Thursday, August 31, 2017

Global warming denial

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

In a move reflecting the new administration’s denial of global warming all the pages of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) referencing climate change and global warming have been archived. A message is now posted on those EPA pages that reads:

This page is being updated.
Thank you for your interest in this topic. We are currently updating our website to reflect EPA's priorities under the leadership of President Trump and Administrator Pruitt. If you're looking for an archived version of this page, you can find it on the January 19 snapshot. 

My guess is that it would be unwise to post any updates since nothing so clearly signifies denial. Additionally, this move at least has the advantage of circumventing a political interpretation of scientific data, which might otherwise endeavor to separate issues of pollution and clean air from the broader consequences of global warming and climate change. 

But, I might be wrong, and eagerly await the new pages....

CNN: Marsh, R. (April 29, 2017) EPA removes climate change information from website

Monday, August 28, 2017

Oh, patents! SnooCODE

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Can you imagine trying to find someone in a city with no street names or street numbers? This is exactly the situation in some of the developing cities in Africa, and in particular in Accra, the capital of Ghana. But luckily, a young Ghanian systems engineer, called Sesinam Dagadu, studying in the UK, found the perfect solution. He called his invention the SnooCODE.

The SnooCODE is an app, downloadable for free, that generates a unique geolocalisation code wherever the person is standing. The app also generates directions when a SnooCODE is provided. Problem solved (via satellite too)! 

The Ghana National Ambulance Services (GNAS) are now equipped with SnooCODE Red, developed by tinyDavid in collaboration with the Vodaphone Ghana Foundation.

This year the PanAfrican SnooCODE was also deployed so that any place in Africa will have a SnooCODE address for delivering goods, or for finding people.. Indeed as the SnooCode  logo states: "An address for every man, woman and child."

The SnooCODE invention is disclosed in the PCT patent WO2014080186 titled Postal code system and method. The abstract of this invention is included below with an app screenshot of the SnooCode CUT-OXE corresponding to the Achimota Hospital in Accra,
A postal code system and method comprised a first GPS signal receiving portable device (10) that determines a postcode for the instant position of the first portable device (10) dependent upon the position on the surface of the earth of the first portable device (10). The system and method also comprises a second GPS signal receiving portable device that has the postcode inputted therein, determines the desired position of the postcode, finds its position by GPS and issues indication to delivery personnel how far and in what direction to move to arrive at the postcode- indicated location. First (10) and second (18) portable devices can be included in a combined portable device (10, 18) such as a GPS enabled portable telephone. A position determining algorithm and a postcode deliver algorithm, opposite in action to the action of the postcode determining algorithm, are employed. The postcode determining algorithm randomises at least one of the postcode characters, to avoid easy determination of a postcode from a position and vice versa.. [Abstract WO2014080186]

Fauchier-Delavigne, M. ( Aug 7, 2017) A défaut de noms de rue une appli génère des codes pour se repérer à Accra. Le Monde 17-08-17
Douglas, K. (Aug. 15, 2015) SnooCode : a solution to the lack of formal addresses in Ghana and beyond
Vodaphone Ghana foundation

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Oh, patents! Modiface Inc.

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

If you would like to look into a mirror and edit your face and hair, then you might consider the Modface Inc Augmented Reality (AR) apps! 

Modiface Inc offers AR applications using live video simulation, both for trying on cosmetics, and for skin analysis and recommendation of beauty care products. 

The company develops and customizes its AR skin analysis and face simulation applications, designated Beauty AR SDK and Face AI SDK, on mobile or desktop platforms, for such large cosmetics companies as L’Oréal Vichy, Sephora and Estée Lauder. Android and iOS still-photo versions of the Modiface Inc technology are available independently. iOS11 will offer the live mirror Modiface AR apps.

Modiface Inc AR skin assessment and face simulation technology also has medical applications, for example, the visualization of planned plastic surgery.

The company was granted the following hyperlinked patents for various aspects of the Modiface Inc AR face simulation and skin analysis technology:
  • US9687155 06-27-2017 – System method and application for skin health visualization and quantification
  • US927540003-01-2016 - Method and system for simulated product evaluation via personalizing advertisements based on portrait images 
  • US891008212-9-2014 - Method and system for modification of digital images through rotational cascading-effect interface
  • US8725560 – 05-13-2014 - Method and system for simulated product evaluation via personalizing advertisements based on portrait images 
  • US8711175 - 04- 29-2014 - Method and system for simulating superimposition of a non-linearly stretchable object upon a base object using representative images 
  • US8660319 – 02-25-2014 - Method, system and computer program product for automatic and semi-automatic modification of digital images of faces 
  • US8620038 – 12-31-2013 - Method, system and computer program product for automatic and semi-automatic modification of digital images of faces
  • US8265351 - 09-11-2012 - Method, system and computer program product for automatic and semi-automatic modification of digital images of faces

The following applications were also filed at the USPTO:
  • US2016253713 (A1) ― 2016-09-01 - System and method for the indication of modification region boundaries on facial images  
  • US2016154993 (A1) ― 2016-06-02 - Automatic segmentation of hair in images  
  • US2014214553 (A1) ― 2014-07-31 - Method and System For Simulated Product Evaluation Via Personalizing Advertisements Based On Portrait Images
  • US20120299945 – 11- 29-2012 - Method, system and computer program product for automatic and semi-automatic modification of digital images of faces  
  • US20080267443 – 10-30-2008 - Method, System and Computer Program Product for Automatic and Semi-Automatic Modification of Digital Images of Faces
  • US20070258656 – 11-08-2007 - Method, system and computer program product for automatic and semi-automatic modification of digital images of faces
  • CA2651539 (A1) ― 2010-01-18 - Method and apparatus for hair colour simulation


Modiface Inc.
Vichy Laboratoires: Ideal skin diagnosis powered by Vichy and Modiface
Sephora (in store and mobile, simulation & analysis)
Estée Lauder
Modiface launches patented skin assessment platform - Wired Magazine - Aug. 15, 2017 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

World Humanitarian Day

Copyright© Françoise Herrmann

On May 19, World Humanitarian Day (WHD), the UN celebrates the millions of people whose lives are shattered by conflict and disasters, as well as the humanitarian aid workers who are increasingly targeted in action.

The UN resolution, designating the date of Aug. 19 as WHD, also commemorates the terrorist attack on the UN Headquarters in Baghdad on Aug. 19, 2003, where the Special Representative, and former UN High Commissioner for Human rights, was killed.  

The theme for WHD 2017 is the hashtag campaign #NotAtarget. The #NotATarget campaign specifically stands up for the protection of civilians, civilian infrastructures, patients, patient facilities, medical staff and medical facilities in conflict areas. Indeed, on the occasion of WHD 2017, the UN Secretary General stated: “We are here to tell the world that: Civilians in conflict are not a target.” [UN Secretary-General, Aug. 18, 2017] 

 The reported #NotATarget toll for 2017 (Jan-March) is 88 attacks, 80 deaths, and 81 injuries. On October 3, 2015, the Medecins sans frontières (Doctors Without Borders) Kunduz Trauma Center in Afghanistan was destroyed following a US airstrike, killing 42 people (24 patients, 14 staff, and 4 patient caregivers), even though the coordinates of the facility were known.

UN World Humanitarian Day
UN - Greening the Blue – World Humanitarian Day
UN – WHO – World Humanitarian Day
UN- WHO Attacks on Health Care Dashboard
UN-WHO  Report on Attacks on Health Care in Emergencies (2014-2015)
UN- Secretary General Remarks on the occasion of WHD 2017
UN- World Humanitarian Day
Médecins sans frontières - #NotATarget Campaign

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Oh, patents! 23andme

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

23andme, a genetic testing companyco-founded by Anne Wojcicki, Linda Avey and Paul Cusenza, offers state of the art DNA analysis for purposes of ancestry, or combination health and ancestry. Just return the 23andme kit with sample saliva, and 6 to 8 weeks later, much information will be waiting for you in your account at 23andme.

The number 23 in the company name refers to the 23 pairs of chromosomes that make up each human cell, and which carry all the genetic information specific to each individual.
The technology used to perform the genetic analyses is patented. The following is an impressive list of some of the 23andme patented inventions.

US8187811B - 2012-05-29 - Polymorphisms associated with Parkinson's disease
US8428886 - 2013 – 04- 23 - Genotype calling
US8463554B2 - 2013-06-11 - Finding relatives in a database
WO2010024894A1 - 2010-03-04 - Processing data from genotyping chips
US8510057B1- 2013-08-13 - Summarizing an aggregate contribution to a characteristic for an individual
US8543339B2 - 2013-09-24 - Gamete donor selection based on genetic calculations
US8589437B1 - 2013-11-19 - De-identification and sharing of genetic data 
US8645343 - 2014 – 04- 4 - Processing data from genotyping chips
US9213944B1 - 2015-12-15 - Trio-based phasing using a dynamic Bayesian 
US8990250B1 - 2015-03-24 - Cohort selection with privacy protection
US9213947B1 - 2015-12-15 - Scalable pipeline for local ancestry inferenceS8463554B2
US9116882 – 2015 -08 - 25 - Identification of matrilineal or patrilineal relatives
US9213947 – 2015 – 12 - 15 - Scalable pipeline for local ancestry inference
US9218451 – 2015- 12- 5 - Processing data from genotyping chips  
US9336177 – 2016-05-10 - Genome sharing
US9367800 – 2016-06-14 - Ancestry painting with local ancestry inference
US9405818 - 2016 -08-02 - Cohort selection with privacy protection
USD785672 - 2017-05-02 - Display screen or portion thereof with icon 
USD788123 - 2017-05-30 - Display screen or portion thereof with a graphical user interface for conveying genetic information 

And the following is a list of patent applications, pending.
US20170228498 - 2017 -08-10 - Finding relative in a database
US20160277408 - 2016 - 09-22 - Genome sharing
US20160171155 -2016-08-16 - Scalable pipeline for local ancestry inference
US20150227610 - 2015-08-13 - Cohort selection with privacy protection


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Oh, patents! More Systems

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Jessica Matthews, the young Nigerian-American, Harvard-educated, star entrepreneur, scientist and venture capitalist, has done it again! 

After Soccket, the Uncharted Play football that harvests kinetic energy transforming it to electricity, and Pulse, the Uncharted Play jump-ropes that do likewise, engaging girls in the production of electricity too, in comes More Systems!

More is an acronym that stands for Motion-based, Off-grid, Renewable, Energy.

More Systems raise the bar on harvesting even more motion-based energy, from multiple power generating and power harvesting sources, and allowing it to be wirelessly distributed, and dynamically allocated to multiple power drawing and requesting devices. More Systems includes, for example. one or more devices that harvest and transform ambient kinetic energy in a variety of locations such as the gym, a playground, a subway turnstile, a road or sidewalk, coupled with a proprietary CPU connected to a wireless network that distributes the collected energy to multiple power drawing and requesting devices such as mobile phones, tablets, computers or watches, appliances, lamps, street or residential lighting. Thus, the More Systems invention might effectively replace a conventional power grid, especially where it is too expensive to implement, or in locations that are too remote.

In sum, More Systems represent another giant step in Matthews’ mission to “democratize energy access worldwide”. As a reminder, the World Bank indicates that 1.06 billion people in the world have no access to electricity, a situation that significantly impacts poverty, and that further defeats many mobile technology initiatives in developing countries.  

More Systems is disclosed in the recently published patent application US2017025857 titled Wireless Mesh Energy Network. The abstract of the More Systems invention is included below.
An energy distribution system is provided with a plurality of energy harvesting devices and a plurality of power draining devices in a wireless mesh energy network. One or more of the energy harvesting devices wirelessly transmits electrical energy to one or more of the power draining devices to power the power draining devices. The energy harvesting devices have harvesting mechanisms that harness and converts kinetic energy of motion, mechanical energy or other forms of energy from other sources into electrical energy. The power draining devices are configured to communicate a signal requesting for power and power data to the energy harvesting devices. The energy harvesting devices utilize the power data to prioritize which power draining devices will wirelessly receive electrical energy. This system would decrease or eliminate the need for attachment to the energy grid.

Jessica Matthews - CEO Uncharted Play
Jessica O. Matthews - Wikipedia
Matthews and Silverman - 2012 Scientists of the Year - Harvard Gazette
Herrmann, F, (Jan 5, 2017) Oh, patents! Energy-generating soccer ball. Blog Patents on the soles of your shoes. 
Herrmann, F. (April 9, 2017) Un ballon de foot pas comme les autres! Blog Billets Techniques TradLex
International Energy Agency
More – Motion-based Off-grid Renewable Energy
Unchartered Play
World Bank - Energy