iPhone Nurse & “Warp Drive” | SciByte 64

iPhone Nurse & “Warp Drive” | SciByte 64

We take a look at house calls for ear infections, ig-nobel awards, distant galaxies, UK’s fireball, updates on the Jupiter Impact, Red Bull Stratos, the Shuttle Endeavour, Alcubierre “Warp Drive”, Curiosity updates and as always take a peek back into history and up in the sky this week.

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Show Notes

Is it an ear infection? There could be an app for that

  • An iPhone attachment designed for at-home diagnoses of ear infections
  • The low down
  • Pediatricians currently diagnose ear infections using the standard otoscope to examine the eardrum
  • With a new technology and an app parents could receive a diagnosis at home
  • Significance
  • With Remotoscope, parents would be able to take a picture or video of their child’s eardrum using the iPhone and send the images digitally to a physician for diagnostic review
  • Remotoscope’s clip-on attachment uses the iPhone’s camera and flash as the light source as well as a custom software app to provide magnification and record data to the phone
  • Current data transmission capabilities seamlessly send images and video to a doctor’s inbox or to the patient’s electronic medical record.
  • This system has the potential to save money for both families and healthcare systems,
  • Receiving serial images of a child’s ear over several days via the Remotoscope could allow physicians to wait and see if a child’s infection improves or whether antibiotics are warranted
  • Allowing physicians to implement the “watchful waiting” plan rather than prescribing antibiotics right away
  • Clinical trials for the Remotoscope is currently underway to see if the device can obtain images of the same diagnostic quality as what a physician sees with a traditional otoscope
  • A Emory medical student is recruiting families who come into the emergency department at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta hospitals for treatment of ear infection-type symptoms
  • Once a family agrees to be in the trial and the child has seen the emergency room doctor
  • Video is taken of the child’s ear with Remotoscope and a traditional otoscope linked to a computer.
  • A panel of physicians will review the quality of the samples, make a diagnosis from the Remotoscope video and see if it matches the original diagnosis by the ER doctor.
  • Parents are also being asked their opinions on using the device, so far the parents are saying that they would like to use it
  • Of Note
  • The Food and Drug Administration, through the Atlanta Pediatric Device Consortium, is partially funding the trial
  • Although they are not ready for consumer use they are hoping to publish the trial’s results by the end of the year
  • Multimedia
  • Remotoscope: Checking for Ear Infections From Home | GeorgiaTech
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • iPhone attachment designed for at-home diagnoses of ear infections | Medical/xpress


Not the Nobel awards but the IG-Nobel awards

  • Ig-Nobel awards are prizes that are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative
  • Psychology
  • “Leaning to the Left Makes the Eiffel Tower Seem Smaller”
  • Peace Prize
  • Converting old Russian ammunition into new diamonds.
  • Acoustics
  • SpeechJammer, disrupts a person’s speech, by making them hear their own spoken words at a very slight delay. (even at only a few hundred milliseconds)
  • Neuroscience
  • demonstrating that brain researchers, by using complicated instruments and simple statistics, that can see meaningful brain activity anywhere
  • Chemistry
  • For solving the puzzle of why, in certain houses in the town of Anderslöv, Sweden, people’s hair turned green.
  • Literature
  • The US Government General Accountability Office, for issuing a report about reports about reports that recommends the preparation of a report about the report about reports about reports.
  • Physics Prize
  • calculating the balance of forces that shape and move the hair in a human ponytail
  • Fluid Dynamics
  • the dynamics of liquid-sloshing, to learn what happens when a person walks while carrying a cup of coffee.
  • Multimedia
  • YouTube The 22nd First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony | ImprobableResearch
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • ImprobableResearch
  • Shut up! Speech jammer among 2012 Ig Nobel winners | Phys.org

An ancient galaxy

  • With the combined the power of NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes as well as a cosmic magnification effect, a team of astronomers has spotted what could be the most distant galaxy ever detected.
  • The low down
  • Objects at these extreme distances are mostly beyond the detection sensitivity of today’s largest telescopes
  • For these objects have to rely on “gravitational lensing” (predicted by Albert Einstein a century ago) when the gravity of foreground objects warps and magnifies the light from background objects
  • In this case it brightening the remote object some 15 times and bringing it into view.
  • Significance
  • This galaxy is the most distant object we have ever observed with high confidence
  • The light from the galaxy came from when the 13.7-billion-year-old universe was just 500 million years old, or 3.6% it’s current age
  • The galaxy is small and compact, containing only about 1 percent of the Milky Way’s mass
  • This observation supports leading cosmological theories that the first galaxies should indeed have started out tiny, then progressively merged
  • Of Note
  • Future work involving this galaxy, as well as others like it that we hope to find, will allow us to study the universe’s earliest objects and how the Dark Ages ended
  • Astronomers plan to study the rise of the first stars and galaxies and the epoch of reionization with the successor to both Spitzer and Hubble, NASA’s James Webb Telescope, slated for launch in 2018
  • The newly described distant galaxy will likely be a prime target
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Astrophysicists spy ultra-distant galaxy amidst cosmic ‘dark ages’ | Phys.org


UK’s Sep 21st fireball

— Updates —

Sep 10th Jupiter Impact

Red Bull Stratos is targeting Oct. 8 for final record-breaking ‘flight’


Shuttle program


Alcubierre “Warp Drive”

  • Thanks guys!
  • Ben Morse ‏@Benathon
  • Ted Hynes ‏@MrUnbridledMind
  • Last time on SciByte
  • Warp Drive | SciByte 15 [September 6, 2011]
  • The low down
  • The basic concept of the Alcubierre warp drive is to warp space and time around a ship was suggested in 1994 by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre
  • It would cause space-time to warp around the starship, creating a region of contracted space in front of it and expanded space behind
  • While the starship itself would stay inside a bubble of flat space-time that wasn’t being warped
  • Calculations at the time found that such a device would require prohibitive amounts of energy.
  • Significance
  • Previous studies estimated the warp drive would require a minimum amount of energy about equal to the mass-energy of the planet Jupiter
  • Recently it was calculated what would happen if the shape of the ring encircling the spacecraft was adjusted into more of a rounded donut, as opposed to a flat ring
  • In those calculations the warp drive could be powered by a mass about the size of a spacecraft like the Voyager 1
  • Of Note
  • If the intensity of the space warps can be oscillated over time then the energy required is reduced even more
  • Although the basic concept is still impractical these new calculations make it more plausible and worth further investigation
  • Scientists have already begun experimenting with a mini version of the warp drive in their laboratory.
  • They are hoping to generate a very tiny instance of this in a tabletop experiment, to try to perturb space-time by one part in 10 million
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Warp Drive May Be More Feasible Than Thought, Scientists Say | Space.com
  • The warp drive: hyper-fast travel within general relativity | IOPSciece



Looking back

  • Sep 28, 1858 | 154 years ago : 1st Picture of a comet : Donati’s comet (discovered by Giovanni Donati, 1826–1873) became the first to be photographed. It was a bright comet that developed a spectacular curved dust trail with two thin gas tails, captured by an English commercial photographer, William Usherwood, using a portrait camera at a low focal ratio. At Harvard, W.C. Bond, attempted an image on a collodion plate the following night, but the comet shows only faintly and no tail can be seen. Bond was subsequently able to evaluate the image on Usherwood’s plate. The earliest celestial daguerreotypes were made in 1850–51, though after the Donati comet, no further comet photography took place until 1881, when P.J.C. Janssen and J.W. Draper took the first generally recognized photographs of a comet

Looking up this week

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