Connect with us

Tech

This Stanford Student’s Doodles Have Earned Her the Nickname ‘The Science Sketcher’

Published

on


Stanford psychology Ph.D. student Natalia Vélez began sketching during academic talks a year ago. Now, she has earned the nickname “The Science Sketcher” for her work.

The early doodling days

Vélez began her doodling habit by scribbling in the margins of notebooks throughout elementary and high school.

Source: Natalia Vélez via Stanford

“Even if I was paying attention in class, I would just be so restless,” she said during a recent Stanford interview. “I just always needed to do something with my hands.”

However, she gave up her doodling for several years, until in 2017, she noticed Stanford psychology Associate Professor Michael C. Frank drawing portraits of speakers. This inspired her to start her scribbling once more.

RELATED: THIS PHYSICS TEACHER MAKES ART OUT OF FORMULAS

“I thought, that looks like fun,” said Vélez. From there, she began sketching at conferences and gatherings as well as department events, visiting speakers and weekly department area talks.

This Stanford Student's Doodles Have Earned Her the Nickname ‘The Science Sketcher’
Source: Natalia Vélez via Stanford

Sharing her work

Vélez shares her illustrations on her Twitter feed, @natvelali. “Lately, I’ve also had the chance to sketch thesis defense talks by my cohort mates, which has been fun – but also bittersweet,” she said.

Earlier this year, Vélez made her debut as “The Science Sketcher” in the Stanford Psychology Newsletter, a feature that will now become a regular. 

This Stanford Student's Doodles Have Earned Her the Nickname ‘The Science Sketcher’
Source: Natalia Vélez via Stanford

Vélez shared that she was happy to see that sketching in class or during other events was not only accepted but appreciated. This is a major difference from the way her sketching was perceived in high school where she got in trouble for doodling.

This Stanford Student's Doodles Have Earned Her the Nickname ‘The Science Sketcher’
Source: Natalia Vélez via Stanford

Now, Vélez just hopes her work can bring some benefit to her fellow classmates and academic colleagues. “Sketching has always helped me focus, but I hope it can be of some small benefit to others as well,” she said.



Tech

Novel technology helps reverse baldness in mice

Published

on

By


Reversing baldness in the future may be as simple as wearing a hat, thanks to a new noninvasive, low-cost hair-growth-stimulating technology tested successfully on mice, scientists say.

Based on devices that gather energy from a body’s day-to-day motion, the hair-growth technology, described in the journal ACS Nano, stimulates the skin with gentle, low-frequency electric pulses, which coax dormant follicles to reactivate hair production.

“I think this will be a very practical solution to hair regeneration,” said Xudong Wang, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US.

The devices don’t cause hair follicles to sprout anew in smooth skin. Instead they reactivate hair-producing structures that have gone dormant, researchers said.

The technology can be used as an intervention for people in the early stages of pattern baldness, but it would not bestow tresses to someone who has been bald for several years,they said.

Researchers noted that because the devices are powered by the movement of the wearer, they don’t require a bulky battery pack or complicated electronics.

Small devices called nanogenerators passively gather energy from day-to-day movements and transmit low-frequency pulses of electricity to the skin. That gentle electric stimulation causes dormant follicles to “wake up,” the researchers said.



Source

Continue Reading

Tech

Amazon PillPack empathy training shows employees what customers feel

Published

on

By


PillPack has an “empathy training” as part of its new hire orientation

Christina Farr, CNBC

“So the cat is dead,” said Rachel Sandler, a new hire at Amazon-owned PillPack, as a pill-shaped candy rolled onto the floor.

Sandler was in the midst of the company’s new hire orientation at its Somerville, Mass., offices in early September. That orientation includes a half hour of “empathy training,” where employees get a better sense of what it’s like to be a typical PillPack customer.

PillPack, which was acquired by Amazon in mid-2018, built its business by focusing on senior citizens who are often juggling at least a dozen medications, with one or more chronic illnesses. The company specializes in delivering all the pills that people need in one simple package, so they don’t have to struggle with multiple bottles. Many of the company’s users have reduced vision, or are hard of hearing, and many struggle with mobility, so the company offers mail delivery and clear labels to make it easier for them.

CNBC was invited to sit in on one of these empathy training sessions in September.

Employees were given a timed test: They had to pack dozens of pills into a box, known as a pillminder, while parsing through complicated and sometimes vague instructions in tiny script, like “take one tablet Monday, Wednesday and Friday night, take two tablets Tuesday and Saturday. Skip Sunday.” To add a further challenge, they wore oversized gloves to restrict their mobility and thick prescription glasses to duplicate poor eyesight.

A pillminder case and pill bottles

Christina Farr, CNBC

In the frenzy, pills flew everywhere. Employees were reminded that an unintended misstep, like a discarded pill on a carpet, could have dire consequences.

“Many of our users have horrible anxiety about a pill getting eaten by a grandchild or a pet,” noted PillPack’s Lexi Borbostina, who was leading the training.

“We can’t ship a service that meets the physical and emotional needs of our user if we don’t have the empathy at the root of what we do,” added Borbostina, the company’s user researcher, who started at PillPack as the first community manager in 2015.

These days, the company delivers most of the medicines that a consumer can get from a household pharmacy to the home. A customers’ meds are packaged in white packets and they are offered automatic refills, 24/7 customer support, and a mobile app with clear instructions about each medication.

The focus on convenience and design is how the company believes it can set itself apart from large competitors, including CVS and Walgreens, and proved to be a big selling point for Amazon at the time of the buy-up.

Slow integration into Amazon

Amazon is known for its commitment to serving everyone with everything. Until last year, however, that didn’t include pharmaceutical drugs.

After years of demurring, Amazon fixed that in May of 2018 when it bought PillPack for $753 million. Since then, the company has squabbled with incumbents in the health-care industry, including a fight with an online prescriptions vendor called Surescripts over patient data and a lawsuit with CVS over a high-level hire.

Amazon has taken a case-by-case approach with each of its acquisitions. The largest among them, like Zappos, Twitch and Ring, have remained standalone brands with their own unique cultures. But Souq, the Middle East marketplace it bought for $580 million was rebranded as Amazon.ae and incorporated into the mothership two years after its acquisition.

It seems to be taking a middle road with PillPack. It has its own offices and brand, but is known now as “PillPack: an Amazon company” and it has a store page on Amazon to advertise the service.

Moreover, CNBC has learned that PillPack CEO TJ Parker spends about half his week in Seattle at Amazon’s headquarters. He and Amazon’s vice president Nader Kabbni, who runs the pharmacy group, are so connected that they share an executive assistant.

PillPack first introduced the optional empathy training in early 2018, while it was still a venture-backed start-up. The company’s design and user experience team came up with the idea as a way to acquaint its young employees who don’t take any meds with the needs of its users. PillPack went through multiple iterations of the training to make it as representative as possible, including with several styles of gloves and prescription labels that aligned with real labels.

The company warns new hires that it’s not easy to step into another person’s shoes.

Before kicking off the exercise, Borbostina cautioned the dozen or so employees huddled around her that she couldn’t “replicate a condition.” At best, she could try to give them some physical challenges to overcome for a temporary period.

The group was then provided with the pill minder, labeled for the days of the week, as well as the pill bottles.

About 10 minutes into the exercise, one employee raised a hand to note that they had finished. Borbostina handed Mike Gionvinco, a software engineer, a guide to check that he’d put the pills in the right place. But he’d made a few mistakes, and needed to start over.

Borbostina noted that the pill minder labels were so tricky because they didn’t match the pill bottle instructions.

As she spoke, more candy pills continued to roll on the floor.

Instructions on a pill bottle

Christina Farr, CNBC

“I can’t stop dropping them,” another employee called out to the group.

After about 30 minutes, most of the workers had either given up or haphazardly completed the exercise. And a discussion started up about how challenging it was.

Borbostina then read a letter from a real PillPack user who wrote in to say that she struggled to manage the medication she needed for her mental health, and that led to things getting worse. That user said she’s now compliant with her meds after finding PillPack. That letter is now framed on the wall of the Somerville office.

At that point, about five people were asked to stay behind to provide feedback on a potential new design for a pill bottle. Jennifer Sarich-Harvey, the company’s design chief, watched quietly as employees weighed in about the depth of the ridge, or the size of the bottle.

“We’re designing for child safety, but also supporting people who have mobility challenges and other disabilities,” said Sarich-Harvey. “Not every industry has that challenge, which is why we have processes for trying to walk in our users’ shoes.”

NOW WATCH: How Amazon could change the pharmacy business



Source

Continue Reading

Tech

Reuters Science News Summary

Published

on

By


Following is a summary of current science news briefs.

Alien enthusiasts descend on Nevada desert near secretive U.S. base

Scores of UFO enthusiasts converged on rural Nevada on Thursday for a pilgrimage of sorts to the U.S. installation known as Area 51, long rumored to house government secrets about alien life, as law enforcement officials beefed up security around the military base. Visitors descended early in the day on the tiny desert town of Rachel, a short distance from the military site, in response to a recent, viral social-media invitation to “storm” Area 51 on Friday, raising concerns by local authorities of unruly crowds overwhelming the community.

Bird numbers plunge in U.S. and Canada with people to blame

From grasslands to seashores to forests and backyards, birds are disappearing at an alarming rate in the United States and Canada, with a 29% population drop since 1970 and a net loss of about 2.9 billion birds, scientists said on Thursday. People are to blame, the researchers said, citing factors including widespread habitat loss and degradation, broad use of agricultural chemicals that eradicate insects vital to the diet of many birds, and even outdoor hunting by pet cats.

Arctic expedition to investigate ‘epicentre of climate change’

Scientists from 19 countries are preparing to embark on a year-long expedition to the Arctic, the longest project of its kind, to better understand global climate change. The icebreaker Polarstern is preparing to set sail from Tromsoe in northern Norway, allowing hundreds of rotating researchers to spend the next year close to the north pole.

Scientists reconstruct skeleton of elusive, pre-historic human

Researchers in Israel say they have reconstructed the skeleton of a pre-historic human from a long-extinct and elusive species using DNA found in the pinky bone of a 13-year-old girl who died 70,000 years ago. Little is known about the Denisovans, who were ancient relatives of the more familiar Neanderthals and our own species. Their existence was only recently discovered and has fascinated scientists worldwide.



Source

Continue Reading

Trending

We use cookies to best represent our site. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the use of cookies.
Yes