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Cold-Plasma Jets for Root Canals

Cold-plasma probes promise to kill bacteria deep inside the tooth, possibly preventing the recurrence of infection

3 min read

Few things send a chill down the spines of grown men and women as the prospect of getting a root canal. Eighty percent of Americans are afraid of going to the dentist, with one out of every two polled dreading the infamous root canal the most, according to a recent survey by the American Association of Endodontists. Luckily, scientists have been working hard in the past few years to make future dentist visits a little less painful.

Researchers in China and Southern California are racing to develop easy-to-use devices that kill infectious bacteria by delivering a stream of ”cold” plasma, thereby cutting down on the number of patients who have to repeat root canal procedures.

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