HotSpot Episode 42: NASA's Sunjamming Solar Sail

Mon, 12/09/2013 - 11:44am

On this episode of WDD's HotSpot, brought to you by SanDisk:

Spain's Basque Country is turning to technology to aid its aging population with chronic healthcare problems. According to CNBC, the Basque solution is a centralized, multi-platform healthcare system, which enables patients to access healthcare using phones, the Internet, and a new monitoring system called TEKI. This new multi-platform allows chronic patients in their homes to interact with their physicians in a real-time, visual way. Patients are supplied with a heart rate monitor, a spirometer, and a motion sensor. Real-time data is sent to doctor, who can then administer care and write out prescriptions remotely, helping to reduce face-to-face interactions, lower costs, improve quality of life, decrease re-admissions, and lessen the need for patients to travel to hospitals.

NASA is scheduled to launch its first solar sail mission to deep space in January of 2015, and it's the largest one yet. The Sunjammer is the final step before solar sails are integrated into future space missions. According to NASA, advanced technologies will provide Earth with its earliest warnings to date, of potentially hazardous solar activity, providing a better understanding of the sun and solar storms. Letters, music, and photos of people from around the world will also be included on the cosmic archive for future generations to discover.

Scientists at the University of Wisconsin -- Madison have created a rehabilitation device that converts the thoughts of stroke victims to electrical impulses to help the move their upper extremities. The system was built by pairing a functional electrical stimulation, or CES, system with a Brain Control Interface, or (BCI). The FES is used to help stroke patients recover limb function, and the BCI provides a direct communication pathway between the brain and the peripheral stimulation device.

Wearable Experiments has introduces its GPS NAVIGATE jacket, which uses LED lights and haptic feedback to provide wearers with directions. The Australian-based company combined hardware, software, and design to create a tech-injected fashion. NAVIGATE is intended for those walking and biking around a city. Using a cellphone app, the jacket transforms turn-by-turn navigational data from the app into a simple set of visual and haptic cues.

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