If you think the Internet and related technologies are driving people crazy, you are more right than you know. Psychologists have cataloged and named eight official mental illnesses brought on by our mobile and virtually connected world, according to TechHive. Below is a short summary of each.
Cyberchondria. WebMD can be a valuable resource, unless you go running to it to self-diagnose every hiccup and headache you have. That can lead to the belief that you have any and every disease you read about.
Cybersickness. If Apple’s new iOS7 design is making you nauseous, it could be because of all the pastel colors. But more likely, it’s the result of simulated 3D movement of the icons. Nausea caused by this and similar digital effects has been known to psychologists since the 1990s.
Facebook Depression. Despite being social animals, humans apparently can become depressed by an overload of social media. Studies have shown depression among young people directly corresponds to the amount of time they spend on Facebook.
The Google Effect. Some studies have shown that having unlimited access to a wealth of information makes our brains less prone to retain information.
Internet Addiction Disorder. This one is controversial, as Internet addiction is usually a symptom of a larger problem, and is often linked to other challenges such as low self-esteem and poor social skills.
Nomophobia. A not-so-clever abbreviation of “no-mobile phobio,” this is the anxiety that arises from not having access to one’s mobile device and/or the Internet.
Online Gaming Addiction. We’ve all read stories about people who seem unable to pull themselves away from virtual games like World of Warcraft and EVE Online and neglect their health, hygiene, jobs, and even parenting obligations.
Phantom Ringing Syndrome. This is the sensation you have when you think your phone is buzzing or ringing in your pocket, which can happen even when the phone isn’t in your pocket at all.
Wearable Beauty Technology Lights up a Room
One engineer has found a way to infuse beauty with technology to create conducting cosmetics that are capable of activating electronics and levitating objects. Katia Vega, the makeup tech mastermind, is currently a Ph.D. candidate in computer science at Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and has developed chemically metalized eyelashes, RFID nails, and makeup that “connect sensors, actuators and their connections in an attractive way that the wearer’s observers would not notice the hidden circuit,” Vega notes on her website.
The beauty technology was recently showcased at the Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces Conference (ITS 2013) in the UK, New Scientist reports. Vega’s innovative “Blinkifier” syncs with metalized false eyelashes and captures a person’s exaggerated blinking motion. Conductive material used as eyeliner connects the eyelashes to a wearable head device. Once a person blinks, Blinkifier users can launch a handheld miniature drone and activate an LED display.
Vega also takes manicures to a new level with RFID nails: “These nails contain embedded magnets for amplifying the wearers’ capabilities by giving the sense of reading magnetic fields but also give them access to different objects. For example, these magnetic nails could interact with tablets and smartphones that have magnetic sensors and smart object with embedded smart switches,” she explains.
See her Blinkifier here:
Robots and Booze — Together at Last
When robotic engineers want to unwind after a grinding day of writing code, rather than head for the neighborhood pub, they may have their Shirley Temples poured by a robot bartender.
That geeky scenario might soon be possible, thanks to several startups and universities which have embarked upon creating automaton barkeeps. The challenge is designing something more than a robotic arm capable of pulling a beer tap.
“If you build a bartending robot, it should not only be able to serve drinks, because you can do that with a vending machine,” Jan de Ruiter, chairman of psycholinguistics at Germany’s Bielefeld University, said in a story on the Txchnologist website. “It should also be able to understand human signals and interpret them correctly.”
De Ruiter and his team have come up with JAMES (Joint Action for Multimodal Embodied Social Systems), which not only can serve a cocktail, but also interact with humans “in a socially-appropriate manner.”
JAMES is not alone in the bar scene.
H&S Robots has developed Carl, a sleek-looking robo-bartender is working at a tavern in East Germany. And in Japan, Mr. Asahi, created by Blue Crayon Ltd., can be seen popping bottle caps and pouring beers in a television commercial for Asahi beer.
Last call, for alcohol, humans.
Japanese Create Radiation-Proof Swimwear
For those who have always wanted to swim and snorkel near nuclear power plants, you can now do so safely. Osaka-based swimwear company Yamamoto Corp. has unveiled an anti-radiation wetsuit made from rubberized kneaded carbon. It can stop nearly 100 percent of harmful beta rays. This type of radiation can penetrate living matter and can change the structure of molecules, including altering DNA and causing cancer.
The company is also developing lead-based underwear to stop harmful gamma rays. It weighs 7.5 lbs. The wetsuit is priced at $1,072 and the underwear is $825.
Finally, A Dose of Pun