Smartening up vaginal infection diagnosis with high-tech underwear

Anyone who has a vagina, whether they’re a woman, girl, non-binary or trans person, may experience the discomfort of a vaginal infection at some point in their life. Until now, there’s been little or no innovation to help identify these conditions.

Enter: ALMA. It’s smart underwear that can empower accurate home diagnosis without an awkward trip to a clinic. How does it work?

The age of smart underwear

From thinking fridges to talking watches, ‘smart’ tech (also known as the internet of things) has exploded in recent years. But there’s nothing like this intelligent underwear. Created by four friends as part of the Re-FREAM research project, ALMA is a non-invasive wearable device that monitors vaginal discharge to help those who suffer from vaginal infections to identify the problem earlier.

Vaginal infections – such as bacterial vaginosis and candidal vulvovaginitis (vaginal thrush) – are a common problem. Stigma or the inconvenience of making an appointment with a health professional often prevents sufferers seeking early diagnosis. But fast treatment can reduce the infection duration and severity of the symptoms. That’s where ALMA aims to help – the low-cost, reusable undergarment gathers data to monitor vaginal health.

How did lockdown affect creativity? TWELVE stories

What does a pandemic do to our creativity? 2020 was a year of uncertainty and isolation, but many used life behind closed doors to create in new ways. From yoga-fusion to quarantine imaginations, TWELVE captures one-minute intimate stories from lockdowns around the world.

In a global pandemic, everything changes

Many things helped us through lockdown, but creativity was high on the list. In the wake of COVID-19, millions took to writing, singing, painting and other forms of expression to make the most of the time. If we couldn’t be creative in our normal lives, how would it be behind closed doors?

In partnership with The Community Creatives, TWELVE captures creatives’ lives during the COVID crisis. These one-minute, insightful short films are all about creation, connection and change.

Watch all TWELVE films here.

Keen to get involved? Sign up to make sure you hear about our next callout.

Could immortality be this easy?

Eat turmeric, exercise regularly, sleep well – a few of many tips to increase your lifespan. But if they work, they will probably only give you a handful of extra years. If you want to drastically prolong your time on earth, here’s what you might do instead.

The joy of getting your leg back

Meet Mike Jones who lost his leg in a motor accident but with the help of an artificial limb, he felt as if he had his leg back again. Scientists across the world are working hard on robotic limbs that can be integrated into our human bodies in a way that they become better than our biological limbs. Leaving us with the question… will we be able to become super humans at some point?

Imagine Beyond is a new web series about human augmentation. We are at an exciting stage of evolution. What was science-fiction is now becoming fact and it is happening faster than most of us expected. Missed the first episode? Check it out here.

hacker:HUNTER WannaCry, Chapter 2

His random act of heroism makes security researcher Marcus Hutchins famous overnight. Being celebrated by media around the world, he spends a week in Las Vegas. When he wants to leave, the FBI arrests him. They suspect him of creating malware.

From the Web:

FBI arrest of Marcus Hutchins (@MalwareTechBlog) has chilling effect

Bad news for WannaCry slayer Marcus Hutchins

What Happens When a Hacker Hero is Arrested by the FBI? | Freethink Coded

The assistant: controlling the gear

Ryan Hill was the assistant to Chris Burkard on #fromkurilswithlove. And although the camera crew was travelling light, there still was an enormous amount of equipment to take care of. They only brought less than 20 bags with equipment. it can easily be 100 in other shoots. Looking after the equipment, among other things, was Ryan’s job. Here, he gives a short impression of his work and the challenges on board.

Find photos of the mess and a list of all the equipment on board in this article.

From hero to zero to a free man

“I was shaking, I think I sweat through my t-shirt and through my blazer. I did not know how to feel – it just felt like everything was coming to an end but not in a good way…”

For Marcus Hutchins, a dream that had turned into a nightmare ended in July with a compassionate sentence by a judge in Milwaukee. “I just got out of my court hearing for the sentencing, of course. I wasn’t really sure how it was going to go down, I was very, very nervous”, he told us right after leaving the courtroom. “But the judge took a very broad view of the entire circumstances rather than just the case at hand – he weighed up my past work helping security. He also went into the unique circumstances of me being stuck in a foreign country instead of at home. And he ended up ruling ‘time served’, which was actually a big surprise to me. But looking back it does make sense when you weigh in the fact that I’ve not been at home, I’ve been forced to stay in a foreign country for two years.”

Hutchins became a cybersecurity celebrity from one day to another in 2017. “I came back from lunch, saw all the news about something targeting the NHS and so I decided to dig a little deeper into what it does, which was when I noticed that there was an unregistered domain inside the code”, he recalls what happened that day. He registered the domain and the infection count went down. He had – rather accidentally – found the kill switch for the Wanna Cry epidemic.

Coming in October: WannaCry – The Marcus Hutchins Story

Marcus Hutchins, the cybersecurity hero who stopped WannaCry turned cybercrime defendant, tells his story in this exclusive documentary. Coming to YouTube en…

It changed his life – he became a hero, just to fall to zero a few weeks after. “I woke up on, I believe, a Sunday morning to see my face over a two page spread of the Daily Mail. Media had actually posted my address in the paper, which meant now I had the risk of the bad guys I am fighting, knowing where I live.”

Hutchins is a calm and friendly personality, and he pleaded guilty to a dark past. He had created a banking malware called Kronos and sold it through an online marketplace. It’s unclear if it was his sudden fame that sparked the FBI’s interest in Hutchins or if they had been after him before, but it didn’t take long until his short period of heroism was over.

He spent a few days of vacation at the hacker conference DefCon in Las Vegas. With friends he shared a mansion with a huge pool (as they figured out it was cheaper than booking hotel rooms for all of them). They celebrated more than actually participating in the conference – with a 30 bedroom mansion, huge pool, sports cars. Back at the airport, though, the party was over. “At this point, I am completely exhausted, I have no idea what’s going on anymore and I am just relaxing in the lounge waiting for my flight. And a man and two other people in uniform approached me and asked: are you Marcus Hutchins? I said yes and they asked me to come with them. It turned out the guy was actually an FBI agent and that’s when they arrested me”.

Two years later he left the court, clearly not a hero anymore. Yet, a free man.

See his story and the story of WannaCry in the second part of our hacker:HUNTER series: WannaCry – The Marcus Hutchins Story. On Tomorrow Unlocked at the end of October.

25th October: hacker:HUNTER WannaCry

Taylor Rees is one of the most exciting filmmakers around, making documentaries from forgotten volcanic archipelagos to red-hot reflections on the American civil war. Who is Taylor Rees and what other documentaries has she made that you must see?

Who is Taylor Rees?

Director. Adventurer. Photographer. Environmental documentary filmmaker. The list goes on, but this description gives you an idea of her versatility and talent.

Taylor Rees’ work focuses on environmental and humanitarian issues, exploring stories beneath the surface with insatiable curiosity, deepening public understanding of natural resource conflicts, climate change and human rights. Her middle name is Freesolo: No moniker but a lasting reminder of her parents’ love of free climbing.

Where did Taylor Rees start making films?

Her career dates back to a Masters’s degree from Yale in environmental management and anthropology. This is the foundation for her stories, giving them a rigorous scientific and social justice approach.

Taylor Rees’ filmmaking style

Stylistically, Taylor’s work uses the power of landscape – skies, mountain ranges and large expanses. She also looks at a landscape’s story – the intricacies of its beauty, connection and how life interacts within different places. For storytellers out there, her TED talk is a must.

Taylor Rees said in a recent interview with culture and adventure journalist Simon Schreyer, “The love of what’s beautiful to me is deeply personal and it gives me a lot of intention, desire and drive to find aspects of beauty within a human life, or in a landscape, or in a way to incorporate that beauty in my own life. It’s like an indescribable phenomenon, that we don’t even know how to talk about rationally.”

Taylor Rees films

Down To Nothing (2015)

Her first film Down To Nothing follows a five-person team who set out on an ambitious trek to find out whether Burmese peak Hkakabo Razi is really Southeast Asia’s highest point.

Life Coach (2017)

Alaska’s Ruth Glacier is a climber’s dream. When director Taylor Rees and climbers Renan Ozturk and Alex Honnold choose a specific route to the top, unfortunately – or perhaps, fortunately – the weather puts a swift stop to their expectations. What follows is remarkable.

Watch Taylor Rees’ film Life Coach

Mentors: Hilaree Nelson (2018)

Is there room for glamour in the testosterone-filled world of ski mountaineering? Taylor and her team ask big questions as they follow ski mountaineer Hilaree Nelson in a stunning depiction of masculinity and femininity in sport.

Watch Taylor Rees’ film Mentors: Hilaree Nelson

Ashes To Ashes (2019)

Both Black history and US history, Ashes to Ashes is one of Taylor Rees’ more poignant and at times horrific explorations of humanity. She follows Winfred Rembert, an artist and rare survivor of a Jim Crow-era attempted lynching, as he explains a dark past.

From Kurils With Love (2020)

When the guardian of an almost unreachable archipelago in the Far East of Russia hitched a ride with Taylor and her team, no one expected the result. From Kurils With Love’s team includes Rees’ spouse and fellow filmmaker Renan Ozturk. They set out to make a classic adventure story but what they got was something far more powerful.

The Ghosts Above (2020)

Taylor’s most recent work is set on Mount Everest and narrated by Renan Ozturk. The big question: Who was the first to reach the summit? Rees directs this gripping and sometimes strained look at the history of Everest expeditions, the fraught relationship between indigenous guides and the commercialization of a sacred mountain.

What will Taylor Rees do next?

If her previous work is anything to go by, the future is bright. To make sure you don’t miss her next project, keep up to date with Taylor’s adventures on her Instagram or the Taylor Freesolo Rees website.

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