloak at home for under $US100 (114).

There is also a one-minute video about the project on YouTube.

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/scientists-unveil-invisibility-cloak-to-rival-harry-potters-20140927-10n1dp.html

It seems simple: Walk to the refrigerator and grab a drink.

But Brett Larsen, 37, opens the door gingerly — peeks in — closes it, opens it, closes it and opens it again. This goes on for several minutes.

When he finally gets out a bottle of soda, he places his thumb and index finger on the cap, just so. Twists it open. Twists it closed. Twists it open.

“Just think about any movement that you have during the course of a day — closing a door or flushing the toilet — over and over and over,” said Michele Larsen, Brett’s mother.

“I cannot tell you the number of things we’ve had to replace for being broken because they’ve been used so many times.”

At 12, Larsen was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD. It causes anxiety, which grips him so tightly that his only relief is repetition. It manifests in the smallest of tasks: taking a shower, putting on his shoes, walking through a doorway.

There are days when Larsen cannot leave the house.

“I can only imagine how difficult that is to live with that every single living waking moment of your life,” said Dr. Gerald Maguire, Larsen’s psychiatrist.

In a last-ditch effort to relieve his symptoms, Larsen decided to undergo deep brain stimulation. Electrodes were implanted in his brain, nestled near the striatum, an area thought to be responsible for deep, primitive emotions such as anxiety and fear.

Brett’s OCD trigger

Brett says his obsessions and compulsions began when he was 10, after his father died.

“I started worrying a lot about my family and loved ones dying or something bad happening to them,” he said. “I just got the thought in my head that if I switch the light off a certain amount of times, maybe I could control it somehow.

“Then I just kept doing it, and it got worse and worse.”

“Being OCD” has become a cultural catchphrase, but for people with the actual disorder, life can feel like a broken record. With OCD, the normal impulse to go back and check if you turned off the stove, or whether you left the lights on, becomes part of a crippling ritual.

The disease hijacked Larsen’s life (he cannot hold down a job and rarely sees friends); his personality (he can be stone-faced, with only glimpses of a slight smile); and his speech (a stuttering-like condition causes his speaking to be halting and labored.)

He spent the past two decades trying everything: multiple medication combinations, cognitive behavioral therapy, cross-country visits to specialists, even hospitalization.

Nothing could quell the anxiety churning inside him.

“This is not something that you consider first line for patients because this is invasive,” said Maguire, chair of psychiatry and neuroscience at the University of California Riverside medical school, and part of the team evaluating whether Larsen was a good candidate for deep brain stimulation. “It’s reserved for those patients when the standard therapies, the talk therapies, the medication therapies have failed.”

Deep brain stimulation is an experimental intervention, most commonly used among patients with nervous system disorders such as essential tremor, dystonia or Parkinson’s disease. In rare cases, it has been used for patients with intractable depression and OCD.

The electrodes alter the electrical field around regions of the brain thought to influence disease — in some cases amplifying it, in others dampening it — in hopes of relieving symptoms, said Dr. Frank Hsu, professor and chair of the department of neurosurgery at University of California, Irvine.

Hsu says stimulating the brain has worked with several OCD patients, but that the precise mechanism is not well understood.

The procedure is not innocuous: It involves a small risk of bleeding in the brain, stroke and infection. A battery pack embedded under the skin keeps the electrical current coursing to the brain, but each time the batteries run out, another surgical procedure is required.

‘I feel like laughing’

As doctors navigated Larsen’s brain tissue in the operating room — stimulating different areas to determine where to focus the electrical current — Larsen began to feel his fear fade.

At one point he began beaming, then giggling. It was an uncharacteristic light moment for someone usually gripped by anxiety.

In response to Larsen’s laughter, a staff member in the operating room asked him what he was feeling. Larsen said, “I don’t know why, but I feel happy. I feel like laughing.”

Doctors continued probing his brain for hours, figuring out what areas — and what level of stimulation — might work weeks later, when Larsen would have his device turned on for good.

In the weeks after surgery, the residual swelling in his brain kept those good feelings going. For the first time in years, Larsen and his mother had hope for normalcy.

“I know that Brett has a lot of normal in him, even though this disease eats him up at times,” said Michele Larsen. “There are moments when he’s free enough of anxiety that he can express that. But it’s only moments. It’s not days. It’s not hours. It’s not enough.”

Turning it on

In January, Larsen had his device activated. Almost immediately, he felt a swell of happiness reminiscent of what he had felt in the OR weeks earlier.

But that feeling would be fleeting — the process for getting him to an optimal level would take months. Every few weeks doctors increased the electrical current.

“Each time I go back it feels better,” Larsen said. “I’m more calm every time they turn it up.”

With time, some of his compulsive behaviors became less pronounced. In May, several weeks after his device was activated, he could put on his shoes with ease. He no longer spun them around in an incessant circle to allay his anxiety.

But other behaviors — such as turning on and shutting off the faucet — continued. Today, things are better, but not completely normal.

Normal, by society’s definition, is not the outcome Larsen should expect, experts say. Patients with an intractable disease who undergo deep brain stimulation should expect to have manageable OCD.

Lately, Larsen feels less trapped by his mind. He is able to make the once interminable trek outside his home within minutes, not hours. He has been to Disneyland with friends twice. He takes long rides along the beach to relax.

In his mind, the future looks bright.

“I feel like I’m getting better every day,” said Larsen, adding that things like going back to school or working now feel within his grasp. “I feel like I’m more able to achieve the things I want to do since I had the surgery.”

Thanks to Da Brayn for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/24/health/brain-stimulation-ocd/?c=&page=0

The first transatlantic “scent messages” were exchanged June 17 between New York City and Paris, and they smelled like champagne and macaroons.

At the American Museum of Natural History here in Manhattan, co-inventors David Edwards, a Harvard professor, and Rachel Field showcased their novel scent-messaging platform, which involves tagging photographs with scents selected from a palette of aromas, and sending them via email or social networks. The messages are then played back on a new device called an oPhone.

From Paris, collaborators Christophe Laudamiel and Blake Armstrong joined the New York audience via Skype, and emailed a scent-tagged photograph of French delicacies and champagne they had just poured to celebrate the launch of the oPhone. When the oPhone on the New York side picked up the message, the device dissipated a subtle aroma that matched perfectly with the picture.

“OPhone introduces a new kind of sensory experience into mobile messaging, a form of communication that until now has remained consigned to our immediate local experience of the world,” Edwards, who is also the CEO of Vapor Communications, the company behind the scent-messaging platform, said. “With the oPhone, people will be able to share with anyone, anywhere, not just words, images and sounds, but sensory experience itself.”

How it works
The scent messages, called oNotes, are composed in an iPhone app called oSnap, which also launched today. Using oSnap, users can mix and match from 32 primitive aromas to produce more than 300,000 unique scents, Edwards said.

The 32 aromas are placed inside oPhone’s eight “oChips,” which could be thought of as a printer’s ink cartridges. When the device receives an oNote, it releases the corresponding aroma based on the aromatic tags assigned to the image.

Each scent is designed to last roughly 10 seconds, about the same time that people take to sense an aroma, Edwards told reporters in a news briefing today at the American Museum of Natural History. If the photo is tagged with more than one scent, the smells will play one after the other.

A virtual world of aromas
The idea of sharing scents started two years ago in Edwards’ course at Harvard, a class called “How to Create Things and Have Them Matter.” Field, then a mechanical engineering undergrad, and some of her classmates planned to create a virtual world of aroma. They further developed the idea at Le Laboratoire, Edwards’ creative hub in Paris known for conducting experiments at the intersection of science and art.

Edwards’ previous projects are no less imaginative. The engineer has designed air-purifying plants, edible bottles and vaccine technologies to deliver drugs to the lungs to eliminate injections, among other inventions.

In the scent-messaging project, Edwards is focusing on the food space, at least for now. The oPhones will be displayed in cafes in Paris in the coming days, and the idea is to test the devices’ business potential at places where aromas matter, Edwards said.

oNotes are transmitted via email or social media, and can be picked up at hotspots where there are oPhones in place to receive them. The oPhones are available to preorder for $149 as part of the company’s Indiegogo campaign, which started today. The American Museum of Natural History will host the first U.S. hotspot during three weekends in July, where people can try the oPhones and participate in educational activities demonstrating how humans process smell.

Human noses may be able to discriminate between as many as a trillion different odors. However, the olfactory ability has changed over time, making it an important subject in the study of the evolution of species. Throughout the last 55 million years of evolution, primates have lost their sharp sense of smell in a trade-off for better vision, according to current theories.

“We know, based on fossils and reconstruction of the brain on those fossils, that the olfactory system was far more developed than visual and auditory systems in the early stages of the mammalian evolution,” said Michael Novacek, the American Museum of Natural History’s senior vice president and provost for science. “So in a sense, our whole legacy really comes from the olfactory system, and its modifications and refinement, not just the vision and auditory systems.”

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/world-s-first-scent-message-e-mailed-from-paris-to-new-york/

DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, has developed new paddles that allow users to climb vertical walls like Spider-man. For the first time in history, a fully-grown person climbed a glass wall more than two stories in the air.

The Z-man program aimed at designing a new tool for soldiers to use when climbing walls. Traditionally, fighters in wartime have had to rely on ladders and ropes to overcome vertical surfaces. These are both noisy and bulky, making it difficult for warriors to climb quietly when needed.

“The gecko is one of the champion climbers in the Animal Kingdom, so it was natural for DARPA to look to it for inspiration in overcoming some of the maneuver challenges that U.S. forces face in urban environments,” Goodman said.

This challenge was one many species had already faced in the wild. Geckos, able to climb vertical surfaces, were an inspiration to the inventors.

“[N]ature had long since evolved the means to efficiently achieve it. The challenge to our performer team was to understand the biology and physics in play when geckos climb and then reverse-engineer those dynamics into an artificial system for use by humans,” Matt Goodman, DARPA program manager for the Z-Man program, told the press.

The lizard uses microscopic tendrils, called setae, that end with flat spatulae. This dual structure provides the creature with an extremely large surface area coming into contact with whatever it touches. This allows van der Waals forces, a magnetic attraction between atoms, to hold the lizard in place. This same technique is used for the paddles.

Draper Laboratory, headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts assisted the military technology developers in creating the devices. The business developed the unique microstructure material needed to make the design work.

The demonstration climb involved a climber weighing 218 pounds, in addition to a 50-pound load in one trial. He ascended and descended the vertical glass surface, using nothing but a pair of the paddles.

Warfare constantly advances in technology and strategies, but ropes and ladders – still needed to scale walls – have not significantly changed in thousands of years.

“‘Geckskin’ is one output of the Z-Man program. It is a synthetically-fabricated reversible adhesive inspired by the gecko’s ability to climb surfaces of various materials and roughness, including smooth surfaces like glass,” DARPA officials wrote on the Z-man Web site.

Advances in this bio-inpspired technology could have benefits beyond the battlefield. Materials similar to the the structure in the pad could be used as temporary adhesives for bandages, industrial and commercial products.

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/8287/20140610/gecko-inspired-darpa-paddles-become-spider-man.htm


Electrodes attached to a cap convert brain waves into signals that can be processed by the flight simulator for hands-free flying.

New research out of the Technische Universität München (TUM) in Germany is hinting that mind control might soon reach entirely new heights — even by us non-mutants. They’ve demonstrated that pilots might be able to fly planes through the sky using their thoughts alone.

The researchers hooked study participants to a cap containing dozens of electroencephalography (EEG) electrodes, sat them down in a flight simulator, and told them to steer the plane through the sim using their thoughts alone. The cap read the electrical signals from their brains and an algorithm then translated those signals into computer commands.

Seven people underwent the experiment and, according to the researchers, all were able to pilot the plane using their thoughts to such a degree that their performance could have satisfied some of the criteria for getting a pilot’s license.

What’s more, the study participants weren’t all pilots and had varying levels of flight experience. One had no cockpit experience at all.

We have, of course, seen similar thought-control experiments before — an artist who can paint with her thoughts http://www.cnet.com/news/paralyzed-artist-paints-with-mind-alone/) and another who causes water to vibrate (http://www.cnet.com/news/artist-vibrates-water-with-the-power-of-thought/), for example, as well as a quadcopter controlled by brainwaves (http://www.cnet.com/news/mind-controlled-quadcopter-takes-to-the-air/) and a thought-powered typing solution (http://www.cnet.com/news/indendix-eeg-lets-you-type-with-your-brain/). But there’s something particularly remarkable about the idea of someone actually flying an airplane with just the mind.

The research was part of an EU-funded program called ” Brainflight.” “A long-term vision of the project is to make flying accessible to more people,” aerospace engineer Tim Fricke, who heads the project at TUM, explained in a statement. “With brain control, flying, in itself, could become easier. This would reduce the workload of pilots and thereby increase safety. In addition, pilots would have more freedom of movement to manage other manual tasks in the cockpit.”

One of the outstanding challenges of the research is to provide feedback from the plane to the “mind pilots.” This is something normal pilots rely upon to gauge the state of their flight. For example, they would feel resistance from the controls if they begin to push the plane to its limits. TUM says the researchers are currently looking for ways to deliver such feedback to the pilots.

Thanks to Kebmodee for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

http://www.cnet.com/news/mind-pilots-steer-a-plane-with-thoughts-alone/

by Joe Palca

There are smartphone apps for monitoring your diet, your drugs, even your heart. And now a Michigan psychiatrist is developing an app he hopes doctors will someday use to predict when a manic episode is imminent in patients with bipolar disorder.

People with the disorder alternate between crushing depression and wild manic episodes that come with the dangerous mix of uncontrollable energy and impaired judgment.

There are drugs that can prevent these episodes and allow people with bipolar disorder to live normal lives, according to Dr. Melvin McInnis, a psychiatrist at the University of Michigan Medical Center. But relapses are common.

“We want to be able to detect that well in advance,” McInnis says. “The importance of detecting that well in advance is that they reach a point where their insight is compromised, so they don’t feel themselves that anything is wrong.”

Early detection would give doctors a chance to adjust a patient’s medications and stave off full-blown manic episodes.

McInnis says researchers have known for some time that when people are experiencing a manic or depressive episode, their speech patterns change. Depressed patients tend to speak slowly, with long pauses, whereas people with a full-blown manic attack tend to speak extremely rapidly, jumping from topic to topic.

“It occurred to me a number of years ago that monitoring speech patterns would be a really powerful way to devise some kind of an approach to have the ability to predict when an episode is imminent,” says McInnis.

So he and some computer science colleagues invented a smartphone app. The idea is that doctors would give patients the app. The app would record whenever they spoke on the phone. Once a day, the phone would send the recorded speech to a computer in the doctor’s office that would analyze it for such qualities as speed, energy and inflection.

Right now the app is being tested with 12 or 15 volunteers who are participating in a longitudinal study of bipolar disorder.

McInnis and his colleagues presented preliminary results at this year’s International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing, and so far, things are looking encouraging. McInnis says the software is reasonably good at detecting signs of an impending manic attack. It’s not quite as good catching an oncoming depression.

For now, this app is only intended for patients with bipolar disorder, but McInnis thinks that routinely listening for changes in speech could be an important tool for early detection of a variety of diseases.

Zeus, God of the Sky, may be out of work, as scientists at the University of Central Florida believe they’ve developed a technique — which involves pointing a high powered laser at the sky — to induce clouds to drop rain and hurl thunderbolts.

Scientists have known that water condensation and lightning activity in storm clouds are associated with large amounts of static charged particles. In theory, stimulating those particles with a laser is the key to harnessing Zeus-like powers.

The hard part, scientists say, is creating a laser beam with the right combination of range, precision and strength.

“When a laser beam becomes intense enough, it behaves differently than usual — it collapses inward on itself,” explained Matthew Mills, a graduate student in the UCF Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers. “The collapse becomes so intense that electrons in the air’s oxygen and nitrogen are ripped off creating plasma — basically a soup of electrons.”

But students at UCF’s College of Optics & Photonics have collaborated with researchers at the University of Arizona to create a “dressed laser” that they think might be up for the challenge of controlling the weather.

The dressed laser is a high-power laser beam surrounded by a second beam, which acts as a refueling agent, sustaining the strength and accuracy of the central beam over longer distances.

“Since we have control over the length of a filament with our method, one could seed the conditions needed for a rainstorm from afar,” said Mills. “Ultimately, you could artificially control the rain and lightning over a large expanse with such ideas.”

The students recently published their research findings in the journal Nature Photonics. Their efforts were supported by a $7.5 million grant from the Department of Defense.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2014/04/19/Giant-lasers-could-control-the-weather/1691397928851/#ixzz2zRZl9YTP

Thanks to Da Brayn for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

Scientists with the United States Navy say they have successfully developed a way to convert seawater into jet fuel, calling it a potentially revolutionary advancement.

Researchers at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) developed technology to extract carbon dioxide from seawater while simultaneously producing hydrogen, and then converted the gasses into hydrocarbon liquid fuel. The system could potentially shave hours off the at-sea refueling process and eliminate time spent away from missions.

Currently, most of the Navy’s vessels rely entirely on oil-based fuel, with the exception of some aircraft carriers and submarines that use nuclear propulsion, reports the International Business Times. The ability to render fuel from seawater may change that.

“For us in the military, in the Navy, we have some pretty unusual and different kinds of challenges,” Vice Admiral Philip Cullom told Agence-France Presse. “We don’t necessarily go to a gas station to get our fuel. Our gas station comes to us in terms of an oiler, a replenishment ship. Developing a game-changing technology like this, seawater to fuel, really is something that reinvents a lot of the way we can do business when you think about logistics, readiness.”

The carbon and hydrogen gasses produced from the seawater extraction process are converted to liquids using metal catalytic converters in a reactor system. That liquid product contains hydrocarbon molecules with carbon levels suitable for replacing petroleum jet fuel, the NRL noted in a press release.

“Basically, we’ve treated energy like air, something that’s always there and that we don’t worry about too much. But the reality is that we do have to worry about it,” Cullom told AFP.

The NRL projects the new fueling system could be commercially viable in less than 10 years and could produce jet fuel that costs $3-6 dollars per gallon.

Forbes columnist Tim Worstall says the system could be great for the Navy, but he doubts it will be an economically feasible or energy-efficient alternative for those of us on land. “We need more energy to go into the process than we get out of it,” he wrote of the Navy’s method for converting seawater to fuel, adding later, “[A]s a general rule it’s not really all that useful. We want to produce energy, not just transform it with efficiency losses along the way.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/09/seawater-to-fuel-navy-vessels-_n_5113822.html

Thanks to Ray Gaudetter for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

The next threat to your privacy could be hovering over head while you walk down the street.

Hackers have developed a drone that can steal the contents of your smartphone — from your location data to your Amazon password — and they’ve been testing it out in the skies of London. The research will be presented next week at the Black Hat Asia cybersecurity conference in Singapore.

The technology equipped on the drone, known as Snoopy, looks for mobile devices with Wi-Fi settings turned on.

Snoopy takes advantage of a feature built into all smartphones and tablets: When mobile devices try to connect to the Internet, they look for networks they’ve accessed in the past.

“Their phone will very noisily be shouting out the name of every network its ever connected to,” Sensepost security researcher Glenn Wilkinson said. “They’ll be shouting out, ‘Starbucks, are you there?…McDonald’s Free Wi-Fi, are you there?”

That’s when Snoopy can swoop into action (and be its most devious, even more than the cartoon dog): the drone can send back a signal pretending to be networks you’ve connected to in the past. Devices two feet apart could both make connections with the quadcopter, each thinking it is a different, trusted Wi-Fi network. When the phones connect to the drone, Snoopy will intercept everything they send and receive.

“Your phone connects to me and then I can see all of your traffic,” Wilkinson said.

That includes the sites you visit, credit card information entered or saved on different sites, location data, usernames and passwords. Each phone has a unique identification number, or MAC address, which the drone uses to tie the traffic to the device.

The names of the networks the phones visit can also be telling.

“I’ve seen somebody looking for ‘Bank X’ corporate Wi-Fi,” Wilkinson said. “Now we know that that person works at that bank.”

CNNMoney took Snoopy out for a spin in London on a Saturday afternoon in March and Wilkinson was able to show us what he believed to be the homes of several people who had walked underneath the drone. In less than an hour of flying, he obtained network names and GPS coordinates for about 150 mobile devices.

He was also able to obtain usernames and passwords for Amazon, PayPal and Yahoo accounts created for the purposes of our reporting so that we could verify the claims without stealing from passersby.

Collecting metadata, or the device IDs and network names, is probably not illegal, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Intercepting usernames, passwords and credit card information with the intent of using them would likely violate wiretapping and identity theft laws.

Wilkinson, who developed the technology with Daniel Cuthbert at Sensepost Research Labs, says he is an ethical hacker. The purpose of this research is to raise awareness of the vulnerabilities of smart devices.

Installing the technology on drones creates a powerful threat because drones are mobile and often out of sight for pedestrians, enabling them to follow people undetected.

While most of the applications of this hack are creepy, it could also be used for law enforcement and public safety. During a riot, a drone could fly overhead and identify looters, for example.

Users can protect themselves by shutting off Wi-Fi connections and forcing their devices to ask before they join networks.

http://money.cnn.com/2014/03/20/technology/security/drone-phone/?google_editors_picks=true

Thanks to Da Brayn for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

google-contact-lens-620xa

If successful, Google’s newest venture could help to eliminate one of the most painful and intrusive daily routines of diabetics.

People with diabetes have difficulty controlling the level of sugar in their blood stream, so they need to monitor their glucose levels — typically by stabbing themselves with small pin pricks, swabbing their blood onto test strips and feeding them into an electronic reader.

Google’s smart contacts could potentially make blood sugar monitoring far less invasive.

The prototype contacts are outfitted with tiny wireless chips and glucose sensors, sandwiched between two lenses. They are able to measure blood sugar levels once per second, and Google is working on putting LED lights inside the lenses that would flash when those levels are too low or high.

The electronics in the lens are so small that they appear to be specks of glitter, Google said. The wireless antenna is thinner than a human hair.

They’re still in the testing phase and not yet ready for prime time. Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) has run clinical research studies, and the company is in discussions with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Diabetes is a chronic problem, affecting about one in 19 people across the globe and one in 12 in the United States.

The smart contacts are being developed in Google’s famous Google X labs, a breeding ground for projects that could solve some of the world’s biggest problems. Google X labs is also working on driverless cars and balloons that transmit Wi-Fi signals to remote areas.

Google’s contact lens project isn’t the first attempt at building the technology. For many years, scientists have been investigating whether other body fluids, including tears, could be used to help people measure their glucose levels. In 2011, Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) partnered with the University of Washington to build contact lenses with small radios and glucose sensors.

http://money.cnn.com/2014/01/17/technology/innovation/google-contacts/

Thanks to Jody Troupe for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.