Today in Research: Siri Could Soon Play Doctor; Wi-Fi Kills Sperm

Discovered: Doctor Siri, cheating creative-types, a brain injury threshold, a worrying thing about Wi-Fi, and a persistent "made in China" problem.

  • Siri will be your doctor soon too. Continuing humanity's slow realization that an iPhone is actually a Star Trek tricorder, researchers are now pondering the possibility that if you spit on the screen of your prototype äppärät it'll be able to give you a basic medical diagnosis. Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute for Science and Technology have been conducting some foundational tests to see if the idea held water, with natural "it's just a first step"-seeming results, as New Scientist reports. But, eventually, they theorize, "the lab-on-a-chip could present a tiny droplet of the sample to be pressed against a phone's touchscreen for analysis, where an app would work out whether you have food poisoning, strep throat, or flu, for example." While spitting on your iPhone to receive a diagnosis from Siri 3.0 seems convenient and all, we'd hope that the people in the space-ship themed campus are also devising way to dissolve the glob of saliva on the pristine screen. [New Scientist]
  • This is a study with a worrisome finding that researchers say shouldn't be worrisome. Wi-Fi use has been linked, however tentatively, to killing off sperm: "Our data suggest that the use of a laptop computer wirelessly connected to the Internet and positioned near the male reproductive organs may decrease human sperm quality," said Argentinian scientists to Reuters Health. While clearly fretting over the ill effects of Wi-Fi is as fruitless as pondering the scientific whiplash of the cell phone-cancer link (really, how could you escape using a phone or computer?), the same Reuters report quotes other experts waving off any reason to be afraid of wireless Internet, saying the study was conducted in an artificial setting. [Reuters Health]

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