Computing Now Exclusive Content — December 2010

News Archive

July 2012

Gig.U Project Aims for an Ultrafast US Internet

June 2012

Bringing Location and Navigation Technology Indoors

May 2012

Plans Under Way for Roaming between Cellular and Wi-Fi Networks

Encryption System Flaw Threatens Internet Security

April 2012

For Business Intelligence, the Trend Is Location, Location, Location

Corpus Linguistics Keep Up-to-Date with Language

March 2012

Are Tomorrow's Firewalls Finally Here Today?

February 2012

Spatial Humanities Brings History to Life

December 2011

Could Hackers Take Your Car for a Ride?

November 2011

What to Do about Supercookies?

October 2011

Lights, Camera, Virtual Moviemaking

September 2011

Revolutionizing Wall Street with News Analytics

August 2011

Growing Network-Encryption Use Puts Systems at Risk

New Project Could Promote Semantic Web

July 2011

FBI Employs New Botnet Eradication Tactics

Google and Twitter "Like" Social Indexing

June 2011

Computing Commodities Market in the Cloud

May 2011

Intel Chips Step up to 3D

Apple Programming Error Raises Privacy Concerns

Thunderbolt Promises Lightning Speed

April 2011

Industrial Control Systems Face More Security Challenges

Microsoft Effort Takes Down Massive Botnet

March 2011

IP Addresses Getting Security Upgrade

February 2011

Studios Agree on DRM Infrastructure

January 2011

New Web Protocol Promises to Reduce Browser Latency

To Be or NAT to Be?

December 2010

Intel Gets inside the Helmet

Tuning Body-to-Body Networks with RF Modeling

November 2010

New Wi-Fi Spec Simplifies Connectivity

Expanded Top-Level Domains Could Spur Internet Real Estate Boom

October 2010

New Weapon in War on Botnets

September 2010

Content-Centered Internet Architecture Gets a Boost

Gesturing Going Mainstream

August 2010

Is Context-Aware Computing Ready for the Limelight?

Flexible Routing in the Cloud

Signal Congestion Rejuvenates Interest in Cell Paging-Channel Protocol

July 2010

New Protocol Improves Interaction among Networked Devices and Applications

Security for Domain Name System Takes a Big Step Forward

The ROADM to Smarter Optical Networking

Distributed Cache Goes Mainstream

June 2010

New Application Protects Mobile-Phone Passwords

WiGig Alliance Reveals Ultrafast Wireless Specification

Cognitive Radio Adds Intelligence to Wireless Technology

May 2010

New Product Uses Light Connections in Blade Server

April 2010

Browser Fingerprints Threaten Privacy

New Animation Technique Uses Motion Frequencies to Shake Trees

March 2010

Researchers Take Promising Approach to Chemical Computing

Screen-Capture Programming: What You See is What You Script

Research Project Sends Data Wirelessly at High Speeds via Light

February 2010

Faster Testing for Complex Software Systems

IEEE 802.1Qbg/h to Simplify Data Center Virtual LAN Management

Distributed Data-Analysis Approach Gains Popularity

Twitter Tweak Helps Haiti Relief Effort

January 2010

2010 Rings in Some Y2K-like Problems

Infrastructure Sensors Improve Home Monitoring

Internet Search Takes a Semantic Turn

December 2009

Phase-Change Memory Technology Moves toward Mass Production

IBM Crowdsources Translation Software

Digital Ants Promise New Security Paradigm

November 2009

Program Uses Mobile Technology to Help with Crises

More Cores Keep Power Down

White-Space Networking Goes Live

Mobile Web 2.0 Experiences Growing Pains

October 2009

More Spectrum Sought for Body Sensor Networks

Optics for Universal I/O and Speed

High-Performance Computing Adds Virtualization to the Mix

ICANN Accountability Goes Multinational

RFID Tags Chat Their Way to Energy Efficiency

September 2009

Delay-Tolerant Networks in Your Pocket

Flash Cookies Stir Privacy Concerns

Addressing the Challenge of Cloud-Computing Interoperability

Ephemeralizing the Web

August 2009

Bluetooth Speeds Up

Grids Get Closer

DCN Gets Ready for Production

The Sims Meet Science

Sexy Space Threat Comes to Mobile Phones

July 2009

WiGig Alliance Makes Push for HD Specification

New Dilemnas, Same Principles:
Changing Landscape Requires IT Ethics to Go Mainstream

Synthetic DNS Stirs Controversy:
Why Breaking Is a Good Thing

New Approach Fights Microchip Piracy

Technique Makes Strong Encryption Easier to Use

New Adobe Flash Streams Internet Directly to TVs

June 2009

Aging Satellites Spark GPS Concerns

The Changing World of Outsourcing

North American CS Enrollment Rises for First Time in Seven Years

Materials Breakthrough Could Eliminate Bootups

April 2009

Trusted Computing Shapes Self-Encrypting Drives

March 2009

Google, Publishers to Try New Advertising Methods

Siftables Offer New Interaction Model for Serious Games

Hulu Boxed In by Media Conglomerates

February 2009

Chips on Verge of Reaching 32 nm Nodes

Hathaway to Lead Cybersecurity Review

A Match Made in Heaven: Gaming Enters the Cloud

January 2009

Government Support Could Spell Big Year for Open Source

25 Reasons For Better Programming

Web Guide Turns Playstation 3 Consoles into Supercomputing Cluster

Flagbearers for Technology: Contemporary Techniques Showcase US Artifact and European Treasures

December 2008

.Tel TLD Debuts As New Way to Network

Science Exchange

November 2008

The Future is Reconfigurable

Intel Gets inside the Helmet

by George Lawton

Medical body area networks are in their infancy within the medical establishment as a way of reducing the cost of care for long-term patients. Intel is working with the US National Football League (NFL), helmet maker Riddell Sport, and several university research labs to bring this technology out of the hospitals and into football helmets. In the short term, the project promises to reduce the risks associated with concussions. In the longer run, it wants to blaze the trail for other human-monitoring applications in military and recreational applications.

"The future of smart helmets is now," said Thad Ide, Riddell's vice president of research and development. "There are important opportunities to address issues of underreporting of concussions and possible issues with the cumulative effects of subconcussive head impacts. The potential for improvements in diagnosis and treatment of concussions, player training, and coaching techniques is enormous."

Sudden Impact

Concussion-monitoring technology can detect subtle differences in the direction and kinds of impact that are hard to see from the sidelines. Players meanwhile are sometimes too stunned to walk off the field, which has led to long-term injuries that might be avoided. The smart helmet will make it possible to monitor all of the head impacts and report them to a central base station. Coaches get immediate notification when a player needs to be examined further.

In 2003, medical researchers began reporting a link between concussions in football players with depression and degenerative brain disease. In 2009, the NFL began taking some of these reports seriously and instituted new rules both to force injured players off the field and to impose penalties for head-to-head hits. In 2010, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell began lobbying for legislation in all 50 states to reduce concussion risks in youth football.

Instrumenting the Head

Concussion reduction is a relatively new research area. The Riddell Revolution is the only helmet that has independent, peer-reviewed research showing that it reduces concussion risk by 31 percent when compared to traditional helmets.

Riddell pioneered efforts to better understand player injury with its Head Impact Telemetry System (HITS) technology that provides on-board electronics to monitor and record every significant incidence of head impact during a football game or practice. The system measures the location, magnitude, duration, direction of head acceleration, and impact accumulations. Reports from data that's downloaded wirelessly from the helmet to a desktop or laptop computer after the game or practice show the magnitude and location of each impact.

Riddell also developed the Sideline Response System to provide real-time detection data that lets trainers, coaches, players, and medical staff monitor potentially dangerous head impacts. HITS provides the guidance necessary to understand and address a suspect impact if it's detected.

Bringing Intelligence to the Field

But today's helmets lack the ability to process data locally. Going forward, Intel and Riddell are working with researchers from Dartmouth College's Thayer School of Engineering, Wayne State University, University of Northern Colorado, and Texas State University-San Marcos to build the computing and networking infrastructure for reliably transmitting data from all of the helmets in the field.

"Computer simulations have been instrumental in designing improved brain-injury criteria," said Igor Szczyrba, University of Northern Colorado mathematical sciences professor in a statement. "In the near future, they can also help doctors diagnose actual brain injuries." His team is improving the computational modeling of traumatic brain injuries.

Simbex, headed by Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering professor Richard Greenwald, has been working on new helmet technology that uses multiple sensors on foam to measure impacts to the brain, rather than the side of the helmet. This will help improve impact assessment.
Wanye State researchers, led by associate professor Liying Zhang, are integrating efforts to study the neurophysiological mechanics of impacts, using medical analysis techniques that measure cellular changes in the brain.

Intel is also working with the Mayo Clinic to reduce the time needed to assess a head injury from 5 minutes to 12 seconds. The techniques will leverage the new Intel Many Integrated Core (MIC) supercomputing chips. In the future, the MIC chips will lower the cost of running real-time simulations developed by Mayo researchers that model stresses on the brain for immediate assessment of injury risks. The new MIC chips will be built on Intel's new 22 nm technology and could run trillions of calculations per second on up to 50 cores. Intel released MIC development kits earlier this year and plans to expand the program with new developer tools.

The helmet research is in the early development stages to demonstrate its applicability. "The potential for monitoring head impacts in other sports is a clear opportunity. Lacrosse, hockey, and snow sports are all activities where the risk of unreported or unrecognized concussions is very real," said Riddell's Ide. As the infrastructure costs come down, the technology could also move out of sports into arenas such as military and construction to improve safety equipment and reduce the impact of injuries.

George Lawton is a freelance technology journalist based in Guerneville, CA. You can reach him via his website: