Star Trek’s tricorder inspires new medical technology!

An extraordinary panel was held this afternoon at the Comic-Con Museum in San Diego.

The Science and Science Fiction of Star Trek’s Tricorder brought together four panelists who are helping to lead our way into the future. It will be a future of almost unlimited possibility, replete with groundbreaking technologies what were barely imagined when the original television series was created.

Dr. Erik Viirre, who acted as moderator, is Professor of Neurosciences at UC San Diego; Dr. Paul E. Jacobs is Chairman and CEO of XCOM Labs, and former executive chairman of Qualcomm; Dr. Yvonne Cagle is a physician, professor, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, and former NASA astronaut; Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry, the CEO of Roddenberry Entertainment and head of the Roddenberry Foundation, is the son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and Majel Barrett. He is also an executive producer on Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, Star Trek: Lower Decks, Star Trek: Prodigy and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

The first thing the audience learned is that all four panelists are fans of Star Trek! (Did you know that the former head of Qualcomm, many moons ago, was founding member of Star Fleet Club La Jolla?)

The next thing we learned was that Star Trek has inspired generations of scientists, engineers, inventors and visionaries. Many technological advances we know today were first conceived by Gene Roddenberry and the experts he turned to for advice when writing the show. He wanted Star Trek to be believable and largely based on science.

We were reminded how Star Trek’s communicator became the actual flip phone, and how today’s smartphones have essentially become Star Trek’s tricorder. Think about it!

The various multi-function tricorders carried by Spock, McCoy, and other Star Trek characters could provide a user with all sorts of useful information. A tricorder could be used to ascertain location and weather, or analyze the physical environment or obtain cultural information. A tricorder could be used as a universal translator. It could even be used to assess one’s medical condition.

In many ways, your smartphone does all of those things today!

We then learned our own future contains even greater possibilities.

The panelists explained how a smartphone, or handheld mobile device, used by an ordinary person, could become a practical health tool. For example, such a medical “tricorder” could analyze the sound of irregular breathing or a cough and determine a likely medical condition or disease. And such a device, by detecting signals or other data from the user’s body, could provide a warning that a stroke or heart attack is imminent.

Projects like that are underway today!

Five years ago, The Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE was a $10 million global competition to incentivize the development of innovative technologies capable of accurately diagnosing a set of 13 medical conditions independent of a healthcare professional or facility, ability to continuously measure 5 vital signs, and have a positive consumer experience. Read more about it here.

The co-winning Canadian team, CloudDX, propelled by their Tricorder XPRIZE participation, has gone on to commercialize remote, connected patient monitoring hardware and software that anyone can easily use at home!

And that’s just the beginning.

On the International Space Station today, 250 miles above Earth, astronauts wear a Smart Shirt that senses body temperature, heart rate, blood oxygen, EKG, and even the activity of heart valves!

Can you imagine a virtual reality doctor’s visit in your future? (Oh, wait. Star Trek envisioned this already. USS Voyager’s Emergency Medical Holographic Doctor.) Advances in artificial intelligence and tele-medicine have just barely begun.

(And yes, virtual reality was envisioned many decades ago. It was the basis for many tangled plots on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The holodeck!)

Those who sat listening to this extraordinary Comic-Con Museum panel learned all of this, and more. We saw that, in the hands of thoughtful people who desire positive, healthy outcomes, our technological future can be very bright, indeed.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Impressionist masterpieces exhibited in San Diego!

Tired of living much of your life virtually for the last couple of years? Would you like an awe-inspiring, exhilarating first-hand experience of fine art?

At the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park, numerous Impressionist masterpieces now await your eyes!

Monet to Matisse: Impressionist Masterpieces from the Bemberg Foundation showcases pieces from one of the finest art collections in Europe. And it’s right here in San Diego for much of the summer.

All I know is that I visited the museum yesterday and found myself drifting into dreamlike worlds through frames hung on gallery walls. Scenes composed with mere glimpses of light, color and form somehow became real–more than real.

It isn’t often eyes are privileged to absorb artwork this historically important, and excellent.

Artists I noticed include Monet, Pissarro, Cezanne, Matisse, Gauguin, Degas and Picasso. If you’ve never had the opportunity to view original artwork by some of the world’s greatest artists, now is your chance!

Just a few different examples…

Boats on the Beach at Etretat, Claude Monet, 1883. Oil on canvas.
The Jockey, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1899. Gouache and lithograph.
Almond Trees in Flower, Paul Signac, 1902-1904. Oil on canvas.
Portrait of Angel Fernandez del Soto, Pablo Picasso, 1903. Pastel.
View of Antibes, Henri Matisse, 1925. Oil on canvas.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A Perfect Day (and other stories) in Oceanside!

What does a Perfect Day look like in Oceanside? To find out, you should visit the Oceanside Museum of Art!

In one museum gallery, the exhibited art of James E. Watts not only includes the above Perfect Day Blocks, but numerous other visual stories!

Here’s how the story of one Perfect Day begins…

…and how that Perfect Day ends.

Here’s the story of Frankenstein and his monster creation…

…and the story of Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, and two small horses…

…and the story of a female Prometheus…

…and the story of Quasimodo, Esmeralda and a goat.

Do these stories appear familiar? Perhaps you’ve already seen them “written” in James Watts’ little-known downtown San Diego studio: here and here and here.

If that’s the case, you might also recognize a few of these storytelling pieces in the Oceanside Museum of Art’s gift shop…

Art enthusiasts, take note! James Watts is a creative genius and an absolute, 100% original. He’s also a cool guy!

You need to visit the Oceanside Museum of Art to jump into his rich stories firsthand. Do so by July 17, 2022, when JAMES E. WATTS: STORYTELLER turns its last page.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Giant ants interact with curious kids!

Three enormous ants interacted with excited children today in San Diego.

The strange human-size ants were first spotted carrying large bread crumbs about the green lawn of Liberty Station’s North Promenade.

The onlooking kids quickly understood the silent, methodical ants had a plan. They were carrying the crumbs and dropping them on the grass to form lines!

Lots of kids promptly assisted them!

Ants was the name of this very unique, super fun interactive outdoor performance, a part of La Jolla Playhouse’s 2022 Without Walls Festival at Liberty Station.

The three giant ants came from Polyglot Theatre in Australia!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Exhibit of 19th century patent models at UCSD.

Anyone interested in inventions, technology and history would love an exhibit now on display at UC San Diego. The fourth floor of the Design and Innovation Building is where you’ll find Patent Models: A Celebration of American Invention.

The exhibit features 19th century patent models from the collection of the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, Delaware.

Some of the artifacts might appear primitive and quaint to those who live in the 21st century, but they’re a reminder that unlimited human imagination and generations of visionaries, experimenters and builders have produced the complex technology that we take for granted today.

I walked around the exhibit last Saturday, peering into various glass display cases and reading signs that detail the history and progress of American invention.

I learned that by the late 1860’s, during the golden age of American invention, more than 13,000 patents were issued every year. But as applications continued to increase in number, the resulting deluge of patent models became difficult to cope with. After a change in regulations by the Commissioner of Patents in 1880, models eventually became a rare part of the patent application process.

Inventors highlighted in the exhibit include women, immigrants and people of color, and there are descriptions of struggles through the years for equal recognition and opportunity. Many of the inventors were “everyday” people inspired by a really good idea.

Patent Models: A Celebration of American Invention is open through November 6, 2022. Reservations are required. You can reserve a tour by visiting this page.

I took a few photos…

The spirit of ingenuity characterizes America…
Patent Model – Life-preserving state room for navigable vessels. Patent #20,426.
Patent Model – Improvement in electro-magnetic induction-coils. Patent #138,316.
Women invented in industries ranging from agriculture to shipping…
Patent models by 19th century women inventors.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Excalibur rises sharply in downtown San Diego!

A black sculpture rises skyward at the entrance to the Edward J. Schwartz Federal Building in downtown San Diego. Composed of triangular steel forms, the sculpture and its sharp edges pierce the space around it. The monumental public artwork is titled Excalibur.

Excalibur was created in 1976 by Beverly Stoll Pepper, whose pieces have been exhibited and collected by major museums around the world. Beverly Pepper passed away two years ago, but her unique artistic vision continues to enrich our lives.

I walked around Excalibur recently and took these photographs. It was interesting how joined triangles, observed from different angles, produce very different images. It’s like how the larger world, composed of basic elemental structures, achieves its complexity.

The sharp, jutting steel seems to have emerged from underground. And doesn’t the sculpture look almost like folded origami?

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Discovering art on random San Diego walks!

One of the best things about taking long, random walks around San Diego is the unexpected discoveries of art.

No matter which neighborhood you move through, more surprising art awaits–if you have lifted eyes.

Many Cool San Diego Sights posts contain these discoveries of art. Before aiming my camera, I like to pause and enter the small worlds that have been created, and wonder at the unique genius of each artist’s vision.

Move through the city with curious eyes and you might be rewarded by observing a particular creative effort in progress.

During a walk early this year I noticed a partially completed mural outside Yohed Coffee on University Avenue in City Heights…

During a walk several weeks later, I noticed the white halo-like space had additions of gold…

Sometimes I’ll find art that has suddenly popped into the world. Sort of like how you and I pop into this world, rather mysteriously.

Here’s a mural I saw recently on Mission Boulevard in Pacific Beach. The artwork appears to be by @saltandpaint. The restaurant it’s painted on has closed, but “Te amo Pacific Beach” lives on and is shared in many hearts…

Here’s an old photo on my computer. I believe this was taken in Pacific Beach, too, but I’m not certain…

More art in PB–tattoo art!

I stumbled upon this strangely spiritual and very beautiful mural in Lemon Grove near the corner of Broadway and Lemon Grove Avenue. It’s by Danny Darkoski.

Walking along in La Jolla I happened to notice an artist at work…

Artist Todd McNeley was placing his own amazing, unique vision on canvas…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

The fantastic Silver Ship house in La Jolla!

Perhaps you’ve seen that very unusual house perched high on a hillside in La Jolla. You can’t miss it when you drive west down Nautilus Street.

It was designed by Eugene Ray, a San Diego State University professor who taught Environmental Design from 1969 to 1996. He found his inspiration from UFOs and natural, organic shapes!

The house is called the Silver Ship.

Back in 1978, five SDSU students set to work building the unique structure. You can read about the project and see photographs of the construction on Eugene Ray’s blog here. For years it was his La Jolla home and studio.

I first learned about the Silver Ship in 2019 at an exhibition of Eugene Ray’s work at the SDSU Downtown Gallery. Like many of his designs, it’s form is simple and symmetric and consequently unusual. He observed a UFO in his youth, and it influenced his architectural concepts throughout his life. See more of his groundbreaking designs, learn more of his unique story, and see blueprints of the fantastic Silver Ship by visiting my old blog post here!

When you compare these to the original photographs, you can see how the Silver Ship appears different today. If I recall correctly, a new owner redesigned the house somewhat. Interesting that now it appears a little more like a . . . silver ship!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Wavy, twisted metal poles spell ART!

Observe this series of photographs and you’ll see some of the coolest public art in San Diego!

Viewed from one particular spot, these twisty wavy metal poles rising 25 feet above the beach turn into the word ART!

The delightful sculpture, titled Banner Art, was created by John Banks in 2006. It was commissioned by the Port of San Diego and the City of Imperial Beach.

You can find this optical revelation near the corner of Imperial Beach Boulevard and Seacoast Drive.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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San Diego International Organ Festival returns!

Every time a world-class organist performs in Balboa Park, the Spreckels Organ shines.

Tonight the Spreckels Organ, largest outdoor instrument in the world, one of San Diego’s most unique and precious treasures, absolutely sparkled.

Concert organist Hector Olivera filled Balboa Park with magic during the first performance of the two-month-long San Diego International Organ Festival.

Hector Olivera, considered one of the greatest organists alive, took the stage with his humor and deft touch and created something extraordinary. I sat mesmerized throughout the concert. The music he summoned from the Spreckels Organ was subtle, luminous, alive.

Hector Olivera was a child prodigy. As a five-year-old he played for Eva Perón. Before he’d left his teens he’d performed for heads of state. He has since played in many of the world’s most prestigious venues.

Tonight he started the 2021 San Diego International Organ Festival with an act that will be hard to top. But more top organists are coming, including San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez!

If you love listening to world-class musicians you must go to this free weekly event. The Spreckels Organ shines in Balboa Park every Monday at 7:30 pm through October 25, 2021!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!