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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.”

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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.

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Dispatches
Insulin Pills Could Change Everything for Diabetics
insulin pills
Dispatches
Insulin Pills Could Change Everything for Diabetics
A pill instead of a needle would be the "holy grail" for diabetes treatment.

A pill instead of a needle would be the "holy grail" for diabetes treatment.

Dispatches
New Tech Makes Fresh Produce Last Twice as Long
New Tech Makes Fresh Produce Last Twice as Long
Dispatches
New Tech Makes Fresh Produce Last Twice as Long
The plant-based preservative could radically change the game on food waste.

The plant-based preservative could radically change the game on food waste.

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...

Dispatches
Does CRISPR Cause Cancer?
Does CRISPR Cause Cancer?
Dispatches
Does CRISPR Cause Cancer?
Two studies find that CRISPR'd cells tend to become cancerous. Here's what that means for biotech medicine.

Two studies find that CRISPR'd cells tend to become cancerous. Here's what that means for biotech medicine.

Superhuman
Hunting Down His Son’s Killer
Hunting Down His Son’s Killer
Watch Now
Superhuman
Hunting Down His Son’s Killer
For years, there was no diagnosis, no treatment, and no cure — because his son's disease had never been seen before. That wasn't going to stop this dad.
Watch Now

What do you do when there are no experts to turn to? For computer scientist Matt Might, the answer was obvious: you become the expert. When doctors couldn't figure out his son's disease, he found a way to crack the code. Matt's son, Bertrand, suffers from an extremely rare genetic disease, called NGLY1 deficiency, which causes chronic seizures, liver problems, and developmental delays. In fact, it was so rare that Bertrand...

Dispatches
CRISPR Can Diagnose Zika (and Ebola) with Just a Strip of Paper
CRISPR Can Diagnose Zika (and Ebola) with Just a Strip of Paper
Dispatches
CRISPR Can Diagnose Zika (and Ebola) with Just a Strip of Paper
We could be on our way to a fast, reliable, portable test for almost any virus or cancerous mutation.

We could be on our way to a fast, reliable, portable test for almost any virus or cancerous mutation.

Dispatches
Neuroscientists Want to Beam Experiences Directly into Your Brain
Neuroscientists Want to Beam Experiences Directly into Your Brain
Dispatches
Neuroscientists Want to Beam Experiences Directly into Your Brain
It's a breakthrough for the blind and paralyzed, not the first step toward the Matrix. (Promise.)

It's a breakthrough for the blind and paralyzed, not the first step toward the Matrix. (Promise.)

Dispatches
Scientists Want to Rewrite the Entire Human Genome, from Scratch
Scientists Want to Rewrite the Entire Human Genome, from Scratch
Dispatches
Scientists Want to Rewrite the Entire Human Genome, from Scratch
What if we could rewrite our entire genetic code to make us invincible against viruses?

What if we could rewrite our entire genetic code to make us invincible against viruses?

Superhuman
3-D Printing Prosthetics for Kids
3-D Printing Prosthetics for Kids
Watch Now
Superhuman
3-D Printing Prosthetics for Kids
The incredible movement of shared designs and tech that’s making prosthetics better and cheaper for everyone.
Watch Now

Powered by 3D printer technology, people are making prosthetics at a fraction of the cost. Watch this episode of “Superhuman” for the story of how e-NABLE, an online network of volunteers, has created 3,000 bionic hands for people in need (mostly kids) across 90 countries.