Green Line Solutions News

A Game Of Likes

Thomas Topp - Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Game Of “Likes”

You might think that teenagers are the demographic that is the most concerned with the number of “Likes” on their social media posts, but the average adolescent has little more than an ego-boost to gain from a popular post; however, those with a specific agenda, such as businesses, public figures and professional bloggers, can use platforms like Instagram and Twitter to reach hundreds of millions of people.

This obsession with “engagement” -- the technical term for how much a post is viewed, commented on and/or liked -- has led to a variety of news stories and even studies examining why certain posts fare better than others.

The poster’s tactic is going to vary depending on their objective and account type. For example, a personal account may focus more heavily on hashtags, so that those outside their ‘Followers’ are more likely to see it, while a business account may be more regimented in scheduling their posts and consistently use similar filters and hashtags. While using a popular hashtag increases the likelihood of people outside one’s network seeing the post, it also means the post is likely to get buried quickly.

Regardless of the goal, one of the most effective ways to boost Likes is to engage with the audience. Whether that means asking questions and encouraging Followers to comment, tagging other users, or commenting on another accounts’ posts, viewers seem to be more interested when the account is personable and not solely focused on content.

Deciding when to post can be tricky, there are studies and meta-analyses that break down when the best times to post during a given day or time of year; however, many social media outlets are no longer sorted chronologically. For example, Instagram now uses an algorithm sort posted content, meaning that the more interaction a post receives the more it will be shown on viewers’ timelines.


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Wireless Charging

Thomas Topp - Saturday, June 10, 2017

Most technology users are all too familiar with the problem of having to charge mobile devices on a nearly daily basis, whether scrambling to reach an outlet before a phone dies or searching in vain for the right charger.  Some tech companies are attempting to resolve all these problems with the promise of wireless charging.

 

While some devices on the market today claim to be capable of charging wirelessly, this is somewhat of a misnomer. This method, known as the Qi inductive standard, is one of two main wireless charging standards in use today involving power mats and was pioneered by the Wireless Power Consortium. These power mats still need to be plugged in though and  sometimes phone cases can interfere with method. As Stephen Rizzone, CEO of Energous, puts it “If you have to drop your mobile device… onto a charging surface then it’s really no longer mobile.”

 

Energous and other companies like Ossia and uBeam are seeking “uncoupled” power solutions. Hatem Zeine, founder of Ossia explains: “The way we look at this is that wireless power should be like Wi-Fi. You go into your home, your phone will charge in your pocket, you don’t need to place it somewhere or orient it somewhere or even know where the power transmitter is.” uBeam is addressing this issue by transmitting targeted power through inaudible high frequency ultrasonic technology.

 

Unfortunately, while each company (and others not mentioned) is making strides, their technologies and prototypes are incompatible with one another, slowing down overall progress. Additionally, their individual aims are different and are being developed for disparate corners of the market.

 

A room with truly wireless charging does exist; it’s a prototypical 16-by-16-foot room in which the walls, ceiling and floors are aluminum panels and a copper pole with capacitors transferred power to almost any location in the room. The prototype was developed by Disney Research and was able to charge phones, toys and lamps, though it isn’t being further explored for commercial use. Alanson Sample, an Associate Lab Director with Disney Research, said “The real tradeoff here in some ways is the amount of deliverable power you can get to a device versus how safe it is…and how much mobile freedom you get.”

 

One issue is that the transmitter in any of these methods must be strong enough to charge devices, ideally without direct contact or line-of-sight, but not interfere with other electronics. Most importantly though, the wireless energy must be safe and approved by the US Federal Communications Commission.

 

Researchers and visionaries are attempting to expand this technology beyond a single room to whole houses, or even cities. All sorts of mobile devices, such as hearing aids, electric scooters and even cars may be continuously charged wirelessly; if the technology proves possible, infrastructures like street lamps, traffic lights and trolleys may all become independent of physical electric connections.


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Bioprinting

Thomas Topp - Thursday, April 27, 2017

Kinko’s Can’t Print This:

The Adaptation of ALM for Bioprinting  


The previous article discussed advancements in additive layer manufacturing (ALM, more commonly known as 3D printing), resulting in the creation of entire architectural structures. Understandably, this development had many 3D-printer-enthusiasts excited, due to the scale of the project and the attraction of a more mainstream audience; yet perhaps the most life-altering application for this technology is the use of ALM to produce bones, organic tissues and cartilage in a process known as bioprinting.

These body parts are produced in a manner similar to all 3D printed objects, except the medium used is known as a bio-ink and must be “printed” in a more mild manner and at cooler temperatures to preserve the integrity of bioactive molecules and macroproteins, and ensure compatibility with living cells. The bioink is similar to hydrogels used in other ALM processes, but is often derived from algae or gelatin as opposed to plastic or synthetic polymers; however, biodegradable plastics are often used in the initial printing phase to help maintain structural integrity.

By using biomaterials, scientists reduce the risk of the implant being rejected by the host and are able to forgo designing and producing a complex piece of machinery in lieu of a functioning organ or limb. The process is able to produce soft tissue and muscle, but also cartilage and bone, allowing patients to receive everything from lab-grown ears and vaginas, to jaw bones, noses and windpipes.

Beyond saving lives via transplant, scientists are also using printed tissues to test the efficacy and safety of various drugs. An article posted by The Economist in January of this year explains, “it will please animal-rights activists, as it should cut down on the number of animal trials. It will please drug companies, too, since the tissue being tested is human, so the results obtained should be more reliable than ones from tests on other species.”

Currently, transplants require a donor, either one who is living (as is common for a kidney) or a victim of accident (as for a heart), and there are millions of people waiting for such an opportunity. Yet even when such a patient gets lucky, there is the possibility of the tissue or organ being rejected by the host’s body; however, because the bioprinted object will be made using the patient’s own pluripotent stem cells, the rejection rate of such transplants should be virtually zero.

Bioprinting will allow patients to receive brand-new body parts made from their own DNA, as with organs, or parts designed to fit their exact body shape, as with a jaw bone or vertebrae.


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