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Sweat Sensors Will Change How Wearables Track Your Health

Your sweat may bring medical diagnostics to Fitbits and Fuelbands

12 min read
Sweat Sensors Will Change How Wearables Track Your Health
Photo: Getty Images

Sweat, ick. It betrays our nervousness, leaves unsightly blotches on our clothes, drips down our faces, and makes us stink. Sure, it cools us when we overheat, but most of the time we think of it purely as an inconvenience.

We may soon, however, learn to like our sweat a lot more—or at least what it can reveal about our health. We’d certainly prefer giving a doctor a little sweat to being punctured for a blood test—or even providing a urine sample—as long as we didn’t have to run a mile or sit in a sauna to do it. And if sweat could provide constant updates about our bodies’ reactions to a medication, or track head trauma in athletes, we might just start to appreciate it.

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Colorful chip with wires coming out of it surrounded by large metal plates.

Engineers probe the performance of noisy bits that, when working together, may solve some problems better than quantum computers.

Lang Zeng/Beihang University

A large universal quantum computer is still an engineering dream, but machines designed to leverage quantum effects to solve specific classes of problems—such as D-wave’s computers—are alive and well. But an unlikely rival could challenge these specialized machines: computers built from purposely noisy parts.

This week at the IEEE International Electron Device Meeting (IEDM 2022), engineers unveiled several advances that bring a large-scale probabilistic computer closer to reality than ever before.

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How PostScript Kickstarted Desktop Publishing

Adobe’s PostScript became the heart of the digital printing press

8 min read
An illustration consisting of a spiral of calligraphy-style lettering that repeatedly spells the word “infinity”.

“Infinity Circle,” by Xerox PARC researcher Scott Kim, was made using JaM, predecessor to PostScript.

Adobe

The story of PostScript has many different facets. It is a story about profound changes in human literacy as well as a story of trade secrets within source code. It is a story about the importance of teams and of geometry. And it is a story of the motivations and educations of engineer-entrepreneurs.

The Computer History Museum is excited to publicly release, for the first time, the source code for the breakthrough printing technology, PostScript. (Register to download the code here.) We thank Adobe for the company’s permission and support, and Adobe cofounder John Warnock for championing this release.

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NYU Tandon Exploring “Megabase-Scale” Genetic Engineering

A team led by David Truong is building technology to rewrite large chunks of DNA cheaply, safely, and efficiently

7 min read
Shutterstock

This is a sponsored article brought to you by NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

The human genome is built from 23 chromosomes. Within those chromosomes are around 3 billion base pairs of DNA. Within these base pairs are every subtlety of what makes you uniquely you — the way your eyes change color in different lighting, the sound of your laugh, your freckles.

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