Stem cell transplants: Researchers report on the second case of a “cured” HIV patient

Reporting that a man has been in remission of HIV for a year and a half after receiving a stem cell transplant without medication increases the likelihood that he is the second person to be cured of the disease.

Stem cell transplants: Researchers report on the second case of a "cured" HIV patient

Anonymously called the “London patient”, the case has been cautiously reported by researchers as they believe it is too early to be declared “cured”, but it is a long-awaited advance. The case comes a decade after Timothy Brown, known in medicine as the “Berlin patient”, was cured with a similar stem cell transplant, paving the way for HIV research and revitalizing the search for a cure.

The scientific community was interested in using gene therapy to deactivate the CCR5 gene by using other technologies, including the CRISPR gene manipulation program. The London patient infected with HIV and Hodgkin’s lymphoma received bone marrow cells from a donor who had a defective CCR5 gene in his cancer treatment.

The gene is known to produce a protein that is essential for HIV to penetrate blood cells. Brown (patient Berlin) also received a dysfunctional CCR5 gene transplant.

A second group of “Boston patients” who received stem cell transplants with functional CCR5 genes also experienced a significant reduction in the HIV reservoir in their cells and were left untreated for months, demonstrating that the graft itself played a role in the deletion of the virus.

But their interim results also indicated that the abnormal gene was necessary for a sustained cure.

Despite efforts to replicate the remarkable Berlin results, the researchers failed for a decade, also because the possibility of such transplantations is rare.

Stem cell transplants are risky and are only carried out if there is a clinical reason for them, such as cancer. Donors must be genetically identical to recipients, and very few people carry two copies of the dysfunctional CCR5 gene, which limits the number of possible transplants.

The search continues

But this does not mitigate the enthusiasm about the new case in the scientific community, which was interested in using gene therapy to deactivate the CCR5 gene with other technologies, including the CRISPR gene manipulation program. Modern HIV drugs have turned an infection that was once a terrible death sentence into a disease that can be controlled in the long run if you stick to a lifelong drug program.

Out of the 37 million people infected worldwide, 21 million have access to therapies that can keep the disease under control. However, the search for a real cure has continued, partly because of the need in low-income countries where access to drug therapy is less secure and drug-resistant strains of the virus are a major problem.

Reference: I am the Berlin patient: a personal reflection. AIDS research and human retroviruses, 2015.

The ‘tree of death’ is so toxic that the mere contact with its leaves and fruits could kill you

Along the coasts of the Caribbean, Central America, the northern edges of South America and even in South Florida, you can find a kind of pleasant looking beach tree, often loaded with small yellow-green fruits very similar to apples, whose pleasant aroma invites you to take a bite out of them. It is best not to fall into such temptation, for it is a poisonous fruit.


We are referring to the Manchineel tree (Hippomane mancinella), also known as the beach apple, chamomile of death, tree of death or poisonous guava.

The Manchineel is a beautiful round top tree that grows up to 12 meters (40 feet). It has long, elliptical, yellowish-yellow-green leaves, yellow-green flowers and a reddish-brown to grayish-brown, deeply furrowed or cracked rind.

Its attractive, yellow to reddish fruits and sweet aroma have poisoned the Spanish conquerors, the shipwrecked and today’s tourists.

This is no exaggeration, the interaction and ingestion of any part of this tree can have serious consequences. This tree produces a thick, milky sap that can exude from leaves, branches, bark and fruit.

The sap is known to cause blisters and burns when it comes into contact with the skin. Contact with the eyes has been reported to cause severe inflammation and even temporary blindness. But these effects have also been recorded by the irritant compounds carried in the smoke of the burning wood of this tree.

The specific toxins found in the sap and fruits of this tree remain partially unknown. However, despite the risk it poses, the ancient aboriginal peoples of the Caribbean were familiar with the tree and used it for many purposes; the sap, in particular, was used to poison the tips of its arrows.

The Manchineel tree is a member of a family of plants known as’spurges’, a name derived from the word’purge’, because although all these plants have toxic sap, the intensity of toxicity varies and in some regions they use it as a laxative.

It has been documented that gum from the bark of this tree has been used to treat venereal diseases and hydrops in Jamaica, while nuts have been used as diuretics.

Although the manchineel tree is poisonous to humans and many animals, the locust tree or iguana from Central and South America is capable of eating the fruits of this tree, and is sometimes found living among the branches of the tree.

Reference: On the Active Principles of the Spurge Family Skin Irritants, Cocarcinogens, and Cryptic Cocarcinogens from the Latex of the Manchineel Tree. Journal of Natural Products, 1984.

HAL-9000 and Alexa take home automation to new heights

Get to know a device that joins two artificial bits of intelligence to control your home.

Often, the vast majority of times, the reality is what inspires the world of the seventh art. However, legions of fans of particular genres and films tend to copy or take to our world what they are most passionate about. In this case, I bring you the perfect example of a love of film and technology. Do you want to meet the evil HAL-9000 and how did he respond the Amazon Voice Assistant?

The machine that was hiding information

If you’re one of those people who’ve never seen the whole of 2001: An Odyssey in the Space of the Essential Director Stanley Kubrick, I demand that when he finishes this article, you find the film and give it the time it deserves. Evidently, when it’s over, you won’t have understood a word of it, but a strange feeling of peace will fill your inner self.

Leaving aside tender moments, one of the leading characters in the film is not human. If you’ve ever heard of HAL-9000, it’s time you knew who it is. Under these acronyms is hidden an artificial intelligence called a Heuristically programmed algorithmic computer, which translated into Spanish would be heuristically programmed algorithmic computer. What does this last word mean?

Thanks to the information obtained in this Wikipedia article, it’ s the science that deals with discovery. Still, this is not the proper meaning for this case. If we talk about the artificial intelligence imagined by Kubrick, the word heuristics will define the machine’s ability to solve problems.

Yeah, you read it right. HAL-9000, in addition to speaking in a strangely slow voice, was able to perform a multitude of tasks. As the digital medium Wikia well reflects, the machine could talk, recognize the language, read lips, perform facial recognition, interpret and express emotions, as well as play chess. Despite all these advances, what HAL is known for is hiding necessary information from the crew members of Discovery, which was the ship that appeared in the film.

Alexa joins the equation

We recently learned that a company dedicated to the construction of replicas of objects appearing in science fiction films had designed a model of the evil computer. The company in question is called Master Replicas Group and is known for having brought to different market objects, for example, Star Wars laser swords, long before the film companies themselves did so. In fact, if you enter their website and go to the online store, you can enjoy a HAL-9000 shaped flash drive, different space rocket planes or framed replicas of our satellite craters.

But we are deviating from the issue at hand. Thanks to the information we have been able to obtain from The Verge, we know that the company is developing a product that will look like HAL-9000 and will have the extraordinary skills of Alexa. Also, the company, after years of insistence, has finally obtained the rights to the panel, which were in Warner’s possession. Thanks to this, products like the one I’m about to show you will be possible to amaze science fiction fans.

At the moment, from the information that is appearing in an article published by the company itself, we know that HAL is a decorative element since Alexa is in charge of the operations in this home automation center. In fact, it’s an Amazon tablet, the Fire HD, that hides the wizard. It’s still too early to have a product like the one you see in the film, but Master Replicas Group director Steve Dymszo says his ultimate intention is to have HAL itself as the absolute protagonist of this incredible project.

The company will begin to collect applications to purchase the product from next April, and it is expected that they will start to send it from August or September. Besides, the director says that shortly they will launch a campaign in Kickstarter to sell special editions of this product that will delight those of us who marvel at one of the unique films in the history of cinema.

IBM has patented a technology that Black Mirror has warned of

Sometimes reality is a little too much like fiction. That is what this new patent filed by IBM, which wants to “filter” our environment through augmented reality, makes us think. It’s hard to believe that this is a good idea from the computer giant.

IBM has patented a technology that Black Mirror has warned of

IBM has patented a technology that Black Mirror has warned of

That is a particularly cruel comparison for IBM. A patent, which has just been accepted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, is identical to a technology seen in the “Arkangel” episode of the Black Mirror series.

IBM patent AR augmented reality

On December 29, Netflix put online the 4th season of Black Mirror. In the second episode called “Arkangel,” Charlie Brooker imagines a technology that is implemented to children allowing parents to block content considered disturbing to younger children. A technique that of course meets its limits as always with the famous science fiction series, Black Mirror.

IBM patent AR Black Mirror
IBM has also just granted an augmented reality patent for the very similar technology, allowing it to capture or stream recorded video. The patent would identify the content very quickly and pixelize it by adding a second image over it. The technology used would be Visual Light Communication which can transfer data at 10 Mbit/s. In other words, this V2.0 parental control would be particularly responsive and effective. The technology is designed to be used in virtual reality as well as augmented reality, and IBM refers to the Hololens as a helmet that can be equipped with it. Beyond traditional parental censorship, it is also easy to imagine this technology used to protect copyrights or geolocalized content. In short, not really good news in any context.

The IBM patent filed before the broadcast of the episode

Automatically, one could imagine that it was after seeing the episode that IBM was inspired to file this patent. It’s not… The patent. If it was just published a few days ago, was submitted on September 27, 2016. In other words, the idea has been around for a while at IBM. For the shot, we would prefer that they take inspiration from Ready Player One by proposing a gigantic treasure hunt. The fact that the most obvious reference is Black Mirror is not necessarily good news when it comes to the vision that some companies have of augmented or virtual reality.

IBM patent AR Black Mirror

From a legal point of view, of course, this patent could only be intended to block the use of such technology by competition. As always, there is no guarantee that the filing of a patent will be followed by a technological application. But the synergy between the two universes is somewhat frightening.

Nvidia introduces Deep Learning supercomputers, promotes AI

Artificial intelligence was the central theme of Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang’s opening speech at the GPU Technology Conference. His company vigorously promoted an AI future and unveiled the new DGX-2 supercomputer, which is designed to accelerate machine learning.

Nvidia introduces Deep Learning supercomputers, promotes AI

Nvidia introduces Deep Learning supercomputers, promotes AI

According to Huang, the DGX-2 supercomputer is explicitly aimed at scientists who want to research deep learning methods and train artificial intelligence. The system achieves the two Petaflops performance with 16 Tesla V100 GPUs, the fastest graphics card Nvidia has ever built.

The monster, which is to replace an entire server room with around 300 standard dual CPU servers on its own, weighs 160 kilos – with significantly lower energy consumption and much more economical acquisition costs. Nvidia promises 60 times less space and 18 times less energy consumption at an eighth of the price. “The more you buy, the more you save,” promises Huang confidently in his opening speech.

Significantly faster deep-learning training

Compared to its predecessor model DGX-1, which was also optimized for deep-learning training and was only released last September, the DGX-2 is expected to deliver around 500 percent more power. According to Huang, the supercomputer can complete training of an artificial neural network in one and a half days, during which the predecessor still had to calculate 15 days.

“Multi-layered neural networks are getting deeper and deeper, can do more things,” says Huang. “The bigger and more complex they get, the more computer power we need.”

The DGX-2 will cost 399,000 US dollars, more than twice as much as the DGX-1, and the supercomputer is scheduled for delivery in the third quarter. Among other things, Microsoft announces that it will use Nvidia’s new graphics card technology for research into better speech recognition and AI translation.

The introductory video of the GPU conference suggests that Nvidia is serious about artificial intelligence. It shows different scenarios – traffic, medicine, research – in which artificial intelligence should fundamentally advance humanity.

Augmented Reality: iOS 11.3 is rolled out, brings ARKit 1.5 and new Emoji

Apple announces that iOS 11.3 will be rolled out to users starting today. The update includes version 1.5 of ARKit, which supports 2D image recognition and can now also use vertical surfaces such as walls and doors as a reference layer for digital extensions. iPhone X owners can also look forward to four new Animojis.

Augmented Reality: iOS 11.3 is rolled out, brings ARKit 1.5 and new Emoji

Augmented Reality: iOS 11.3 is rolled out, brings ARKit 1.5 and new Emoji

On Twitter, developers show first demos of Apple’s new Augmented Reality function. The following video shows that ARKit 1.5 now also recognizes spherical surfaces and walls and no longer only rectangular, horizontal surfaces.

Two more videos show the image recognition in use. ARKit 1.5 is included in iOS 11.3 and is expected to be released in March.

Original article dated 24 January 2018:

iOS 11.3 will be released in the spring of 2018. iOS 11.3 features a wholly improved ARKit and new Animojis.

With the update comes version 1.5 of ARKit. The AR platform no longer only recognizes floors, tables, and chairs, but also vertical surfaces such as walls and doors. Google’s ARCore has no equivalent function yet.

The Verge visited Apple to test the new feature. The tech magazine describes an AR demo in which balls were thrown against a virtual board on a wall and stuck to it.

Another new feature of ARKit 1.5 is 2D image recognition. The software can now identify signs, posters, and works of art. Information about the object can then be displayed, brought to life by animations or interactive elements can be activated.

The Verge tested an application that recognized an image of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module, which triggered a virtual tour of the space module.

2,000 apps benefit from ARKit
The standard functions of ARKit have also been improved. The image on the smartphone display is now twice as high at 1080p and supports autofocus, making the image sharper. Also, more surfaces such as roundtables are better recognized by the software.

According to Apple, since the launch of the ARKit in September 2017, 2000 AR apps have been released or enhanced with ARKit functionality. According to App Store analysts, there were only 825 apps by the end of 2017. As a result, the number of published AR apps must have risen sharply.

The iOS update also brings new animojis for iPhone X owners. The previous twelve Animojis are joined by a lion, a bear, a dragon and a skull. What users do with Animojis can be seen here.

Developers can already experiment with ioS 11.3; the open beta test will start soon. The update will be rolled out to regular users during the spring. The other new features of iOS 11.3 can be found in Apple’s press release.

Siren – Smart socks: These smart socks alert people with diabetes to injuries

Diabetic neuropathy is one of the most common complications of diabetes, affecting mainly the legs and feet. Skin lesions in these areas if not detected early can lead to ulcers or more severe consequences.

Siren - Smart socks: These smart socks alert people with diabetes to injuries

Details as simple as shoe rubbing or sock friction can trigger a succession of significant complications. And to avoid these situations, a health technology company has developed intelligent socks that will alert the wearer to any change in foot temperature that may predict injury.

Siren – Smart socks

These socks feature microsensors that continuously monitor the heat of the feet, and activate alerts when they change significantly due to inflammation. It works as a kind of assistant, helping users to be aware of the condition of their feet, as it is common for them not to notice inflammations or ignore symptoms.

That way, they can seek the help of a professional before it turns into an ulcer or severe injury. It is a simple dynamic, which offers continuous monitoring, with notifications to the mobile phone when a risk situation arises.

To provide these socks, Siren has a monthly subscription system, with product packs, sent every six months, and the option to access digital features.

Australia’s obstetricians are now training with virtual reality

With “Road to Birth,” the University of Newcastle in Australia is focusing on virtual reality and augmented reality to train its obstetrician students.


Australia’s obstetricians are now training with virtual reality

In partnership with the Hunter Medical Research Institute, the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia, is building a virtual teaching platform. On the program, the emphasis on virtual reality to train future professionals.

The road to Birth, the stages of learning in Australia

How can nurses and obstetricians be trained in innovative ways to deal with the difficulties of pregnancy and childbirth? That is the question that the University of Newcastle in Australia asked itself. They decided to put virtual and augmented reality at the heart of learning at the initiative of Anthony Molinia, the new leader. The state of mind is the most important to convince teachers.

So, that means that they want to know what we are talking about and the link we can make between computer science and academic knowledge. That’s what we’re trying to do,” explains the person in charge of virtual reality training.

Also, the equipment is done through the HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift, the Hololens. Also, the participating students are guided step by step through the different stages of childbirth. Students also can do a resuscitation process if a baby stops breathing. Techniques that are not easy to master without training. For the moment, it is primarily thought as a complement to classical learning. The content was created in 12 months of training with the internal IT team.

Zara deploys augmented reality in its stores

Little by little, the big brands are getting involved in augmented reality. Zara, in turn, played the game by announcing the launch of an AR application in its stores from April 18. Further proof of the marketing potential of this technology.

Zara deploys augmented reality in its stores

Zara deploys augmented reality in its stores

This Monday, the chain of stores Zara announced the arrival of a particular phenomenon in its establishments. After the eBay boxes, it’s up to the world’s largest clothing retailer to get into the dance. Indeed, next April 18 will see the arrival of augmented reality in the brand’s stores. From the ZARA AR application, customers will thus have access to several functionalities intended to facilitate their purchases.

Augmented reality at Zara’s marketing service

Zara, therefore, wants to offer its customers an augmented reality experience. This one is both simple and instinctive. All you have to do is point your smartphone (equipped with the ZARA AR application) at specific shop windows to see the models come to life. It should even be possible to try on the clothes (virtually) to get a better idea of what you are buying. Sales, in fact, remain at the heart of the brand’s concerns. So, once an item is selected, just one click is enough to get it.

However, the application is not limited to the 120 stores concerned by the operation. It can also be used during an online purchase, always via augmented reality. It will thus be possible to access a visual of the product so that the customer is sure of his order. The application will probably soon make the news, perhaps followed by a small leap in Zara’s finances.

Nokia 5233 exploded and killed an 18-year-old girl

An unfortunate accident occurred in India, where 18-year-old Uma Oram died after her mobile phone Nokia 5233 exploded, trying to save the girl, but died as a result of numerous injuries. The exact cause of death can be determined after careful autopsy.

Nokia 5233 exploded and killed an 18-year-old

Nokia 5233 exploded and killed an 18-year-old

There was a tragedy in India a few days ago. It was caused by the old mobile phone Nokia 5233. 18-year-old Uma Oram noticed that the device is close to discharging. That’s why she connected them to the charger and then continued the phone call. Unfortunately, the phone exploded.


The information that has been established shows that Oram has suffered numerous burns to her leg, hand and chest. The victim was taken to the hospital but was not saved as a result of the girl’s injury. She was considered dead. The exact cause of death is to be explained by autopsy.

Also, HMD Global, the current owner of telephones with the Nokia logo, spoke out. The Finns reported that the machine was not being produced, which is right. Also, it is an old mobile phone which premiered in 2010. It is unknown how old precisely a copy of Umy Oram was. It is possible that the device has already had some physical damage, which may have caused the equipment to catch fire.