Computerized System to Prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome): BabyBeat

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I’ve just read an interesting and exciting news from ScienceDaily:

A new system using video and computer software to monitor a baby that could be used to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), as well as for telemedicine applications, has been developed by two students at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU).

The new system called “BabyBeat” was developed by students in the BGU Departments of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences. It uses computer algorithms to convert video footage to pulses that represent a baby’s heartbeat and skin tone. In the event that the system detects an abnormal heartbeat, an alarm sounds to awaken the baby, change its breathing pattern and alert the parents.

SIDS is the unexpected, sudden death of a child under age one in which an autopsy does not show an explainable cause of death. No one knows what causes SIDS, but researchers have theorized that a dramatic drop in heart rate occurs just before death. Thousands of babies die from this phenomenon each year in the United States.

Tomer Apel and Anava Finesilver developed the program as part of their final research project. While still early in the development process, the software program will work with a basic video camera and home computer, which minimizes cost.

Of space and children

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Arman smiling

Arman smiling

Days are passing by at an unprecedented speed thanks to our son Arman. My time perception changed quite a bit during the last 20 days. Arman witnessed a historical moment yesterday, when he was about 19 days old. Around 10:30, I downloaded the live groundtrack file from NASA’s Space Shuttle mission pages. Then, I and my wife started to watch the final space shuttle mission (STS-135) via Google Earth. As Arman was resting on the couch in our living room, and the space shuttle was decelerating in an amazing manner, approaching the Earth, flying over the Pacific Ocean, I tried to answer some technical questions of my wife. Then she became curious and wanted to watch the real thing via NASA TV.

Space Shuttle

Space Shuttle

I know that Arman will not remember any of this but I’ll try to help him construct some then-long-gone memories, events that he witnessed unconsciously, namely the end of the glory days of space shuttle era when he was just a newcomer to the Earth. It was also a very nice coincidence that we also watched BBC’s wonderful documentary about the space shuttle era: The Space Shuttle: A Horizon Guide. I don’t know if I’ll be able to watch this very informative and exciting documentary again with Arman when he grows up but it’ll definitely help me to detail the story I’m going to tell.

Some people and publications started to ask whether the space age is over (see The Economist’s ‘Is this the end of the space age?‘) but I think that as long as new babies are born and some of them inherit the wonderful, noble and admirable curiosity of the great minds who initiated the space age, we are going to be surprised by the developments and discoveries that will eventually take place in the context of space-related research. And when that time comes I’ll turn to my son, smile to him and say “hey, didn’t I say so, check out the archives! ;-)”

Montessori in a TED talk

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Will Right on games and Montessori education

Will Right on games and Montessori education

I’ve just discovered game designer Will Wright‘s TED talk in which he also mentions Montessori. He’s the creator of SimCity, The Sims and other games:

When I was a kid, I actually attended Montessori school up to sixth grade in Atlanta, Georgia. And at the time, I didn’t think much about it, but then later, I kind of realized that that was kind of the high point of my education. From that point on, everything else was pretty much downhill.

People call me a game designer, but I really think of these things more as toys. But I started getting very interested in Maria Montessori and her methods, and the kind of way she went about things, and the way she thought it very valuable for kids to kind of discover things on their own, rather than being taught these things, just kind of overtly. And she would design these toys, where kids in playing with the toys would actually come to understand these deep principles of life and nature through play. And since they discovered those things, it really stuck with them so much more, and also they would experience their own failures; there was a failure-based aspect to learning there. It was very important.

You can watch the full video at http://www.ted.com/talks/will_wright_makes_toys_that_make_worlds.html.

Welcome Arman!

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Welcome Arman! It’s nice to meet you in person 😉

Arman: hello, world

Arman: hello, world

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