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F Cubed’s Biochip vs. the Hospital Superbug

A lab-on-a-chip could quickly tell if an infection is the dreaded antibiotic-resistant MRSA

3 min read
F Cubed’s Biochip vs. the Hospital Superbug
Superbug Supersleuth: F Cubed’s chip uses an electric field to tease out the presence of a MRSA bacterium’s DNA.
Photo: Peter Ringenberg

It’s an irony of our time that checking into a hospital can kill you, thanks to several antibiotic-resistant superbugs that have found niches in health-care facilities. Now, to combat the menace of one particularly lethal strain of bacteria, doctors at four hospitals in the United States are trying out a speedy method to identify patients who have MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

Using a lab-on-a-chip technology from a start-up called F Cubed, physicians should be able to diagnose MRSA within an hour, and without leaving the emergency room. F Cubed hopes that this year’s clinical trial will lead to a commercial device.

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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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