New military goggles combine nightvision and thermal imaging

New military goggles combine nightvision and thermal imaging.

Special Forces operators with night vison googless

Nightvision and thermal imaging play similar — but very distinct — roles on the modern battlefield. Soldiers utilize night vision to illuminate their darkened surroundings while thermal imaging is employed to illuminate darkened targets. But until now, soldiers have had to carry separate imaging systems for each, which negatively impacts how quickly they can switch optics and acquire their targets. BAE Systems, however, announced Monday a new kind of optic that packs the functionality of both into a single unit.

“On today’s battlefield, this slower [two optic] approach, which is often further hampered by heavy smoke or bad weather, compromises soldiers’ safety and can reduce mission effectiveness,” a BAE release reads. “By integrating night vision and thermal targeting capabilities into one sight displayed on the soldiers’ goggles, BAE Systems’ new solution allows troops to more easily acquire targets and engage faster.”

While the optic itself is mounted on the soldier’s rifle, what it sees is actually beamed via a Bluetooth connection to a head-mounted display. This allows the warfighter to quickly toggle between the two modes at the push of a button. The US Army’s Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate has awarded BAE a five-year $434 million contract to continue the optic’s development. There is no word yet on how much the finished products would cost or how soon they’ll actually actually make it to combat zones.

[Image credit: Getty (lead), BAE Systems (inline)]

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Research into Turning Off Pain Receptors Progressing

‘Off switch’ for pain discovered: Activating the adenosine A3 receptor subtype is key to powerful pain relief

Date:
November 26, 2014
Source:
Saint Louis University Medical Center
Summary:
A way to block a pain pathway in animal models of chronic neuropathic pain has been discovered by researchers, suggesting a promising new approach to pain relief.
Pain is an enormous problem. As an unmet medical need, pain causes suffering and comes with a multi-billion dollar societal cost. Current treatments are problematic because they cause intolerable side effects, diminish quality of life and do not sufficiently quell pain.
Credit: © Feng Yu / Fotolia
In research published in the medical journal Brain, Saint Louis University researcher Daniela Salvemini, Ph.D. and colleagues within SLU, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other academic institutions have discovered a way to block a pain pathway in animal models of chronic neuropathic pain including pain caused by chemotherapeutic agents and bone cancer pain suggesting a promising new approach to pain relief.

The scientific efforts led by Salvemini, who is professor of pharmacological and physiological sciences at SLU, demonstrated that turning on a receptor in the brain and spinal cord counteracts chronic nerve pain in male and female rodents. Activating the A3 receptor — either by its native chemical stimulator, the small molecule adenosine, or by powerful synthetic small molecule drugs invented at the NIH — prevents or reverses pain that develops slowly from nerve damage without causing analgesic tolerance or intrinsic reward (unlike opioids).

An Unmet Medical Need

Pain is an enormous problem. As an unmet medical need, pain causes suffering and comes with a multi-billion dollar societal cost. Current treatments are problematic because they cause intolerable side effects, diminish quality of life and do not sufficiently quell pain.

The most successful pharmacological approaches for the treatment of chronic pain rely on certain “pathways”: circuits involving opioid, adrenergic, and calcium channels.

For the past decade, scientists have tried to take advantage of these known pathways — the series of interactions between molecular-level components that lead to pain. While adenosine had shown potential for pain-killing in humans, researchers had not yet successfully leveraged this particular pain pathway because the targeted receptors engaged many side effects.

A Key to Pain Relief

In this research, Salvemini and colleagues have demonstrated that activation of the A3 adenosine receptor subtype is key in mediating the pain relieving effects of adenosine.

“It has long been appreciated that harnessing the potent pain-killing effects of adenosine could provide a breakthrough step towards an effective treatment for chronic pain,” Salvemini said. “Our findings suggest that this goal may be achieved by focusing future work on the A3AR pathway, in particular, as its activation provides robust pain reduction across several types of pain.”

Researchers are excited to note that A3AR agonists are already in advanced clinical trials as anti-inflammatory and anticancer agents and show good safety profiles. “These studies suggest that A3AR activation by highly selective small molecular weight A3AR agonists such as MRS5698 activates a pain-reducing pathway supporting the idea that we could develop A3AR agonists as possible new therapeutics to treat chronic pain,” Salvemini said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Saint Louis University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. W. Little, A. Ford, A. M. Symons-Liguori, Z. Chen, K. Janes, T. Doyle, J. Xie, L. Luongo, D. K. Tosh, S. Maione, K. Bannister, A. H. Dickenson, T. W. Vanderah, F. Porreca, K. A. Jacobson, D. Salvemini. Endogenous adenosine A3 receptor activation selectively alleviates persistent pain states. Brain, 2014; DOI:10.1093/brain/awu330

Cite This Page:

Saint Louis University Medical Center. “‘Off switch’ for pain discovered: Activating the adenosine A3 receptor subtype is key to powerful pain relief.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 November 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141126132639.htm>.

Hearing Aid Tuned to Translate Wifi Signals

A Man Going Deaf Can “Hear” Wi-Fi SignalsA Man Going Deaf Can "Hear" Wi-Fi Signals

Losing your hearing can be a frighteningly isolating experience. But instead of trying to replace the audible landscape he began losing at age 20, science writer Frank Swain decided to find a way to listen in on something humans can’t hear: the hum of Wi-Fi all around us.

In this essay for New Scientist, Swain talks about how he worked with sound designer Daniel Jones to build a tool that makes Wi-Fi audible. The project, named Phantom Terrains, works by translating the language of a wireless network into sounds. Each Wi-Fi element—router names,data rates, encryption modes—are assigned their own sonic tones, which are then streamed to Swain’s phone where he can pick them up through his hearing aids:

The strength of the signal, direction, name and security level on these are translated into an audio stream made up of a foreground and background layer: distant signals click and pop like hits on a Geiger counter, while the strongest bleat their network ID in a looped melody.

So what does the internet sound like? Here’s a walk that Swain took with the various Wi-Fi networks mapped along the way. Stronger network signals are shown as wider shapes, the different colors denote the router’s broadcast channel, and the pattern references the security level:

A Man Going Deaf Can "Hear" Wi-Fi SignalsEXPAND

Now here’s what the same walk sounds like:

While the cosmic blips and static pops are certainly beautiful (and somewhat creepy at the same time), there are some larger implications for why this kind of work could be important. Swain equates it to a kind of auditory “prosthetic” which can actually enhance the range of normal hearing, transforming him into a kind of superhuman who can actually “hear” the landscape in a way that most people will never experience. We don’t normally think of VR as including sound, but this is augmented reality for the ear. [New Scientist]

Top image: Artistic depiction of what Wi-Fi signals would look like if we could see them, byNickolay Lamm

Jetpack Designed at ASU Assists in Running/Sprinting

Jetpack enables soldiers to sprint at Olympic speeds (VIDEO)

Researchers at Arizona State University with the help of DARPA are working on a new take on the science fiction-inspired jetpack. Unlike jetpacks of yesterday, this literally puts the wind at your back, enabling soldiers to run faster than ever before, sprinting at Olympic speeds.

“If you think of a Navy SEAL or an Army soldier that has to get in somewhere quick and do whatever they’ve gotta do, but maybe get out of there just as quickly, so these devices can really help soldiers to not only accomplish their goals and succeed in their missions, but potentially save human lives as well,” said ASU student Jason Kerestes.

Do you think steps like these will materialize in “future soldier” projects? And how much do you want a jetpack right this freakin’ minute, right?

The jetpack part of the larger ASU Research Matters project.

[Business Insider via Predator Intelligence/Facebook]

Roomscan app draws floorplan by tapping phone on the wall

If you’ve ever been in a situation where you needed to draw up a floor plan or recreate a room’s dimensions, then you’ll appreciate what RoomScan can do for you. This deceptively simple iOS app can do all that for you and all you need to do is tap on the walls.

RoomScan includes voice prompts to instruct you on what to do, but it’s all rather simple. You simply walk around the room, tapping the Apple device to the wall and waiting for the beep before you proceed to the next wall. You have to be careful though to include each wall that you want to be detected, meaning all those angled walls and corners that matter.

roomscan-2

The seemingly magical ability is thanks to an oft underrated feature in most devices today: the motion sensor. RoomScan notes the data recorded by the motion sensor every time it is placed on a wall. From this data, the position, orientation and distance of each wall is calculated to draw up an accurate floor plan, more or less. Of course, there will be some inaccuracies, but the app allows you to input your own figures into the floor plan afterwards.

RoomScan comes in two flavors, free and pro. The free version allows you to scan a single room, while the paid pro version opens up more possibilities. You can scan multiple rooms and have RoomScan stitch them up together to create one whole floor plan. You can even pick your own colors. Also in the Pro version, you can add doors as you go instead of dragging and dropping them to the finished floor plan like in the standard version. The timelapse video below demonstrates how to use RoomScan to quickly recreate a floor plan. Other demos can be found here.

RoomScan is available on iTunes but is only compatible with Apple devices that have motion sensors in them. It also requires that they be running iOS 7 or higher. To unlock all the features that this app has to offer, better purchase the Pro version that costs $4.99.

VIA: RoomScan

via Slashgear

Animals UV spectrum vision allows them to see electricity on power lines

Animals See Power Lines as Terrifying Bursts of Light

We’ve known that most critters try to avoid power lines, but until recently, scientists were pretty much in the dark when it came to why. Now, it turns out that to animals, power lines and pylons look like terrifying bands of glowing, flashing bursts of light.

This revelation came about as the result of a recent study on wild reindeer in Norway. Apparently, reindeer’s eyes are able to detect ultraviolet light, which means they can see when power lines give off flashes of UV light—a phenomenon human eyes are completely blind to. What’s more, for those sensitive to it, these ultraviolet bursts are even visible in total darkness.

As Professor Glen Jeffrey of University College London explained to The Independent:

Reindeer see deep into the UV range because the Arctic is especially rich in UV light. Insulators on power lines give off flashes of UV light. The animals potentially see not just a few flashes but a line of flashes extending right across the horizon.

This is the first bit of evidence that explains why we think they are avoiding power lines.

The UV glow itself comes from a build up of ionized gas that commonly occurs at various points in high-voltage power cables. These build-ups—known as coronas (and seen below)—will eventually dissipate, causing the UV flash of light that can scare critters on the ground. But it’s not just reindeer, another recent study revealed that about 35 different species are sensitive to ultraviolet radiation.

Still, the problem isn’t just the fact that these glowing power lines can be unsettling; they may actually be causing animal communities to fragment.

Animals have always had a tendency to avoid power lines and related structures, but the reason behind their avoidance wasn’t clear—power lines are neither a physical barrier nor necessarily associated with humans. Now that we know animals can see in UV, though, it looks like we finally have our answer.

The videos above and below were captured by electric utility-owned helicopters with mounted UV cameras. Since flashes of ultraviolet light can be a symptom of conduction problems, companies regularly use this method as part of routine inspections. These cameras only capture a limited range of of UV light though, so what we’re seeing here barely begins to compare to what more highly UV-sensitive animals are witness to. It’s not hard to see how sudden explosions of light could frighten any number of forest creatures.

Now that we know what’s causing these animal communities to scatter, we can actually begin to require utility companies to consult with herders before the construction process begins. But more than that, this will hopefully act as a wakeup call—because whether or not we realize it, as cities expand, it’s often the displaced animals that end up paying the price. [The GuardianThe Independent]

Gizmodo.com, from The Independent and The Guardian

Pill may be coming that can reset the body’s clock

  • Researchers have found a mechanism that controls how people react to long-haul travel or working irregular hours
  • Tests on mice revealed an enzyme which controls their body clock 
  • By deleting the gene which produces the enzyme scientists reset this clock 
  • Although human genes can’t be deleted, scientists are working on a pill that blocks it from producing the enzyme
  • This pill could be on the shelves within five years, said researchers

By BEN SPENCER

 

A pill to treat jet lag could be on the shelves within five years, thanks to a discovery which allows scientists to reset the human body clock.

Researchers at Manchester University have found the mechanism that governs how people react to long-haul travel or working irregular hours.

Their tests on specially bred mice revealed an enzyme which controls how the body’s clock can be reset.

 
During tests, researchers at Manchester University found a gene that produces an enzyme which controls how the body's clock can be reset. Drug companies are using the discovery to develop a pill to ease the impact of sleep deprivation, jet lag and changes to daily routine. Stock image pictured

 

During tests, researchers at Manchester University found a gene that produces an enzyme which controls how the body’s clock can be reset. Drug companies are using the discovery to develop a pill to ease the impact of sleep deprivation, jet lag and changes to daily routine. Stock image pictured

 

HOW WOULD THE PILL WORK?

 

The researchers discovered the gene which produces an enzyme that controls part of the circadian clock.

They then deleted the gene in mice to stop them producing the enzyme, called casein kinase 1epsilon. 

The team studied the mice for changes by timing the lights switches in their cages to replicate a weekend flight to New York.

The mice without the crucial enzyme adapted much faster to the new day-night pattern and displayed much smaller metabolic disruption.

Deleting the gene would not be possible in humans, but the finding has allowed pharmaceutical firms to investigate a pill to block the enzyme.

Drug companies are using the discovery to develop a pill to ease the impact of sleep deprivation, jet lag and changes to daily routine. 

Dr David Bechtold, who led the research, said a treatment could even be ready within five or ten years.

 Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which collaborated with the Manchester team, has a treatment in pre-clinical development, and other companies are thought to be investigating other lines of research for similar products.

Dr Bechtold told the MailOnline: ‘The drugs that we have used are amenable for development, they will work and it is a matter of optimising them for clinical use. 

‘This development opens a line of work which could very realistically lead to human treatment.

‘Within five to ten years the availability of drugs which can be used to target the body clock in people will start to become a reality.’

 
Using mice, stock image pictured, researchers discovered that if they deleted the gene, it would stop the mice producing the enzyme, called casein kinase 1epsilon. Deleting the gene would not be possible in humans, but the finding has allowed pharmaceutical firms to investigate ways to block it

 

Using mice, stock image pictured, researchers discovered that if they deleted the gene, it would stop the mice producing the enzyme, called casein kinase 1epsilon. Deleting the gene would not be possible in humans, but the finding has allowed pharmaceutical firms to investigate ways to block it

 

WHAT CAUSES JET LAG?

 

Nearly all living things have an internal mechanism – known as the circadian rhythm or body clock – which synchronises bodily functions to the 24-hour pattern of the Earth’s rotation.

In humans and other mammals, the clock is regulated by the bodily senses – most importantly the way the eye perceives light and dark and the way skin feels temperature changes.

When we work late, or travel to different time zones, the light our body expects to see – based on how long we’ve been awake – for example, is different, and this causes our body clock to fall out of sync. 

This causes the feeling of jet lag. 

But the pressures of modern living mean we are now increasingly working against our clocks and risking long term health problems from metabolic disease.

Separate studies have found that people who work night shifts or who get too little sleep are more susceptible to diseases including depression, cancer, diabetes and dementia. 

The researchers discovered the gene which produces an enzyme that controls part of the circadian clock. They deleted the gene in mice to stop them producing the enzyme, called casein kinase 1epsilon.

The team studied the mice for changes by timing the lights switches in their cages to replicate a weekend flight to New York.

The mice without the crucial enzyme adapted much faster to the new day-night pattern and displayed much smaller metabolic disruption.

Deleting the gene would not be possible in humans, but the finding has allowed pharmaceutical firms to investigate a pill to block the enzyme.

Dr Bechtold, whose research is published in the journal Current Biology, said: ‘By tackling this enzyme we can wind the body clock back or forwards, we can modulate the clock.

‘So jet lag could be eliminated by using inhibitors on the family of enzymes which sets the speed of the clock.

He added: ‘We already know that modern society poses many challenges to our health and wellbeing – things that are viewed as commonplace, such as shift-work, sleep deprivation, and jet lag disrupt our body’s clocks.

‘We are not genetically predisposed to quickly adapt to shift-work or long-haul flights, and as so our bodies’ clocks are built to resist such rapid changes.

‘Unfortunately, we must deal with these issues today, and there is very clear evidence that disruption of our body clocks has real and negative consequences for our health.

‘As this work progresses in clinical terms, we may be able to enhance the clock’s ability to deal with shift work, and importantly understand how maladaptation of the clock contributes to diseases such as diabetes and chronic inflammation.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2585340/Getting-rid-jet-lag-soon-simple-taking-pill-Scientists-way-reset-body-clocks-long-flights.html#ixzz2wXPpr0Ia 
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