I wear glasses and I hate them. It’s not vanity, really (if I were vain, I’d slim down by eating fewer donuts). It’s hard to keep glasses clean and free of scratches, and my eyesight is so poor without them that I live in fear of breaking them. I’ve been told I am a poor candidate for Lasik, contacts are uncomfortable, and so I may be stuck with glasses forever.
This week, I came across a new breakthrough in display technology that may help me. Researchers at Microsoft, MIT and UC Berkley have created a new display technology that adjusts the sharpness of an image based on the eyesight of the person looking at the screen. The technology (and this is simplifying it significantly) uses algorithms to alter the on-screen image based on a person’s glasses prescription and alters the light from individual pixels to create a sharper image that the person can see without their glasses.
At this point, the research is in its earliest stages, so real world application is years away. The technology also has limits, such as the inability to adjust for the eyesight differences of multiple users at one time.
Researchers working on the technology hope that over time the display technology can be slimmed down to a small piece of plastic that can fit over television and computer monitors and other displays. The technology is scheduled for demonstration this week at SIGGRAPH, an annual computer graphics conference, and at CES in January.
I spent part of last weekend in New York City visiting a friend in the hospital. My friend and I grew up in the same Midwestern city. She moved to New York for school and decided, somewhat inexplicably, that big city living beats things like fresh air, grass and easy street parking. The hospital was only several blocks away from where she went to grad school, and I joked that in all these years she had not gotten very far. And, as I walked the surrounding area, I was reminded that even in New York, there are communities – each neighborhood has its own flavor, its own distinctive atmosphere, and given the population density, nearly all the resources one could conceivably need for regular daily living.
But, this post is not about ruminations about city living or what I saw outside the hospital – it’s about what I saw inside the hospital, and the amazing things that, curiously, did not amaze me.
Hospitals are filled with lights and sounds – everything from a basic IV drip to advanced medical technology beeps and illuminates, so there is every expectation that a patient’s room can look a little like Mardi Gras with all the blinking lights. The flickers that caught my eye most, however, were the small blue LEDs in the ceiling: the ones set into Cisco WiFi routers. Read more
Not strictly a set of FSBC photos, but tangentially related, nonetheless.
Making the grocery list in my house usually takes place while standing in front of the refrigerator and the pantry, and it often includes tossing out food past the expiration date. I see this as not unlike taking cash out of my wallet and tossing it in the garbage can. It’s about 5:00 p.m. on Sunday and I’m making the grocery list and trying to come up with ideas for a New Edge article for this week. Thus, the topic at hand was born.
To start, here are some interesting statistics on wasted food: according to this study, food loss at the retail and consumers levels, in 2008, amounted to about $165 billion. The amount of food that consumers waste, in dollar terms, comes out to about 10% of their annual food expenditures and almost 1% of their total disposable income.
This app, however, is one possible answer to someone like me, who wastes food and wants to do better. It’s called 222 million tons, in references to the amount of food wasted by industrialized nations each year. It helps users to optimize planning their meals and their shopping lists based on household size. Love Food Hate Waste is a similar app, and they have partnered with Samsung to better educate consumers on how to store and organize food in ways that minimize waste.
Also, there’s an app, Wise Up on Waste, that helps restaurants reduce waste. It helps them track waste by type – spoilage, preparation, or customer plate waste. The data is then compiled and compared industry-wide to help restaurants identify best practices to reduce waste.
And finally, because all that wasted food mostly goes into the garbage, a company called Harvest Power turns it and other organic material into energy. It uses anaerobic digestion (a common method of turning waste into renewable energy) and composting to transform wasted food into energy to power homes and businesses.