One of the weaknesses of screen-based media is how inaccessible it can be for people with impaired vision, who must instead rely on screen readers and other specialized tools to speak aloud the words in an online article. A special touchscreen tablet, made by a team at the University of Michigan, aims to bring braille into the future, by creating a readably tactile surface.
One of the key revelations of the seminal 1999 sci-film The Matrix was (spoiler alert) that most of humanity was trapped inside an elaborate virtual world. At the time, the scenario seemed far-fetched, if not wholly outside the realm of possibility. But 16 years later, scientists are getting much closer to replicating reality with an increasingly indistinguishable computer-generated copy. Just take a look at the latest advances from the University of Michigan's UM3D Lab, which focuses on research into virtual reality, 3D modeling/printing, motion capture, and other emerging technologies.
3D aficionados have been printing everything from candy to guns, and the technique has been making its way into the biomedical realm, generating everything from functional organs to prosthetics. In 2012, a team of researchers from the University of Michigan implanted sprints 3D-printed out of a special biomaterial in the airways of three children with tracheobronchomalacia, a condition that may cause their airways to spontaneously collapse. The customized splints have done more than just keep the boys alive—they are flexible enough to allow the children to continue healthy growth so that they may no longer need respiratory intervention. The researchers published their work today in Science Translational Medicine.
Before a computer can load its operating system and locate drivers for its components, it must recognize that it has been turned on at all. This task falls to a relatively simple device known as the power-on reset circuit. “In its very basic form, it’s simply a little capacitor and a resistor and a little inverter, something like that,” says David Blaauw, a professor in the Michigan Integrated Circuits Laboratory at the University of Michigan. The power-on reset circuit is hardwired to recognize a minimum voltage level. When voltage crosses that threshold, the circuit signals the processor to execute a set of commands that allow for the loading up of the system.
Something like 90 percent of melanomas - the most serious kind of skin cancer - are visible to the naked eye, no MRI, CT scan, or other kind of sophisticated scanning or imaging necessary. So why bother getting screened at a clinic? The University of Michigan has created an iPhone app that allows you to inspect yourself for skin cancer. All you have to do is take 23 nude pictures of yourself with your smartphone.