Artificial Pancreases Could Reduce Risk For Diabetic Women During Birth

A women, in Britain, last week became the first in the world to complete a vaginal natural birth using an artificial pancreas. The device was used to help reduce the risk, to both the mother and the unborn child, related to giving birth with diabetes.

Diabetes is a condition in which someone is unable, for one reason or another, to absorb enough glucose (a simple sugar which is crucial in providing energy to the body). With the inability to maintain and control their blood glucose levels, a diabetics levels can become too high or low. In the case of it becoming too high the body can create problems with sending hormones to organs. It is this chain of events which can cause complications during pregnancy and even during childbirth.

Modern day treatment to diabetes involves monitoring the blood glucose level and either using insulin to lower the blood glucose level or a sugary food to raise it should it fall too low. The devices used to monitor the blood glucose levels tend to use a small sample of blood to calculate the level and alert the diabetic should any action be required. With the requirement to be careful though out the day and even during sleep can cause discomfort and distractions as it can be dangerous for the levels to go too high or low.

In pregnancy, this risk is made worse by the fact that large amounts of energy are required during the childbirth. Normally maintained by a glucose infusion and doses of insulin (allowing the diabetics cells to absorb more glucose), the provision of which has to be continuously monitored. With the use of an artificial pancreas though it was possible to have a natural birth in contrast to the C-section that is normally recommended for diabetics to avoid the risks associated with childbirth and diabetes.

The device in question contains three parts, a sensor to detect the blood glucose level, an insulin pump, and a control algorithm. During times of high fluctuation, such as childbirth, the control algorithm allows for manual input into the situation further reducing risks associated with maintaining the blood glucose levels.

The hope is that eventually the system can be made fully autonomous and would be able to support diabetics not only during childbirth but in every day with minimal impact to their daily schedules. With future plans to automate the process it is also hoped that the device could be miniaturized and internalised, allowing the device to be present within the diabetics body, further reducing the outward changes required to monitor and respond to their blood sugar levels.

It always amazes me when technology enables us to do something we could normally only hope for, and in this case giving the opportunity to hundreds of people while also protecting them and their children.  I only hope that this technology continues to develop and help others in the future.

Thank you The Conversation and The BBC for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of the Technical University of Denmark.

Google Launches Family Friendly Store

Worried about your child getting a copy of Call Of Duty: Black Ops Zombies for their Android device? Our Advice, don’t be.

The reason we say this is because Google are launching their family friendly version of the Play Store in a few weeks. To fill the freshly available section, Google are inviting current application developers to join the program and create apps to meet Google’s idea of Child safe experiences.

Google have released a list of requirements and advert policies that you need to comply to as a developer before they will allow you to publish the app in the new store.

These rules include:

  • Apps must be rated ESRB for everyone over 10 years of age
  • Apps must comply with laws concerning advertising to children
  • No violent content for children under 13

Sounds like Google are getting pretty serious about making the Play store and phones a safe place for children. You can see all their rules and guidelines here

The launch of the new store will go well with the new user profiles feature in Android Lollipop. You’ll be able to create a profile for your child so you can stop them seeing your information, yet allow them to have a child safe experience with Apps and adverts whilst using the device.

Thanks to Engadget for this information

Images Courtesy of whereverwriter

Google Launches YouTube Kids App on Android

Google has launched a dedicated YouTube kids app for Android. The app, to be released on Monday, features specially selected TV shows and videos from kid-centric YouTube channels. The app will only be available on Android at first.

Google is set to announce the app at the Kidscreen Summit, an event with a focus on children’s television, making this a symbolic move by the company into the world of content crafted specifically for children. The app will feature a timer that is set to allow parents to limit their child’s viewing.

As you can see by the images, this app has been carefully designed for kids, with its large and colourful icons. There’s also something else quite kid-specific too – no ads. Yes, thanks to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, barring companies from collecting data from kids under-13,  meaning YouTube can’t show up targeted ads. This has obviously raised a few questions, with many wondering how the company will make any money from the app.

Source: The Verge

Facebook to Introduce Missing Child AMBER Alerts

Facebook has announced that it will begin including alerts regarding missing children into American Facebook news feeds. The company announced a partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the US organisation behind the famous AMBER alert programme.

Alerts will appear only in people’s News Feeds (no push notifications) and will only be limited to people in the area relative to the child that is currently missing.  Facebook says that users may see very few alerts each year, so nobody should be worried about their News Feed being clogged up.

AMBER alerts were introduced in 1996 with the aim of reducing the number of missing children. More than 720 children have been found thanks to the system that has until now been used via road signs, text messages and television.

The Facebook alerts will be much more detailed than the traditional alerts delivered via television, digital traffic signs and text messages, as they will include pictures, background information regarding the child’s circumstances and links to the NCMEC website.

Source: The Verge


Newly Trained Police Dog Can Sniff Out Hard Drives and Memory

Police dogs are a common sight as part of today’s police forces. Their supremely sensitive sense of smell (which can vary between 1000 and 10,000 times that of us humans) has led them to be a valuable asset in sniffing out drugs, money and people with high degrees of accuracy.

In a new wave of combating internet based crimes, Thoreau, a golden Labrador has had 22 weeks training after which he is now able to sniff out concealed computer hard drives, flash drives and other forms of flash-based storage, all of which may be harbouring child pornography.

Last month Thoreau performed his first search warrant during which he was able to pick out a flash drive that had been concealed below four layers of clothing and then a tin box, which itself was then hidden in a metal filing cabinet. The drive that he found was discovered to be harbouring child pornography and as his handler, Detective Adam Houston told reporters, if a device has a memory card, he will be able to find it.

Although he is not able to actively find devices harbouring the indecent images amongst those that don’t, his ability to sniff out drives that are hidden in unusual places that paedophiles tend to use is the key weapon that the police need to secure the incriminating evidence.

In exchange for finding the drives, Thoreau gets some food, which in itself is the only thing that he is really interested in, finding a drive = food so it’s no wonder that he will go to all lengths to find it. The battle against child pornography just moved up to the next level for the Connecticut State Police force.

Source: Slashdot

Image courtesy: Providence Journal

Complex Algorithm To Accurately Identify Objects Including Human Faces

Computers that can identify objects seem a thing from the future. Apparently, it is more close to reality than any of us think. Birmingham Young University from Provo, US – has found a way to make computers identify objects without the need of a human helping hand.

According to Dah-Jye Lee, BUY engineer, algorithms have become so advanced that they can make a piece of software identify objects by themselves from images and even videos. Lee is the founder of this algorithm and from what he describes, it is based on the computer making decisions on its own based on the shapes identified on the images or videos analysed.

“In most cases, people are in charge of deciding what features to focus on and they then write the algorithm based off that,” said Lee, a professor of electrical and computer engineering. “With our algorithm, we give it a set of images and let the computer decide which features are important.”

Lee’s algorithm is said to learn on its own, just as a child learns to distinguish a cat from a dog. He explains that instead of teaching a child the difference between the latter, we are better off showing the two images and let the child distinguish them on his or her own. Just like a child, the algorithm has been shown four image datasets from CalTech, namely motorbikes, faces, airplanes and cars, having the algorithm output 100% accurate results on each of the datasets. However, the algorithm had a lower rate of success with human faces, being able to accurately distinguish 99.4%, but still gave a better result than other object recognition systems.

“It’s very comparable to other object recognition algorithms for accuracy, but, we don’t need humans to be involved,” Lee said. “You don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time. You just run it.”

Professor Lee mentioned that the highly complicated algorithm may be used in a variety of tasks, from detecting invasive fish species to identifying flaws in produce such as apples on a production line. However, the complexity of the algorithm can go way beyond that.

Thank you Birmingham Young University for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of Birmingham Young University

Woman Arrested for Child-Trafficking on Facebook

Every corner of Facebook these days has a local buy, sell and swap page and mostly you’ll find reasonable items on there that are harmless and have a genuine reason for sale. However one woman in Oklahoma has taken the idea of selling on Facebook to a whole new level by putting her CHILDREN up for sale.

The woman in question, put her two children up for sale on the social networking site after her boyfriend got arrested and thrown into jail. Whats more, is the woman could be in more trouble than she first though as someone actually offered the $1000 asking price for a ten month old baby girl plus all of her clothes. A message to the willing buyer reads:

“Just come to Sallisaw, it’s only 30 minutes away and I’ll give you all of her stuff and let y’all have her forever for $1,000”

To top this off 22 year old Misty VanHorn even offered up her two year old child in a ‘bundle’ deal for $4000. Considering the woman’s boyfriend was only being held on a $1000 bond, it leaves us to wonder what the extra money was for. Either way though she is going to need a lot more help herself now after a $40,000 jail bond was placed against her as the case gets looked into.

As the potential sale has spread out of the woman’s home state, this is now looking to become a federal case, however the chances of seeing her children again are slim after they were taken into custody and safe care of Oklahomas department of human services after they alerted the state police.

So before you think about putting your kids up for sale on Facebook, take a step back and think about the consequences as its pretty certain that child trafficking will be against the terms and conditions that you abide to when you register your account.