FINDER Saves Lives in Nepal; Tech Diversity; Brain Spying; Iran’s Bieber Headache

Posted May 7th, 2015 at 2:05 pm (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

New Device That Detects Heartbeats Saves 4 Lives in Nepal

Prototype devices provided by NASA – called FINDER or Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response, have located four people trapped under the rubble of Nepal’s devastating April 25 earthquake. Using microwave radar that specifically zeros in on human heartbeats, FINDER devices can detect heartbeats through 30 feet of debris or 20 feet of concrete or from 100 feet away.

Bill Gates Launches Network of Disease Surveillance Centers

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has earmarked an initial $75 million to fund a network of disease surveillance sites aimed at reducing child mortality rates. The funding will help provide lab equipment, medical staff, training and treatment in the case of an epidemic.

Like It or Not, Europe’s Quota System Puts Women on Boards

Diversity reports estimate that women comprise nearly 30 percent of the tech workforce. And as the debate continues over the reasons for the shortfall and ways to address it, some European countries have moved to mandate quotas for women on the boards of leading public companies. But quotas are only part of a bigger approach that is needed to level the gender playing field.

Non-Profit Video Platform HelpsTeens Talk About Depression, Anxiety

Several celebrities are pitching in and recording videos for a new platform called Project UROK, which stands for “you are ok.” The non-profit platform runs videos recorded by artists and other public figures that talk candidly about mental health and how to cope with depression, anxiety and compulsive behavior.

Brain Technology Patents Soar as Companies Get Inside People’s Heads

A new analysis from market-research firm SharpBrains found the number of neurotechnology patents in the U.S., which numbered 300-400 a year in the 2000s, soared to 800 in 2010 and 1,600 last year. Surprisingly, patents were awarded to non-medical inventors – a step that edges closer to “the pervasive neurotechnology age,” as SharpBrains Chief Executive Alvaro Fernandez put it, when every day devices will be connected to the brain.

Drones Could Revolutionize 2016 US Presidential Coverage

Next year’s presidential election could become the first in U.S. history to be captured by unmanned aerial vehicles. A new partnership between the Federal Aviation Authority and the cable channel that runs CNN will allow the use of drones for news-gathering and photography in populated areas.

Iran’s Censors Struggle to Keep Bieber’s Abs off Instagram

Pop star Justin Bieber is giving Iran’s censors a headache. More precisely, pictures of the tattooed body of the young artist started popping up on Iranian smartphones again, along with a few other racy pictures that suggest Iran’s smart filtering approach is not working as advertised.

Aida Akl
Aida Akl is a journalist working on VOA's English Webdesk. She has written on a wide range of topics, although her more recent contributions have focused on technology. She has covered both domestic and international events since the mid-1980s as a VOA reporter and international broadcaster.

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