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Welcome back to our Cool Stuff Roundup, where we collect the best stories shared on Freethink’s internal Slack channel, and share them with you.

Virtual reality promises to change the way we experience everything from video games to live sports, but will it also change the way we dream? A new study suggests that VR users experience more lucid dreams than conventional computer users. Researchers think it’s because “engagement in dream-like environments—like many virtual-reality programs are—increases lucid dreaming frequency.”

vr
VR headset at SXSW. Photo via Flickr user Nan Palmero

Another incredible stem cell therapy case: Last week we told you about the experimental stem cell treatment that restored Vanna Belton’s vision, and the fight over whether patients should be able to receive that treatment at all. The case of Kris Boesen offers more super promising evidence that stem therapy works: Three months after receiving a stem infusion for a spinal cord injury that paralyzed him from the neck down, Boesen was “able to feed himself, use his cell phone, write his name, operate a motorized wheelchair, and hug his friends and family.”

beoson
Kris Boeson. Image via USC

Turns out DNA is a great way to store data, and not just the genetic kind: In a development you probably didn’t see coming, Microsoft transferred the entirety of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace by translating the 1s and 0s that make up digital data into nucleotides. Lead researcher Karen Strauss says “a shoebox worth of DNA could hold the equivalent of roughly 100 giant data centers.”

Can we cure every disease with $3 billion? Pediatrician Priscilla Chan and her husband, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, want to try. Over the next decade, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is investing $3 billion toward “helping cure, prevent, or manage all disease” within their children’s lifetime. Of that $3 billion, $600 million will go toward the creation of Biohub, a physical facility that will bring together software engineers and medical researchers from Stanford, Berkeley, and other elite Bay Area institutions. Tall order, long runway, best of luck.

The Back to the Future shoes are finally here: Sneaker heads have been fantasizing about the self-lacing shoes worn by Marty McFly for 30 years, and Nike finally made them. The Hyperadapt has a motor in the sole, a censor in the heel, and can lace itself up.

Up Next

Future of Medicine
“Google Maps for the Human Body” Offers a Deep View Inside Our Trillions of Cells
“Google Maps for the Human Body” Offers a Deep View Inside Our Trillions of Cells
Future of Medicine
“Google Maps for the Human Body” Offers a Deep View Inside Our Trillions of Cells
Researchers are creating an interactive, 3D map of the human body to help identify and prevent disease.
By Sarah Wells

Researchers are creating an interactive, 3D map of the human body to help identify and prevent disease.

Prosthetics
You Can Now Order a 3D Printed, Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm
prosthetic arm
Prosthetics
You Can Now Order a 3D Printed, Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm
By scanning amputees’ limbs with a 3D scanner, Unlimited Tomorrow is making custom prosthetic arms that can be controlled with the mind.

By scanning amputees’ limbs with a 3D scanner, Unlimited Tomorrow is making custom prosthetic arms that can be controlled with the mind.

Hurricanes
Could a Norwegian “Hurricane Net” Stop Storms by Cooling the Sea?
hurricane net
Hurricanes
Could a Norwegian “Hurricane Net” Stop Storms by Cooling the Sea?
Norwegian company OceanTherm uses bubble nets to keep ice out of fjords. Could a hurricane net weaken the storms?

Norwegian company OceanTherm uses bubble nets to keep ice out of fjords. Could a hurricane net weaken the storms?

Medical Innovation
New Blood Test for Alzheimer’s Is as Accurate as Brain Scans
Test for Alzheimer’s
Medical Innovation
New Blood Test for Alzheimer’s Is as Accurate as Brain Scans
A new blood test for Alzheimer’s is as accurate as the costly, invasive, and time-consuming methods currently used to detect the disease.

A new blood test for Alzheimer’s is as accurate as the costly, invasive, and time-consuming methods currently used to detect the disease.

Hacking for Good
White Hat Hackers are Defending Hospitals From Rising Cyber Attacks
cyber attacks
Hacking for Good
White Hat Hackers are Defending Hospitals From Rising Cyber Attacks
Criminals are exploiting COVID-19 to launch cyber attacks. These volunteers have grouped together to fight back.

Criminals are exploiting COVID-19 to launch cyber attacks. These volunteers have grouped together to fight back.

Uprising
The Construction Robots Building Space Colonies
contruction robots
Uprising
The Construction Robots Building Space Colonies
Sending construction robots into outer space will help pave the way for human exploration, but there are some real challenges that lie ahead.
By Tien Nguyen

Sending construction robots into outer space will help pave the way for human exploration, but there are some real challenges that lie ahead.

Dispatches
The 2018 Nobel Prize Could Mark a Turning Point in the War on Cancer
The 2018 Nobel Prize Could Mark a Turning Point in the War on Cancer
Dispatches
The 2018 Nobel Prize Could Mark a Turning Point in the War on Cancer
More than one in three people will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime; new discoveries are helping them...
By Duane Mitchell

More than one in three people will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime; new discoveries are helping them fight back.

Dispatches
FDA Approves First Mute Button for Genetic Diseases
FDA Approves First Mute Button for Genetic Diseases
Dispatches
FDA Approves First Mute Button for Genetic Diseases
It is the first of "a wave of advances that have the potential to transform medicine."

It is the first of "a wave of advances that have the potential to transform medicine."

Superhuman
Reprogramming Your Immune System to Fight Cancer
Reprogramming Your Immune System to Fight Cancer
Watch Now
Superhuman
Reprogramming Your Immune System to Fight Cancer
Your T cells already know how to kill cancer. These doctors can train them to hunt it down.
Watch Now

Josh Feldman was on his honeymoon when he felt a lump on his neck. Returning home after the best month of his life, his doctor gave him the news: non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. There was no cure, and it was about to get much worse. After multiple rounds of chemotherapy failed to stop his tumors from growing, Josh went to see Dr. John Timmerman, an oncologist at UCLA who is trying something different, known as immunotherapy. This...