Aren’t you glad for the development of nanotechnology? Saves lives. I think I’ll buy one! (Trump condo).

by Tim Broadway

Crab-like robot endoscope built to fight stomach cancer

Tan Ee Lyn
Singapore— Reuters
Published Wednesday, Feb. 01, 2012 10:48AM EST

Inspired by Singapore’s famous chilli crab dish, researchers have created a miniature robot with a pincer and a hook that can remove early-stage stomach cancers without leaving any scars.

Mounted on an endoscope, it enters the patient’s gut through the mouth. It has a pincer to hold cancerous tissues, and a hook that slices them off and coagulates blood to stop bleeding.

With the help of a tiny camera attached to the endoscope, the surgeon sees what’s inside the gut and controls the robotic arms remotely while sitting in front of a monitor screen.

“Our movements are very huge and if you want to make very fine movements, your hands will tremble … But robots can execute very fine movements without trembling,” said enterologist Lawrence Ho, who helped design the robot.

Professor Ho, who works at Singapore’s National University Hospital, said the robot helped remove early-stage stomach cancers in five patients in India and Hong Kong, using a fraction of the time normally taken in open and keyhole surgeries that put patients at higher risk of infection and leave behind scars.

Stomach, or gastric, cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide and is particularly common in east Asia. Diagnosis of gastric cancer usually occurs at a late stage of the disease when treatment is difficult and often unsuccessful.

Louis Phee, associate professor at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological Institute’s school of mechanical and aerospace engineering, helped design the robot with Ho.

They developed the robot after a seafood dinner in Singapore in 2004 with top Hong Kong surgeon Sydney Chung, who suggested they fashioned their device after the crab. Chung is best known for fighting SARS in Hong Kong in 2003.

“He (Chung) suggested we used the crab as a prototype. The crab can pick up sand and its pincers are very strong,” said Dr. Ho.

“Many things are a certain way because they have evolved and adapted to certain functions … we created something that followed the human anatomy and borrowed ideas from nature and incorporated the two.”

The researchers formed a company last October and hope to make the robot commercially available in three years.

Trump opens Canada’s tallest condo tower with $6-million suites

Bloomberg News Jan 31, 2012 – 7:52 AM ET | Last Updated: Feb 1, 2012 12:51 PM ET
By Doug Alexander

Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto, Canada’s tallest residential building, opens Tuesday, capping a seven-year effort to bring the brand of billionaire Donald Trump to the country’s largest city.

The $500-million Trump tower is the first of three luxury hotel-condominium projects opening this year in Toronto, after The Ritz-Carlton opened last year. The Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences and the 66-storey Shangri-La Toronto are also set to open this year.

Toronto’s rise of luxury hotel residences follows a record year for tourism, with more than 9 million hotel-room nights sold in 2011, according to Tourism Toronto. The industry association said the availability of luxury hotel options attracts “high-value visitors” to the city.

About 60% of the 118 residential units in the 65-storey tower have been sold, with the remaining condos priced from $2.3-million to $6.3-million, according to Talon International Development Inc., the owner and developer.

The building also has hotel suites, owned by investors who can earn revenue when used by a hotel guest. About 85% of the 261 hotel rooms have been sold, with the rest priced from $967,000.

“In this market, and at the prices I know those units have commanded, that’s a pretty healthy ratio,” John Andrew, a real-estate professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, said in a telephone interview.

An international investor bought a penthouse at Toronto’s Four Seasons for $28-million, which the developer said last year was the most expensive condo ever sold in Canada.

Luxury Tower

Talon, based in Toronto, bought the property at Bay and Adelaide streets in the financial district in 2004 and proposed a luxury tower with the Trump name. The Trump Hotel Collection has a management agreement to operate the hotel, which was originally slated to open in 2009. Design changes delayed the project, Talon said.

The closely held developer arranged $310-million in construction financing from Raiffeisen Zentralbank Oesterreich AG, an Austrian bank, in 2007 and started construction with $250 million in sales.

Buyers have come from around the world, with Canadians representing a “considerable portion,” Talon Chief Executive Officer Val Levitan said in an e-mail. That portion is growing as the project nears completion, he said.

“Early on, the bulk of purchasers were investors,” Levitan said. “Over the past couple of years that mix has shifted much more towards people who are looking to use their suites as their primary home, a downtown pied-a-terre or even as a corporate suite.”

Taking Gamble

Investors of Toronto’s luxury units are taking a gamble on a limited market of wealthy visitors and dwindling prospects as companies cut back on corporate travel, according to Andrew, director of the Queen’s Real Estate Roundtable.

“I’m very skeptical that there is sufficient market to support all of these hotels,” Andrew said in an interview. “There are not enough wealthy individuals running around that are going to keep those hotels in business.”

Toronto will have about 1,000 luxury rooms after the Four Seasons and Shangri-La open, estimates Trump’s general manager Mickael Damelincourt.

“Compared to what Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Paris, London has to offer in terms of luxury hotels, it’s nothing,” Damelincourt said. “There is definitely a demand.”

Trump Hotel Collection also oversees five U.S. hotels including two in New York and one in Chicago, and a hotel in Panama.

Nobody Can Compete

If there is rivalry brewing among Toronto’s luxury hotels, the billionaire behind the brand name said he isn’t worried.

“Toronto is a vibrant, great city. We have a great product,” Donald Trump told reporters Jan. 24 at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit in Los Angeles. “Nobody will be able to compete with us.”

The Trump building is in the heart of Toronto’s financial district, rising 277 metres among towers bearing the logos of Canada’s largest banks including Bank of Montreal and Bank of Nova Scotia.

The Trump hotel features a two-level spa with pool, a 12,000-square-foot ballroom and 31st-floor dining at Stock Restaurant Bar & Lounge. Rooms start at $395 a night and go as high as $20,000 for the 4,000-square-foot presidential suite.

“Collectively, these luxury properties help elevate Toronto to a level of being one of the elite cities in the world,” Alex Shnaider, chairman of Talon, said in an e-mail. “It will benefit the city as a whole — making a great city even better.”

The hotel-condo idea remains “an unproven concept” for Canada, with uncertain investment returns, said Yossi Kaplan, a Toronto realtor with Your Choice Realty whose clients own units in the building. Trump’s name resonates more with foreign investors than Canadians, he said, and most calls he gets on the project are from outside the country or recent immigrants.

Trump’s name was a draw for Toronto’s John Hutson, who bought a 17th-floor hotel suite as an investment and a 48th- floor two-bedroom condo to live in.

“You associate Trump with special projects that have wow factors,” said Hutson, 50, a tax partner at Deloitte & Touche LLP whose office is a five-minute walk away. “The key is buying the best. And from a quality and location perspective, for my money, it’s Trump.”

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