Excessive use of Wi-Fi can trigger headaches, allergies

wi-fi-hotspot-stock-image

Should you worry about ‘wireless allergies’? Addressed with skepticism by most, the term electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) or wireless allergy or gadget allergy, is ascribed to a range of non-specific symptoms like headache and fatigue apparently due to heavy use of wireless communicating devices, especially those that emit electromagnetic radiation (EMR).

Common sources of this Wi-Fi tsunami include mobile phone signals, Wi-Fi hotspots, Wi-Fi enabled devices like tabs, cellphones, laptops and a plethora of other gadgets. The controversial issue was recently thrust in the limelight when a French court in a landmark ruling granted disability allowance to a 39-year-old woman who claimed to be experiencing discomfort from alleged EHS. She was forced to live in a countryside barn far away from the Wi-Fi and the Internet.

Despite such examples, the legitimacy debate rages on – is it a real thing or cooked up – fueled by the absence of hard evidence and conclusive research. According to WHO, EHS has no clear diagnostic criteria and there is no scientific basis to link its symptoms to EMF (electromagnetic field) exposure, but it also says: “The symptoms are certainly real and can vary widely in their severity. Whatever its cause, EHS can be a disabling problem for the affected individual.”

Experts in India who have been studying such emerging problems (for example, the link between EHS and cellphone usage) say that with the introduction and expansion of wireless communication technologies, complaints related to mobile phones, base stations and gadgets have become more prominent. ”The radio frequency electromagnetic radiation (RFR – a type of electromagnetic radiation) exposure levels have amplified manifold because of the extensive use of mobile phones and other devices,” Neeraj Kumar Tiwari, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering, SRM University, Lucknow, told IANS in an e-mail interview.

“Very common symptoms and sensations of EHS are irritation, headache, stammering, hearing loss, dizziness, ringing delusion, disrupted sleep, stress, fatigue and restlessness,” he added. Further at the genetic level, electromagnetic radiation from mobiles cause damage if their exposure time and level are high, said M. Y. Khan, Dean, School for Biosciences and Biotechnology, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University (BBAU), Lucknow, who has extensively dealt with the issue as a scientist.

In fact, he said, the situation in India compared to the West is worse. “Because we tend to use cheap mobile sets made by companies which do not follow the standard norms about the radiation safety,” Khan, Professor and Head, Department of Biotechnology at the varsity, said in an e-mail interview. The electromagnetic fields produced by mobile phones are classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as possibly carcinogenic to humans.

Tiwari added that children may be more vulnerable than adults to EMF effects due to their “developing brain, greater absorption of energy in brain and a longer span of exposure over their lifetime”. But all said and done, the fact is Wi-Fi, mobile phones and the internet are a necessity today, so much so that the number of internet connections in India has swelled to 300 million. And, in a population of 1.25 billion, there are 980 million mobile connections, as per the latest data released by telecom regulator TRAI. Factor into this Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ initiative which will be driven by mobile technology.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) states EMFs produced by the antennae on mobile towers and mobile phones are at the lower end of the electromagnetic emission spectrum and are ‘non-ionizing radiations’, which means that the energy carried by them is not enough to break the chemical bonds between molecules. ”The Indian government has adopted one of the strictest global safety norms for EMF, which is one tenth of the emission levels (recommended by WHO) followed by most of the countries in the world.

“The government’s support and guidance in allaying the misplaced fears regarding EMF emissions from towers in the minds of the people would be paramount in addressing the issue of misplaced EMF fear psychosis, and help develop and deliver the Digital India dream of the government,” COAI Director General Rajan S. Mathews told IANS. While EHS battles an existential crisis and as teenagers get more and more hooked to gadgets, Tiwari and Khan suggested ‘green communication’ – an approach to minimize the risks or defects associated with wireless communication systems.

Madhumita Dobe of the All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health stressed on more research on EHS in India. As for now, following simple tips like texting instead of talking, keeping cellphones and gadgets at a distance and not placing cell phones under pillows is the way to go.

New Apple TV Gets Unboxed

new apple TV

As well as announcing their new iPhone 6S handsets last week, Apple also announced their new Apple TV device, the new set top box wont launch until October.

Andru from Gear Live has managed to get his hands on the new Apple TV ahead of the devices launch and we get to see the Apple TV unboxed in the video below.

 

The new Apple TV comes with Apple’s new tvOS which is built on iOS 9, Apple have also released a new SDK for developers and the device will come with apps and games.

There will be two different versions of the Apple TV available, one with 32GB of storage, the other with 64GB of storage and there is also a new remote.

The new remote comes with a trackpad, motion control and Apple’s voice activated assistant, Siri, which can be used to control the device and also search for movies and TV shows. Apple will launch their next generation Apple TV in October and the 32GB model will retail for $149 and the 64GB model $199.

Surgical Robots to Become Ubiquitous in Indian Hospitals: Intuitive Surgical

Days are not far off when surgical robots will become a normal feature in hospitals for procedures like MRI scans, a senior official of Intuitive Surgical Inc said on Sunday.

The US-based Intuitive Surgical makes surgical robots that enable minimally invasive surgeries with its da Vinci surgical systems.

The primary surgical domains are urology, gynaecology, general surgery and cardiothoracic.

“In India we are in infancy in the technology adoption curve. Today a hospital without a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan machine is considered as a clinic,” Jeroen M.M. van Heesewijk, senior vice president, Asia Pacific and Global Distribution, told IANS over phone from Kochi.

“Offering robotic surgeries will also give a boost to the countries medical tourism sector,” Mahendra Bhandari, CEO, Vattikuti Foundation, told IANS over phone.

Both were at Kochi to attend a two-day seminar on robotic surgery organised by Vattikuti Foundation.

According to van Heesewijk, India, China and Brazil are important markets for Intuitive Surgical.

A total of 26 da Vinci systems are in operation in India at various hospitals.

In India, Vattikuti Technologies is sole distributor and van Heesewijk said the company is not planning to go direct-selling directly to hospitals in India.

Van Heesewijk welcomed the tie-up between Google Inc. and Johnson & Johnson to work in the field of surgical robotics.

According to him, the fact that two global players with deep pockets getting into robotics is a clear indication that robotic surgery segment will get a big boost.

Meanwhile, the Vattikuti Foundation is planning to increase the number of surgeons trained on robotic surgical systems to 300.

“Presently, there are 147 surgeons trained in robotic surgeries in India. They do 300-400 robotic surgeries. Our target is to increase the surgeons trained in robotic surgeries to 300 by 2020,” Bhandari said.

According to him, when the foundation was started in 2009-10 there were only five or six surgeons trained to carry out robotic surgeries.

Queried whether the foundation would train surgeons only on da Vinci systems distributed in India, he said: “Intuitive Surgical is the market leader.”

Bhandari said once a surgeon is trained, training him in other systems is not a big issue.

On the advantages of robotic surgeries, he said the incision will be small and the loss of blood will be very minimal.

He said the recovery of the patient is faster and the post-operative pain will also be less.

According to Bhandari, robotic procedures in India that cover a wide spectrum of procedures – cardiac, urology, general surgery, thoracic, gynaecology, head and neck, vascular and paediatrics – are expected to cross the 6,000 procedures mark in 2015.

HandyCase Adds Touch Control To The Back Of Your iPad

HandyCase

Tong Luo has created a new mobile device casing called the HandyCase, that can be added to Apple’s iPadtablets and enables touch controls to be added to the rear of the tablet.

Allowing users to keep the screen free from messy fingers and easy to see when in use. Providing full operation of your Apple mobile device using your fingers from behind your screen.

Watch the video below to learn more about this unique and revolutionary control device for the iPad tablet, that is sure to add a new range of functionality to already existing applications and games as well as those in development.

The HandyCase is currently over on Kickstarter looking to raise $100,000 to take the concept into production and thanks to over 110 backers is already on its way, raising over $44,000 in just the first few days after launch. Its creators explain a little more about the inspiration and design behind the HandyCase :

Our idea is developed by leading talents in Silicon Valley, California and protected by numerous patents. Our sleek design is crafted by top industrial design firm and artists in the United States and in Europe. Our high quality and low cost product is made by a reputable Chinese manufacturer.

All mobile device users can benefit from this technology on a daily basis.Your kids, your siblings, your parents, your best friends, HandyCase makes it easier to interact with your mobile devices. We have developed games and apps to prove our technology is not only beneficial, but also practical and fun. HandyCase is available for iPhone 6, iPhone 6+, iPad Mini 2&3 and iPad Air 2.

 

Jump over to the Kickstarter website to make a pledge from just $99 to be one of the very first to own the revolutionary control device.