Monday, April 1, 2024

April Fools' Day 2024: Reflecting Our Digital Psyche

It's April Fools' Day, a time when tech companies, big and small, roll out their most outrageous, bizarre, and occasionally plausible inventions and announcements. It's another day of hoaxes in an internet landscape already teeming with misinformation and pranks. Yet, we find ourselves embracing this annual tradition, which never fails to elicit a mix of amusement, confusion, and sometimes, a hint of annoyance.

April 1st is not just about laughter; it's a day that offers a peek into our collective psyche. It's an opportunity to step beyond our everyday reality and imagine a world with a twist, sometimes bringing our most far-fetched tech fantasies closer to reality. This year, as artificial intelligence becomes increasingly integral to our lives, we find humor in its absurdities and potential—from gaming chairs with AI-powered tentacles to oversized repair tools that fix a device while a dozen more learn to self-repair, to the beyond-AI living pet rocks.

Reflecting on the past, we're reminded of Gmail's debut as an April Fools' joke exactly two decades ago—a service that has since become a staple in our digital lives. In 2009, Google introduced CADIE - AI assistant that can code. Fast forward to 2024, and we see Budsie's AI-enabled dolls enabled dolls "programmed to learn everything about you" and Razer's Cthulhu gaming chair offering AI-powered tentacles to cater to your every need, blurring the lines between fiction and the near-future possibilities of AI.

In 2022, Razer unveiled the Enki Pro HyperSense haptic chair at CES, offering vibrations and shakes synchronized with games, TV, and movies. Razer technology, introduced on April 1st, 2022, included a full-body gaming suit aimed at immersing users by simulating physical sensations and emotions through haptic feedback. In 2024, we witness a more refined iteration, reminiscent of the future depicted in WALL-E, where users find themselves deeply engaged without needing to leave their chairs.

Meanwhile, Waymo embraces its "Grandma of Robotaxis" title with a grandma-themed autonomous vehicle, and iFixit pokes fun at the absurdity of all-in-one oversized repair tools while tech retailer Currys lets customers exchange their old tech for delicious curry dishes. In the language learning world, Rosetta Stone and Fluent team up for "Rosetta Stoned," a fictional app that promises a laid-back approach to mastering vocabulary of seasoned stoners.

AI technology is revolutionizing health tracking with cutting-edge devices like the Withings Shaft smart cane and the Withings Puck truly smartwatch. At the heart of the Puck is "timeless tracking," offering a comprehensive suite of features including a built-in breathalyzer, glucose meter, heart rate sensor, DNA sampler, and more. This seamless integration ensures that users have access to a wealth of health insights right at their fingertips. And if you still need to connect with someone alive - try mental-health-boosting puppies from American Well. Seems to work even better than instant holographic physicians from 2022.

From the growing influence of AI to the quirks of autonomous vehicles, mental-health-boosting puppies and the ever-evolving language of cannabis culture, each prank holds a grain of truth about our world.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Smart Homes Redefined

The concept of a smart home has evolved significantly, with technologies now focusing on health monitoring. The integration of advanced sensors and devices into our living spaces promises not only convenience but also proactive health management. 

While sensors placed throughout the home can detect air and water contaminants, allergens, and pollutants, high-resolution cameras and microphones and other non-contact measurement devices could allow health monitoring and remote consultations with healthcare professionals. 

Smart mirrors in bathrooms should transcend mere reflective surfaces. Enhanced with advanced computer vision capabilities, they could assess skin conditions, identify changes in appearance, and offer personalized health and beauty recommendations. They could also analyze the eyes for early signs of various health conditions, extending far beyond mere glaucoma and cataract detection. The eyes can unveil valuable information about cholesterol levels, liver conditions, and diabetes. Eye monitoring technology is a testament to the saying, "The eye is the window to the soul," extending its truth to health monitoring.

Ambient sensors equipped with radar technology in living rooms and bedrooms can continuously monitor vital signs like pulse rates. This non-intrusive monitoring could provide a seamless health tracking experience for residents.

Recent advancements include the use of mmWave radar sensors for continuous monitoring of human activity. Recently built system, utilizing an NVIDIA Jetson Nano board for real-time processing and a Texas Instruments Millimeter-Wave Radar Sensor, offers a non-intrusive and privacy-respecting way to monitor activities like sitting, walking, standing, and even detecting falls. This radar technology poses a challenge due to the high-dimensional point cloud data it generates. The PointNet neural network is developed to process this data efficiently, preserving spatial relationships and offering accurate activity classification. 

The traditional method of measuring SpO2 involves contact sensors, which can be inconvenient for prolonged use. New techniques for contactless SpO2 measurement using different light wavelengths in video images are being developed. This approach promises a more comfortable and accessible way to monitor oxygen saturation levels, especially crucial in the wake of health crises like COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of non-intrusive health monitoring, especially for elderly individuals. The development of a Multi-scaled Long Short Term Memory (Ms-LSTM) model, as part of a smart toilet system, represents a significant step in this direction. This model enables effective home-based health diagnostics through urine analysis, leveraging the IoT-Fog-Cloud paradigm. It's a particularly vital tool for early detection of potential viral infections, including COVID-19, in the elderly. The Ms-LSTM model integrates a four-layered architecture including data acquisition, fog layer (processing and analyzing the data locally) , cloud (for deeper analysis) and interface layer. The proposed system offers a non-invasive, efficient method for early disease detection and preventive health. 

The integration of health monitoring technologies into smart homes is transforming how we approach personal health. From environmental sensors to advanced radar and neural networks, these innovations promise a future where health management is seamlessly woven into our daily lives. As technology continues to advance, we can expect even more sophisticated health monitoring solutions to emerge, making proactive health care a tangible reality in the comfort of our homes.  


Alhazmi AK, Alanazi MA, Alshehry AH, Alshahry SM, Jaszek J, Djukic C, Brown A, Jackson K, Chodavarapu VP. Intelligent Millimeter-Wave System for Human Activity Monitoring for Telemedicine. Sensors (Basel). 2024 Jan 2;24(1):268. doi: 10.3390/s24010268. PMID: 38203130.

Sasaki S, Sugita N, Terai T, Yoshizawa M. Non-Contact Measurement of Blood Oxygen Saturation Using Facial Video Without Reference Values. IEEE J Transl Eng Health Med. 2023 Sep 25;12:76-83. doi: 10.1109/JTEHM.2023.3318643. PMID: 38088997; PMCID: PMC10712673.

Kumar D, Sood SK, Rawat KS. Empowering elderly care with intelligent IoT-Driven smart toilets for home-based infectious health monitoring. Artif Intell Med. 2023 Oct;144:102666. doi: 10.1016/j.artmed.2023.102666. Epub 2023 Sep 20. PMID: 37783534.

Fatima H, Imran MA, Taha A, Mohjazi L. Internet of Mirrors for Connected Healthcare and Beauty: A Prospective Vision. arXiv preprint arXiv:2311.14734. 2023 Nov 21.

Friday, September 15, 2023

The Inverse Vaccine's Crusade Against Multiple Sclerosis and Other Autoimmune Diseases

In the human body, there are many diverse communities working together to protect and nourish their beloved realm. The humblest among them are the Peasant Microbes from our microbiome, the first line of defense, always ready to shield their territory from the nefarious invaders keen on causing havoc.

And then there is the skin - the high stone walls of the castle, which act as a barrier to prevent the invaders from entering. These walls are fortified with various defensive structures like water barriers and parapets, representing the different layers of the immune system that use various methods to deter the assault of pathogens. 

Then, we have the Jedi Masters of the immune system, the T cells. These are seasoned warriors, adept in distinguishing friend from foe. They patrol our body, teaching the younger warriors the art of recognizing and defeating the intruders. They hold the precious memories of past battles, ensuring that future attacks can be fended off swiftly and efficiently.

However, there came a time when these warriors could no longer tell friend from foe, leading them to attack the very thing they were sworn to protect - the Myelin, a protective sheath that covered the nerves of the kingdom, the pathways that communicated messages throughout the land. This tragedy unfolded as a vicious disease, making the residents suffer from weakness, numbness, and the loss of vital functionalities.

In the midst of this crisis, the magical "Inverse Vaccine" was proposed, which promised to restore peace and harmony in the land.

This Inverse Vaccine was a gentle teacher invoking mechanisms of immune tolerance. Through the utilization of a special sugar called N-acetylgalactosamine or pGal, it marked molecules with "do not attack" flags, mimicking the peaceful liver’s natural process of marking aged cells as friends, not foes. These molecules were sent to the great Liver School, where the T cell warriors were educated to differentiate between the true invaders and the kingdom's loyal citizens.

The T cells, now wise and compassionate, ceased their attack on the loyal myelin. This allowed the nerves to flourish once again, reviving the kingdom to its original glory, where each component worked in unison, guarding their territory while nurturing their community, promising a future of health and prosperity.


Tremain, A.C., Wallace, R.P., Lorentz, K.M. et al. Synthetically glycosylated antigens for the antigen-specific suppression of established immune responses. Nat. Biomed. Eng 7, 1142–1155 (2023).

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