Monday, August 25, 2014

Cell phones really are becoming the all-in-one device

George M. Whitesides of Harvard University and coworkers have invented uMed, an electrochemical detector that uses the voice channel of a cell phone on any cellular network to transmit data for remote analysis.  It costs about $25, so it could bring water quality testing to people that cannot afford expensive electrochemical instruments.  It even uses the cell phone’s vibrate setting to mix samples.  The device uses test strips or electrodes with a potentiostat to perform chronoamperometry, cyclic voltammetry, differential pulsed voltammetry, square wave voltammetry, or potentiometry.  This can be used to detect trace amounts of toxic metals in drinking water, measure glucose in blood, monitor sodium in urine, and perform an electrochemical enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for malaria antigen.  For such a simple, inexpensive device, it really packs an analytical punch.  The article mentioned that further work would involve using the device to gather data in the field and get some feedback by users. Maybe Chemists Without Borders could volunteer to gather some data & provide feedback in exchange for the use of the devices.  Seems like a win-win to me.

Link to publication:
If anyone is interested, the publication indicates that correspondence be directed to :

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

"Smart lens" technology

     I have a pretty strong corrective lens prescription.  I have astigmatism in my left eye which is not corrected very well by glasses, but toric contact lenses do a pretty good job since they are weighted and return to proper position with every blink.  With my prescription I am becoming more and more limited in what corrective lenses can do for me as I become more and more nearsighted.  As I get older, my eyes are starting to change less as the muscles in my eye begin to weaken, but I have often wondered, "What will I do if my eyes move beyond the realm of what can be corrected with current lens technology? "   
A prototype smart lens.
Credit: Novartis
     Enter Google X and their scifi problem solvers. They have designed “smart lens” technology that works to incorporate sensors, microchips, and other electronics into contact lenses.  Novartis is licensing this technology with a couple ideas in mind. One possible use is the treatment of the loss of the eye’s ability to focus on close objects (presbyopia).  Refractive surgery would likely need to be combined with the lens, but together they could possibly return the eye’s natural autofocus ability.     This seems like just the beginning of what a lens like this could do to correct vision. Who knows, maybe one day I will benefit from this early work with “smart lenses”. 
     Another really impressive idea is using the “smart lens” to measure glucose levels in the eye fluid of people with diabetes. People today must continuously draw their blood to measure glucose levels, but maybe one day their “smart lens” would wirelessly send their glucose level to their phone. No fingerpicks. Pretty neat idea if they can get it to work as reliably as a blood glucose meter. 
     Maybe Google X can develop a cheap sensor for Chemists Without Borders that would wirelessly send water contaminant data to an analyst halfway across the world…you never know…horseless wagons were futuristic long ago.

Monday, August 04, 2014

REMINDER - IdeaConnection Projects Q&A call: 9am PST August 7, 2014

IdeaConnection Projects Q&A call: 9am PST August 7, 2014

Chemists Without Borders - IdeaConnection Projects Conference Call Agenda
Dates: Aug 7th 2014 9am PST

Project Overview in Google Docs: CWB IdeaConnection Solutions  

Join a Team:
1) ACTIVE     8504 Cottage Industry Arsenic Removal (filter)  Sign Up for 8504
2) ACTIVE     8500 Arsenic Penny per Test  Sign Up for 8500
3) PENDING  8505 Water Treatment Tool Kit     Sign Up for 8505
4) PENDING  8502 eWaste (plan)  Sign Up for 8502
5) PENDING  8503 Water Testing Tool Kit  Sign Up for 8503 
Conference call AGENDA:

In this open conference call, Dr. Steve Chambreau, President of Chemists Without Borders, will give an update on the IdeaConnection solutions provided recently to Chemists Without Borders. This will detail the history of the IdeaConnection collaboration, including proposed challenges, the solution evaluation process, and the accepted solutions that we plan to move forward. We will discuss how to move these solutions forward and look for team members to help with this. Please see Newsletter #15 for more details. 

Date: Thursday, August 07, 2014
Start Time: 09:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time
End Time: 09:55 AM Pacific Daylight Time
Dial-in Number: 1-626-677-3000 (West Coast)
Access Code: 365675

If you are interested in learning more about the IdeaConnection solutions and how you can help Chemists Without Borders with listed challenges, please attend this conference call.

Louis J Ciabattoni
Vice President of Membership and Administration
Mobile: +1-650-255-2760      Skype/@Yahoo/@Google: CiabattoniLJ
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