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Gizmorama - January 23, 2017

Good Morning,

It seems like researchers are taking protecting personal information to heart. Your heartbeat may become the newest method to accessing your healthcare information. Is your heartbeat like a fingerprint now?

Learn about this and more interesting stories from the scientific community in today's issue.

Until Next Time,

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* Scientists use heartbeat to access electronic health records *

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - Researchers at Binghamton University have created a new method to use a person's heartbeat to access their electronic healthcare records in an effort to protect personal information.

"The cost and complexity of traditional encryption solutions prevent them being directly applied to telemedicine or mobile healthcare," Zhanpeng Jin, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science at Binghamton University, said in a press release. "Those systems are gradually replacing clinic-centered healthcare, and we wanted to find a unique solution to protect sensitive personal health data with something simple, available and cost effective."

Researchers used electrocardiograph, or ECG, information to act as a password to lock or unlock a person's electronic health records.

"The ECG signal is one of the most important and common physiological parameters collected and analyzed to understand a patient's health," Jin said. "While ECG signals are collected for clinical diagnosis and transmitted through networks to electronic health records, we strategically reused the ECG signals for the data encryption. Through this strategy, the security and privacy can be enhanced while minimum cost will be added."

Jin and his team had previously used an individual's brainprint to access computers and buildings along with cybersecurity work from Linke Guo, assistant professor, and Yu Chen, associate professor at Binghamton University.

"This research will be very helpful and significant for next-generation secure, personalized healthcare," Jin said.

The study was presented at The IEEE Global Communications Conference in December 2016 and is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

* Scientists turn graphene into working OLED electrodes, a first *

DRESDEN, Germany - For the first time, scientists have fashioned working OLED electrodes out of graphene. The breakthrough could pave the way for a variety of smart material applications.

Already, scientists have integrated the new OLEDs into touch-screen displays, like those used in smartphones.

"This was a real breakthrough in research and integration of extremely demanding materials," lead researcher Beatrice Beyer, a scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, said in a news release.

In its pure 2D form, graphene consists of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a lattice pattern. The material is extremely strong and flexible. It is also an efficient conductor of heat and electricity. An OLED is an organic light-emitting diode, a thin film that turns electricity into light.

Researchers turned graphene into an OLED electrode by heating a pure copper wafer to 800 degrees Celsius and supplying a mixture of methane and hydrogen. The two compounds trigger a chemical reaction, causing the methane to dissolve into the copper wafer and produce carbon atoms. After the wafer and carbon layer cool, a carrier polymer is applied and the copper is etched away.

The resulting OLED electrode -- each of which measure 2 by 1 square centimeters -- can be coupled with a transparent polymer film to operate like a smartphone touch screen, making the use of breakable glass unnecessary.

"The first products could already be launched in two to three years," concluded Beyer.


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