Tag: research

No, the debate over the risks of cell phone radiation isn’t over yet. The US National Institutes of Health’s National Toxicology Program has published details of draft studies which suggest that normal cell phone radiation levels aren’t harmful to humans. The research subjected rats to very high levels of RF radiation at 2G and 3G cellular frequencies, and produced results where there was no clear pattern of harm even at the exaggerated radiation levels.

In one study, some male rats subjected to the radiation did develop cancer tumors around their hearts. But the female rats didn’t, and neither sex suffered symptoms in another study. And then there’s the truly odd data. Both newborn rats and their mothers had reduced weight but grew to normal sizes, and exposed rats lived longer than those that hadn’t. And these are at exposure rates that are “much higher” than the current cell phone safety standard, the Food and Drug Administration said.

In its comments on the study, the FDA stressed that the study didn’t translate neatly to typical human experiences beyond the exposure levels. Rats are clearly much smaller than humans, so they’re enduring that intense radiation across their entire bodies where a human might only deal with those levels near their ears or thighs. This didn’t include 4G frequencies, either, so any risk that was there might not have been present with an LTE connection.

Things aren’t entirely set in stone yet. There will need to be finished studies with outside reviews that might interpret the findings differently or prompt follow-ups. However, the early data illustrates exactly why there’s no firm proclamation on the safety of cell phones. Lab tests can only tell you so much, and long-term tests tend to provide ambiguous, incomplete results. These latest studies mostly imply that there’s no obvious short-term effect.

By Jon Fingas for Engadget

Technavio’s latest global stationery and cards market report highlights three key emerging trends predicted to impact market growth through 2020. Technavio defines an emerging trend as something that has potential for significant impact on the market and contributes to its growth or decline.

The key vendors in the market include, Office Depot, Staples, Top Culture, and Walmart. However, Hallmark and American Greetings make up for almost 80% of the greeting cards market. The other prominent vendors in the market include ACCO Brands, Adveo, Ardent Group, American Greetings, El Corte Inglés, Hallmark Cards, Herlitz, Kaut-Bullinger, Kokuyo, Lyreco, Metro, Ryman Group, and WH Smith.

“Vendors operating in the market provide a diversified range of products to appeal to a wider consumer base. Some of these vendors directly sell their products to end-users to reduce their reliance on retailers. They keep customers abreast of ongoing market trends by speaking of offers that aid branding and differentiation,” says Abhay Sinha, one of Technavio’s lead industry analysts.

“Being a discretionary product, stationery and cards vendors are largely affected by the economic outlook. To stay at a sizeable position in the market, vendors must therefore continuously innovate and provide new designs and utility of products,” adds Abhay.

Technavio’s market research study identifies the following three emerging trends expected to propel the global stationery and cards market:

  • Licensing of stationery;
  • Product innovations; and
  • Demand for green products.

Licensing is a popular trend that has been around for quite some time. The concept of licensing allows diversity and propels sales in the market through new product launches. Global sales of licensed merchandise reached $157-billion in 2013, whereby Asia’s emerging licensing market accounted for 12,7% of the world’s total. It is a trend that is anticipated to find tremendous popularity in all new and emerging markets for cards and stationery.

Licenses dealing with cartoon characters, movies, mobile games, TV shows, and sports stars are particularly popular and are used in the marketing of basic stationery products. These products display new and unique designs that are familiar to the consumer base, and this further drives its demand. With children anticipated to gain a greater role to play in consumer decisions, this strategy will thereby cause a major turnaround for the market over the next four years. For instance, Staples teamed up with Nickelodeon to offer exclusive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and SpongeBob SquarePants designs on stationery products.

Product innovations

Designs are being centered on value-addition with enhanced appeal and additional convenience. Manufacturers are transitioning in terms of functionalities of stationery and cards by innovating with new designs, formats, and models. For instance, a pin-less stapler creates holes in sheets and interlocks all of them, thereby eliminating the need to use pins and refills the stapler. Notebooks, pens, and inks in different colors are becoming design-led products, while doubling up as fashion accessories.

To enhance their connect with consumers, vendors in the market are incorporating new technologies in greeting cards and stationery to increase their revenues and make them more appealing to consumers. Vendors are also using digital mediums to communicate with their consumers. For instance, the Jackpen, a writing instrument, can be inserted into the headphone socket of a mobile phone. Hallmark Cards have come up with sound cards, lenticular cards, and cards that have a voice changer, 3D motion, and lights. Such cards come with premium price tags and have a good demand in the market.

Demand for green products

Consumers are increasingly embracing lifestyles and processes that support green living. This is largely shaping buying pattern of individuals and commercial consumers, as they aim to consciously reduce the use of paper and paper-based products.

Vendors in the market are addressing this wave of environmental challenge by researching alternative materials and manufacturing products that are not only eco-friendly but are also functional and sophisticated. For instance, Glebe Cottage offers cards that use FSC-certified materials, alcohol-free printing process, vegetable-based inks, compostable bags, and green energy. Technavio researchers anticipate many similar product launches in the market over the next four years.

Researchers have demonstrated that transparent ink containing gold, silver and magnetic nanoparticles can easily be screen-printed onto various types of paper, with the nanoparticles being so small that they seep into the paper’s pores.

Although invisible to the naked eye, the nanoparticles can be detected by the unique ways that they scatter light and by their magnetic properties. Since the combination of optical and magnetic signatures is extremely difficult to replicate, the nanoparticles have the potential to be an ideal anti-counterfeiting technology.

The researchers, Carlos Campos-Cuerva, Maciej Zieba, and co-authors at the University of Zaragoza in Zaragoza, Spain, and CIBER-BBN in Madrid, Spain, have published a paper on the anti-counterfeiting nanoparticle ink in a recent issue of Nanotechnology.

“We believe that it would be interesting to sell to different manufacturers their own personalised ink providing a specific combination of signals,” co-author Manuel Arruebo at the University of Zaragoza and CIBER-BBN told Phys.org.

The nanoparticle-containing ink could then be used to mark a wide variety of supports including paper (documents, labels of wine, or drug packaging), plastic (bank or identity cards), textiles (luxury clothing or bags), and so on.”

Whereas , the new technique is much simpler. The researchers attached the nanopartiprevious methods of using nanoparticles as an anti-counterfeiting measure often require expensive, sophisticated equipmentcles to the paper by standard screen-printing of transparent ink, and then authenticated the samples using commercially available optical and magnetic sensors.

“We demonstrated that the combination of nanomaterials providing different optical and magnetic properties on the same printed support is possible, and the resulting combined signals can be used to obtain a user-configurable label, providing a high degree of security in anti-counterfeiting applications using simple commercially available sensors at a low cost,” Arruebo says.

Although the nanoparticle ink is easy for the researchers to fabricate, attempting to replicate these authentication signals would be extremely difficult for a forger because the signals arise from the highly specific physical and chemical characteristics of the nanoparticles. Replicating the exact type, size, shape, and surface coating requires highly precise fabrication methods and an understanding of the correlation between the signals and these characteristics.

Making replication even more complicated is the fact that the combined optical and magnetic nanoparticles are printed on top of each other in the same spot, and this overlap creates an even more complex signal. Another advantage of the new technique is that the nanoparticles are able to withstand extreme temperatures and humidity under accelerated weathering conditions.

One of the greatest applications of the technology may be to prevent forgery of pharmaceutical drugs. Counterfeit medicine – which includes drugs that have incorrect or no active ingredients, as well as drugs that are intentionally mislabelled – is a growing problem throughout the world. The researchers plan to pursue such applications as well as further increase the security of the technology in future work.

“We plan to add more physical signals to the same tag by combining nanoparticles which could provide optical, magnetic, and electrical signals, etc., on the same printed spot,” Arruebo says.

Source: www.phys.org

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