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Big Push for Emergency Defibrillators in High-Rises

A bill in San Diego would mandate that large new buildings install emergency-rescue devices

3 min read

12 November—This month, a San Diego councilmember hopes to make the installation of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) mandatory in large newly constructed buildings in the county. If the bill succeeds, San Diego will be the first of what could be a cascade of local governments enacting such a law, giving a substantial boost to the market for AEDs in the United States.

”Right now a lot of cities are watching to see how we do,” says the San Diego councilman, James Madaffer. The bill would require AEDs to be placed in high-occupancy buildings so that a victim of sudden cardiac arrest—which kills more than 250 000 people in the United States each year—would be within three minutes of a defibrillator. In essence, that means placing an AED within 90 meters of any spot in a building. The regulation would expand on San Diego’s existing program to place AEDs widely in public places, including schools, airports, and many businesses. ”From what I’ve heard, we’re the first city to take such a bold step,” Madaffer says. The fate of the proposed legislation could serve as a bellwether for how other local government efforts to expand AED programs might fare.

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Are You Ready for Workplace Brain Scanning?

Extracting and using brain data will make workers happier and more productive, backers say

11 min read
A photo collage showing a man wearing a eeg headset while looking at a computer screen.
Nadia Radic

Get ready: Neurotechnology is coming to the workplace. Neural sensors are now reliable and affordable enough to support commercial pilot projects that extract productivity-enhancing data from workers’ brains. These projects aren’t confined to specialized workplaces; they’re also happening in offices, factories, farms, and airports. The companies and people behind these neurotech devices are certain that they will improve our lives. But there are serious questions about whether work should be organized around certain functions of the brain, rather than the person as a whole.

To be clear, the kind of neurotech that’s currently available is nowhere close to reading minds. Sensors detect electrical activity across different areas of the brain, and the patterns in that activity can be broadly correlated with different feelings or physiological responses, such as stress, focus, or a reaction to external stimuli. These data can be exploited to make workers more efficient—and, proponents of the technology say, to make them happier. Two of the most interesting innovators in this field are the Israel-based startup InnerEye, which aims to give workers superhuman abilities, and Emotiv, a Silicon Valley neurotech company that’s bringing a brain-tracking wearable to office workers, including those working remotely.

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