SciTech Now Episode 34

Episode thirty-four of SciTech Now brings you the latest breakthroughs in science, technology and innovation. We take a deep look at coral reefs and learn why these diverse ecosystems are at risk around the world. We also take a look inside a hospital where researchers have been working to develop high-tech goggles that can easily detect cancer cells during surgery, and more.

TRANSCRIPT

COMING UP, A DISAPPEARING NATURAL WONDER.

CORAL REEFS PROVIDE THE STRUCTURE, THE HOME, AND THE FOOD FOR ALL THE REEF FISH THAT ARE IMPORTANT BOTH COMMERCIALLY AND RECREATIONALLY.

A ZOOMED-IN VIEW OF CANCER CELLS.

WE BELIEVE THAT THE YOUNGER CLINICIANS COMING IN TODAY -- THEY ARE VERY COMFORTABLE WITH GADGETS.

AND THE COOLER IT IS, THE BETTER IT IS FOR THEM TO APPLY THAT.

THE WILLY WONKA OF THE MODERN FOOD INDUSTRY.

I'M VERY INTERESTED IN DELIVERING FOOD AND BEVERAGE IN WAYS THAT MAKE PEOPLE'S LIVES BETTER.

AND A MOBILE APP TO HELP STOP BULLYING.

THEY DON'T KNOW WHO'S GONNA USE IT.

IT'S ANONYMOUS.

PEOPLE ARE ON BETTER BEHAVIOR.

IT'S ALL AHEAD.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM IS MADE POSSIBLE BY...

HELLO. I'M HARI SREENIVASAN.

WELCOME TO 'SciTech NOW,' OUR WEEKLY PROGRAM BRINGING YOU THE LATEST BREAKTHROUGHS IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND INNOVATION.

LET'S GET STARTED.

OFTEN CALLED THE 'RAINFORESTS OF THE SEA,' CORAL REEFS FORM SOME OF THE MOST DIVERSE ECOSYSTEMS ON EARTH.

BUT IN THE FACE OF CHANGING SEA TEMPERATURES, POLLUTION, AND OTHER FACTORS, MANY REEFS ARE AT RISK.

WE TAKE A LOOK AT ONE COMMUNITY'S EFFORTS TO RESTORE AND PROTECT THIS VALUABLE NATURAL WONDER.

ABOUT HALF A MILE OFF THE FLORIDA KEYS, A SMALL GROUP OF SCIENTISTS CONFRONTS AN UNDERWATER CRISIS.

CORAL REEFS HERE AND AROUND THE WORLD HAVE BEEN DYING AT AN ALARMING RATE.

DAVE VAUGHAN LEADS THE TEAM AT THE MOTE TROPICAL RESEARCH LAB IN SUMMERLAND KEY, ABOUT 20 MILES FROM KEY WEST.

HE SAYS THE FUTURE OF THE WORLD'S CORAL REEFS IS VITAL TO THE OVERALL HEALTH OF THE OCEANS.

EVEN THOUGH THEY'RE LESS THAN 1% OF THE OCEAN'S SURFACE, THEY'RE RESPONSIBLE FOR 25% TO 40% OF THE WORLD'S FISHERIES.

SO, IF WE LOSE OUR CORALS, IT REALLY WILL HAVE A BIG IMPACT ON EVERYTHING IN THE OCEAN.

THIS IS AMERICA'S ONLY LIVING BARRIER CORAL REEF HERE IN THE FLORIDA KEYS.

AND IT IS IN A PERILOUS STATE AT THIS POINT IN TIME.

THE CORAL REEFS PROVIDE THE STRUCTURE, THE HOME, AND THE FOOD FOR ALL THE REEF FISH THAT ARE IMPORTANT BOTH COMMERCIALLY AND RECREATIONALLY.

THEY ALSO PROVIDE THE PLACE WHERE SO MANY THOUSANDS -- HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF VISITORS GO EVERY YEAR TO SPEND TIME RECREATING.

AND THEY REALLY WANT TO SEE HEALTHY REEFS, THEY WANT TO SEE A LOT OF FISH, AND THEY WANT CLEAR WATER.

ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE IMPORTANT TO DIVERS AND TO THE PEOPLE THAT ENJOY OUR AREAS.

RESTORING THOSE REEFS WILL KEEP THEM SUSTAINABLE FOR THE FUTURE.

BILLY CAUSEY SAYS A QUARTER OF THE WORLD'S CORALS HAVE DIED IN RECENT DECADES BECAUSE OF POLLUTION, OVERFISHING, AND CLIMATE CHANGE.

THERE'S A GLOBAL CRISIS RIGHT NOW OCCURRING WITH CORAL REEFS AND THEIR DECLINE.

WE ARE ALREADY IN A CONDITION HERE WITH OUR REEFS THAT MAKES THEM EXTREMELY VULNERABLE.

SO EVERYTHING THAT WE CAN DO AS MANAGERS AND SCIENTISTS TO NOT ONLY UNDERSTAND OUR REEFS, BUT TO PROTECT THEM FOR THE LONG TERM, TO MAKE THEM MORE SUSTAINABLE FOR THE FUTURE, HELPS US.

IN AN EFFORT TO REVERSE THE DECLINE, THESE BIOLOGISTS ARE ATTEMPTING LIFE-SAVING TRANSPLANTS FOR FLORIDA'S CORAL REEFS BY GRAFTING NEW CORALS ONTO THEM.

WELL, THESE TANKS ARE GROWING CORALS, WHICH ARE PART ANIMAL, PART PLANT, PART MINERAL.

THEY'RE BASICALLY A LITTLE-UNDERSTOOD ORGANISM.

OTHER BIOLOGISTS HAVE TRIED TRANSPLANTING NEW CORALS TO DEAD REEFS, BUT THE MOTE TEAM'S EXPERIMENT IS CONSIDERED GROUNDBREAKING.

THAT'S BECAUSE THE CORAL SPECIES THEY'RE GROWING IS CRITICAL TO THE REEF'S STRUCTURE.

AND UNTIL RECENTLY, IT TOOK CENTURIES TO GROW.

MOST OF THESE CORALS THE SIZE OF A GOOD BOULDER OR THE SIZE OF A CAR WOULD BE 500 TO 1,000 YEARS OLD.

BUT NOW, SINCE WE'VE LOST 25% TO 40% OF THE WORLD'S CORALS, WE CAN'T WAIT 100 YEARS OR A COUPLE HUNDRED YEARS JUST TO GET ONE MORE OF EACH BACK HERE.

WE NEED TO TRY AND HELP MOTHER NATURE OUT.

VAUGHAN AND HIS TEAM AREN'T WAITING.

THEY DISCOVERED THAT, WHEN CUT INTO SMALL STRIPS, THE SLOW-GROWING LIVING CORALS QUICKLY TRY TO HEAL THEMSELVES.

THE TECHNIQUE IS CALLED MICROFRAGMENTING.

BY CUTTING IT, YOU'RE ACTUALLY STIMULATING IT TO GROW.

NOW THESE REEF-BUILDING CORALS WILL GROW MUCH FASTER THAN NORMAL.

WE PUT THEM ALL IN A CIRCLE ABOUT THE SIZE OF A DINNER PLATE, AND WE THINK THAT IN ONE YEAR, IT WILL GROW A CORAL WHICH WOULD HAVE TAKEN 25 TO 50 YEARS IN THE WILD.

WHAT HE'S GETTING WITH THIS MICROFRAGMENTING IS GROWTH SPURTS UNLIKE ANYTHING WE'VE EVER SEEN.

ONCE THEY SUCCESSFUL GROW THE CORALS IN THE NURSERY, THE TEAM SEARCHES FOR A TRANSPLANT MATCH -- DEAD CORALS OF THE SAME SPECIES.

A BIG CORAL BOULDER IS ESSENTIALLY JUST A ROCK.

IT'S THE MATERIAL THAT THE LIVING TISSUES HAVE DEPOSITED OVER DOZENS OR A HUNDRED YEARS, BUT THE ONLY THING THAT'S ALIVE IS THAT LITTLE VENEER OF TISSUE ON THE OUTSIDE, WHICH IS ESSENTIALLY WHAT WE'RE BRINGING BACK.

BEFORE THE ACTUAL TRANSPLANT, THE CORALS ARE PLACED IN A CAGE FOR 30 DAYS TO PROTECT THEM FROM PREDATORS.

WHEN THE CORALS LOSE SOME OF THEIR COLOR, BECOMING LESS ATTRACTIVE TO PREDATORS, THE RESEARCHERS PUNCH HOLES IN THE DEAD STRUCTURES AND ATTACH THE NEW CORALS.

THE HOPE IS THE TWO WILL EVENTUALLY FUSE TOGETHER.

RUDIGER BIELER IS DOCUMENTING THE MARINE LIFE AROUND THIS REEF.

TO SEE WHAT LIVES IN THAT AREA BEFORE WE DO THE RESTORATION AND WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE RESTORATION AND WHAT KIND OF SPECIES ARE COMING IN AFTERWARDS.

BUT THE QUESTION REMAINS -- WILL THESE NEW CORALS, SUBJECT TO THE SAME STRESSORS AS THEIR PREDECESSORS, SURVIVE IN THE WILD?

TO FIND OUT, THE TEAM IS RECREATING CURRENT OCEAN CONDITIONS.

THEY ADJUST ACIDITY LEVELS IN THE NURSERY TANKS TO SEE WHICH CORALS TOLERATE THE SIMULATED CONDITIONS.

BILLY CAUSEY SAYS THE WORK BEING DONE HERE IS BUYING TIME FOR THE WORLD'S CORAL REEFS, BUT A REAL SOLUTION TO THE CRISIS REQUIRES A MUCH LARGER RESPONSE.

IT'S GIVING US TIME FOR OUR REEFS TO HANG ON AS LONG AS THEY CAN, JUST BY HAVING STOCK THAT WE CAN EVENTUALLY PUT BACK OUT THERE.

NOW, WILL THIS REPAIR THE REEFS LIKE WE REPAIRED HUMPTY DUMPTY?

WELL, YOU KNOW THE STORY OF HUMPTY DUMPTY, AND I'M NOT SURE WE COULD PUT IT ALL BACK TOGETHER AGAIN.

AND I DON'T THINK WE CAN RELY ON CORAL AQUACULTURE AS THE SINGLE SOLUTION FOR CORAL-REEF DECLINE.

WE STILL HAVE TO FIX LAND-BASED SOURCES OF POLLUTION, HABITAT LOSS AND DESTRUCTION, AND OVER-FISHING, AND WE'RE WORKING ON ALL OF THOSE.

BUT IT'S GOING TO TAKE OUR GLOBAL LEADERS TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE, AND WE HAVE TO HAVE THE TIME FOR THOSE ACTIONS TO TAKE PLACE.

WHEN SURGEONS ARE FACED WITH REMOVING CANCEROUS TUMORS, OFTEN THE GOAL IS TO REMOVE EVERY LAST CANCER CELL, YET THIS IS NOT AN EASY TASK.

WITH THE INVENTION OF HIGH-TECH GOGGLES, INFRARED LIGHT ALLOWS SURGEONS TO TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT CANCEROUS CELLS IN THE OPERATING ROOM.

JOIN US AS WE FIND OUT MORE.

IN FEBRUARY OF 2014, BREAST-CANCER SURGEON JULIE MARGENTHALER STEPPED INTO THE OPERATING ROOM AT THE SITEMAN CANCER CENTER IN ST. LOUIS AND COVERED HER EYES.

FOR THE FIRST TIME AND NUMEROUS TIMES SINCE, SHE USED HIGH-TECH GOGGLES THAT ALLOWED HER TO SEE CANCEROUS TISSUE IN WAYS SHE NEVER COULD BEFORE, IN REAL TIME, LIT UP LIKE A CHRISTMAS TREE.

WHEN YOU SAW WHAT YOU SAW, HOW COOL WAS THAT?

IT WAS VERY COOL.

WE WEREN'T SURE WE WOULD SEE THAT.

YOU KNOW, WE HAD A VERY GOOD FEELING THAT WE WOULD, BASED ON ALL OF OUR ANIMAL DATA.

BUT UNTIL YOU DO IT FOR THE FIRST TIME, YOU JUST DON'T KNOW IF IT'S GONNA ACT THE SAME WAY IN A HUMAN AS IT DOES IN A MOUSE OR A RAT.

SO, WE HAVE TWO VIEWS THAT WE TAKE.

THIS IS CALLED THE...

CANCER SURGEONS HAVE PLENTY OF IMAGES OF TUMORS -- MAMMOGRAMS AND OTHER SCANS -- AND THEY USE THOSE AS GUIDES BECAUSE IN SURGERY THIS IS NOT WHAT THEY SEE WITH THE NAKED EYE.

AND WHILE WE TALK ABOUT BREAST TUMORS AS LUMPS, THEY ARE NOT AS CLEARLY DEFINED AS THAT SOUNDS.

THERE'S THESE LITTLE SPICULATIONS THAT COME OUT FROM THE TUMOR, AND THAT'S WHERE WE REALLY GET OUR INDETERMINATE NATURE OF OUR TUMORS.

SO, SURGEONS TAKE THE MAIN TARGET -- THE CANCEROUS MASS -- AND THEN SOME OF THE SURROUNDING TISSUE IN AN ATTEMPT TO GET ALL OF THE CANCER.

BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY, YOU DON'T KNOW THAT UNTIL YOUR PATHOLOGIST REALLY TAKES SEVERAL DAYS TO MICROSCOPICALLY EVALUATE ALL THOSE EDGES.

AND THE REALITY IS, ABOUT 10% -- EVEN AS MUCH AS UP TO 40% OF THE TIME -- WE'RE, FRANKLY, WRONG.

WE JUST DON'T SEE THAT MICROSCOPIC EXTENSION.

AND THAT MEANS GOING BACK IN FOR MORE SURGERY.

THE HOPE IS -- AND THIS IS BEING TESTED -- THAT THE GOGGLES WILL HELP SURGEONS REMOVE ALL THE CANCER THE FIRST TIME, SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCING THE NUMBER OF ADDITIONAL SURGERIES.

THIS IS THE HEAD-MOUNTED DISPLAY, AND THIS IS THE CAMERA...

THE GOGGLES LOOK DECEPTIVELY SIMPLE.

THEY ARE, IN FACT, A COMPLICATED DEVICE, INTEGRATING SOPHISTICATED ENGINEERING, OPTICS, BIOCHEMISTRY, AND DATA PROCESSING.

SO, WHATEVER THE CAMERA SEES IS SHOWN HERE.

SUMAN MONDAL IS ONE OF THE GRADUATE STUDENTS ON THE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL TEAM, LED BY DR. SAMUEL ACHILEFU.

HE STARTED WORKING ON THIS AFTER A SURGEON ASKED HIM IF THERE WAS ANYTHING HE COULD COME UP WITH THAT WOULD HELP SURGEONS SEE CANCER IN THE OPERATING ROOM.

AND THAT'S WHAT GOT ME TO THINKING, 'WHAT KIND OF METHODS OR DEVICES CAN ONE CREATE THAT'S SIMPLE, WITH NO FOOTPRINT IN THE OPERATING ROOM, SO THAT IT'S MUCH EASIER TO USE?'

SO, THERE WERE MANY CHALLENGES ALONG THE WAY, AND TODAY WE'VE REACHED TO THE STAGE WHERE IT'S SOMETHING THAT WE KNOW WILL BE A GAME-CHANGER IN THE OPERATING ROOM.

SO, WHAT HAPPENS IS THEN THAT...

HERE'S HOW IT WORKS.

THE PATIENT IS INJECTED WITH A CHEMICAL MARKER THAT LATCHES ON TO THE CANCEROUS CELLS.

THIS CAN'T BE SEEN BY THE HUMAN EYE, BUT IT DOES SHOW UP UNDER INFRARED LIGHT.

THE LIGHT SOURCE IS ON RIGHT NOW, SO IT'S EXCITING.

THERE'S THE DYE IN THE VIAL.

SO, EXACTLY WHAT I'M SEEING, YOU CAN SEE IN THE LAPTOP THERE.

THE CAMERA ON THE GOGGLES PICKS UP BOTH THE VISIBLE LIGHT IMAGE AND THE INFRARED IMAGE OF THE GLOWING CANCER CELLS.

AND THIS IS WHERE IT GETS TRICKY.

THIS IS THE WAIST BELT, WHICH HAS THE PROCESSING UNIT.

BOTH IMAGES ARE SENT TO THE PROCESSOR WORN IN A PACK BY THE SURGEON.

THEY'RE COMBINED THERE INTO A SINGLE IMAGE AND SENT BACK TO BE DISPLAYED ON THE INSIDE OF THE GOGGLES.

ALL WITHIN A FRACTION OF THE SECOND, BACK TO THE SURGEON'S VISION, SUCH THAT WHAT THEY NOW SEE IS AN OBJECT.

IT HAS TO BE RE-ORIENTED IN SUCH A WAY THAT IS DISPLAYED IN A WAY THE SURGEON WILL NOT EVEN REALIZE THAT PROCESSING IS GOING ON BEHIND THE SCENE TO DISPLAY THOSE IMAGES.

SO, THAT'S HOW, BASICALLY, IT WORKS.

ALL OF THIS MIGHT BRING TO MIND MILITARY NIGHT-VISION GOGGLES OR SOMETHING YOU'D WEAR FOR A VIDEO GAME.

AND, IN FACT, IT DOES DRAW ON SOME OF THOSE SAME TECHNOLOGIES.

AND ALREADY THERE'S A NEW GENERATION OF MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS WHO HAVE GROWN UP WITH THIS KIND OF STUFF.

WE BELIEVE THAT THE YOUNGER CLINICIANS COMING UP TODAY -- THEY ARE VERY COMFORTABLE WITH GADGETS.

AND THE COOLER IT IS, THE BETTER IT IS FOR THEM TO APPLY THAT.

I THINK THAT SURGEONS WOULD WELCOME A TOOL THAT THEY COULD WEAR, AS LONG AS IT'S ERGONOMICALLY VIABLE IN THE OPERATING ROOM.

BUT I THINK THEY WOULD WELCOME A TOOL THAT THEY COULD WEAR THAT WOULD GUIDE THEIR SURGERY IN A WAY THAT HAS NEVER BEEN ABLE TO BE POSSIBLE BEFORE.

THE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY TEAM IS WORKING TO MAKE THIS SYSTEM WIRELESS AND THE GOGGLES TRANSPARENT.

AND THEY'RE AWAITING FDA APPROVAL FOR AN IMPROVED CHEMICAL MARKER.

SO FAR, THE GOGGLES HAVE BEEN USED ON BREAST- AND SKIN-CANCER OPERATIONS, AND THEY ARE STILL IN THE TESTING PHASE.

BUT ALREADY DR. MARGENTHALER AND OTHER SURGEONS WHO ARE USING THE GOGGLES ARE ENCOURAGED, IF NOT DOWNRIGHT AMAZED, BY WHAT THEY'VE SEEN.

ONE OF THE QUESTIONS I'M FREQUENTLY ASKED IS, 'WHAT CAN GENETICS DO IN TERMS OF MEDICINE FOR US TODAY?

AND IS THAT CHANGING?'

AND, IN FACT, WE'RE IN A VERY DYNAMIC PERIOD OF MEDICAL HISTORY, WHERE WE HAVE EXTREMELY POWERFUL TOOLS THAT WE'VE NEVER HAD BEFORE TO BE ABLE TO DIAGNOSE INDIVIDUAL PATIENTS AND UNDERSTAND BETTER WHAT'S THE CAUSE OF THEIR CONDITION.

SO, AS AN EXAMPLE, MANY OF THE THINGS THAT WE SEE THAT WE THINK MIGHT BE RELATIVELY SIMILAR -- DISEASES LIKE HEART DISEASE OR CANCER OR DIABETES OR AUTISM -- IN FACT ARE REALLY JUST UMBRELLA TERMS THAT DESCRIBE THE VARIETY OF DIFFERENT MOLECULAR ETIOLOGIES OR GENETIC ETIOLOGIES THAT CAN CAUSE THOSE CONDITIONS.

AND, IN FACT, AS WE TRY AND FIGURE OUT THE BEST TREATMENT FOR PATIENTS, BEING ABLE TO SEPARATE THOSE OUT AND UNDERSTAND THE ROOT CAUSE OF THOSE CONDITIONS CAN BE VERY POWERFUL FOR US AS WE TRY AND GET PATIENTS THE RIGHT TYPE OF TREATMENT THAT'S GOING TO BE INDIVIDUALIZED TO THEIR PARTICULAR CARE AND HOPEFULLY MOST EFFECTIVE SO WE DON'T HAVE TO DO QUITE AS MUCH TRIAL AND ERROR, IN TERMS OF FIGURING OUT WHAT THE BEST TREATMENT IS GOING TO BE FOR THEM.

AS I SAID, WE NOW HAVE THESE INCREDIBLY POWERFUL TOOLS TO BE ABLE TO USE GENETIC INFORMATION TO TRY AND SUBDIVIDE THOSE INDIVIDUALS.

BUT BEYOND THAT, BEYOND TREATING INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE ALREADY SYMPTOMATIC, WHO ALREADY HAVE A CLINICAL DIAGNOSIS OF A DISEASE, WHAT WE'RE LOOKING FORWARD IN THE FUTURE IS ACTUALLY EVEN MORE IMPORTANT, AND THAT'S MAINTAINING HEALTH.

SO, THAT'S BEING ABLE TO, BASED ON THE GENETIC PREDISPOSITION AN INDIVIDUAL MIGHT HAVE, MAP OUT FOR THEM WHAT THEIR ROADMAP IS IN TERMS OF THEIR HEALTH SO THAT WE CAN SEE CERTAIN OBSTACLES THAT MIGHT COME ALONG IN THE FUTURE, THINGS LIKE CANCER, THINGS LIKE HEART DISEASE, THINGS LIKE PARTICULAR NEUROLOGICAL CONDITIONS, SO THAT WE CAN ACTUALLY MAINTAIN THEIR HEALTH AND BE ABLE TO SCOOT AROUND THOSE BARRIERS BEFORE WE GET TO THEM, BE ABLE TO MAP OUT WAYS OF BEING ABLE TO PREVENT DISEASE, OR AT LEAST SCREEN FOR IT SO THAT WE CAN DETECT IT VERY EARLY, BASED ON THE INDIVIDUALIZED INFORMATION WE CAN GET FROM THEIR GENETIC INFORMATION.

UP NEXT, WE MEET AMERICAN INVENTOR DAVID EDWARDS, WHO IS PLAYING WITH OUR SENSES IN AN EFFORT TO CHANGE THE WAY WE EXPERIENCE EVERYTHING FROM FOOD TO TELECOMMUNICATIONS.

WHEN EDWARDS ISN'T TINKERING WITH ONE OF HIS INVENTIONS THAT ALLOWS USERS TO INGEST THEIR FAVORITE DRINKS AS VAPOR, THE HARVARD PROFESSOR CAN BE FOUND AT HIS RESTAURANT, CAFé ARTSCIENCE, OR WHAT HE CALLS 'THE APPLE STORE OF NUTRITION.'

HE JOINS US NOW.

SO [CHUCKLES] WHEN I SAW SOME OF YOUR INVENTIONS, I WAS JUST KIND OF BLOWN AWAY BY, YOU KNOW, THIS WEIRD OBJECT THAT YOU HAD.

YOU POURED SOME FLUID IN AND YOU SAT THERE AND YOU SNIFFED VAPOR.

AND I WAS WONDERING, 'WHAT'S HAPPENING?

WHAT IS THIS GUY TRYING TO DO?'

I'M VERY INTERESTED IN DELIVERING FOOD AND BEVERAGE IN WAYS THAT MAKE PEOPLE'S LIVES BETTER.

AND PARTICULARLY WITH THE WAFT WHICH YOU'RE DESCRIBE, WHERE YOU POUR A LIQUID AND YOU PUT IT ON ITS SIDE AND IT CREATES THIS CLOUD, WE'RE DELIVERING SENSORIAL EXPERIENCE AND NUTRITION WITH ESSENTIALLY NO CALORIES.

AND THERE'S ALCOHOL IF THERE'S ALCOHOL OR CAFFEINE IF THERE'S CAFFEINE.

IT'S POETIC, AND A LOT OF WHAT WE DO IS POETIC FOR MANY, MANY REASONS.

BUT WE'RE ULTIMATELY LOOKING TO HELP PEOPLE EAT BETTER AND ENJOY FOOD IN WAYS THAT SORT OF MATCH HOW WE LIVE IN THE 21st CENTURY.

YOU'VE DESIGNED A COUPLE OF DIFFERENT OBJECTS THAT REALLY TAKE SMELL INTO CONSIDERATION.

WHY?

THAT'S REALLY A GREAT QUESTION.

IN FACT, ONE OF THE REAL FRONTIERS OF MEDICAL SCIENCE OVER THE LAST 10 YEARS HAS BEEN OLFACTORY SCIENCE AND UNDERSTANDING HOW WE SMELL.

AND, IN FACT, AMONG ALL OF OUR SENSES, THE OLFACTORY SENSE HAS THE MOST PROFOUND EFFECT ON OUR EMOTIONS AND ON OUR MEMORY.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT SMELL THAT TRIGGERS MEMORIES SO POWERFULLY?

RIGHT NOW, I'M IMAGINING, LET'S SAY, A WARM SUMMER RAIN ON A TAR ROAD, A BLACKTOP ROAD, RIGHT?

THERE'S A VERY SPECIFIC MEMORY THAT I HAVE OF BICYCLING.

AND I DON'T KNOW -- EVEN JUST WHILE I'M TALKING ABOUT IT, HOW DID THAT HAPPEN, THAT I CAN ALMOST SMELL THAT, AND I CAN VIVIDLY REMEMBER THAT?

INTRIGUINGLY, THE BRAIN PROCESSES SCENT IN THE SAME REGION THAT IT PROCESSES MEMORY, BASICALLY.

AND SO THERE'S BEEN A NUMBER OF INCREDIBLE STUDIES THAT HAVE APPEARED HERE IN THE LAST YEAR ALONE, SHOWING THAT, AS I LOSE MEMORY CAPACITY, I LOSE MY ABILITY TO SMELL.

AND A NUMBER OF EXPERIMENTS WITH ANOTHER FAMOUS CLINICAL STUDY THAT TOOK PEOPLE AND CONFRONTED THEM BY FILMS WITH SCENT OR WITHOUT SCENT AND THEN LOOKED A MONTH OR TWO MONTHS LATER, AND PEOPLE'S ABILITY TO RECALL THE FILM WAS MUCH GREATER IF IT WAS TRIGGERED BY THEIR SENSE OF SMELL.

YOU'VE DEVELOPED THIS oPHONE.

YOU'RE REALLY TALKING ABOUT MOBILE MESSAGING, BUT WITH SMELLS.

I MEAN, PEOPLE WERE TAKING PHOTOS AND THEN -- EXPLAIN.

HOW WERE THEY ACTUALLY HELPING THE APP UNDERSTAND THE SMELL AND THEN TRANSMIT THAT SOMEWHERE ELSE?

THERE'S AN APP THAT YOU CAN FREELY DOWNLOAD IF YOU HAVE AN iPHONE THROUGH THE APPLE STORE CALLED oSNAP!

AND IT ALLOWS YOU TO TAKE A PICTURE OF WHATEVER AND THEN TO SORT OF PASTE ONTO THAT PICTURE VARIOUS SCENTS AND MIX THESE SCENTS.

AND THEN YOU SEND THAT BY AN SMS OR AN E-MAIL, AND IF SOMEBODY RECEIVES THAT, THEY OPEN IT UP, AND IF THEY HAPPEN TO HAVE THE oPHONE, WHEN THEY PLAY IT, IT WILL ACTUALLY PLAY THE SCENT IN ADDITION TO THE IMAGE.

YOU WILL HAVE, ON THE ONE HAND, WEARABLE oNOTES.

YOU WILL HAVE oBOOKS.

THERE WILL BE oMUSIC.

SO, THIS IS MUSIC COMPOSITIONS THAT HAVE SCENTS ASSOCIATED WITH THEM.

WE'RE TRYING TO BRING SCENT INTO GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS IN THESE WAYS, REALLY JUST FOLLOWING ON HOW WE'VE BEEN LIVING FOREVER.

YOU KNOW HOW IN COLOR WE CAN BREAK IT DOWN INTO SORT OF 'ROYGBIV.'

IS THERE SOMETHING LIKE THAT IN THE OLFACTORY WORLD, WHERE YOU CAN CREATE INFINITE LAYERS OF SMELLS WITH THESE FUNDAMENTAL BUILDING BLOCKS?

THERE IS.

IT'S DIFFERENT, BUT THERE IS.

AND, IN FACT, WHEN THE PLATFORM LAUNCHES, IF YOU HAVE AN oPHONE, INSIDE THE oPHONE YOU HAVE 16 TO 32 BASE SETS.

AND THEY BECOME A KIND OF PALETTE.

SO YOU CAN MAKE 300-AND-SOMETHING-THOUSAND DIFFERENT AROMAS.

AND SO, INDEED, THERE ARE COMBINATIONS.

AND LIKE WE SAY, ONE OF THE REALLY FUNNY THINGS -- YOU MIGHT SAY, 'WELL, I'M TAKING A PICTURE, AND THEN I'M TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO CREATE THE SCENT OF THAT PICTURE.

HOW DOES THAT WORK?'

AND AS YOU LOOK AT PEOPLE USING IT TODAY, THEY, IN A WAY, USE THIS TECHNOLOGY LIKE THEY WOULD A PAINTING KIND OF TECHNOLOGY, WHERE THEY SORT OF PUT THE BROWN-SUGAR SCENT TOGETHER WITH THE CITRUS SCENT, TOGETHER WITH THE BERGAMOT SCENT, AND THEY -- 'WHAT IS IT?'

AND THEY SORT -- AND IT'S QUITE A DO-AND-LEARN PROCESS.

SO, DOES THAT MEAN THAT SOME MOVIE THEATER IN THE FUTURE -- I'M GONNA BE ABLE TO SIT DOWN AND -- I DON'T KNOW -- SMELL THE FIELDS THAT JULIE ANDREWS IS RUNNING THROUGH IN 'SOUND OF MUSIC' OR SOMEBODY, YOU KNOW, BURNS RUBBER IN 'FAST AND THE FURIOUS,' AND I SMELL THAT IN THE THEATER?

I MEAN, WHERE'S THE END HERE?

SMELL-O-VISION?

IS THAT POSSIBLE?

IF YOU'RE SITTING WITH ME IN A CINEMA AND YOU WANT TO SMELL JULIE ANDREWS RACE THROUGH THE FIELD AND I DON'T, IT'S YOUR EXPERIENCE AND NOT MINE.

SO, WHERE THIS IS GOING, HARI, IS REALLY TO THIS NOTION OF A KIND OF iTUNES OF AROMA.

SO, IF YOU THINK ABOUT WHAT iTUNES DID FOR US AND THE WHOLE TECHNOLOGY AROUND THAT, IT ALLOWED US TO PERSONALIZE SOUND SO THAT MY SOUND IS MY SOUND AND IT'S NOT YOUR NOISE.

AND SO SUDDENLY IT MADE SENSE TO HAVE A LIBRARY OF MUSIC THAT IS MY PERSONAL SOUND SPACE.

THAT WILL ABSOLUTELY HAPPEN TO AROMA.

IT'S REALLY WHAT WE'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO AND SORT OF DID WITH PERFUME AND SO FORTH.

BUT IN THE WORLD WHERE WE UNDERSTAND THE POWER OF AROMA AND WE'RE IN THE DIGITAL WORLD, WE CAN NOW REALLY CREATE THESE AMAZING AROMA SPACES, MAYBE FOR ENTERTAINMENT, MAYBE FOR HEALTH, AND MAYBE SIMPLY FOR PROTECTION FROM THE METRO CROWD AROUND US.

ALL RIGHT, DAVID EDWARDS, A PROFESSOR, AS WELL AS AN INVENTOR.

THANKS SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

THE RAPID DEVELOPMENT OF COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES HAS LED BULLYING TO EMERGE BEYOND THE SCHOOLYARD.

THANKS TO TODD SCHOBEL, PARENT AND FOUNDER OF THE STOPit APP, YOUNG PEOPLE CAN NOW USE THEIR MOBILE DEVICES TO ANONYMOUSLY REPORT BULLYING INCIDENTS.

JOIN US AS WE SIT DOWN WITH HIM.

[ SOFT GUITAR MUSIC PLAYS ]

♪ WELL, WE'VE GOT...

WHO CAN FORGET THE HAUNTING VIDEO OF 15-YEAR-OLD AMANDA TODD, THE FLASHCARDS SHARING HER LAST WORDS OF PAIN JUST A MONTH BEFORE SHE TOOK HER OWN LIFE?

IT SPARKED A GLOBAL CONVERSATION ABOUT CYBERBULLYING, AND IT SPARKED JERSEY RESIDENT AND FATHER OF THREE, TODD SCHOBEL, TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

THAT WAS IT.

WHEN I SAW THAT, THAT WAS IT.

I STARTED TO INVESTIGATE WHAT WAS OUT THERE, WHAT RESOURCES FOR PARENTS, FOR KIDS, WHAT HAVE YOU, AND I DIDN'T SEE WHAT MADE SENSE TO ME.

WHAT MADE SENSE TO HIM WAS AN APP GEARED TOWARD THE DIGITAL BUBBLE KIDS LIVE IN AND THE HOPE OF EMPOWERING THEM WITH THE ABILITY TO SEND ANONYMOUS REPORTS.

SO, THAT'S WHY WE HAVE 'CAPTURE A SCREENSHOT.'

TWO BUTTONS, SEND IT OFF, RIGHT?

DON'T START ASKING THE CHILDREN 'CAUSE THERE'S SOME STUFF OUT THERE WHERE THEY ASK, 'WHERE DID IT HAPPEN?' 'WAS IT ON THE BUS?'

AND ALL THESE QUESTIONS.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BULLYING TODAY AND BULLYING, YOU KNOW, 50 YEARS AGO WAS, YOU USED TO GET BULLIED ON THE PLAYGROUND BY TWO OR THREE PEOPLE AND YOU CAN RUN HOME AND BE SAFE.

TODAY, YOU CAN'T RUN HOME.

YOU CAN HAVE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ATTACKING YOU 24 HOURS A DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK.

SO, A STUDENT OPENS THE APP AND THEY WANT TO SUBMIT AND INCIDENT AND THEY CLICK ON 'REPORT.'

ONCE THEY CLICK ON 'REPORT,' THEY CAN GO UP, AND THEY CAN SELECT A PHOTO OR VIDEO FROM THEIR CAMERA ROLL.

THEY CAN CHOOSE WHO TO SEND IT TO.

RIGHT NOW THE PROGRAM IS IN OVER 100 SCHOOLS IN 13 STATES AND FIVE COUNTRIES.

BUSINESSES ARE USING IT, TOO.

THERE'S A CRISIS HOTLINE AND AN ANONYMOUS MESSENGER SYSTEM SO SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS CAN GET MORE INFO ON A REPORT.

THE FOUNDERS SAY THEY HAVE A DISTRICT-SPECIFIC REPORTING LIBRARY TO AUTOMATICALLY SEND OFF STATE REPORTS FOR THEM.

WHEN WE GO INTO A SCHOOL, REGARDLESS OF HOW MANY KIDS USE THE APP, REGARDLESS OF HOW MANY KIDS DOWNLOAD THE APP, THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE SCHOOL GETS BETTER.

THERE IS A DETERRENT THAT'S THERE.

THE KIDS DON'T KNOW WHO HAS IT.

THEY DON'T KNOW WHO'S GONNA USE IT.

IT'S ANONYMOUS.

PEOPLE ARE ON BETTER BEHAVIOR.

THE FOUNDERS SAY THEY'RE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE WHOLE 'SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING' MANTRA BECAUSE IT TAKES YOUR BRAIN ABOUT 10 SECONDS BEFORE YOU START TO SECOND-GUESS WANTING TO REACT.

THAT'S WHY THEY MADE THE WHOLE REPORTING PROCESS ON THIS APP SO FAST.

ONCE CHILDREN GET OUT OF THAT 10-SECOND EMOTIONAL FEELING OF DOING SOMETHING RIGHT, THEN THEY THINK OF FEAR OF RETRIBUTION, BEING CALLED A SNITCH.

THAT IS POWERFUL STUFF.

STOPit IS PARTNERING WITH THE SUMMIT POLICE DEPARTMENT.

AN OFFICER TOURS THE COUNTRY, GIVING POWERFUL CYBER-SAFETY RALLIES, TEACHING KIDS AND ADULTS THE SAFE WAYS TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA.

ON AVERAGE, THERE WAS A COUPLE DOZEN KIDS THAT'LL ACTUALLY WAIT, COME UP, AND SHARE STORIES OF EITHER BEING SUICIDAL, BEING IN CRISIS, OR HAVING FRIENDS THAT THEY WANT TO HELP AND THEY REALLY DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO IT.

PARENTS ARE PICKING UP AND MOVING TO OTHER SCHOOLS LEFT AND RIGHT, JUST TO TRY TO GET AWAY.

THE PROBLEM IS, YOU CAN'T GET AWAY FROM SOCIAL MEDIA.

SO, TODD SAYS, IF YOU CAN'T ESCAPE IT, CHANGE IT.

AND THAT WRAPS IT UP FOR THIS TIME.

FOR MORE ON SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND INNOVATION, VISIT OUR WEBSITE.

YOU CAN ALSO CHECK US OUT ON FACEBOOK AND JOIN THE CONVERSATION ON TWITTER.

UNTIL NEXT TIME, I'M HARI SREENIVASAN.

THANKS FOR WATCHING.

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