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Bill Gates predicts the future of global health

Bill Gates
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates lays out his predictions for global health in 2040 during a lecture given at the Cambridge Union in honor of Stephen Hawking. (Cambridge Union via YouTube)

What’s the shape of global health to come? Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates issued two hopeful predictions for the year 2040 today during a lecture given at the late physicist Stephen Hawking’s home university in his honor.

Spoiler alert: Gates says insights into how our microbiome works, and efforts to cut down on infectious diseases such as malaria and HIV, will make life dramatically better for wide swaths of the world’s population by 2040.

Gates drew upon his experience as the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — and upon data relating to global health trends — to support the case he laid out in the Professor Hawking Fellowship Lecture, presented by the Cambridge Union.

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Smartphone gizmo maps meals, counts calories

Image: NutriRay3D device in action
The NutriRay3D device uses a laser-mapping gizmo and a smartphone app to estimate the calories and other nutritional content on a plate of food. (Credit: University of Washington)

How many calories are on your plate? Engineers at the University of Washington have developed a gizmo that estimates the nutritional value of your meal with the mere snap of a smartphone.

NutriRay3D combines a smartphone app with a laser-mapping add-on: The app identifies what kind of food is in the picture, and the laser-mapper provides an estimate of each food’s volume. Then you get a real-time estimate of the calorie count and nutritional content.

The system gets around the toughest hurdles in nutrition tracking: Keeping an accurate record of what you eat, and figuring out how much of it you’re eating.

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