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quarta-feira, 22 de outubro de 2014

23 ideias sensacionais que fariam da sua casa um local bem melhor

 

Pensando em dar um toque especial na reforma da casa?

Que tal não ser usual, fugir do óbvio? Confira algumas ideias incomuns de decoração para o lar, mas que produzem um resultado fantástico.

VEJA TAMBÉM: 30 ideias criativas para reutilizar portas antigas na sua casa

1- Lustre que transforma seu quarto numa floresta

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2- Piscina interna e externa

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3- Conjunto de mesa com cadeiras de balanço

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Mais sobre o conjunto aqui

4- Uma rede-cama bem confortável como essa

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5- Mesa fogueira

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6- Essa cama aquário

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7- Um caminho para o seu gato

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8- Armazenamento de bebidas em espiral

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9- Prateleira de livros em escada! Não é brilhante? Agora você alcança todos!

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Vai perder essa? 20 imagens que vão mudar a maneira como você come

10- Essa porta

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11- Esse banheiro de dar medo em qualquer um

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12- Esta piscina para você entrar andando normalmente

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13- Uma piscina transparente

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14- Areia de praia embaixo do seu escritório

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15- Debaixo da escada costuma ser um local inútil, então que tal fazer um armário como esse?

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16- Escritório no Jardim

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Esse escritório compacto e confortável está disponível aqui.

17- Essa banheira transparente

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18- As escadas mais divertidas!

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19- Mesa de jantar e de sinuca. 2 em 1!

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20- Casa de árvore no quarto do seu filho (ou no seu :P)

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21- Cinema ao ar livre

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22- Rede de leitura e estudo acima da escada!

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23- E essa incrível porta/mesa de Ping Pong!

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Você vai gostar de ver também: 11 Extraordinárias e luxuosas piscinas nas quais você adoraria nadar

E vai adorar: 20 projetos de design que transformariam qualquer casa no melhor lugar do mundo

 

Snap 2014-10-22 at 11.21.34

How Did Nigeria Quash Its Ebola Outbreak So Quickly?

 

What we can learn from the boot leather, organization and quick response times that stopped Ebola from spreading in this African nation

ebola in Nigeria

Empty ebola ward in Nigeria. Credit: CDC Global via flickr

On July 20 a man who was ill flew on commercial planes from the heart of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia to Lagos, Nigeria's largest city. That man became Nigeria's first Ebola case—the index patient. In a matter of weeks some 19 people across two states were diagnosed with the disease (with one additional person presumed to have contracted it before dying).

But rather than descending into epidemic, there has not been a new case of the virus since September 5. And since September 24 the country's Ebola isolation and treatment wards have sat empty. If by Monday, October 20 there are still no new cases, Nigeria, unlike the U.S., will be declared Ebola free by the World Health Organization (WHO).

What can we learn from this African country's success quashing an Ebola outbreak?

Authors of a paper published October 9 in Eurosurveillance attribute Nigeria's success in "avoiding a far worse scenario" to its "quick and forceful" response. The authors point to three key elements in the country's attack:

  • Fast and thorough tracing of all potential contacts
  • Ongoing monitoring of all of these contacts
  • Rapid isolation of potentially infectious contacts

The swift battle was won not only with vigilant disinfecting, port-of-entry screening and rapid isolation but also with boot leather and lots and lots of in-person follow-up visits, completing 18,500 of them to find any new cases of Ebola among a total of 989 identified contacts.

Such ground-level work may sound extreme, and the usually measured WHO declared the feat "a piece of world-class epidemiological detective work." But as William Schaffner, chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine and an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, says, "Actually what Nigeria did is routine, regular—but vigorous and rigorous—public health practice. They identified cases early—fortunately they had a limited number—and they got a list of all of the contacts, and they put those people under rigorous surveillance so that if they were to become sick, they wouldn't transmit the infection to others," he says.

Art Reingold, head of epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health agrees. The steps are basic: "isolation, quarantine of contacts, etcetera," but governments must "get in quickly and do it really well." It was Nigeria's vigorous and rapid public health response that really stopped the spread. Because when Ebola lands one August afternoon in a city of 21 million, things could go very, very differently.

Race to prevent spread
Nigeria's index patient had been caring for a family member in Liberia who died from Ebola on July 8. Despite having been hospitalized in the Liberian capital Monrovia with fever and Ebola symptoms on July 17, he left medical care (against advice) and three days later took a commercial flight to Nigeria via Togo. After landing he collapsed at the Lagos airport and was taken to the hospital.

There it took three days before an Ebola diagnosis was made. The patient said he had no known exposure to Ebola, so he was first thought to have malaria, which is common and can have similar symptoms including fever, vomiting and headache. After malaria treatment failed to improve the patient's symptoms, however, medical staff began to consider Ebola, especially given his recent travel history. He was moved to isolation while test results confirmed the virus.

From this single individual, who died from the disease July 25, infectious disease experts generated a list of 898 contacts. Why so many? In addition to having become ill in a public place, the patient also infected an individual who then flew to and back from another Nigerian city, Port Harcourt, in late July while sick. That individual passed the infection to three other people, including a health care worker who died on August 22—but not before generating 526 more contacts. The index patient's primary and secondary contacts had only added up to 351.

The fact that two individuals were able to generate so many contacts shows just how vigilant authorities must be in tracking every last potential exposure. But the vigilance paid off. No new cases have been diagnosed in more than a month, and October 1 marked the date at which all of Nigeria’s 898 contacts passed the 21-day incubation period during which Ebola symptoms can present themselves.

The epidemic that wasn't
The arrival location of the index patient was a prime place to cause a widespread outbreak. Lagos is Africa's largest city, with a population of 21 million. It is a major hub for travel and business. "A dense population and overburdened infrastructure create an environment where diseases can be easily transmitted and transmission sustained," wrote the authors of
a paper for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). As such, "A rapid response using all available public health assets was the highest priority."

But, says Folorunso Oludayo Fasina, a senior lecturer at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, co-author of the Eurosurveillance paper and a native Nigerian, it was actually lucky that the index patient in Nigeria fell ill at the airport. "Had the index case gotten the opportunity to contact persons in Lagos or Calabar—[another Nigerian city] where he was to deliver a lecture—it may have been a complete disaster."

Although it took three days to diagnose Ebola (a period during which nine health care workers were infected with the disease), once the diagnosis was confirmed health authorities swung into action. The Federal Ministry of Health worked with the CDC’s Nigerian office to declare an Ebola emergency. On July 23—the very same day the patient was diagnosed—they created an Incident Management Center (which morphed into the Emergency Operations Center) and kicked into action an Incident Management System to coordinate responses. Such a centralized and coordinated system "is largely credited with helping contain the Nigerian outbreak early," the MMWR authors wrote.

It wasn't the Emergency Operations Center's first time tackling a highly infectious disease. Two years ago, after a global call from WHO, Nigeria redoubled its efforts to eradicate polio, another infectious virus, within its borders. The center has played a large role in working toward that goal, improving response times and preparedness along the way, the authors of the MMWR paper wrote. Many of those leading the Ebola response were chosen for their success working on polio eradication.

The government's first priority was to locate all potential contacts. A team of more than 150 designated "contact tracers" tracked down each of the individuals. Such tracing is the most challenging part of this sort of work, Fasina says, especially in Nigeria, where "houses cannot always be traced by street numbers." With all of those potentially exposed to the virus pinpointed, workers conducted an astounding 18,500 face-to-face visits to check for fever and other Ebola-related symptoms in each of these contacts, according to data in the MMWR paper. The check-ups took a little cajoling, Fasina notes. To get folks to meet with tracers also requires a good deal of effort to remove social stigma around the disease.

Any individual showing symptoms was quickly moved to an isolation ward for further testing, which could be completed locally at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital for rapid diagnosis. Once an Ebola case was confirmed, patients were transferred to a special Ebola virus treatment center. Even those contacts that tested negative but showed Ebola-like symptoms were held—separately from Ebola patients—until all symptoms resolved. As cases were confirmed the Emergency Operations Center tracked down additional contacts and decontaminated potentially infectious areas.

In addition to contact tracing and rapid isolation, teams of "social mobilizers" canvassed areas around the homes of Ebola contacts, reaching around an additional 26,000 households with health information. Communicating that information effectively to the broader public is another challenge. Ensuring that people have confidence in the government—and understanding of what it is trying to do—is absolutely key, Vanderbilt’s Schaffner notes. Part of that is controlling what he calls "the outbreak of anxiety."

Lessons for the U.S.
The U.S. outbreak so far has many similarities to the one in Nigeria but "countries such as the U.S. have some lessons to learn," Fasina says. "Infectious disease is the same everywhere but the management may differ," leading to vastly different outcomes.

Schaffner agrees that the U.S. response has not been perfect. "There isn't any doubt that we've stumbled both on the clinical side, with misdiagnoses and insufficient training and supervision in the hospital, and on the public health side," allowing and infected nurse to fly commercially while she was under surveillance, he says. "Now that we've stumbled we shouldn't do it again."

U.S. government agencies seem to be learning. The CDC has beefed up its safety protocols for health care workers dealing with infectious patients and contact monitoring is exercised more strenuously. WHO, for example, recommends that even health care workers and cleaning staff who have used personal protective equipment and followed all the safety rules when dealing with an Ebola patient be considered "close contacts" and monitored for 21 days. This stands in contrast to the untrained health care workers in Dallas who treated the U.S. index patient (in what likely turned out to be less-than-optimal protective equipment) and were initially asked simply to self-monitor.

The key takeaways are: coordinate, track and monitor. "The Nigerian experience offers a critically important lesson to countries in the region not yet affected by the [Ebola] epidemic as well as to countries in other regions of the world," the Eurosurveillance authors noted. "No country is immune to the risk…[but] rapid case identification and forceful interventions can stop transmission."

Global battle
Public health experts agree that the best way to reduce risk of an outbreak in other countries is to stop the epidemic in west Africa. According to
the latest statistics from WHO, as of October 17 some 9,216 people have contracted the illness and at least 4,555 have died. The bulk of the cases have occurred in Guinea, where the epidemic originated, Liberia and Sierra Leone. What was so different in Nigeria compared with neighboring countries farther west?

As the authors of the Eurosurveillance note, the rapid action after Nigeria's index patient was diagnosed helped keep the outbreak from spreading more widely. "In contrast the initial outbreak in Guinea remained undetected for several weeks," they wrote. "This detection delay facilitated the transnational spread of the virus to Sierra Leone and Liberia while difficulties and at times inability to track and contain infectious individuals compounded the situation and resulted in an as yet uncontrolled epidemic in these countries."

Now there are just too many people who are ill—or have had contact with the virus—to track in those nations, Schaffner says. And Sierra Leone's announcement on October 10 that it would provide rudimentary kits for people to care for sick family members at home makes the situation that much more dire. To be sure, it will keep sick people from traveling to health centers that are at overcapacity only to get turned away, possibly infecting others along the way. But, Schaffner notes, the "core public health reason for taking that individual out of that family is that you interrupt transmission." Until additional care facilities are prepared to take in the surge of patients the outbreak will continue to spread untracked and untraced.

The difference between a stemmed outbreak and a full epidemic often also comes down to a question of resources and how quickly they can be made available. "In the three badly affected countries," Reingold says, "dreadful preexisting infrastructure and inadequate resources and capabilities" due in part to poverty, civil war and corruption have made executing standard public health practices for outbreak control nearly impossible. And time is of the essence: "To deal with the out-of-control outbreak there will take immense infrastructure building, staffing, resources and money," Reingold says. "The longer it takes for them to arrive—or to be put in place—the more difficult the job."

In Nigeria the response team was able to corral enough funding, staff and tools from state partners, international groups and nongovernmental organizations to successfully launch its attack on the outbreak right away. "National preparedness efforts should consider how resources can be quickly accessible to fund the early stage of the response," the authors of the MMWR paper wrote.

"Every country needs to evaluate its preparedness and must be ready to respond to [an] emergency immediately," Fasina says. "Nigeria was not completely ready," but they identified the index case early and then hit the streets.

Snap 2014-09-13 at 12.29.02

Rio de Janeiro–RJ–Brazil

 

Rio de Janeiro  (January's River), commonly referred to as simply Rio, is the second largest city in Brazil, the sixth largest city in the Americas and the world's thirty-fifth largest city by population. The metropolis is anchor to the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area, ranked as the second most populous metropolitan area in Brazil, the sixth most populous in the Americas and the eighteenth largest in the world. Rio de Janeiro is the capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's third most populous state. Part of the city has been designated as a World Heritage Site, named "Rio de Janeiro: Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the Sea", identified by UNESCO on 1 July 2012 in the category Cultural Landscape.

Founded in 1565, by the Portuguese, the city was initially the seat of the Captaincy of Rio de Janeiro, a captaincy of the Portuguese Empire. Later, in 1763, it became the capital of the State of Brazil, a State of the Portuguese Empire. In 1808, when the Portuguese Royal Court transferred itself from Portugal to Brazil, Rio de Janeiro became the chosen seat of the court of Queen Maria I of Portugal, who subsequently, in 1815, under the leadership of her son, the Prince Regent, and future King João VI of Portugal, raised Brazil to the dignity of a kingdom, within the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and Algarves. Rio stayed the capital of the pluricontinental Lusitanian monarchy until 1822, when the War of Brazilian Independence began. This is one of the few instances in history that the capital of a colonising country officially shifted to a city in one of its colonies. Rio de Janeiro subsequently served as the capital of the independent monarchy, the Empire of Brazil, until 1889, and then the capital of a republican Brazil until 1960.

Rio de Janeiro represents the second largest GDP in the country (and 30th largest in the world in 2008), estimated at about R$343 billion (IBGE/2008) (nearly US$201 billion), and is headquarters to two of Brazil's major companies—Petrobras and Vale, and major oil companies and telephony in Brazil, besides the largest conglomerate of media and communications companies in Latin America, the Globo Organizations. The home of many universities and institutes, it is the second largest center of research and development in Brazil, accounting for 17% of national scientific production—according to 2005 data.

Rio de Janeiro is one of the most visited cities in the Southern Hemisphere and is known for its natural settings, carnival celebrations, samba, bossa nova, balneario beaches such as Barra da Tijuca, Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon. Some of the most famous landmarks in addition to the beaches include the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado mountain, named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World; Sugarloaf mountain with its cable car; the Sambódromo, a permanent grandstand-lined parade avenue which is used during Carnival; and Maracanã Stadium, one of the world's largest football stadiums.

Rio de Janeiro will host the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2016 Summer Paralympics. This will be the first time a South American and Portuguese-speaking nation hosts the event. It will be the third time the Olympics will be held in a Southern Hemisphere city. On 12 August 2012, at the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony, Mayor Eduardo Paes received the Olympic Flag, via Jacques Rogge, from London Mayor Boris Johnson. Rio's Maracanã Stadium held the finals of the 1950 and 2014 FIFA World Cup, the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and the XV Pan American Games both opening and closing ceremonies. Rio de Janeiro also hosted the World Youth Day in 2013.

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Cidade da Música ( City of Music)

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Biblioteca Nacional do Rio de Janeiro

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Aterro do Flamengo

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Praia de Copacabana

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Enseada do Botafogo e Pão de Açúcar

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Rio de Janeiro 1910

Scientists restore hearing in noise-deafened mice, pointing way to new therapies

 

By demonstrating the importance of the protein, called NT3, in maintaining communication between the ears and brain, these new findings pave the way for research in humans that could improve treatment of hearing loss caused by noise exposure and normal aging.

In a new paper in the online journal eLife, the team from the University of Michigan Medical School's Kresge Hearing Research Institute and Harvard University report the results of their work to understand NT3's role in the inner ear, and the impact of increased NT3 production on hearing after a noise exposure.

Their work also illustrates the key role of cells that have traditionally been seen as the "supporting actors" of the ear-brain connection. Called supporting cells, they form a physical base for the hearing system's "stars": the hair cells in the ear that interact directly with the nerves that carry sound signals to the brain. This new research identifies the critical role of these supporting cells along with the NT3 molecules that they produce.

NT3 is crucial to the body's ability to form and maintain connections between hair cells and nerve cells, the researchers demonstrate. This special type of connection, called a ribbon synapse, allows extra-rapid communication of signals that travel back and forth across tiny gaps between the two types of cells.

"It has become apparent that hearing loss due to damaged ribbon synapses is a very common and challenging problem, whether it's due to noise or normal aging," says Gabriel Corfas, Ph.D., who led the team and directs the U-M institute. "We began this work 15 years ago to answer very basic questions about the inner ear, and now we have been able to restore hearing after partial deafening with noise, a common problem for people. It's very exciting."

Using a special genetic technique, the researchers made it possible for some mice to produce additional NT3 in cells of specific areas of the inner ear after they were exposed to noise loud enough to reduce hearing. Mice with extra NT3 regained their ability to hear much better than the control mice.

Now, says Corfas, his team will explore the role of NT3 in human ears, and seek drugs that might boost NT3 action or production. While the use of such drugs in humans could be several years away, the new discovery gives them a specific target to pursue.

Corfas, a professor and associate chair in the U-M Department of Otolaryngology, worked on the research with first author Guoqiang Wan, Ph.D., Maria E. Gómez-Casati, Ph.D., and others in his former institution, Harvard. Some of the authors now work with Corfas in his new U-M lab. They set out to find out how ribbon synapses -- which are found only in the ear and eye -- form, and what molecules are important to their formation and maintenance.

Anyone who has experienced problems making out the voice of the person next to them in a crowded room has felt the effects of reduced ribbon synapses. So has anyone who has experienced temporary reduction in hearing after going to a loud concert. The damage caused by noise -- over a lifetime or just one evening -- reduces the ability of hair cells to talk to the brain via ribbon synapse connections with nerve cells.

Targeted genetics made discovery possible

After determining that inner ear supporting cells supply NT3, the team turned to a technique called conditional gene recombination to see what would happen if they boosted NT3 production by the supporting cells. The approach allows scientists to activate genes in specific cells, by giving a dose of a drug that triggers the cell to "read" extra copies of a gene that had been inserted into them. For this research, the scientists activated the extra NT3 genes only into the inner ear's supporting cells.

The genes didn't turn on until the scientists wanted them to -- either before or after they exposed the mice to loud noises. The scientists turned on the NT3 genes by giving a dose of the drug tamoxifen, which triggered the supporting cells to make more of the protein. Before and after this step, they tested the mice's hearing using an approach called auditory brainstem response or ABR -- the same test used on humans.

The result: the mice with extra NT3 regained their hearing over a period of two weeks, and were able to hear much better than mice without the extra NT3 production. The scientists also did the same with another nerve cell growth factor, or neurotrophin, called BDNF, but did not see the same effect on hearing.

Next steps

Now that NT3's role in making and maintaining ribbon synapses has become clear, Corfas says the next challenge is to study it in human ears, and to look for drugs that can work like NT3 does. Corfas has some drug candidates in mind, and hopes to partner with industry to look for others.

Boosting NT3 production through gene therapy in humans could also be an option, he says, but a drug-based approach would be simpler and could be administered as long as it takes to restore hearing.

Corfas notes that the mice in the study were not completely deafened, so it's not yet known if boosting NT3 activity could restore hearing that has been entirely lost. He also notes that the research may have implications for other diseases in which nerve cell connections are lost -- called neurodegenerative diseases. "This brings supporting cells into the spotlight, and starts to show how much they contribute to plasticity, development and maintenance of neural connections," he says.

In addition to Corfas, Wan and Gómez-Casati, who now works in Argentina, the research was performed by Angelica R. Gigliello, and M. Charles Liberman, Ph.D. director of the Eaton-Peabody Laboratories of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. The research was supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (DC004820, DC005209) and by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (HD18655), both part of the National Institutes of Health, and by the Hearing Health Foundation.

Philips turns the light on psoriasis

 

Sufferers of psoriasis, an incurable skin disease that breaks out in scaly red plaques and also causes the skin to peel, will shortly get a new ally in the management of the condition. Lighting giant Philips is about to launch BlueControl, an LED light unit that can help patients of mild and moderate cases with no side effects.

The device was developed based on findings from research showing that blue LED light treatment slows down the root cause of psoriasis, which is the rapid division of cells. It can also reduce skin inflammation. Philips designed an unobtrusive battery-powered strap-on unit that can be placed on the parts of the body that are affected by the irritating skin disease.

The system does not use regular LED lights, which are not always suitable for medical-grade applications such as BlueControl. Philips carried out research with academic and clinical partners in order to develop pulsed LED lights with higher intensities. Altogether, the system features 40 of those UV-free blue lights.

BlueControl is an unobtrusive battery-powered strap-on unit that can be placed on the part...

To test BlueControl, Philips teamed up with the University Hospital of Aachen in Germany. During the second of two clinical trials that spanned four months ending in June, patients showed an average reduction of 50 percent of symptoms based on a measurement system called Local Psoriasis Area Severity Index (PASI). The index measures the severity of psoriasis plaques in terms of thickness, redness and scaling. The trials also revealed that the blue LED lights produced no side effects.

Philips will present BlueControl at the European Academy of Dermatology & Venereology Congress, which takes place in Amsterdam between 8-12 October, before it goes on sale in The Netherlands, Germany and the UK.

Source: Philips

 

SightCompass uses Bluetooth beacons to inform visually impaired of their surroundings

 

World Beacon hopes to spread the SightCompass technology throughout schools, institutions ...

World Beacon hopes to spread the SightCompass technology throughout schools, institutions and businesses around the globe

Image Gallery (8 images)

With their GPS capabilities and navigation apps, smartphones have undoubtedly made it easier for us to find our way around. The good news is we are starting to see these benefits extended to the visually impaired. SightCompass is a system that harnesses these strengths of the smartphone and combines them with proximity beacons to inform blind people of their surroundings.

SightCompass uses an array of beacons that function as proximity sensors. These could be fixed to certain locations around a building. They can then be programmed to push information to a user's mobile device over Bluetooth LE as they come within a 300 ft radius (92 m).

The information may detail the layout of a TV remote control, where to find the fresh apples in the supermarket or how to locate the bathroom in a restaurant. While these instructions are first pushed to the mobile device in the form of the written word, a mobile screen reader would then be employed to translate them to audio information.

As for where this content actually comes from, the information can be customized and kept up to date by users through the SightCompass desktop and mobile app, with the beacons powered by a 3-volt lithium battery said to last two years.

SightCompass uses an array of beacons which function as proximity sensors

World Beacon, the company behind SightCompass, is based in Phoenix, Arizona and says it already has arrangements in place with local organizations, such as the Foundation for Blind Children, the Phoenix Parks and Recreation department and the Arizona Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Through a Kickstarter campaign, it is now looking to raise funds for further production and to increase awareness of the SightCompass system. It hopes to spread the technology throughout schools, institutions and businesses around the globe.

We have seen similar approaches before, most recently when the Royal London Society for Blind People used Bluetooth beacons to guide the blind through the London underground. Clearly there is still a ways to go before these solutions become widespread, but its not hard to see the massive potential for upside if they do.

An early pledge of US$129 will put you in line for a SightCompass beacon should the campaign reach its $100,000 goal and deliver on its promises. Shipping is slated for December 2014.

 

Source: World Beacon

 

Jaguar Heritage Driving Experience puts you inside classic D- and E-Types

 

1961 Jaguar E-Type

1961 Jaguar E-Type

Image Gallery (35 images)

Jaguar plans to extend a unique opportunity to car lovers. Next month, it will open the Jaguar Heritage Driving Experience in the UK, giving driving enthusiasts the opportunity to grab the steering wheels of rare and powerful cars from its past and present. Highlights include the classic Le Mans-winning D-Type race car, the E-Type and the all-new 542-bhp F-Type R.

Back in July, Jaguar purchased a 543-car collection from private collector James Hull, calling it the largest-known private collection of British sports cars in the world. The collection isn't strictly Jaguars, but it contains decades' worth of Jaguar heritage, including the XKSS, C-, D- and E-Types.

Instead of just keeping its impressive collection behind velvet rope and glass panels, Jaguar is doing something much cooler: letting the paying public take the cars out for test drives under the soon-to-launch Jaguar Heritage Driving Experience. The automaker says that many of the cars will make their very first public drives under the program. The program will be hosted by the same Land Rover Jaguar Special Operations that brought us brand-new E-Types and F-Type Project 7s, at the 200-acre Fen End testing facility in Warwickshire, not far from Jaguar's headquarters.

"This is the first experiential offering from our new division and is the first time in Jaguar’s history that we have made a collection of vehicles of this caliber available for ‘arrive and drive’ experiences," says Special Operations managing director John Edwards. "It’s an extremely exciting new project that underscores the very essence of what Special Operations is all about – celebrating heritage with our eyes firmly on the future."

The Jaguar C-Type at the Monaco Historique in May 2014

The program will have an emphasis on historical pairings, letting participants drive a classic Jaguar and its modern-day successor. For instance, the £275.00 (US$445) D-Type and F-Type R experience gives you 15 minutes in Jaguar's classic race car and 15 minutes in one of its latest, most powerful sports cars, each alongside a Jaguar professional who talks in detail about the cars. The £195 MKII & XFR pack puts the driver inside a classic 1960s MKII Coombs special edition and a modern 503-bhp XFR (15 minutes in each).

Beyond those packages, there are E-Types, C-Types and XK150s, right on up to the £2,000 full-day, nine-car Grace & Pace experience. In addition to driving, you can also jump in the passenger seat and let a Jaguar employee chauffeur you around.

If your only mission is to drive one of the very D-Types that sped to victory at Le Mans in the mid-50s, you may want to save your money. When looking over the Heritage Drive website, we came across this disclaimer:

"Due to the high value of some of the heritage cars involved in this program some models used will be recreations of the original cars. All recreations are faithful to the originals they are based on and are made with care by the Jaguar Heritage engineering team. Specific recreations include: the C-type, the D-type and the XKSS. The C-type, the D-type and the XKSS cars used at this event are recreations to the original specification and come complete with FIA homologation papers."

The 1959 Jaguar MKII

While it may not have that vintage worn-leather and engine-oil smell, a classic recreation built by Jaguar to original specifications is still pretty special. The package prices aren't exactly cheap, but they're within reach of a lot of Jaguar fans looking to do something different with their vacation/entertainment funds – something like taking the wheel of a car they would never get to drive otherwise. We love the idea of testing timeless icons side by side with the successors they helped inspire decades later, and we're already checking prices on flights to the UK.

The new Heritage Driving Experience opens up next month. You can find more details about the packages, dates and bookings at jaguarheritagedriving.com. Get a closer look at some of the models included in the experience in the gallery we put together with help from Jaguar's heritage photo archives. Just note that the cars pictured aren't the exact cars that will be used in the experience, merely the same model types.

Source: Jaguar

 

Radical 4-in-1 piston engine promises hybrid-like efficiency

 

Initially designed for as an electrical generator, Namikoshi realized that its 4-in-1 engi...

Initially designed for as an electrical generator, Namikoshi realized that its 4-in-1 engine could possibly be adapted for use in the automotive sector

One of the many challenges facing engine designers is the need to increase power output while simultaneously retaining or improving efficiency. Although a four-cylinder engine is still an engineering marvel, there remain many friction points that reduce energy output. Namikoshi Electronics of Japan believes its unorthodox 4-in-1 concept engine could provide an alternative powerplant to the automobile industry.

Over the past few years we’ve seen alternative combustion engines in various forms, from Duke Engines radical radial design to Volvo's 450 hp triple-turbocharged four-banger. Now Namikoshi's low-friction engine is getting its turn in the limelight.

Initially designed as an electrical generator, Namikoshi realized that its 4-in-1 engine could possibly be adapted for use in the automotive sector. While it's laid out in a similar way to an opposing 4-cylinder found in any old VW or Porsche, Namikoshi Electronics’ 4-in-1 engine departs from convention by virtue of a big central unit surrounded by ball bearings, a central rod and a planetary gear.

Unlike a 4-cylinder internal combustion engine (top) the opposing pistons in the Namikoshi...

Namikoshi claims that the design has significant advantages over traditional engines in terms of friction and vibration. Whereas four-stroke engines use lubricated friction bearings in the crankshaft, connecting rods and piston pins, Namikoshi’s engine has mounted opposing pistons onto a reciprocating hub that use ball bearings, thereby reducing friction.

And unlike the traditional engine where pistons are connected and rotate in concentric circles on the crankshaft, Namikoshi has fixed the opposing pistons onto one single unit. The result enables the 4-in-1 engine’s connecting rods too move back and forth in parallel rather than in concentric circles. Namikoshi claims this approach reduces vibration and the number of friction points when compared to a typical 4-cylinder engine, producing vibration levels similar to that of a rotary engine.

In the video below, you’ll see that instead of the pistons moving back and forth individually, they work in tandem. Namikoshi says this fixed design allows the engine to more efficiently "feed" off the opposing piston’s forces and removes energy-wasting mechanical linkages from the equation.

The pistons in the concept engine move back and forth in a straight line thanks to a uniqu...

The Namikoshi concept engine weighs in at roughly 90 kg (198 lb), has a cubic capacity of 1,500 cc and measures approximately 800 mm (31.5 in) wide by 500 mm (19.7 in) deep and 250 mm (9.8 in) tall. Bore diameter is shown as 62 mm (2.4 in), while stroke for each piston is set at 125 mm (4.9 in).

If the 4-in-1 concept engine were to make it to market, Namikoshi believes it could significantly help to reduce emissions as outputs would be on par with that of a hybrid engine. However at this stage the company has not provided output specs or friction efficiencies relative to a traditional four-cylinder to back up the claim.

Beyond the automobile, Namikoshi sees applications for the design, with alterations, in scenarios such as heating water from waste heat in geothermal systems.

 

Source: Namikoshi Electronics (Japan)