Archive for the ‘Tech’ Category

8 June, 2015 — Tech

Rise of the Ambulance Drones

In December 2013, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos caused quite a stir with the announcement of his company’s plans to offer 30-minute product deliveries via unmanned aerial vehicles (more commonly referred to as “drones”).

Drones have been deployed by the U.S. military since the 1970s, for purposes ranging from providing bird’s eye surveillance of troop movements and weapons facilities to launching attacks on terrorist organizations.

However, the same technology can also be used to help save lives. Thankfully, a growing number of commercial, non-profit, and government scientists and laboratories are working towards that goal.

In October last year the Netherlands’ Delft University of Technology announced graduate student Alec Momont had developed a prototype drone that delivers a defibrillator to a heart attack victim.

To address the reality that the victim’s chance of survival decreases dramatically with each passing minute, this “ambulance drone” is guided by GPS to a mobile phone location within 4.6 square miles in under a minute. Once there, the drone uses live streaming audio and video to allow emergency personnel to provide instructions on how to use the defibrillator correctly, and transmit the patient’s vital signs.

Widespread adoption of this kind of technology would be welcome news here in the U.S., where heart disease is the number one cause of death for men and women (about one in four), claiming an estimated 600,000 lives each year.


Example of an ambulance drone delivering a defibrillator to a patient in need of urgent care. (Image Credit: Alec Momont and Delft University of Technology)

Video of the ambulance drone prototype is shown below.

Within the health and safety space, there are a number of powerful applications for drones that show great promise:

  • Dropping off emergency equipment or medication. Poison antidotes, EpiPens, and oxygen masks are just a few of the lifesaving possibilities.
  • Conducting search and rescue operations. Lost or injured people could be located at sea, in the mountains, or in a forbidding desert or jungle.
  • Responding to natural disasters. Fire, flood, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, or severe drought can delay or prevent on-site intervention by humanitarian or medical personnel. Drones could provide help when and where none would have been available.
  • Delivering aid to refugees and victims of war or military conflict. Man made disasters can be just as deadly as natural ones, and drones could deliver aid across hostile borders and amidst chaos that block timely assistance by humans.
  • Reaching rural or remote patients. Even in safe, peaceful situations, patients can be in locations that lack the infrastructure for effective emergency or ongoing care. Drones could be deployed to provide telemedicine, vaccines, prescription drugs, or medical supplies for home healthcare.
  • Collection of blood and tissue samples.  As well as delivering goods and services, drones could provide quicker return transport to fully equipped labs.

Before we get too excited, there are still a number of obstacles standing in the way of more widespread use of drones. Technical challenges include reducing the size and weight of the drones and their payloads, improving the ability of drones to detect and avoid objects in their flight path, and preventing hackers from misrouting or disabling the technology.

Legal and regulatory challenges include creating a framework to integrate drones into an already crowded airspace, training and licensing operators, determining liability, and respecting national sovereignty. Beyond the moral and ethical challenges of using any form of weaponized drones, all forms of the technology also have implications for personal privacy.

Amidst that morass, it’s encouraging to consider the upside of the inevitable development and use of drones in civilian environments. Happily, that upside goes well beyond Amazon’s promise to promptly deliver consumer goods to your doorstep. The healthcare applications listed above will soon be joined by many others that allow us to extend humanitarian, medical, and lifesaving assistance anywhere it’s needed.

This post first appeared on Forbes

28 December, 2013 — Development, Tech

Should Web Designers Be Able To Code?

Over Christmas I was flicking around the internet one evening and stumbled across a blog post here, and after reading it, it got me thinking about events that have happened in my life that leads me to believe that Elliot’s tweet was absolutely correct.

(an old Tweet I know but still just as relevant I think)

If someone is calling themselves a “web designer” they should not only be able to design but have the ability to visually or physically be able to work through the build process for a project’s visual aspect. Thus knowing and getting to know the limitations some designs may have before the final design is signed off by the client, making them think thats what there getting. I can’t remember how many times I have been sent a flat Photoshop (psd) file that is both complex and near impossible to build with the time allocated and the clients budget. Where the designer can’t code and therefore has no reference for the technical abilities needed to achieve the finished design and look they are after.

Web Designers – Can’t or Won’t

As in Elliot’s post there is a clear line between designers who can’t code and those who won’t code. However I think this is somewhat miss leaving in his post as he refers to “can’t” as ‘choosing not to’ – so they can but choose not too – where as I think there are designers who can’t because they don’t know how and need to be taught but are willing to learn.

What’s the options?

So the question is, should people who are web designers be able to code what they see visually? Or maybe we should be designing in the browser from the word go, after all it is 2013 (nearly 2014). Leaving photoshop for what it was built for?

I would love to hear your views from both designers and developers below.

Photo by takorii

5 September, 2013 — Blogging, Development, Tech, WordPress

Pressgram Hits the App Store!

John Saddington a former founder of 8BIT has a little project he started over at Kickstarter. Pressgram v1.0Pressgram is an Instagram like application that will allow its users to take photos using there iOS device, add filters and publish them right to a WordPress website all while drinking a cup of coffee! While some people might think whats the point – I may as well just use Instagram? Well a few months ago now Instagram was purchased by Facebook and not long after that decided it would change its Terms of Service to allow itself to effectively sell your photos for profit without your permission and without paying you a penny. To sum all of that up in one sentence… Instagram owns your photos from the moment they hit there servers! This was when John decided this wasn’t right – photos uploaded should remain the property of the user who took and uploaded the photo. Allowing full creative control to that user. This was when Pressgram

22 August, 2013 — Blogging, Development, Tech

First WPDaily, Now 8BIT Closes Its Doors

Yet another surprise from 8BIT! After announcing the closure and sale of WP Daily a few months ago. 8BIT has now announced via its blog that it will be closing its doors for good.

In a blog post by John Saddington, John stated:

There’s a lot that I could say but it’s best if I keep it short and sweet – everything is in a great place relationally and life has changed the pace and direction for all of the partners.

As a result, we decided collectively and equally that it was time to go our separate ways. There’s no hidden agendas, no hard feelings, and certainly no conspiracy. As I mentioned before, besides death and taxes, change is guaranteed.

The 8BIT Support Forums will be open for another 30 days however once this is up the company will no longer offer support for their products – and most importantly their Standard Theme. Many questions are still out there – What will happen to the founders of 8BIT? We know one thing for sure, John Saddington has his eyes on the upcoming release of Pressgram. What will happen to Standard Theme? Will it just disappear down a hole? Who knows.

8BIT suggested looking at these two companies for new themes:

  1. WooThemes
  2. StudioPress

One thing is for sure, the closer of 8BIT and WP Daily was short and sweet, no gimmics and no looking back. I wish the guys over at 8BIT every success in the future.

What do you think about the sudden closure?

18 August, 2013 — Tech

Get 1GB Free Dropbox Storage!

Dropbox are giving away 1GB free storage just by installing their popular mail client Mailbox. All you need to get this free storage is have 3 things. An iOS device, mailbox app from the App Store and a Gmail account. Follow the steps below to get your free bonus Dropbox storage.

1. Signup for a Dropbox account (if you don’t already have one)
2. Install Mailbox app on your iOS device.
3. Log in to your Gmail account on Mailbox
4. Link your Dropbox account (under settings menu)
5. Bingo! You now have 1GB extra free Dropbox space.

Already linked your Dropbox and Mailbox accounts? Just unlink your Dropbox account and relink to get the bonus.