The Nose Knows


In a few years from now, the medical profession will be able to tell what disease you may have, or what disease you may get, just by the smell of your body. Your breath, sweat, and other secretions may help doctors detect diseases, hopefully in the early stages. George Preti, an organic chemist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, and an interdisciplinary team that includes physicists and veterinarians at the University of Pennsylvania, are exploring why we smell the way we do.

As he explained in a recent New York Times article,

Thousands of waste products are swept out in our breath, blood and urine, or simply released into the air above the skin. Metabolic disorders, like diabetes, interfere with the way the body breaks down nutrients and thus make that exhaust especially stinky. People with phenylketonuria (or PKU) tend to smell musty. A faulty or missing digestive enzyme makes people with trimethylaminuria (or TMAU) smell fishy.

Preti and his team have also been focused on the possibility of cancer detection ever since they learned about a woman who asked her doctors to look at a mole that her Collie-Doberman mix began to sniff at intently. The dog tried to bite it off when she wore shorts. The mole turned out to be an early-stage malignant melanoma, inspiring the researchers to test whether dogs, whose smell machinery is at least 10,000 times as sensitive as ours, can tell healthy samples from cancerous ones.

The sniff tests are a wave of the future. I hope this becomes a reality in our lifetime.

Modern Day Thanksgiving


Need I say more? This is what the world has come to. The reality is that most people today are just not comfortable separating themselves from their smartphones. They want to stay in constant touch with everyone important to them. Can’t say I disagree.

This year Eliot and I spent Thanksgiving with my west coast family. Cousins Beth, Jeff, and Hanna Young hosted the most magnificent combo Chanukah and Thanksgiving lunch and dinner today including latkes and turkey. We can’t thank them enough. The entire family showed up. It was just a very happy and satisfying day.

Thanks to smartphones, our daughter and friends were in touch with us all day via text, email, cell, and Skype. So while it may not be polite to take calls at the dinner table, we were able to check our messages during breaks. It just made separation from love ones during the holidays a little easier.

Peace to all! Thank you Beth, Jeff, and Hanna.




Smart Wigs in Our Future


I have always been intrigued when I see young, funky gals wearing blue, pink, or green wigs. Who are these women and why do they have such great confidence? I saw a bunch of them on Melrose in West Hollywood today. I thought Andy Warhol couldn’t be too far behind.

Sony apparently thinks so too. The electronics manufacturer has filed a patent application for a “SmartWig,” a new, wearable technology. The SmartWig will be able to process data and communicate wirelessly with other external devices. The SmartWig can also navigate roads and collect information such as blood pressure.

The Japanese firm said the wig will be made from horse hair, human hair, wool, feathers, yak hair, buffalo hair, or any kind of synthetic material. It doesn’t really matter because the interface and sensors are covered up by parts of the wig during use. The SmartWig could be considered as a technically intelligent item or as a fashion statement.

The First Bookless Library


As of a few weeks ago, BiblioTech of San Antonio, Texas, in Bexar County is the first and only library in the United States providing digital copies of books rather than the printed ones we all grew up on. Hello to the digital revolution.

Imagine, a library that has 600 e-readers in stock so patrons can take one home to read the books they selected. BiblioTech is also the first library that requires users to browse the catalog of e-books on large touch screens. When patrons find a book they want, they simply download a copy onto their personal e-reader (like an Amazon Kindle) or one the library provides.

The all-digital library also features 48 iMac computer stations, 10 Macbook laptops, and 40 iPads. All the equipment must be used on the premises. No loaners.

Here’s another game changer. Bexar County residents can access the digital catalog on their mobile device after downloading the 3M Cloud Library app. That mobile app allows the resident to link his or her library card to the BiblioTech system. Library members will have a “My Books” section on their apps that will show the countdown of how many days the book is accessible. BiblioTech has 10,000 titles. The digital books can be checked out for two weeks at a time.

The library has special events like computer learning classes in order to educate the public on e-readers and other new technologies.

BiblioTech is also targeting children with 200 special e-readers formatted with special kid’s content as well as a regular story time hour and a Xbox 360 gaming system hooked up to a large HDTV.

BiblioTech is certainly not the library we remember. Then again, the digital world has changed so much of what we remember.

Calorie Free Tastings

Your dreams have just come true. Now you can taste whatever you want and you won’t gain a pound. Let me clarify. Now you can “virtually” taste whatever you want and you won’t gain a pound.

Digital experts from the National University of Singapore have developed a “digital taste simulator” called the Digital Taste Interface that tricks your taste buds into believing that they have just tasted something. The Digital Taste Interface incorporates silver electrodes that send current and heat to your tongue. Because of digital technology you can soon be experiencing anything from a pastrami sandwich from the Carnegie Deli to a five star meal from Jean Georges.

The Singapore researchers reveal that by manipulating the magnitude of current, frequency, and temperature — both heating and cooling — they have been able to induce salty, sour, and bitter sensations. They are not stopping there. Eventually they hope to replicate all five taste sensations.

Just think of the future applications for this. People with diabetes will be able to taste sweet sensations without harm to their blood sugar levels, and those with diseases that suppress their appetites may now receive sort of a regeneration in their sense of taste.

I am also thinking about everyone who is overweight. Perhaps a quick jolt of taste could short-circuit an out-of-control addiction. A taste stimulator could be the answer to a lot of woes. Let your imagination go wild.

You can be sure that I will let you know when a device becomes commercially available. I will be first online. Try to knock me off.

I Have a Whole Lot of Dreaming to Do



Duncan McCloud Frazier and Steve McGuigan of Bitbanger Labs.

Two weeks ago I had to write a PR proposal for a potential new client. It was rather detailed because there were many different angles to this product. My job was to figure out the best selling points and then connect all the dots. I attempted to write this proposal many times. It took a long time to make it work.

One night I stayed up late just to devote some quiet time to this assignment. I was happy with what I wrote but there was nothing catchy about it. I became exhausted and decide I had done enough. I immediately feel asleep. However, a very strange thing happened. I started writing the proposal in my sleep, waking up every few seconds in order to remember several good ideas that popped up. I tried to list the ideas in my head but I kept falling back to sleep. By morning I could only remember two things. They were good enough to use so I quickly jotted down some notes.

I didn’t think about this experience again until I heard about the ability to become lucid in a dream. Basically that means you know that you are dreaming while you are dreaming. There is a big community on the Internet who have been exchanging information about controlling your dreams. It is a highly sought after skill. And no wonder. Many experts believe those who learn lucid dreaming are capable of experiencing a date with Lady Gaga, taking a trip to outer space, and being a finalist on The Voice.

Don’t laugh. Many close friends to Paul McCartney swear he composed the song “Yesterday” in a dream. Melodies were reportedly fully formed in his mind when he woke up. Believers believe lucid dreaming is a viable method of accessing subconscious creative channels. In order to make that happen for themselves, two Brooklyn entrepreneurs, one a computer programmer and web designer, the other a photographer (Duncan Frazier and Steve McGuigan of Bitbanger Labs), created a sleep mask called Remee to help anyone who was interested in lucid dreaming. The sleep mask flashes a series of light patterns during REM sleep to alert the user that he or she is dreaming. The mask does not control the dream. It assists in lucid dream induction.

That seemed to be good enough for the 6,000 backers around the world who wanted to help fund this project on Kickstarter. The two co-founders of Bitbanger Labs were hoping to raise $35,000 on the crowdfunding platform for the first 300 masks. What a surprise. They raised almost $600,000.

Remee’s design is a personal version of the one made by Stanford University oneirologist Stephen LaBerge in the 1990s. The commercial unit cost around $600.00. The Remee is $95.00. Some people can become lucid dreamers with little effort; others need training. To find out more about the advantages of lucid dreaming click here. Also watch the video and do your Google search as well.

There’s a whole lot that you don’t know about yourself.

Get Ready to Throw Out Your Credit Cards

My wallet is so fat. Not fat with money but with too many credit cards. Every time I have to pay for something I fumble for the right card. It gets so embarrassing. I just learned about a remedy. It’s called Coin.

Coin is a single card replacement for multiple debit, credit, gift, loyalty, rewards, and membership cards. An integrated display right on the Coin card shows you which card you are using by providing the last four digits, along with the expiration data and security number.

The Coin card works with a mobile app for iPhone, Android, and soon Windows. The app manages the physical Coin card. You can load an unlimited number of your cards into the app. Then you can transfer up to eight of them at a time to the Coin card using a supplied dongle (adaptor). You can change that card you’re using with just a press of a button. The Coin card can also be used at an ATM machine.

“We have a concept called a leash,” says [Coin CEO Kanishk] Parashar. “What that means is that if your card is near your phone it’s working, but if a leash breaks, which could happen if you leave it behind or someone steals it, it will lock down and keep your financial information secure.”

More neat security features abound, as they should. If you lose your Coin card you receive an alert and can deactivate it. Coin will also be equipped with an alarm that notes how many times your Coin is being swiped. And if swiping patterns deviate in frequency from your normal use, it alerts you to potential fraudulent activity. You can also lock down one particular card so that friends, waiters, or strangers can’t swap to a different card on their own.

Priced at $100, Coin will be available next year. A 50% discount for pre-orders is available via the website for the next 20 days.

Keep It To Yourself




I’m hopefully about to start a new trend in health care and I plan to use social media to spread the word. What better way to kick it off than my own blog. You are reading it here first.

There is a new product on the market that we all wished we had but never knew how to get — a personal surgical mask. Say hello to Tutem, individually wrapped single-use masks that help prevent the spread of germs that cause colds and flu. Available in ten different prints, Tutem masks are intended to keep travelers, commuters, co-workers, families, and the rest of us from getting sick this cold and flu season. There are an estimated one billion cases of the common cold in the U.S. per year.

The name Tutem is based on the Latin word tutis, meaning “for our safety.” Tutem is going to be an interesting product to market because, once it catches on, it will be feel like it was here forever.

Tutem founder Jody Vitelli feels the masks fit in perfectly with increasing trends in wellness and public germ prevention. “Keep It To Yourself” is the company slogan.

Tutem custom prints feature a patented breathing chamber that makes long wear easier. The individually wrapped, latex-free masks are sold two per pack and come with all-natural CleanWell sanitizing wipes to clean your hands.

Tutem 2-Packs are $8 (10-Packs are $30) and can be purchased on the website. Let me know what you think of this concept and if you need any.

November 22nd Is My Special Day


Lois and Eliot, all locked up at the studio of Jose Fuster in Cuba during their October 2013 art trip there.

Long before the Internet, November 22nd became a very important date in my life. Fifty years ago, my Sweet 16 was held on the same day President John Kennedy was shot and killed. What a bummer. Eighty folks, mostly my friends, showed up at the Regency Catering Hall in Jamaica, Queens to support me, even though everyone really wanted to stay glued to the TV tube. Remember when it was called that? Today it’s called a smart flat panel.

Coincidentally, 34 years ago on the same date, Eliot and I were married in my Aunt Esther and Uncle Ef’s condo, Rancho Mirage in Palm Springs. Sixteen people attended our wedding. My mother arranged the impromptu wedding that was decided on two weeks earlier. My father had died exactly a year before, and the anniversary of his death was going to be a very painful experience. Eliot was the one who came up with the idea to get married that day just to pick up the spirits of all family members who would elsewise fall into a funk. It worked. Two cases of champagne put everyone into another orbit.

As I look back to these times, I think it was the quiet period. No cells, no Internet, no Facebook, no video games, no Twitter, no YouTube, and no Google. Everyone communicated by a landline or actually put words on a piece of paper that was mailed to each other.

If we all knew then what we all know now, I wonder if we would have encouraged the digital revolution. It’s kind of nice to dial down the noise every once in a while.

Happy Anniversary, Eliot. I love you.

Tap, Tap, I Am Thinking of You



Even though most of us are past the dating stage, that doesn’t mean we don’t want to tell someone else that we are thinking of them. That person could be a spouse, a special friend, a child, or even a grandchild.

A company called Woodenshark has developed a sleek silicon slap wristband that will be sold in pairs, so if you tap your bracelet, the other one will vibrate. It’s very comforting to know someone else is thinking of you. TapTap will be available early next year. Like many new startups, the company is making sure it is well funded before going full blast.

The TapTap bands incorporate IFTTT technology for communications. There will be a software-development kit that will allow other capable folks to create other potential uses for TapTap.

TapTap runs up to seven days on one charge. The wristbands are very easy to use. You have to download the TapTap app and connect your smartphone via Bluetooth to that of the person wearing the other wristband. A capacitive sensor on top of the TapTap and an accelerometer sense the taps.

Users can create their own language based on the number of taps. For example, one tap means “I love you,” two means “I miss you.” Maybe three could mean “I am tapped out.” Ouch!