Lee Hnetinka-Gadgets

lee-hnetinka-meetupNumerous new gadgets have been created or released recently. Although unique, each new gadget shows a step forward in technology in its respective field.

Rhythm Downlight LED from Lighting Science:

This light bulb has the ability to make users feel tired or energized on cue. Scientists at Thomas Jefferson University and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences ran experiments to see how different wavelengths of light affected volunteers. Different colors of light were used that ranged from 440 nm to 600 nm. The volunteers were exposed for 90-minute intervals, while the scientists recorded melatonin levels in the volunteers’ blood. The result of the experiment was that blue light between 446 nm and 477 nm reduced the production of melatonin, a hormone that increases drowsiness. The engineers at Lighting Science used this information to program the Rhythm Downlight. The settings on the Rhythm Downlight range from energizing (more blue) to relaxing (no blue). The app can be programmed to reflect the user’s schedule so the proper light frequency will be used throughout the day. NASA intends to use this new invention on the International Space Station to help astronauts regulate their sleep.

Computer Teachers:

Researchers at Washington State University have recently built a program that allows a computer to teach another computer. In order to do this, the researchers built two computers: a teacher-like one and a student-like one. The researchers used the games Pac-Man and StarCraft as samples of what the teacher-like computer could teach the student-like computer. When the student-computer fumbled or struggled, the teacher-computer gave advice and helped the student-computer slowly improve.


This project from Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology is an attempt to create better-educated predictions of bird migrations in real time. The program will combine current advances and innovations in computing power and data analysis with bird watching. Computer models will be created that can reconstruct the behavior of the birds migrating across North America. This would create a standardized and open source method for managing bird-related data.