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The Weekly Roundup 12.4 Edition

by Amy December 4, 2015



The First Cyborg Plants Have Been Created

Thanks to a team of engineers at the the Linköping University Laboratory for Organic Electronics in Sweden, nature and technology are working together like never before. The team has been able to implant analog and digital circuits inside a living rose. What is most amazing about this development is that the newly modified plant is able to grow natural transistors and other electronic components. While this revolutionary new plant is still in an incredibly early stage of development, there are a myriad of potential practical applications for this “cyborg” plant down the line. Most importantly, the plants could be used to generate power through their photosynthesis process. We could also alter the plant’s makeup through a computer program to create new species of plants with new capabilities. One of the less practical but cool uses for this new technology would be creating plants whose leaves change color. This cyborg plant is an incredible break through and is a great stepping stone for more technological integration with nature.

For the full story on, click here.

Augmented Reality in Cardiac Surgery

Augmented reality can be used for more than just experiencing video games in a more realistic and interactive setting. The popular new technology has now been successfully utilized to assist in the success of a particularly difficult type of cardiac surgery. Surgeons in Poland used an optical, head-mounted device based on Google Glass to see a 3D recreation of the body part they were operating on during their procedure. With the success of the operation, it has been shown that augmented reality can be useful during medical procedures and can actually make a surgeon more efficient in his or her work. We can expect to see more applications of this technology in the health field and other industries in the future.

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Holiday Lighting Safety Tips

With the holiday season underway, you may be thinking about decorating your house to get in the festive spirit. Use these tips to make sure your holiday lights don’t pose any safety risks:

  • Make sure any lights you use outside are designed for outdoor use and aren’t frayed.
  • Do not replace bulbs when the electricity is on.
  • Never let bulbs touch flammable material like plastic or dry leaves.
  • Don’t place lights on a metallic tree as faulty lights could electrify the whole tree.
  • Turn off decorative lighting when you aren’t in the room.
  • Avoid overloading outlets and extension chords.
  • Place wires in areas that they cannot trip anyone.

With these tips you can ensure that you have a safe and happy holiday season.

For the full list of tips at, click here.

Medical Devices Are Vulnerable to Hacking

It’s no secret that hacking and cyber security threats are some of the biggest challenges facing our internet-connected technology-dependent society. What we rarely consider is the range of different devices that are connected to the internet and therefore are susceptible to hacks. One field where hacks could have serious, and potentially deadly, implications is the medical field.  Medical devices such as certain drug infusion pumps can be hacked so that the device malfunctions and delivers a deadly dose of medication. X-rays can also be stolen from medical databases and expose confidential information about patients. It may even be possible for hackers to attack security vulnerabilities in pacemakers to deliver a lethal shock to a patient’s heart. As more medical systems and devices are integrated with connectivity capabilities, it will be incredibly important that they are rigorously tested for any security vulnerabilities.

For the full story on, click here.