As advanced as agriculture has become, there remains a pressing need for nondestructive ways to ”see” into the soil. Now the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) has awarded $4.6 million to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) for two innovative projects to address this gap, giving farmers important information to increase crop yields while also promoting the storage of carbon in soil.
One project aims to use electrical current to image the root system, which will accelerate the breeding of crops with roots that are tailored to specific conditions (such as drought). The other project will develop a new imaging technique based on neutron scattering to measure the distribution of carbon and other elements in the soil.
“Both technologies could be transformational for agriculture ⎯ for quantifying belowground plant traits and where carbon and other elements are distributed⎯and will enable the next generation of predictive models for agriculture and climate,” said Eoin Brodie, deputy director of Berkeley Lab’s Climate & Ecosystem Sciences Division and a microbiologist who is contributing to both projects. “They’re windows into the soil, something that we urgently need.”
Continue onto The University of California’s newsroom to read the complete article.
Professional Woman’s Magazine recently spoke with Ashley Mehta, chairwoman, CEO and president of Nolij Consulting, a woman-owned, solutions-focused healthcare IT company that specializes in digital healthcare modernization for the military, public and commercial sectors.
Mehta founded the Northern Virginia-based Nolij Consulting in 2013, and since then, has scaled the company to be the leader in healthcare IT.
We asked the Ohio native more about Nolij, her challenges as a female business owner and her goals for the future:
Professional Woman’s Magazine (PWM): Tell us a little bit more about your background. Were you always interested in IT?
Mehta: I am a graduate of the Ohio State University’s Max. M. Fisher College of Business. I have two children and am privileged to be in a position where I can create a positive, impactful work environment for my employees while giving back to the community and championing causes that I am passionate about, including veterans’ and women’s issues. I love working in IT because, whether it’s making systems more efficient, reducing client expenditure or producing better outcomes, technology is able to create a significant and real change in organizations and people’s lives. Yes, I’ve always been interested in technology as it increases business efficiencies and brings people together to solve the most pressing business problems.
PWM: What led you to create Nolij Consulting?
Mehta: I was a former stay-at-home mom with two young children who found herself in a position where I needed to go back to work. I joined a large consulting firm and had the opportunity to learn the entire spectrum of the business – from compliance to proposals, business development, technology and everything in between. As the industry started shifting from large business opportunities to more small business opportunities, I recognized my chance to start my own company and make a real difference in the industry while having the work/life balance I wanted so I could juggle all of my responsibilities. From there, Nolij was born. Over the past 9 years, we have made great strides against considerable odds in establishing ourselves amid a crowded GovCon marketplace! Ironically enough, I have trained several previously stay at home moms in this business and they now work for Nolij.
PWM: What challenges, if any, have you experienced as a female founder and CEO in this space?
Mehta: The biggest obstacle I’ve faced to date is the lack of prime IT opportunities specifically set aside for women-owned businesses. As Nolij has grown its footprint across the GovCon space, and is now expanding into the commercial sector, I’ve continued to focus on key areas, such as cybersecurity, RPA and AI, where we can expand our partnerships to create new opportunities for women-owned businesses.
PWM: What would you say is your greatest accomplishment to-date?
Mehta: Building a successful, thriving business and creating an outstanding consulting company with a great work environment for my employees while being a great mother is my greatest accomplishment so far. Our employees gave us a 4 on Glassdoor, which is no easy feat to achieve for an organization. Glassdoor is a website where current and former employees anonymously review companies. I am proud of employing leading talent across the industry and having the expertise to serve our clients and add to their success.
Nolij is proud to give back to various charities and support the less fortunate in our community. As a little girl, I’ve always dreamed of having extra money to give to those in need.
I’ve been able to do this while raising two beautiful children who have worked hard as well and have bright futures ahead of them. These successes inspire me every day to keep moving forward.
PWM: What advice would you give to another female entrepreneur?
Mehta: I would say that leading by example, putting yourself in front of clients and marketing your company on social media is very important. It’s also critical to set yourself apart and create a differentiator for your company. Distinguish your company and invest heavily in training resources and certifications for your organization and your employees. To build a successful team, be sure you are offering the right benefits that will keep employees with you and give them the chance to grow professionally. It’s no longer expensive to provide the benefits and resources that larger companies do. It is important to create a strong foundation to make people feel valued and enjoy coming to work each day. And remember, once you have a strong service/product offering, no one will care if you are a man or a woman.
PWM: What are your goals for Nolij Consulting? What do you hope to achieve in the future?
Mehta: We are focused on strategic growth in a number of areas going forward to make the company future-ready. We are also focused on strong partnerships and relationships to further strengthen our capabilities to meet our clients’ goals. We’ve created three new joint ventures (JV) focused on cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, emerging technologies and health IT services. These joint ventures are a combination of 8A, WOSB, Hubzone, and SDVOSB managed JVs. We also have a mentor protégé JV relationship with a large health IT company where we plan to win opportunities under relevant IT contract vehicles. We are currently working to win several contract vehicles that give us the ability to win task orders under those vehicles. We just recently won GSA 8A STARS III and Navy Seaport NxG. We are also strengthening our AI /ML solutions to establish a strong capability in software testing and Electronic Health Records (EHR). We just won an artificial intelligence sole source opportunity with Health and Human Services (HHS). We’ve established several emerging, next-generation technology product partnerships and are currently establishing a workforce that is well trained on delivering these products. Our goal is to achieve an even stronger health IT company focused on our employee’s wellbeing while providing excellent health IT services to our clients.
PWM: What is something colleagues would be surprised to know/learn about you?
Mehta: I have a twin brother who is also in IT. He is more in the sales and software product side of the business. My son looks quite a bit like him. I also have an older brother who is in healthcare mergers and acquisitions. I grew up with my father owning his own consulting business around continuing education for CPAs. He did not have the luxury of the business conveniences that we have today. Due to the lack of technology, he had to educate CPAs in person, ship heavy training materials for his classes and had to conduct business over a phone hooked up to a wall. Today we can offer e-learning opportunities, send large documents over the internet, use our mobile phones to have Zoom or WebEx meetings with clients across the world. As a business owner and mother, I have a tremendous amount of respect for what my dad accomplished while raising kids without the technological advances we have today.
PWM: Anything else you would like to add that we missed?
Mehta: If your company has predominately male leadership, if it’s not leaning more towards a healthy even split, then the next generation of women will consider your company yesterday’s product. A product not worth their investment and time; a place where innovation and creativity will be stifled by outdated norms.
I want to take a moment to recognize the bright daughters of my outstanding employees and all that they are accomplishing. It’s exciting to think about a future where their contributions will not only be recognized but will be sought-after. Ultimately, empowering women in the workplace ensures your company will be ready for whatever challenges lie ahead.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently introduced a prototype of a humanoid robot at the company’s AI Day event.
Musk says the “Tesla Bot” will probably be launched next year, saying the robot would “eliminate dangerous, repetitive, boring tasks.”
The robot would carry out the work people don’t like to do.
“It’s around 5 foot 8. It has sort of a screen where the head is for useful information, but it’s otherwise basically got the autopilot system and it’s got cameras, got eight cameras,” said Musk. “Full self-driving computer and making use of all of the same tools that were used in the car.”
Musk mentioned the robot’s economic impact, using the current worker shortage as an example.
In addition to the Tesla Bot, the company also unveiled chips it designed for its high-speed computer, Dojo.
Dojo will help develop Tesla’s automated driving system. It is another product Musk sees being operational next year.
“So Dojo is real,” said Musk. “The Tesla Bot will be real. But basically, if you think about what we’re doing right now with the cars, Tesla is arguably the world’s biggest robotics company, because cars are like semi-sentiment, robots on wheels.”
Tesla has come under scrutiny recently over the safety of its “Full Self-Driving” advanced driver assistant system.
Forget Google Search and Fuchsia. Researchers from Google, Stanford, Princeton, and other universities might have made a computer discovery so big we can’t fully comprehend it yet. Even Google researchers aren’t entirely sure that their time crystal discovery is valid. But if it turns out to be accurate, then Google might be one of the first companies to give the world a crucial technological advancement for the future. Time crystals will be an essential building block in quantum computers, the kind of computers that can solve complex problems with incredible speed and power technologies that aren’t even invented.
What is a quantum computer?
Google isn’t the only company building quantum computers, and these types of machines keep popping up in the news with regularity. Quantum computers won’t reach your phone, and they’re not going to play games. Even if they did, Nintendo will totally ignore the latest computer technology when designing future consoles.
As The Next Web explains, we plan on using quantum computers for challenging problems. Examples include warp drives that could make fast interstellar travel possible. And medical technology that could cure virtually any disease.
But quantum computers are really hard to build, maintain, and even use. That’s where Google’s time crystals might come into play. As it stands now, quantum computers feature qubits, computer bits in the quantum world. These qubits act differently when someone observes them than when they’re left alone. That’s what makes it difficult to measure qubit states. And that instability makes using a quantum computer problematic. That’s where time crystals come in.
Google’s time crystals
Theorized in 2012, the time crystal concept is a new phase of matter. The Next Web explains that time crystals contradict one of Sir Isaac Newton’s famous laws. The first law of motion says that “an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion.”
In our universe, there’s something called high entropy (disorder). Something always happens thanks to energy exchanges. Entropy remains the same if there are no processes but increases in their presence. But that’s not valid for time crystals. They can maintain entropy even when they’re used in a process.
To understand Google’s time crystals, The Next Web offers a great analogy with snowflakes. They have unique designs, as the atoms are arranged in specific ways. Snow falls, melts, water evaporates, and then it’ll eventually become snow again. All these processes involve energy exchanges. A time crystal would be like having a snowflake that can change between two configurations back and forth with no energy usage or energy loss. Time crystals can have their cake and eat it too, and they can do it perpetually.
MNT spoke with Dr. Nada Elbuluk, a dermatologist specializing in skin of color, about education, trust, and the underrepresentation of People of Color in research.
Disparities and inequities pervade every area of health, and dermatology is no exception. In fact, insufficient visual representation of conditions that affect darker skin, coupled with many other inequities in healthcare, has led to particularly stark disparities in health outcomes for People of Color.
Although skin cancer tends to affect more non-Hispanic white people than non-Hispanic Black or Asian people, when it does affect People of Color, doctors tend to diagnose it at a much later stage.
For example, doctors diagnose around one-quarter of melanoma cases in African American people when the cancer has already spread to nearby lymph nodes. This is according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
The condition is harder to treat at these later stages, resulting in poorer outcomes for People of Color. The 5-year survival rate for people with skin cancer that has not spread to the lymph nodes is 99%, but this drops to 66% if it does spread.
According to the most recent statistics from the American Cancer Society, white adults in the United States with melanoma have a 5-year survival rate of 92%, while this rate drops to just 67% for African American people.
Systemic discrimination and the bias that the medical community displays toward white skin also mean that white people are twice as likely to see a dermatologist, for example, than Black and Hispanic individuals. This is according to a study from 2018.
Furthermore, the current pandemic has made cancer screenings even more infrequent, which could exacerbate these disparities. For instance, diagnoses of melanoma dropped by more than 67% in 2020 as a result of COVID-19.
In this context, Medical News Today spoke with Dr. Nada Elbuluk — a skin of color expert, practicing dermatologist, and dermatology professor at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles — about the causes of health disparities in dermatology and how to remedy them.
We also spoke with Dr. Elbuluk about Project IMPACT. This is a global initiative that she helped launch to reduce racial disparities and bias in dermatology education and medical practice. Dr. Elbuluk is Project IMPACT’s director of clinical impact.
The ride-hailing company Lyft is changing up its search data and places provider, which until now have been powered by Google. Lyft will now use Here instead. Lyft says the switch will mean a better search database for places and addresses as well as more accurate predicted arrival times—two important things for a ride-hailing company to get right.
“Over the past six months, we have worked in collaboration with Lyft to implement and test our robust destination catalog that helps riders get to more destinations in cities across North America. Our services are now enriching the Lyft network, spearheading innovation in the rideshare industry,” said Here CEO Edzard Overbeek.
There may be other motivations for the switch. According to Lyft’s head of rideshare, Ashwin Raj, the switch will “improve the efficiency of our marketplace,” but the press release also explicitly mentions keeping user data private.
Lyft also has a new driverless tech partner. In the past, the company has dabbled in developing an in-house capability, but in April, Lyft sold off its internal self-driving division to a subsidiary of Toyota.
Working with external autonomous driving partners seems to be going better, though, as Lyft provides the necessary ride-hailing component to find people to ride in robotaxis being developed by other companies. Lyft worked with Aptiv and Motional in Las Vegas, with plans to launch a robotaxi service using electric Hyundai Ioniq 5s in the city in 2023. And Lyft has helped Waymo begin actual commercial operations in Arizona.
Click here to read the full article on Ars Technica.
There are two ways of learning tech skills – one approach is the use of free courses, guides and other online resources and the second is by enrolling in schools that offer tech programs and education.
According to Brookings, members of the black and hispanic communities are still underrepresented in the tech sector despite increasing numbers. This means that if you want the numbers to continue to change, you’ll have to step up to the challenge.
If you do decide to learn tech skills alone, you won’t get a degree or a certificate, but this very much still a viable option to get your foot in the door. Know that employers are willing to hire someone without a tech degree if you can prove your worth but getting a diploma, certificate or degree can greatly boost your chance of being hired.
If acquiring certification is the path you’re willing to take, consider enrolling in a course hosted by reputable education companies. Know that tech education can be expensive, up to $25,000 even for certificates, but it is worth it. These schools often offer financing options and post-graduation employment support benefits.
With that in mind, here some aspects we should consider in order to get financing for tech education.
Apply for ‘Academy’ Organization Jobs
Tech skills are highly demanded these days, and employers know it. For that reason, if you are already in the tech field and you want to get additional education, you can get it by applying for jobs where companies can pay for your professional growth.
By doing so, you will be able to update your skills to stay current. An excellent example is Google. The company helps its employees get the education they need to take the company to the next level. Google invests vast amounts of money in new technologies like machine learning to provide better services and develop better products for customers.
So, if you are looking to learn machine learning skills, you should consider applying for Google’s vacancies. At Google, you will not only be able to learn new skills but also will be able to earn a good salary and have great benefits.
There are also companies like Facebook that are investing huge amounts of money in web development as they know that websites are revolutionizing the market. In effect, websites are increasing company brand recognition as well as customers’ reach. Through websites, companies can interact with customers all around the world. For that reason, eCommerce is playing a pivotal role in digital marketing. Also, websites help companies to collect valuable data to set new standards and meet new customers’ requirements. Given these points, doubtlessly web development skills are required these days, and for that reason, Facebook is willing to invest money in its employees’ education.
Enroll in Coding Bootcamps with Scholarship Opportunities
Some educational companies think about the future. In effect, they want their tech aspirants to prepare for next world challenges. For that reason, as getting an education can be expensive, they offer several financing options for students who want to join their programs. With this in mind, Flatiron is a company that provides scholarships to students. With the program, students can receive up to $1,500 per month to pay for tuition. The company offers several programs in software engineering, full-stack development, data science, and other in-demand subjects. Also, the company is committed to students’ success, and for that reason, they receive help from a support career team that allows students to receive help from experts in the field.
In like manner, Thinkful is a company that thinks of its students. For that reason, they also offer financing options to students to help them cover education costs. It is vital to mention that the company offers a tuition guarantee to students. Given that, students will receive their money back if they don’t get a qualifying job within six months after program completion. Also, Thinkful offers other financing options that include living stipends, income-share agreements, and discounts to help reduce students’ financial stress.
As can be seen, there is no doubt that if you want to change careers or you want to start a new tech career joining Thinkful’s team is the right option to take.
On Friday, the Federal Communications Commission gave the e-commerce giant clearance to create bedside radar devices meant to track how we toss and turn at night. And while Amazon’s putting the best face possible on the innovation, it’s still all about those ad dollars.
Bloomberg was first to notice the agency had quietly filed a memo that authorized the eCommerce giant to develop and deploy an “unlicensed radar device” meant to track any nearby movement. This was in response to an initial request that Amazon filed with the agency nearly three weeks ago, where the company described its vision for “Radar Sensors”. These devices, Amazon said, would fire high-frequency radio waves to map out movements from anyone nearby.
And because the FCC is the federal body responsible for policing the airwaves, Amazon was legally obligated to get their go-ahead before they began marketing this yet-to-be-licensed radar device.
“By capturing motion in a three-dimensional space, a Radar Sensor can capture data in a manner that enables touchless device control,” Amazon wrote. “As a result, users can engage with a device and control its features through simple gestures and movements.”
This kind of touchless device control, Amazon went on to explain, could be a godsend for disabled or elderly customers who can’t use the company’s bevy of voice-powered assistants because they’re unable to speak. And Amazon’s absolutely right. Despite the ever-growing list of privacy and security concerns packaged with Echos and Alexas, we’ve already seen that these devices can be life-changing for people who are blind or wheelchair-bound. Amazon’s done its best to make these devices just as accessible for folks that are deaf or speech impaired, but there’s only so much you can do when these tools are based on voice.
Thanks to this grant, Amazon has free rein to roll out a new version of the Echo that will let you set your alarms or turn off your TV using a nod or a hand wave or—maybe! hopefully!—sign language. It’s an objectively awesome idea! Less awesome was the other reason Amazon wanted this grant: contactless sleep tracking.
“These devices would enable users to estimate sleep quality based on movement patterns,” Amazon wrote in the initial filing. “The use of Radar Sensors in sleep tracking could improve awareness and management of sleep hygiene, which in turn could produce significant health benefits for many Americans.”
Amazon’s pitch sounds nearly identical to those from the countless sleepy startups with names like Beddit or SleepScore that traffic in the realm of “nearables.” As you can probably guess from the name, these are the sorts of sleep trackers that sit on your bedside table or your pillow while you’re sleeping (instead of on your wrist) and monitor your mid-sleep movements to see how ~restful~ your rest actually was. It makes sense in theory, but extrapolating someone’s sleep quality from their general movements is super controversial among die-hards in the sleep research community. Critics will point out that data pulled by nearby radars can be inconsistent—or completely wrong in some cases—and those working in the field will openly agree that the sleep-tech industry needs to standardize its scoring systems.
Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg – there are so many male leaders in tech. But what about Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, Susan Wojcicki, Sheryl Sandberg and the decades of further women technologists?
Women are making an impact in technology, but the statistics are still shocking. According to the Women and Technology Study conducted for PwC in 2017, only 3 percent of women say a career in technology is their first choice, 78 percent of students can’t name a famous woman working in technology, and only 5 percent of jobs in the technology industry are held by women.
Luckily, times are changing, and more women are being encouraged to join the ranks of innovators and creators driving remarkable technological innovations for our world.
Tech is a very cool industry for women to work
So why should women choose to work in technology?
Technology is a modern industry with a modern workplace culture. Think of all the perks at tech giant Google—free food, on-site massage therapists, dedicated volunteering time, and dog-friendly offices. But it’s not just about the physical benefits.
Emma Yang, CEO and founder of the mobile app Timeless
A career in technology means working with diverse people who are some of the brightest and most innovative minds in the world.
Working in the technology sector can mean working on some totally out-of-this-world, near-on futuristic projects that can help millions of people globally. Being part of something bigger and making a long-lasting and tangible difference to society is very appealing.
Of course, one of the biggest reasons why the technology sector can be so luring is its rapid rate of growth. With every new and exciting development comes many opportunities for women to get involved.
The technology sector is always hiring, and here are some of the key types of projects you could work on:
Ever dreamed of a robot cooking you dinner? Time to wake up into this reality: robots are becoming more intelligent, more dexterous, and more adaptable to their environment.
Dactyl is a robot created by OpenAI – non-profit brainchild of tech leader Elon Musk – who can hold things with its fingers and learn to do tasks beyond its programming.
Watching a series on the computer can even see the effort of reaching for the mouse to click the next episode an aspect of the past.
Development of a brain-computer interface is underway – a very futuristic but very possible technological development where thoughts can control the computer.
Another Elon Musk startup, Neuralink, has already developed a system where a monkey has successfully controlled a computer with its brain. The company has been considering rolling out the system for humans to help with brain and spinal cord injuries.
Internet has become a staple part of many people’s lives, which means we’re expecting more and more from it. One frustration is slow internet, but innovators are solving that problem too with 5G. High-speed internet is great for individuals, and for the economy also via boosting businesses, increasing working efficiency, and making communication easier and more reliable – particularly for remote workers.
So, it’s not quite the sci-fi utopia of flying cars, but technology companies are developing driverless cars powered by artificial intelligence.
It’s a mammoth task to take on – mimicking complex human actions and reactions, scaling the product to make it affordable to the mass-market – but many technology companies are determined to bring this to streets of the future.
Plant-based, meat-free food
Technology is often mainly associated with computers, devices and further hardware but technological progress can also be seen in other types of products – and can even impact of people’s lives, such as their diets. Thankfully, many people have become far more environmentally conscious and the technology industry is responding to this via a wide range of plant-based, meat-free options that are lab-grown or even 3D printed.
What’s more, plant-based meat-free alternatives can be very nutritionally optimized and personalized through technology so as to suit the health needs of individuals, and products can be mass-produced without a huge environmental impact – a big step towards alleviating the food crisis worldwide. Better for health, and better for the planet.
Personalized cancer vaccines
As well as food, technology can also revolutionize health. One incredible leap forward for human progress is custom cancer vaccines where treatment triggers someone’s immune system to find and destroy the cancer itself.
This is truly what working in technology is all about – developing new innovations that can save lives and change the world for the better.
Two women who are leading the way in creating these sorts of pioneering technological innovations are:
Stephanie Lampkin, founder and CEO of Blendoor – a mobile job matching app that uses a blind recruiting strategy to overcome unconscious bias and diversify recruiting in tech companies. A 13-year career with technology companies like Lockheed, Microsoft, and TripAdvisor has familiarized Lampkin with the difficulties of ‘looking different.’ With the help of technology and data, her aim is to prove that diversifying the tech talent pipeline will add, rather than remove, value to the industry.
And Emma Yang, CEO and founder of Timeless, a mobile app that helps Alzheimer’s patients stay engaged and connected to loved ones. She is a keen coder and an advocate for women in STEM. Through her work, she wants to encourage further young women like her to pursue careers in the technology industry and use their talents to make the world a better place.
Making space for women in STEM
With such rising demand for new technology, there is a significant need for women to be better supported in pursuing a career in STEM. Educators, businesses and individual mindsets must be broadened if barriers are going to be broken, stereotypes challenged and obstacles overcome to regarding women’s participation in and contribution to innovation.
We need more coding clubs in schools. We need more female role models and mentors. We need to overcome gender bias in the workplace. Companies also need to provide a more flexible work environment for women, such as programs to support women returners or better maternity leave policies.
A prototype flying car completed a 35-minute flight this week between international airports in Slovakia, fulfilling what developers called “a key milestone” in moving toward production. The dual-mode car-aircraft, called AirCar, flew on Monday between international airports in Nitra and Bratislava. It was AirCar’s first inter-city flight and 142nd successful landing, according to Klein Vision, the company behind its development.
It takes less than three minutes to transform from a road vehicle into an aircraft — and vice versa. Upon landing, a video shows the aircraft’s narrow wings fold down along the sides of the car and become ready for the roadway.
“The automated transition from road vehicle into an air vehicle and vice versa, deploying/retracting wings and tail is not only the result of pioneering enthusiasm, innovative spirit and courage; it is an outcome of excellent engineering and professional knowledge,” Dr. Branko Sarh, Boeing Co. Senior Technical Fellow, said in a statement.
The AirCar’s first prototype is equipped with a BMW engine with a fixed-propeller and ballistic parachute.
The hybrid car-aircraft has logged more than 40 hours of test flights, including steep 45 degree turns and stability and maneuverability testing, the company said.
It has flown at a height of 8,200 feet with a range of about 600 miles (1,000 km), according to Klein Vision.
The prototype was the decades-long dream of Professor Stefan Klein, who “devoted the last twenty years converting his flying-car dream into reality.” The AirCar model took about two years to develop and cost “less than 2 million euros” to develop, the company told the BBC.
Klein Vision sees the flying car as having a “huge market,” with a goal of attracting even a small percentage of the global airline and taxi sales.
“There are about 40,000 orders of aircraft in the United States alone,” Anton Zajac, Klein Vision’s co-founder, investor and pilot, told the BBC. “And if we convert 5% of those, to change the aircraft for the flying car – we have a huge market.”
Klein Vision said the second AirCar prototype, the pre-production model, would be equipped with a 300 horsepower engine and receive the EASA CS-23 aircraft certification with an M1 road permit.
Click here to read the full article on Fox 11 Los Angeles.
A team of scientists announced Monday that they had partially restored the sight of a blind man by building light-catching proteins in one of his eyes. Their report, which appeared in the journal Nature Medicine, is the first published study to describe the successful use of this treatment. “Seeing for the first time that it did work — even if only in one patient and in one eye — is exciting,” said Ehud Isacoff, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley, who was not involved in the study.
The procedure is a far cry from full vision. The volunteer, a 58-year-old man who lives in France, had to wear special goggles that gave him the ghostly perception of objects in a narrow field of view. But the authors of the report say that the trial — the result of 13 years of work — is a proof of concept for more effective treatments to come.
“It’s obviously not the end of the road, but it’s a major milestone,” said José-Alain Sahel, an ophthalmologist who splits his time between the University of Pittsburgh and the Sorbonne in Paris.
Sahel and other scientists have tried for decades to find a cure for inherited forms of blindness. These genetic disorders rob the eyes of essential proteins required for vision.
When light enters the eye, it is captured by photoreceptor cells. The photoreceptors then send an electrical signal to their neighbors, called ganglion cells, which can identify important features like motion. They then send signals of their own to the optic nerve, which delivers the information to the brain.
In previous studies, researchers have been able to treat a genetic form of blindness called Leber congenital amaurosis, by fixing a faulty gene that would otherwise cause photoreceptors to gradually degenerate.
But other forms of blindness cannot be treated so simply, because their victims lose their photoreceptors completely.
“Once the cells are dead, you cannot repair the gene defect,” Sahel said.
For these diseases, Sahel and other researchers have been experimenting with a more radical kind of repair. They are using gene therapy to turn ganglion cells into new photoreceptor cells, even though they don’t normally capture light.
The scientists are taking advantage of proteins derived from algae and other microbes that can make any nerve cell sensitive to light.
In the early 2000s, neuroscientists figured out how to install some of these proteins into the brain cells of mice and other lab animals by injecting viruses carrying their genes. The viruses infected certain types of brain cells, which then used the new gene to build light-sensitive channels.
Originally, researchers developed this technique, called optogenetics, as a way to probe the workings of the brain. By inserting a tiny light into the animal’s brain, they could switch a certain type of brain cell on or off with the flick of a switch. The method has enabled them to discover the circuitry underlying many kinds of behavior.
Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! News.