Around the IT Industry 10/14-10/18

by Modis on October 18, 2013

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IBM Making Computers More Like Your Brain

IBM is working to bring computers and brains together. Over the next decade, they will be researching both biological and manufactured forms of computing to learn about each of them. IBM is using the brain as a template to explore using fluids to power and cool the machine. They’re also supplying computer equipment for the Human Brain Project that will simulate the actual workings of the entire brain—first using a mouse’s brain, and then a human’s all the way down to biochemical level. Through this, they hope to figure out core mechanisms of various conditions such as autism, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Facebook Opens Teen Sharing to Public

Facebook announced this week that teens aged 13 to 17 will now be able to share their information publicly. Previously, people in this age group were only able to share information with their friends, or friends of friends. As long as the user’s settings remain on “public,” Facebook will warn before every post that they are exposing themselves to a broader audience. The decision to reverse the setting comes from the fact that teens are among the savviest people using social media, and they need to have a megaphone platform for civic engagement, activism, etc. so they can be heard.

Is Mapbox Chasing After Google Maps?

Mapbox, a company focusing on making customizable interactive maps with open-source information has big development plans in the future. They’ve raised $10 million—and they could be coming after Google Maps. Their platform is similar to the Google Maps product, but with more pizzazz. Even though $10 million is practically nothing to Google, it’s a great deal of money for the Mapbox team, who are used to working on a tight budget. The money will now allow them to plan for years (rather than months) ahead and hire more staff to expand the software.

iKnife Diagnoses Cancer During Surgery

If a surgeon suspects a cancerous tumor during surgery, the tissue must be removed and sent to a lab for analysis, which can take half an hour, before surgery can resume. The iKnife, designed to diagnose cancer during a surgical procedure, could reduce both surgery time and the need for follow-up operations. The technology is based on electrosurgery—a concept first introduced in the 1920s—that uses electricity to heat tissues and make incisions with minimal blood loss. The knife will use the vapors from heated tissues to detect malignancy. This technology could also be useful in a number of other applications beyond cancer detection.

Is Wi-Fi Headed for the Deep Sea?

Researchers from the University of Buffalo in New York have developed an underwater box, designed to bring a Wi-Fi Internet signal to the deep sea. The idea is to develop a standard for underwater communications and to make data sharing easier. They say the technology could help detect tsunamis to offer a more reliable warning system. This technology will make use of sound waves rather than radio waves for increased stability, to allow organizations such as the U.S. Navy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to share information and communicate using the same system.

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