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When Garthen Leslie worked at the Department of Energy, his job was to conserve resources. But at home, his air conditioner was wasting them. “I was tired of choosing between wasting energy or suffering through the stuffy summer heat.” His summertime dilemma got him thinking about developing…

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Neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor, a benign trembling of the hands, head, voice, legs or trunk, are heavy burdens in their own right.

But add to that the moments when sufferers try to enjoy a meal with friends or family. The frustration attendant with being unable to keep food on the fork or spoon becomes another consequence of the disorder.

Now a San Francisco startup called Lift Labs is selling a piece of assistive technology that counters hand tremors and lets users have a meal without embarrassment or annoyance. The device, called Liftware, mounts utensils on an active stabilizing platform that diminishes uncontrollable jerking movements. 

This month, Lift Labs is matching donations to its Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to send Liftware to people in economic hardship. The company will send the devices to the International Essential Tremor Foundation for distribution to those in need. Click through to see the campaign video.

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Smartphones Could Help Predict Storms

by Marsha Lewis, Inside Science TV

They help us stay connected, but could your smartphone also help weather forecasters predict a coming storm?

New research suggests that cell phones carried around in pockets and purses could be used by meteorologists to improve weather forecasts.

“We could potentially have 100 or 1,000 times more surface reports than we’re getting today,” said Cliff Mass, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle.

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Crowdsourced Study of Building Demolition To Probe Dangerous Earthquake Fault


by Rebecca Ruiz

Seismologists often describe the San Francisco Bay Area’s Hayward fault zone as a “tectonic time bomb.” Among the most dangerous faults in the country, it is expected to produce at least a 6.7 magnitude earthquake within the next 30 years. 

The last major quake on the fault occurred in 1868 and devastated the region at a time when it was sparsely populated. Now, more than 2 million people live on or near the approximately 45-mile fault. 

Given the potential doomsday scenario, you might be surprised to learn that earthquake scientists don’t quite know what to expect when the next Big One strikes. 

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