Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Color-changing Tattoos Monitor Health

Another use for colors!

Color-changing tattoos aim to monitor blood sugar, other health stats

MIT researchers are in the early stages of developing biosensing tattoo inks with the hope that one day they might help monitor blood sugar levels and other health data.
For many people with diabetes, keeping tabs on blood sugar every day is expensive, time-consuming and invasive, but researchers at MIT and Harvard are exploring a creative new approach that could one day help make things easier: biosensing tattoos.
The scientists have developed special tattoo ink that contains chemicals that can sense blood sugar levels, pH, and sodium. When blood sugar goes up, for example, the glucose sensing ink changes from blue to brown. When a person's salt levels increase, the sodium sensing ink becomes a more vibrant green under UV light. When alkaline levels shifts, a pH sensor changes from purple to pink.
The DermalAbyss ink – still in what scientists call the "proof-of-concept" stage – alters its hues in response to changes in the fluids inside a person's body, MIT Media Lab researcher Xin Liu told CBS News. It literally becomes an interactive display.
"People with diabetes email us and say, 'I want to try it out,'" Liu said. 

But the technology is still in the very early research stage, Liu points out, and has only been tested on pig skin samples, not living, breathing animals – let alone humans. Liu said there are a lot of unknowns in testing it on living skin, including questions about allergies, accuracy, and durability.For someone with diabetes who has to prick their finger multiple times a day to test their blood sugar level, or who wears pricey blood glucose monitoring equipment that can be cumbersome during activities like swimming, glancing down at a tattoo to check if blood sugar has dropped or spiked could be a lower-maintenance approach to health monitoring.
"It will take a long time for anything practical to go to market, but it [the technology] evokes imaginations and opens up possibilities," said Liu.
For some, the idea of a decorative new tattoo that reflects your body chemistry may be appealing. But mostly, the scientists say the goal is to make monitoring of health data easier, safer and as accurate as possible. 
"People want to understand what's happening in their bodies," Liu said. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Certain Colors Entice Home Buyers to Pay More

Houston homebuyers consider a variety of factors when making their purchasing decision.
They look at location, scrutinize floor plans and discuss features of their new home. But often, something as simple as paint color can help make or break a deal, as well as sway home prices, according to a new report.
Zillow Inc. (Nasdaq: Z) recently released its 2017 paint color analysis report, which looked at more than 32,000 photos from homes sold across the country. The Seattle-based online real estate firm found that certain paint colors can help sell a home for more money while other colors can take a hit on the sale price.
In Houston, pink is a popular color choice for bedrooms, particularly kid’s rooms. In fact, pink bedrooms are most common in the Bayou City, according to Zillow.
However, pink bedrooms can often negatively impact a home’s sale price. On average, homes with pink bedrooms sold for about $208 less than homes with more neutral colors, according to Zillow.
On the other hand, homes with light blue bedrooms sold on average for about $1,856 more than homes with other colors, according to Zillow.
Some color choices can sway home prices a lot. A light powder blue or periwinkle-colored bathroom can fetch $5,440 more on a home, while an off-white or eggshell white-colored bathroom can subtract $4,035 from a home's sale price, according to Zillow.
Here are the colors to choose and to avoid when selling a house, according to Zillow:

  • Do: Blue — Homes with a light blue to soft gray-blue kitchen can sell on average for $1,809 more
  • Don’t: Yellow — Homes with a straw yellow to marigold kitchen can sell on average for $820 less
  • Do: Blue/Purple — Homes with light powder blue to periwinkle bathrooms can sell on average for $5,440 more
  • Don’t: White — Homes with off-white or eggshell white bathrooms can sell on average for $4,035 less
  • Do: Blue — Homes with light cerulean to cadet blue bedrooms can sell on average for $1,856 more
  • Don’t: Pink — Homes with light pink to antique rose bedrooms can sell on average for $208 less
Dining room:
  • Do: Blue — Homes with a slate blue to pale gray-blue, or navy blue with white shiplap dining room can sell on average for $1,926 more
  • Don’t: Red — Homes with a brick red, terracotta or copper red dining room can sell on average for $2,031 less
Living room:
  • Do: Brown — Homes with a light beige, pale taupe or oatmeal living room can sell on average for $1,809 more
  • Don’t: Blue — Homes with a pastel gray, pale silver to light periwinkle blue living room can sell on average for $820 less
Home exterior:
  • Do: Gray/Brown — Homes with a mix of gray and beige, or “greige,” exterior can sell on average for $1,526 more
  • Don’t: Brown — Homes with a medium brown, taupe or stucco exterior can sell on average for $1,970 less
Front door:
  • Do: Gray/Blue — Homes with a navy blue to dark gray or charcoal front door can sell on average for $1,514 more
Paul Takahashi covers residential and multifamily commercial real estate, as well as education, for the Houston Business Journal.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Technically enhanced bacteria wired with color vision create artwork

Bacteria may replace artists replicating artworks in the future---does that scare anyone but me? BBL


The DNA-basThe RGB system involves only 18 genes.

With genetically engineered color vision, gut-dwelling bacteria transform into vibrant artists—though their work is a bit derivative.
In a study published in Nature Chemical Biology, MIT researchers wired Escherichia coli with a synthetic network of 18 genes that allows them to sense and respond to red, green, and blue. Once excited by the colors, the genetic circuitry activates and inspires the bacteria to produce corresponding pigments or fluorescent proteins. Mats of microbes then turn their petri dishes into canvases, creating vivid replicas of patterns and artwork.
Right now, the bright bacteria simply demonstrate how far synthetic biologists have come in genetic tinkering. But, in the future, the researchers, led by MIT’s Christopher Voigt, hope that the RGB microbes could find a variety of applications. “Colored light offers many channels to pattern cells to build tissues or materials, control cells at a distance, or serve as a means of communication between electronic and biological systems,” Voigt and his colleagues write.
In 2005, the researchers came up with a four-gene system that allowed microbes to recreate black-and-white images. In the new study, they go all-out, using the 18 genes plus a collection of genetic tricks, tools, and programming strategies.
The resulting rigged germs contain biological light sensors—which are found in some plants, fungi, and cyanobacteria. In the system, red light is sensed by a hybrid kinase sensitive to 705nm wavelength light. Green is picked up by a cyanobacteria sensor that flicks on with wavelengths at 535nm. And blue is detected with another hybrid kinase sensitive to a wavelength of 470nm.
With the light switches flipped, genetic machinery fires up and begins decoding a meticulously engineered string of genes. This produces either pigments or fluorescent proteins.
The researchers spread the RGB bacteria across agarose plates—dishes containing bacteria food in a gel. Then, they projected color images onto the plates for 18 hours, allowing the bacteria to create their colorful replicas.
“Fully harnessing the spectral range of light sensors simultaneously in individual cells provides many knobs by which cells can be controlled rapidly and spatially and from afar,” the authors conclude.

(The article above was created by Beth Moore)