Disney explains Menstruation

cartoonI know it’s considered a quite delicate discussion topic, but menstruation is something which I think it’s interesting to be informed about. And what’s better than a cartoon to approach medical subjects? ūüôā

At the end of this post you can find a very nice youtube video. It explains the story of menstruation and it’s produced by Disney. At the beginning I was a bit skeptical, but why not… it lasts 10 minutes, if you don’t like it just switch back to your music playlists.

hypophysisEverything starts with the Pituitary gland, better known as¬†Hypophysis, which is a small 0.5 grams endocrine gland positioned at the base of the brain. Endocrine means that its product, hormones, is directly “pumped” into the blood (rather than by means of a duct, as in the case of exocrine glands). The Hypophysis¬†secretes nine¬†hormones¬†that regulate¬†homeostasis, that is a host of human body processes able to keep stable equilibrium conditions. Among these nine hormones, two of them are more directly responsible for menstruation:¬†the¬†Follicle-stimulating hormone¬†(FSH)¬†and the¬†Luteinizing hormone¬†(LH). Both of them are involved in the process of ovulation, FSH acts first and LH comes later. Their action, together with other hormones and many other physiological parameters, establishes the duration of the menstrual cycle.¬†The¬†average menstrual cycle¬†is 28 days long.

I won’t give here more details, everything is well explained by the following video. As a general guideline, we all should be fairly regular within ourselves. Period.

other source: this website

Invisible Motion uncovered by Eulerian Video Magnification

Some weeks ago I read about a really interesting algorithm proposed by a team of scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology‚Äôs Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. I found a really good description of how it works on this website. I simply copy and paste here the very good explanation they give about this amazing achievement ūüôā

A 30-second video of a newborn baby shows the infant silently snoozing in its crib, his breathing barely perceptible. But when the video is run through an algorithm that can amplify both movement and color, the baby’s face blinks crimson with each tiny heartbeat. The amplification process is called Eulerian Video Magnification, and is the brainchild of a team of scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

The team originally developed the program to monitor neonatal babies without making physical contact. But they quickly learned that the algorithm can be applied to other videos to reveal changes imperceptible to the naked eye. Prof. William T. Freeman, a leader on the team, imagines its use in search and rescue, so that rescuers could tell from a distance if someone trapped on a ledge, say, is still breathing.¬†‚ÄúOnce we amplify these small motions, there‚Äôs like a whole new world you can look at‚ÄĚ, he said.

The system works by homing in on specific pixels in a video over the course of time. Frame-by-frame, the program identifies minute changes in color and then amplifies them up to 100 times, turning, say, a subtle shift toward pink to a bright crimson. The scientists who developed it believe it could also have applications in industries like manufacturing and oil exploration. For example, a factory technician could film a machine to check for small movements in bolts that might indicate an impending breakdown. In one video presented by the scientists, a stationary crane sits on a construction site, so still it could be a photograph. But once run through the program, the crane appears to sway precariously in the wind, perhaps tipping workers off to a potential hazard. It is important to note that the crane does not actually move as much as the video seems to show. It is the process of motion amplification that gives the crane its movement.

The program originally gained attention last summer¬†when the team presented it¬†at the annual computer graphics conference known as Siggraph in Los Angeles.¬†Since then, the M.I.T. team has improved the algorithm to achieve better quality results, with significant improvements in clarity and accuracy.¬†Michael Rubinstein, a doctoral student and co-author on the project, said that after the presentation and subsequent media coverage, the team was inundated with e-mails inquiring about the availability of the program for uses ranging from health care to lie detection in law enforcement. Some people, says Mr. Rubinstein, inquired about how the program might be used in conjunction with Google‚Äôs glasses to see changes in a person‚Äôs face while gambling.¬†‚ÄúPeople wanted to be able to analyze their opponent during a poker game or blackjack and be able to know whether they‚Äôre cheating or not, just by the variation in their heart rate‚ÄĚ, he said.

The team posted the code online and made it available to anyone who wanted to download it and run the program. But to do so required some technical expertise because the interface was not simple to use. Last week, Quanta Research Cambridge, a Taiwan-based manufacturer of laptop computers that helped finance the project, provided a way for people to upload video clips to their Web site and to see a video that is run through the program. The project is also financed by the National Science Foundation and Royal Dutch Shell, among others.

The team is also working toward making the program as an app for smartphones. ‚ÄúI want people to look around and see what‚Äôs out there in this world of tiny motions‚ÄĚ, said Mr. Freeman.

a nice video about mechanical mechanisms

Hi everybody! Just a simple post to share a nice video I found on youtube … ūüôā

Last week I was surfing the web looking for potentially awesome ideas for my PhD project… well, actually I just needed a list of mechanical mechanisms and configurations in order to evaluate new design proposals for the knee prosthesis I am currently working on. As most of you will know, for sure, the step google research -> silly video is more or less immediate ūüėČ

Most of the times the silly video you find has nothing to do with what you were looking for. Most of the times you watch it anyway, since “it only takes 2:35 minutes …”¬† ūüôā ¬†and in this magic way, each day, dozens and dozens of hours are wasted by PhD students all over the world.

This time¬†I was lucky! I found a very simple video, but actually it’s a really nice one! The user says it’s part of a “work by Ralph Steiner” … I don’t know anything about that, but the mechanisms that it shows are really amazing. Some of them have such strange shapes (I mean, the pieces that move are shaped in a bizarre way!) that you would bet the whole system won’t ever be able to move and next… the result is simply wonderful!

So simple + so strange = an amazing precise and regular motion!

Ah, by the way… finally the structure I adopted for my knee prosthesis is a particular screw-nut configuration ūüėČ