I was fortunate on Friday to attend Masterminds at the Ohio Union in the center of The Ohio State University campus. I was the guest of Cindy Hilsheimer, founder and managing principal of BeecherHill, a retained executive search firm in Columbus. Cindy and I are board colleagues at at OCLC, Inc. in nearby Dublin, Ohio. Masterminds is a series of short, engaging talks made by brilliant faculty who hold endowed positions at Ohio State. The event is related to the philanthropic development program of the university. Four speakers presented cutting-edge research, discoveries, and innovative ideas.

Casey W. Hoy, PhD is a professor in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. He is the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Endowed Chair in Agricultural Ecosystems Management, and Faculty Director of the Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation. He pointed out the world can produce enough food to provide a healthy diet to the entire world’s population, but one out of nine are seriously underfed. His talk, “A Systems Approach to Food Security” described a large collaboration across multiple disciplines at the university to develop models to produce food nearer the source of the need. 

Timothy M. Pawlik, MD, PhD, MPH is a professor in the College of Medicine, Urban Meyer III and Shelley Meyer Chair for Cancer Research, and Chair of the Department of Surgery in the College of Medicine. His talk was about treating the sick as people, not as patients. He described the gap between what a provider things is realistic relative to curing a person and the perception and expectation of the person. “Reframing Hope for Patient Centered Outcomes” was an enlightening vision of a very complex and difficult topic.

Caroline S. Wagner, PhD is a professor in the John Glenn College of Public AffairsAmbassador Milton A. and Roslyn Z. Wolf Chair in International Affairs. The focus of “The Global Network of Science” was how basic science research often begins by a researcher who immigrated from another country, and then the researcher reached back into their country of origin to collaborate. The result is a massive global network of communications. The alarming statistic she showed is the rate at which China is gaining a strong foothold on research with nearly 30% of scientific papers being published there. They are about to surpass the amount of research published by the United States.

Jianjie Ma, PhD is a professor and researcher in the College of Medicine and is the Karl P. Klassen Chair of Thoracic Surgery. His talk was “Regenerative Medicine”, a topic I have written a number of stories about the topic here. Dr. Ma talked about MG53, also known as tripartite motif or TRIM. The newly discovered protein can be injected into a cell and it then grows. After cell growth, the result is sliced and diced into a powder and then a salve, which has shown it can repair heart, skeletal muscle, and, other tissues. He showed some incredible before and after pictures after MG53 was applied. He referred to MG53 as pixie dust with amazing healing power. More research is underway but the potential looks very promising.

The tag line for Masterminds is Short talks, Big ideas. That was certainly the case for all four talks. I feel lucky to have been able to learn a lot on Friday. I was hoping to report on first reactions with the iPhone Xs Max and the Series 4 Watch. Unfortunately, the iPhone arrived at home in Connecticut while I am in Ohio. The Watch was erroneously shipped to my Florida address. Stay tuned.



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Tesla Upgrade

Tesla 100D

Hard to believe, but the lease on my Tesla Model S 90D ended today. The 30,000 mile lease finished with 25,774 miles. I chose the lease option because of likely updates to the technology, which turned out to be true. The new lease started today and will also go for three years for the same reason. A Model S redesign is anticipated in about three years. In addition to the switch from Metallic Blue to Midnight Silver, there is a large number of changes. I will describe what I consider some of the more important ones. A few pictures of the S are here.

The biggest changes are the “eyes and ears” and the onboard computer processing power. The upgraded model has forward radar, eight cameras, and twelve ultrasonic sensors. The Tesla Model S was the first car to use ultrasound for long range sensing. Elon Musk, South African-born Canadian-American business magnate, investor, engineer, and inventor, said the Tesla ultrasound system is, “long-range, offers 360-degree coverage, and establishes a protective cocoon around the car. It can see anything: a small child, a dog. And, it can operate at any speed.” 

The surround cameras provide 360 degrees of visibility around the car at up to 750 feet of range. The twelve updated ultrasonic sensors complement this vision, allowing for detection of both hard and soft objects at nearly twice the distance of the prior system. A forward-facing radar with enhanced processing provides additional data about what it is able to see, through heavy rain, fog, dust and even the car ahead.

To make sense of all of this data, a new onboard computer with more than 40 times the computing power of the previous Model S runs the new Tesla-developed artificial intelligence neural net for vision, sonar and radar processing. The combination of all these enhanced features gives the new Model S a view of the world that a driver alone cannot access, seeing in every direction simultaneously, and on wavelengths that go far beyond the human senses.

All Tesla vehicles, including the new Model 3, have the hardware needed for full self-driving capability at a safety level at least double that of a human driver. Although the hardware is now in place, the software validation and regulatory approvals are not. The auto-pilot feature is available and is great for driving on highways. You have to keep your hand on the wheel, but the Tesla does the steering. The updated and enhanced Autopilot adds new capabilities to the driving experience. With the new Tesla Vision cameras, sensors and computing power, the Tesla navigates tighter turns and more complex roads. I can tell the difference already. The Tesla will match speed to traffic conditions, keep within a lane, automatically change lanes without requiring driver input, transition from one freeway to another, exit the freeway when your destination is near, self-park when near a parking spot, and be summoned to and from your garage. Once the regulatory approvals are in place, you will be able to get in the Tesla and tell it where to go. If you don’t say anything, the car will look at your calendar and take you there as the assumed destination. The Tesla will figure out the optimal route, navigating urban streets, complex intersections and freeways. But not yet.

The other big change is moving from 90D to 100D. The D means dual AC induction motors, which provide all-wheel drive. The 100 means the battery cells provide 100,000 watts of microprocessor-controlled power. The rated distance on one charge is 335 miles compared to 290 on the prior Model S 90D. I drove to the Danbury Fair Mall today and backed into one of the ten Superchargers. In 50 minutes it charged up from about 250 miles to 335 miles. See pictures. My old Model S never charged beyond 274 miles. The 335 is enough to get you anywhere you want to go and with more flexibility in where to stop for a charge. The EPA rates the equivalent fuel economy at 102 miles per gallon. The upgrade to the new Model S entitles me to lifetime free charging on the road at Tesla Superchargers. Tesla Says 99% of the U.S. population lives within 150 Miles of a Supercharger.

Another innovative feature of the new Model S is the Smart Air Suspension. When the car has the body in a low position, it looks more sleek and is more aerodynamic. However, if you have a steep driveway or a garage with a drop or encounter a road with a lot of potholes or rough terrain, you want the suspension to raise the car much higher. I have encountered situations like these and it is no fun to feel the bottom of the car scraping the ground. The Model S has four positions for the suspension: low, standard, high, very high. If you encounter one of the bad situations I mentioned, you can stop and select high or very high. The car will remember your exact location where you did that and, in the future it will automatically adjust the suspension when you get near there. Once you then reach higher speed, the suspension will automatically adjust to standard.

The press has continuously criticized Tesla for its Model 3 production numbers. If you have any doubts about how real Tesla production is, just visit one of its 250 service centers. Connecticut, where I live this time of year, has no delivery centers because the politicians are protecting the traditional dealerships who don’t want to see more efficient dealerships owned by the manufacturer. They listen to the lobbyists, not to the consumers. I arrived at Mt. Kisco, NY, about 20 miles away, on Saturday morning at 10 AM. The showroom was packed like an Apple store. The Tesla employees are enthusiastic. There is nothing traditional about the delivery process. A young man removed the license plate from the old Model S, I signed the paperwork (yes, it will eventually all be done through paperless blockchain technology), I was escorted to a Model X, and driven five miles to a huge parking lot full of Teslas, models S, X, and 3. Employees there briefed new owners on how to use the car, and they wiped off any smudges the cars might have. The schedule for Saturday was to deliver five Model S and twenty Model 3 cars. You got the feeling the employees were as happy as the new owners.

My first step was to pair the iPhone to the Model S. The 17-inch touchscreen almost immediately displayed my calendar, contacts, and calling history. When I got home I found an enthusiastic email with a PDF attached containing all the documents I had signed. The next step was to remove the front license plate bracket since Florida does not require a front plate. I then installed the E-Z Pass transponder under the front nose. I am looking forward to the end of the lease and getting an even more amazing model S.


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Apple iPhones and Watch Look Great

AppleAs usual, the Apple Keynote to introduce the new Apple Watch and three new iPhones, was done with great marketing aplomb. Apple has it down pat. Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them works every time. The new Watch will enable millions of people to monitor their heart rate and rhythm, which can lead to enhanced conversations with cardiologists. The three new phones with FaceID and the amazing A12 Bionic chip will set a new standard for smartphones and their use of artificial intelligence. The only thing Apple can’t seem to do is switch my timezone so I don’t have to get up at 3 AM EDT to place my orders. I’ll have more to say in a couple of weeks about how the new products work.

Meanwhile, healthcare continues to be behind. I visited a very busy imaging center last week for a routine X-Ray. The waiting room was huge and full of people. No WiFi.  I still encounter restaurants who don’t offer WiFi, and when I talk to owners, they say they don’t want people lingering and tying up a table. This is a really benighted rationale, but at least it is somewhat understandable. The radiology center has people lingering, not by choice, and they get to read outdated paper magazines. 

This week, I visited a new imaging center for an MRI needed for my upcoming Total Shoulder Replacement. The new center was beautiful, the receptionist and technician were very polite and professional. The waiting area had WiFi and a WiFi placard to tell people how to use it. Hooray.The total experience could have been better. The classical music in the headphones was weak and not very good. Worse yet, it was interspersed with loud advertisements. I never expected to be bombarded with ads inside of an MRI machine. I asked how I could get the radiologist’s report on my shoulder, and was offered two choices. They can mail it via USPS regular mail or I can drive back and pick it up. After the MRI, I was presented with a CD. I have a lot of computers around my house, and none of them has a CD drive. CD = Completely Dinosaur. This is one of the many reasons healthcare is so expensive. Information is locked up on paper, CDs, departmental silos, Post-Its, and patient portals which you can’t search, sort, or export. The lingua franca in healthcare is the fax machine.

Last night after the Apple Keynote, I opened the Apple Store app on my iPhone, and pre-ordered the new iPhone Xs Max. After gliding through the configuration choices, I was offered the opportunity to get pre-approval for monthly payments for the Annual Upgrade plan. The confirmation screen showed the details of what I had ordered and the phone number and serial number of the iPhone I will be replacing. Everything in one place. Smooth as silk. I dream of the day healthcare will be that way. It can be done. There are some encouraging signs, but the rate of progress is glacial.

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3-D Printing with Steel

3-D Printer in shop

The LulzBot TAZ 5 3-D printer in my shop (in photo above) prints using a roll of filament which feeds into a heated nozzle. The nozzle moves back and forth and up and down to print objects such as the blue ball bearing race on the printer table. (When it was finished printing, the newly printed ball bearings were able to move inside the race). The “ink” the LulzBot uses to print can be any of numerous 3mm filament materials. PLA and ABS are the two most common materials. Both are thermoplastics, meaning they become soft and moldable when heated, and then become solid when cooled. There are numerous other filaments which can be used for 3-D printing including polycarbonate, nylon, wood-filled PLA, and metal-filled PLA,

In healthcare, there are other kinds of “ink”. For example, one newly developed material can be used by dentists to 3-D print teeth. Independent surgical centers will soon begin printing bone implants, including large pieces of the skull. As described in Health Attitude: Unraveling and Solving the Complexities of Healthcare, researchers are printing organ tissues using pluripotent stem cells.

The missing ingredient in 3-D printing has been steel. Until now. HP has just introduced its Metal Jet printers, which will ultimately be able to print airplane and car parts, healthcare devices, and much more.

3-D printing is great for creating prototypes, but has been slow and expensive to mass produce. The other limitation has been the lack of steel, which is required for many items which need industrial strength. HP aims to change all those limitations with its new large-cabinet $400,000 Metal Jet printer. Watch the short video to see it in action.

Wired quoted Tim Weber, HP’s head of 3-D metals, says 3-D printing will save manufacturing costs for certain product parts and enable companies to create new products faster. Companies will be able to create a prototype and then use the same design for mass production. Weber said, “A lot of parts take months to prototype. We can now do in days what it took months or years to do. It will increase the pace of innovation.”

The HP Metal Jet printers use a process called binder-jet printing. The printer spreads layers of metal powder and then sprays the printed object with a binding agent to solidify it. The initial pieces are then placed in a furnace which solidifies the powder. Wired described the process as being analogous to putting a tin of cookies in the oven. The result will be many new objects which are innovative, solid, smooth, and affordable.

Source: HP’s New 3-D Printers Build Items Not of Plastic but of Steel | WIRED

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Author Visit Supports Wayne County Libraries


“An author makes a stop in Wayne County this evening for a book signing and to spread a positive message. Author Dr. John Patrick was at the Cocoon Coffeehouse in Hawley last night. Patrick currently has four books available and each one focuses on the importance of attitude. Everything from the internet, health care, our homes and politics – a positive outlook can change how these topics affect our everyday lives. Patrick says he created his books for all kinds of readers. 100% of the proceeds from book purchased were donated to the Wayne County Library System.”

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