Tech vs. Trees: Paper-based sensor monitors sodium levels in the body, Deluxe’s latest results indicate paper checks going strong, ‘ATM for books’ machines continue to seek audience

Sample article from our Health Care Sector

LOS ANGELES , May 13, 2022 () –

A roundup of recent trends pitting technology against the printed word:

Trees: Paper-based sensor monitors sodium levels in the body

While many might think of nutritional labels when it comes to looking up sodium levels, patients living with certain diseases must monitor their own sodium levels to ensure proper treatment. Traditionally, tracking one’s sodium level would require lab work, but researchers at the Central University of Kerala have developed a point-of-care paper strip-based test to take that measurement at home. The sensor can use blood or urine to detect the amount of sodium in the body, using nanoparticles that are printed on paper strips, The Hindu reported April 22. The colorimetric sensing technique also enables the test to change color and produce rapid results. Abnormal sodium levels could lead to serious health problems such as stroke, hypernatremia and other ailments, and could also be used to detect cardiovascular diseases and hypertension, Nanowerk reported April 26. The test has already drawn interest from several hospitals and institutions for commercial production, Mathrubhumi reported April 24.


Trees: Deluxe’s latest results indicate paper checks going strong

While consumer payments saw a shift to digital in the wake of the pandemic, business payments are another story if Deluxe’s latest revenues are any indication. The U.S.-based payments and business technology company reported a 6.9% year-over-year increase for its check segment in the first quarter, driven by factors such as increasing sales of business checks, reported May 6. Deluxe CEO Barry McCarthy noted, “our very profitable, cash-generating check business … had another strong quarter.” For small businesses, checks are preferred when receiving payments in order to avoid credit card fees, said Deluxe Senior VP Tracey Engelhardt in a company blog on Dec. 14, 2021. In a triennial payment study published by The Federal Reserve, check writing was indeed the top payment method for small businesses, with check payments totaling 16 billion transactions in 2018.


Trees: ‘ATM for books’ machines still seeking audience

In 2007, BookExpo America introduced a relatively compact machine that could print and bind books in minutes, a novelty that drew some bookstores to place this “ATM for books” in their locations. Fifteen years later, initial interest for the Espresso Book Machine has not taken off, but the co-founder of the machine’s maker On Demand Books is still hopeful for its future. “There are a lot of disruptive technologies that take time. Look at the electric car,” said Dane Neller, co-founder of On Demand Books. Whether it will be the next electric car remains to be seen, but the print-on-demand machine still exists today across bookstores in New York, Michigan and Vermont. Self-published titles and books in the public domain have benefited from the Espresso Book Machine, which prints up to 5,000 books annually at Michigan-based Schuler Books. An obstacle to wider use, however, is getting rights to print fast-moving trade titles, according to Neller, Publisher’s Weekly reported March 4. He said there had been pre-pandemic “ambitious growth plans,” but for now, it aims to open a few more stores in New York City.

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