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Hopeful News in Tech

In order to get into the holiday spirit, I decided to share some interesting and hopeful tech coming our way. You know I'm a conservationist so I'm excited to tell you the artificial coral reefs are helping to save the oceans. How exciting is that?

In 2016 researchers at the University of Hong Kong installed artificial coral reefs made up of terra cotta tiles. They 3D printed the material in hexagonal shapes that were perfect for coral seedlings and other ocean species to find a foothold. Pieces of living coral were placed onto the matrix in the hopes that they would attach and grow. Well, they did! And after three years, there was a 98% survival rate for the corals on the tiles. The researchers planted several types of corals with this method and hope to repeat the incredible results with those as well. So happy we're making progress in restoring our precious coral reefs.

Forget about Elon Musk's Neuralink circus currently going down on Twitter. Instead, may I direct you to another innovation in brain implants? One that is making a difference in many lives as we speak. I'm talking about Deep-Brain Stimulators or DBS. These implanted devices send electrical signals to parts of the brain to help patients with Parkinson's and epilepsy. But there is potential for DBS to help with conditions like depression, anxiety, OCD, and PTSD as well. The problem is that because its job is to send stimulating currents to the brain, it needs massive amounts of battery power. Removing and replacing the DBS can be risky. So it's great to hear that there is a new concept that will draw power from the patient themselves. From the motion of breathing, to be exact. Researchers at the University of Connecticut spinoff, VoltXon have created a unique superconductor that stores the motion energy to power the DBS. Quite exciting stuff! Check out the excellent article by IEEE Spectrum here.

In r, I decided to share some interesting and hopeful tech coming our way. You know I'm a conservationist so I'm excited to tell you the artificiaol coral reefs are helping to save the oceans. How exciting is that?

And finally some cool news with a bit of ick. A company called AMSilk is making a super strong thread called Biosteel fiber. They're doing this by replicating one of the strongest materials on earth, spider silk, on a molecular level. How. you may ask? By using fermented E.Coli bacteria. Bleh! Results are a material that is incredibly strong like steel but flexible like rubber. Cool, right? It has uses in the automotive, fashion, and many other industries. Think of the possibilities!

Oh, if you're into AI programs there's a really helpful thread on Twitter that talks about and has links to many of the free consumer ones out there. Check it out here. You can try out virtual assistants, get help with prompts for AI image prompts, and even generate your own music.

I hear the Youtube transcribing app is both easy and effective. I'm most excited about the image generators. Text to image is a gift for the artistically challenged like myself. But that brings up a quickly brewing storm. AI vs. Artists' rights.

This is definitely something I should cover in another blog but the gist of it is that there is that copyright infringement is a terrible problem with AI programs.

AI art generators like Dall-e or Midjourney are trained on the work of human artists. They then will use those images in which they learned composition or color or movement and create strikingly similar works. So something you conceived and executed over the course of hours can be spit out in seconds. Problem aren't paid for your original idea. Which is where the value lies. Where does the artist go for recourse? An interesting dilemma I'll cover soon.

If you know of any consumer friendly and free programs, drop a comment and share your finds with others. :)

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