Monday, March 30, 2015

Make Way for Pizzicato—The New Wireless Technology on the Block

The world’s first fully digital radio transmitter promises to improve the wireless communications capabilities of everything from 5G mobile technologies to the multitude devices aimed at supporting the Internet of Things, or IoT (a proposed development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity that allows them to send and receive data).

Dubbed Pizzicato, the prototype radio consists of an integrated circuit that outputs a single stream of bits, an antenna, and not much else. It has no conventional radio parts or digital-to-analogue converter. Algorithms perform the necessary ultra-fast computations in real time, thus enabling standard digital technology to generate high frequency radio signals directly.

"Our first trial of the technology has created 14 simultaneous cellular base station signals," says Monty Barlow, director of wireless technology with Cambridge Consultants, the product development and technology consultancy firm which created Pizzicato.

But it’s the digital technology of the Pizzicato-based radio that excites Barlow. Like mainstream processing, he explains, the device should benefit from Moore’s Law (the observation that processor speeds, or overall processing power for computers will double every two year), thus shrinking in cost, size and power consumption with each new generation of silicon fabrication.

“We believe that, in the same way that microprocessors went from being expensive to being cheap enough to be installed in many everyday items, our technology can do the same for radio systems,” he adds.

The implication looms large because of the limited availability of radio spectrum bands, particularly in the more popular lower frequency ranges (less than 1 GHz). Good radio spectrum is a scarce resource. Only low frequencies (1GHz or lower) propagate well over distance or through walls, so they are in great demand. Analog circuits or even the more advanced analog-digital amalgams used in software-defined radio (SDR) are rapidly approaching their limits.

“Crowding 50 analogue radios together on one chip, switching their operational parameters every few microseconds and expecting them to work at 60GHz is an analogue designers nightmare,” Barlow says.

One way to improve efficiencies at these frequencies is the employment of dynamic switching capabilities to sense the radio environment and switch various settings as required, in real time. In other words, by using a type of "cognitive wireless" technique to intelligently control the way that signals are sent and received, therefore, make maximum use of the available spectrum. Cognitive radios are an evolution of software-defined radios. They implement baseband processing functions in software and use agile radio frequency (RF) front ends that can operate across a wide range of frequencies.

BCC Research, in its report on software-defined radios, forecasts a market size of $56.3 billion in 2019, up from $47.7 billion in 2014, across the military and public safety communications sectors.

Greater efficiency requires the use of dynamic or ‘cognitive wireless’ techniques to sense the radio environment and switch parameters on the fly. This could give access to more of the estimated 90% of the allocated spectrum which is not in use at any one time.

Barlow adds finally, "if we’re going to get high-speed broadband to every mobile phone in the world, we’ll need lots of tiny, high-performance radios in those phones. The radios will be squashed together in a way that analog just doesn’t tolerate, whereas a Pizzicato-like digital radio could also be programmed to generate almost any combination of signals at any carrier frequencies, nimbly adapting its behavior in a way that is impossible in conventional radios.”

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Combining Beauty with a Greener Tomorrow: Eiffel Tower is Now a Site of Wind Turbines

The Eiffel Tower is greener than ever. The 125-year-old structure is partially powering itself, thanks to two new wind turbines. The turbines will produce about 10,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually, enough to power the iconic tower’s commercial activity on the first floor, which is home to restaurants, a souvenir shop, exhibits, and pavilions.

For the City of Lights, the turbines represent the first implementation of a series of sustainable refurbishment upgrades to reduce Paris’s ecological footprint. Other planned green enhancements to the world’s most famous tower include roof-mounted solar panels to help meet the water heating needs of the pavilions, LED lighting on the first floor to save energy, and a rainwater recovery system that not only supplies water to the toilet facilities but also helps power the booster pumps that pump water to the upper levels of the tower.

Urban Green Energy (UGE), a New York-based renewable-energy design firm, designed and installed the two VisionAIR5 vertical axis wind turbines earlier this year. Installing the twin 17-foot structures 400 feet above ground level was no easy task for UGE. Mounting the turbines required each component to be hoisted individually and suspended by rope above the tower’s second level. In addition, the installation unfolded at night to avoid interrupting the Eiffel Tower’s hours of public operation, which closes at 11 p.m. daily.

The new turbines are whisper silent—literally--generating about 40 decibels of sound when running at full speed.  Not only are the crescent-shaped turbines almost inaudible, they’re not readily visible, either. The tri-blade turbines were specially painted a grey-brown to match the hue of the iron lattice.

As one of the most desirable methods of renewable energy source in the world, wind energy and its development has spurred significant growth in the global wind energy market. In 2014, the market reached $165 billion, up more than $30 billion from the previous year. The market is expected to reach $250 billion in 2020, reflecting a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.2%.

For our BCC Research report on wind energy, visit the following link:

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

2015 Flame Conference - The Complete Technical and Commercial Development Meeting on Flame Retardancy

World-renowned researchers will discuss their work and discuss the latest developments related to flame retardancy at the 26th BCC Meeting on Flame Retardancy, scheduled May 18–20, 2015, at the Sheraton Hotel in Stamford, CT.  This premier industry event, which includes participants from the United States, France, England, Italy, Hungary, Republic of Korea, and People’s Republic of China, offers an ideal blend of experts from government/academia and the commercial/industrial sectors.  
Conference sessions cover the entire spectrum of flame retardancy: Commercial Products, Foams and Fabrics, Nanocomposites, Phosphorus-based Flame Retardants, New Flame Retardants and Flame Retardants for Specific Polymers, and Instrumentation.
Experts in Commercial Products will discuss cutting-edge research on flame retardancy materials in products such as television sets, lithium ion batteries, furniture, airplanes and printed circuit boards. 
In Foams and Fabrics, one of the fastest growing categories of flame retardancy, experts will offer state-of-the-art information on all types of foams and fabrics, ranging from the layer-by-layer approach to how these materials burn. Ten sessions are offered in this vibrant category.
Experts in Nanocomposites, a category highlighted by the growing use of nano-dimensional materials, will discuss materials such as clays, layered double hydroxides, carbon nanotubes, POSS (polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes), and zirconium phosphate. Eight information-packed sessions are offered in this rapidly expanding category.
In the Phosphorus section, both academia and industry experts will discuss basic research findings on new compounds, along with information on how to market these products. Since legislation has restricted the use of bromine (and chlorine) compounds, once the most common flame retardants, phosphorus compounds have become one of the most researched and commercialized flame retardants. Seven sessions will address this dynamic category.
Experts in New Flame Retardants and Flame Retardants for Specific Polymers will cover topics ranging from intrinsically highly flammable retardant polymers to the flame retardancy of EVA and polyurea. Six sessions will present the latest innovations in this category.

In the Instrumentation section, experts will discuss how to develop flame retardants for polymers, and how to evaluate them using the required instrumentation. Five sessions are scheduled in this category.
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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Treating Cancer Tumors is One Implantable Device Away

Chemotherapy stops or slows the growth of cancer cells, but it also damages healthy cells. Researchers are exploring treatments that attack cancer cells with better precision, thus reducing the risk of harming healthy tissue. A team of scientists has developed just such a technique, called iontophoresis, which uses an electric field to deliver high concentrations of chemotherapy to select areas.

"A big challenge with many drugs is getting them where they need to go," said Lissett Bickford, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Virginia Tech and a co-author of the study. "(Iontophoresis) basically forces drugs directly to and through the tumor, allowing all cancer cells in the treatment zone to get that exposure."

Iontophoresis uses an electric field to push drugs into the tumor. A small device that generates the electric field is implanted in the tumor or placed on the skin. The device also contains a reservoir of chemotherapy. When activated, the electric field pushes the drug into the entire tumor.

In mice with human inflammatory breast cancer, treatment with both iontophoresis and regular intravenous chemotherapy increased survival time as compared with either treatment alone. Treating mice with iontophoresis after intravenous chemotherapy treatment boosted the concentration of the drug in the tumor, but barely raised the concentration in the blood plasma. This indication suggests there could be fewer side effects, an all-too-common complaint associated with chemotherapy.

The researchers say iontophoresis effectively delivered the drug despite pressure from the surrounding area of the tumor, a common complication in drug treatment strategies. This pressure, which is caused by leaks from the blood vessels of the tumor, often inhibits or complicates other drug delivery strategies.
Iontophoresis could allow doctors to use more potent cancer-fighting drugs by localizing their effects or pave the way for new multi-drug combinations by better aiming the more toxic compounds at the tumor and freeing the rest of the body from their harmful effects.

"This may ultimately lead to a reduction in the morbidity and mortality rates commonly found in different types of cancer," says James Byrne, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral researcher and medical student at the University of North Carolina.

According to a BCC Research report (BIO048C), newer therapies like iontophoresis and others will surpass conventional cancer therapies and propel sales in the global cancer therapy market to $111 billion in 2019. The U.S. National Institutes of Health estimated the overall cost of cancer in the United States was $206.3 billion in 2006, with $78.2 billion in direct medical costs.

For our BCC Research reports on cancer, visit the following links:
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Green Innovation that Protects and Strengthens: Eco-Friendly Flame Retardant for Timber Buildings

In Australia, the effects of global warming have raised concerns about the methods used to fire-proof buildings made of timber, a necessary precaution in a country whose torrid summer heat and parched climate pose significant fire hazards. However, most of the current methods for fire-proofing timber materials involve substances that are toxic to human health and the environment.
Flame retardants rely on chemical reactions that impede the ignition of flammable materials and slow the spread of a fire. But the benefits of safeguarding homes and property while protecting humans from fire danger must be weighed against the risk of exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.
To address that challenge, researchers from Stony Brook University have developed a new type of timber flame retardant that’s not only sustainable and environmentally friendly, but also increases the strength of treated materials dramatically. The flame retardant consists of a phosphorus-based compound called resorcinol bis (RDP), which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has declared a preferred substitute for halogenated flame retardants.
According to Miriam Rafailovich, Distinguished Professor from Stony Brook's Department of Materials science and co-director of the Program in Chemical and Molecular Engineering, the compound penetrates the natural structure of timber materials and interacts with its cellulose, producing a wood-plastic composite that surpasses UL94 V-0 flammability standards. This means that a vertical specimen of the material will stop burning in as few as 10 seconds when set alight, without giving off any lit particles.
"The breakthrough was in the formulation of a compound that extinguishes a flame without decomposing into toxic byproducts," Rafailovich said.
Testing by Stony Brook medical experts also concluded that timber materials treated using RDP pose no hazard to human health, despite the material itself being cytotoxic when in a liquid, unreacted state. Another advantage of the treatment process is that can dramatically improve the durability of timber materials by reinforcing their cellulose structure, increasing their strength by as much as five-fold. The university has filed an application for patent acquisition.
According to a BCC Research report, global consumption of flame retardant chemicals should reach 5 billion pounds in 2018, nearly a billion more than the level in 2013. The report forecasts a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5% between 2013 and 2018. Cost, performance, lack of toxicity, recycling concerns and the push toward more green and non-halogenated products will influence the smallest to the largest manufacturers of flame retardant chemicals.
For our BCC Research reports on flame retardant chemicals, visit the following links:
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Thursday, February 19, 2015

No Pain Doubles the Gain: Cost-Efficient Needle-Free Technology Transforming the Healthcare Industry

For years researchers have sought alternatives to the finger-pricking method for measuring blood glucose levels. People with diabetes typically test their glucose levels several times a day by pricking their finger and analyzing their blood. But the pain of this constant finger-pricking drives many patients to avoid checking their blood sugar levels, which places them at higher risk for poor health.
Needle-free devices and technologies offer alternatives to needles and syringes that avoid the issues of needle phobia, needlestick injuries and the transmission of blood-borne diseases. Because needle-free devices are painless, effective and safe drug delivery methods, pharmaceutical companies will continue to invest billions on new delivery technologies during the next five to 10 years. Also, continuous innovation and availability of newer needle-free drug delivery systems have the potential to deliver highly viscous drug products that traditional needle and syringe methods are unable to administer, adding to the utility of the technology.
In the glucose monitoring segment of the needle-free drug delivery market, a new invention may offer people with diabetes relief from the pain of the finger-pricking method. Researcher Amay Bandodkar and his colleagues at Professor Joseph Wang’s laboratory at the University of California at San Diego have created a flexible sensor that measures a person’s blood sugar levels using a mild electrical current.  The device, a thin tattoo paper printed with electrodes of silver and silver chloride ink and a blood glucose sensor made of a glucose-sensitive enzyme, is applied to the skin like a rub-on tattoo. A mild electrical current applied to the skin for 10 minutes draws sodium ions, which carry glucose molecules, from the fluid between skin cells toward the electrodes. The sensor in the tattoo then measures the strength of the electrical charge produced by the glucose to determine blood sugar levels.
The tattoo sensor currently doesn’t provide a readout of glucose measures (the device has to be removed and analyzed for that), but researchers are working on that particular feature. According to Bandodkar, “The readout instrument will also eventually have Bluetooth capabilities to send this information directly to the patient's doctor in real-time, or store data in the cloud. The team is also working on ways to make the tattoo last longer while keeping its overall cost down, he added. In its current form, the device lasts for about a day and costs a few cents.
Needle-free devices like the tattoo sensor and other technologies are driving growth in the needle-free drug delivery markets. The global market for needle-free drug delivery technologies is expected to almost double from $1.1 billion in 2014 to $2.1 billion in 2019, reflecting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.3%. Within the needle-free device and technology market, the needle-free injector segment is anticipated as one of the fastest growing segments.
For our BCC Research report on needle-free drug delivery technologies, visit the following link:
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Monday, February 9, 2015

Breast Cancer Deaths Declining as Detection and Treatment Improve

According to GLOBOCAN 2012, there were 14.1 million new cancer cases, 8.2 million cancer deaths and a staggering 32.6 million people living with cancer (within five years of diagnosis) worldwide in 2012. The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that currently, about one-third of the world’s cancer burden can be decreased if cancer cases are detected earlier and treatment is provided immediately.

Breast cancer in particular is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women with nearly 1.7 million new cases diagnosed worldwide in 2012. . According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), more than 200,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with breast cancer annually.
Early detection and new treatments have improved survival rates for breast cancer patients, helping the five-year survival rate for women diagnosed with cancer to reach nearly 80%. Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1989; these decreases are believed to be the result of earlier detection through screening and increased awareness, as well as improved treatment. Sales of breast cancer diagnostic and drug technologies reached about $22.3 billion globally in 2014 and are expected to reach $27 billion in 2019, equating to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4% (2014–2019).

According to El Camino Hospital’s Radiologist Dr. Sila Yitta, routine mammograms and self-screening are the best defense, although many women don't always take advantage. "In my experience it is hit or miss; some women are consistent in doing breast exams at home, some women don't do them at all," Yitta said.

New experimental technology could help thousands of women and doctors screen for breast cancer in a new way, revolutionizing the screening process. A device called  iTBra by Cyrcadia Health is about to begin its clinical trials in the Bay Area, California, USA. Rather than a mammogram or ultrasound, this system can be used at home, with potentially life-saving information transmitted through a smartphone.

The clinical trial being conducted at El Camino Hospital will study the results on women wearing the device for different lengths of time. The goal is to produce accurate readings in roughly two hours, ultimately making the system more convenient for women to use. If the trial is successful, Cyrcadia Health hopes to have the iTBra on the market later this year.
Cancer Vaccines: Technologies and Global Markets (PHM173A)

Cyrcadia Health CEO Rob Royea says, "It's a wearable device with a number of sensors that check what happens with your circadian patterns of heat change on your breast over time." The results are then processed using sophisticated algorithms and transmitted to a smartphone. "You wear the device for a few hours, and that information is automatically communicated to your physician," Royea added.

Because the system is heat based, developers believe it may also offer advantages for some women with denser breast tissue, which can be more difficult to image using traditional mammography.

In addition to R&D efforts in early detection, improved cancer treatment is making a difference as well, resulting in fewer mastectomies. "The therapeutic approaches to breast cancer have changed radically since the 1990s," say Stefano Zurrida, MD, and Umberto Veronesi, MD, from the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, "and the pace of change shows no signs of slacking."

For related BCC Research market analysis reports on breast cancer, visit the following links:
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