Body-hacking ultrasound and how to be your own charging station – IMPRESSO #38

In this IMPRESSO edition: Body-hacking ultrasound, how to be your own charging station, and filtering brains.


Be your own charging station!

While sufficient availability and speed of wireless internet used to be rare just a few years ago, it has been the charging of your mobile device, which became the recent bottleneck of using smart phones on the go. Wi-Fi availability has increased to an extent that the radio frequencies have become an untapped source of energy. To harness this under-utilized energy source, a research team from the National University of Singapore developed smart devices know as spin torque oscillators. The small devices are designed to harvest and convert wireless radio frequencies into energy. This marks the beginning of a promising route towards various applications, ranging from wireless charging of your personal mobile devices to the powering of self-sufficient smart systems and sensors through wireless internet! Read here


Body-hacking ultrasound

Implanted medical devices have traditionally been bulky and inconvenient to patients and physicians, as they require cables or batteries for data transfer and energy supply. The smallest ever developed single chip system, which is smaller than a dust mite and only visible through a microscope, has the potential to change this problem faced by the medical field. Developed by a team of Columbia University Engineers, the device can be injected for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes, like the monitoring of body temperature. The team uses ultrasound to both power and communicate with the device wirelessly, making it easy to implant and resolving the issue of energy supply or data transfer through cables. The team envisions further diagnostic applications (e.g., glucose level) and hence, give patients increased freedom of movement and independence! Read more


Filtering brains

Did you ever listen to someone and only seemed to remember the most important thing..? 😉 Well… The functioning of computers has often been compared to how brains work. Both are complex and rely on electric impulses. However, computers operate on a binary basis – human brains can use more values, making them quicker at object recognition and energy efficiency. In the pursuit of mimicking brain function, physicists from the University of Groningen have created a complex oxide that imitates neurons and synapses with spins, a magnetic property of electrons. The potential of increased computer efficiency is linked to the application of neuromorphic findings in the field of stochastic computing. The latter speeds up data processing by providing the most important information “bit” first, while traditional binary computing provides the least important “bit” first. Needless to say, the availability of faster, more brain-like computers offers countless opportunities in the digital age…! Read more