Adidas is getting serious about turning its 3D-printed concepts into consumer products. Last week, the sportswear giant revealed Futurecraft 4D, a sneaker designed partially with a manufacturing technology called Digital Light Synthesis, which creates 3D objects by mixing light and oxygen with programmable liquid resins. According to Carbon 3D, the Sillicon Valley firm who developed it, this process is capable of making “durable, high-performance” 3D parts, unlike other conventional 3D printing methods. In this particular case, that was used to make and shape the shoe’s midsole, while the upper is made out of Adidas’ Primeknit material.
The tech will allow Adidas to manufacture 3D-printed shoes on a large scale, with the company planning to ship 100,000 pairs by the end of 2018. That commitment falls in line with what it has been doing with its Parley sneakers, which are made from recycled ocean plastic and are now being sold in stores. Adidas did release 3D-printed runners to the public recently, but only a few hundred pairs were made available — although they retailed for $333, you’ll now find them on eBay for upwards of $3,000.
I’ve been wearing the Futurecraft 4Ds for the better part of a day and the first thing I noticed, aside from the futuristic midsole, was how much more comfortable they are than the 3D Runners I tested a few months ago. That’s likely due to the Digital Light Synthesis materials being more flexible than traditional 3D printing plastic. What Carbon and Adidas came up with feels more like hardened Play-Doh, and you never get the sense that the pieces can break off. This is obviously a good thing since the Futurecraft 4D is designed to be a performance shoe through and through.
I will say they’re definitely not as comfortable as the Adidas NMDs I wore today, which feature a midsole with Boost technology, a soft foamy material that I often say is like a pillow for your feet. Still, the Futurecraft 4Ds look crazy enough that I don’t mind sacrificing a bit of comfort for style. Unfortunately, Adidas only made 300 “friends-and-family” pairs of this particular design, so don’t expect to see many people rocking these. That said, the company does plan to bring a variant of the Futurecraft 4D to retail this fall, although that release will be limited to 5,000 pairs.
Photos by Evan Rodgers.
Google’s Photos app has long been compensating for wobbly Live Photos taken with an iPhone. Now it can do same for any video in your device. The tech titan has begun rolling out Photos’ long-awaited video stabilizer, according to Android Police, which has already tested it out. To use it, simply click the pen icon while viewing a video within the app and tap the new feature’s button right next to “Rotate.”
Image: Android Police
A progress bar will pop up while the process is ongoing to show how long you have to wait — your videos will be processed locally, but wait times still depend on how big the file is. It took AP 16 seconds to process a 19-second 1,920 x 1,080 video clip on a Pixel. The “Stabilize” option will change colors from white to blue once you’re done, and you can switch it on or off to compare the before and after. You can apparently expect some cropping to make up for a shaky video’s edges.
Unfortunately, we still don’t see the latest Photos update on our Android phones and iPhones. You can either download the APK Android Police provided if you want to fix some videos ASAP or wait for version 2.13 to land on your device.
Source: Android Police, Google Photos
We know you’re probably still salivating over the latest Project Scorpio details and the promise of next-gen games, but for now you’ve still got a perfectly good console tucked under your living room TV. Microsoft recently pushed a major Xbox One update — a redesigned UI and support for Beam broadcasting among the highlights — and it’s just started rolling out even more new features. Nothing huge, but likely welcome all the same since Microsoft says they were all inspired by user feedback. There’s a new “Join broadcast” button on profile pages that lets people quickly view live game streams, for one, as well the ability to hide, pin and filter posts on the Activity Feed tab.
If you put out a call for new pals with a Looking for Group post, you can now assess applicants based on game-specific stats like kill/death ratio and rank (for turning away those that aren’t on your level, presumably). You can also clone old LFG posts instead of having to create new ones from scratch, and see how many open posts there are at the top of game and Club (aka clan) hubs. What’s more, you can now search for open groups within the Achievements tab to find people pursuing the same specific goal as you.
Many of the features included in this minor update have been tested among Xbox One Insiders for the best part of a month, and there are some notable things that didn’t make it into the consumer release this time around. We’re still waiting for custom profile pictures, for example, and captive portal support that’ll let you log onto WiFi hotspots that require additional authentication, such as in hotels. It shouldn’t be too long, though, before these and other new features are readied for the masses in a future update.
Source: Major Nelson
The 2017 “Star Wars Celebration” has been going on for the last day or so — and now those of us who aren’t there are getting what’s likely to be the most exciting thing coming out of the event. That’s right, the first trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi was just shown off to attendees and it’s now online for all to enjoy.
Disney and Lucasfilm have been experts at keeping plot points under wraps for the newer Star Wars films and this teaser is no exception. The last minute or show features plenty of action, but it starts with a slow burn of Rey learning how to control the Force with a voiceover that can only be from Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker. But most ominous is the ending line from Luke: “It’s time for the Jedi to end.” Unfortunately, we’ll just have to puzzle over what all this means for another eight months or so.
The trailer was first revealed following a panel on The Last Jedi which included commentary from Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley. A post for the new film was also shown off, featuring Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren’s faces divided by a lightsaber wielded by Rey.
#TheLastJedi poster has been revealed. #SWCO pic.twitter.com/fqnf1bQtPu
— Star Wars (@starwars) April 14, 2017
If this isn’t enough for you, there’s plenty of other great stuff hitting YouTube from the Star Wars Celebration, including this wonderful tribute to the late Carrie Fisher:
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens on December 15th, 2017.
Source: Star Wars (YouTube)
By David Murphy
This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a buyer’s guide to the best technology. When readers choose to buy The Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read the full article here.
After more than 250 total hours of research and testing, we recommend the TP-Link Archer C7 (v2) router for most people. We’ve tested it against nearly 30 other routers over the past two years, and it’s still our favorite. This dual-band, three-stream 802.11ac (wireless-ac) router wasn’t the fastest on all of our tests, but it has an amazing range and delivers great performance for its low price. It’s an unbeatable value.
Who this is for
If you’re tired of being unable to use your Wi-Fi in the dead zones in your house or apartment, and you can’t move your router to a central location in your house, you need a new router. Our pick, the Archer C7, lets you access both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands, improving your performance and giving you a way to escape interference from your neighbors’ Wi-Fi networks. Unlike an older wireless-n or wireless-g router, our 802.11ac pick supports the fastest Wi-Fi connections of almost any device you can buy, and its Gigabit Ethernet ports give your wired devices plenty of bandwidth for streaming HD video—even 4K—around your home.
If you already have a router and you’re happy with its range and speed, you don’t need to buy a new one.
How we picked and tested
Wireless-ac, or IEEE 802.11ac, is the latest mainstream Wi-Fi version. It’s the standard in most laptops, smartphones, and tablets from 2013 and later, including many products that we recommend in other guides such as current MacBooks and Windows laptops plus flagship smartphones from Apple, Samsung, Motorola, LG, and HTC.
Your next gadget with Wi-Fi will have wireless-ac; so should your router. You’ll get better wireless performance and range for your wireless-ac devices than if you used a wireless-n router, and your network will be ready for any future devices you buy over the next few years.
A great router has to be dual-band, which means it supports both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz signals. Because so many things transmit in the 2.4 GHz range, wireless interference from other Wi-Fi routers and Bluetooth devices, and even microwaves and cordless phones, can affect your wireless performance.
A router should also support at least two spatial streams (also called data streams) on each band. For more on the criteria for finding the best wi-fi router, see our full guide.
Our most recent testing environment included four client-testing locations in a 2,577-square-foot, one-story house. Two spots (at 11 feet and 43 feet) were within sight of the router, and the other two (at 13 feet and 43 feet) were blocked by walls, furniture, and other objects.
We didn’t disable our house’s existing wireless network when testing, but we did change its broadcast channels so that it wouldn’t interfere with our router’s signals. This approach allowed us to see how the routers would handle nearby wireless networks—as you’re likely to have in an apartment complex or even a suburban neighborhood—without overwhelming them with interference.
We tested the routers using iPerf3, a network monitoring and measuring tool, to evaluate data transfers between a desktop PC (connected to each router via Gigabit Ethernet) and an Asus ZenBook UX305LA (which uses two-stream wireless-ac). For the test, we started iPerf3, which then attempted to transfer as much data as possible from the test laptop to the desktop PC (via a single TCP connection) and recorded the average transfer speed across 60 one-second intervals. We ran each test multiple times for each router, on each band, at each test location.
Because we were testing in the real world, external variables (competing signals, walls, network traffic) affected our results—just as they’ll likely affect yours.
We wish the Archer C7 had a USB 3.0 port instead of a USB 2.0 one. Otherwise, its physical connections are pretty standard and easy to access—it even has a button that lets you turn your Wi-Fi on and off without disturbing your wired network. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald
The TP-Link Archer C7 is the best router for most people because it’s a great value. We’ve tested the Archer C7 against dozens of routers at different times, using different setups, for nearly two years. Though it hasn’t been the fastest router in every test, the Archer C7’s combination of solid long-range performance and a low price has given it a clear advantage over every other router we’ve tested.
However, if you choose to buy this router, confirm that you’re getting the right version of it: The C7 v1 had a number of connection issues. You’ll want to check the model number on the bottom of the router to confirm that you have a newer v2 or v3 unit. If not, return it and make sure that wherever you bought it from gives you the right version.
For our most recent tests—the results shown in the charts in our full guide—we used an Asus ZenBook UX305LA with a two-stream wireless-ac Wi-Fi card. Though the Archer C7 wasn’t the fastest router on any single test, it had the best overall price-to-performance ratio of any wireless-ac router.
We were most impressed with the Archer C7’s wireless-ac performance on our most difficult test: long range, with walls and furniture between the client and router. Only the C7 and Netgear’s ultra-expensive R8500 gave us more than 35 Mbps, and some routers couldn’t even push past 10 Mbps—if they could connect at all. The Archer C7 reached 71.3 Mbps, which is more than enough for 4K video streaming.
We always test routers in large batches, and the Archer C7 performed well in each of its groupings over the past two years. You can read the highlights from our previous testing in our full guide.
Upgrade pick: Netgear R6400
The Netgear R6400 has lots of features, plus a great user interface that’s much easier to understand than the TP-Link Archer C7’s confusing UI. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald
Note: This router had a severe security flaw that could let someone take control of your router if you clicked a malicious URL. Netgear issued a firmware update that fixes the problem. Always make sure your router is running the latest firmware available.
If you’re willing to pay a little more for a router that has a lot more features, an easier-to-understand interface, and a price-to-performance ratio that’s almost as good as our pick’s, we recommend the Netgear R6400. The Archer C7 is the best value if you want simple, great Wi-Fi for a low price, but the R6400 is better if you know that you need both good wireless-ac performance and killer features.
This guide may have been updated by The Wirecutter. To see the current recommendation, please go here.
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California will soon have yet another company’s self-driving vehicles navigating its roadways. The Department of Motor Vehicles granted Apple an autonomous vehicle testing permit on Friday, enabling the company to use public roadways in its autonomous systems experiments.
Apple isn’t the first company to employ California’s transportation infrastructure as a giant R&D lab. Alphabet, Tesla and Uber (after some cajoling) have already applied for, and been granted, similar permits.
This news comes as California is warming to the idea of being a high-tech testbed. The DMV recently announced that it would be adjusting its rules to make it easier for companies to test their cars in the state. GM also announced this week that it is dramatically expanding its self-driving vehicle operations in San Francisco and hire 1600 people by 2021.
Source: Wall Street Journal
You might see Bluetooth speakers as a commodity item, but Bose is having none of that with its premium, pricey SoundLink Revolve and Revolve Plus models. Much like the Vizio Cast, they output music from 360 degrees, so they sound the same to anyone in the vicinity. At the same time, Bose has eschewed typical plastic materials for a fancy “single-piece aluminum enclosure” that’s resistant to spills, rain and splashes with an IPX4 rating.
The Revolve is 6-inches high by 3.2-inches deep and weighs 1.5 pounds, while the Revolve Plus is 7.2 x 4.1 inches and 2 pounds. Bose says they deliver “the same experience for everyone,” whether they’re set in the middle or corner of a room, thanks to the round design. That 360-degree sound comes from dual-opposing passive radiators, an efficient face-down transducer and a “patented” acoustic deflector, Bose says. It describes the sound quality as “spacious, clear and remarkably loud,” a credible claim considering the company’s reputation.
Spec-wise, you can get 12 hours of battery life on the Revolve and 16 hours on the Revolve Plus. Both can pair to your smartphone or other device via NFC, and pack microphones to take commands from Siri or Google Assistant. The Bose Connect app lets you hook up two SoundLink speakers at once, either as multi-room party speakers or a stereo pair. That works not only on the latest Revolves, but also on lower-tier models like the $130 SoundLink Color II — which happens to be making its debut in the UK today for £130.
As always, with Bose, there’s the pricing rub. The Revolve runs a $200 (£200), while the bigger Revolve Plus costs $300 (£280 in the UK) — not cheap, but similar to Vizio’s $250 Crave 360. They’re now available to order in “Triple Black” or “Lux Gray.”
For most of my adult life, I’ve had trouble making friends. As a shy, introverted person, I don’t go out often, and when I do, it’s hard for me to talk to people. What do I say? How do I jump into conversations? After many failed attempts, I became increasingly self-conscious, developing deep-seated social anxiety and a fear of rejection. As a result, most of my friendships are cultivated through the internet, where the usual social barriers don’t apply. Over the years, I’ve gotten better at relating to people in real life, but I still struggle occasionally. So when I heard about a friendship app, I was intrigued. Could this be the solution to my woes?
The app is called Hey! Vina, and it’s basically Tinder for making friends. I had heard about it from my improv classmate Ali (I had started taking improv classes to help me socialize more) and she said she used it to meet new people when she moved to the Bay Area a few months ago. “I didn’t know anyone here and I’ve never lived in a suburb,” she said. “There aren’t a lot of opportunities to socialize in Walnut Creek.” Before long, though, she did meet someone who turned out to be a pretty good friend. “We both went into it looking for the same thing: friendship. I think that’s why it worked.”
Hey! Vina has been around since January of last year, but didn’t launch globally until last September. You do need to use Facebook to register, mostly to see if it can find matches based on mutual friends or other commonalities, but it’s free to join. Similar to some dating apps out there, you start out by filling out your profile with some basic information about yourself and as much detail as you want. In Hey! Vina, you’re encouraged to be honest about your personality. You can say whether you’re an introvert, an ambivert or an extrovert, whether you’re an indoor or an outdoor person, whether you prefer coffee or wine, and so forth. There’s a series of prompts asking fun things like, “what’s your guilty pleasure?” or “describe yourself in emojis.” If you like, you can also take personality quizzes to help flesh out your profile even further.
There is a catch, though. Hey! Vina is only for women (it makes sure men aren’t trying to sneak on by using Facebook for registration). “Part of that is so that it doesn’t turn into a dating app,” said Olivia Poole, one of the founders of Hey! Vina. “When you put men and women onto a platform to meet, it can very easily and organically turn into a dating app, just based on human nature.” That’s not to say that men and women can’t be friends — of course they can — but it’s just more complicated. Poole wanted Hey! Vina to be a safe space where women can feel comfortable being themselves. And Poole, who has a background in social psychology, says that men and women traditionally make friends very differently. Men typically bond through shared activities, while women bond mostly through emotional and intellectual disclosure, which is what Hey! Vina attempts to facilitate.
This was interesting to me on several levels. Maybe it’s because of my interests as a child or that I work in a male-dominated industry, but most of my friends are men. My best friend at this point in time is a man (he also lives over 5,000 miles away, which is a separate issue). I have just a handful of female friends, most of whom have either moved away or simply graduated to a different chapter of their lives. In fact, maybe it’s because of the bullying I suffered in high school, but female friendships have always eluded me. The Sex in the City idea of a girls’ night out is completely foreign to me. As a result, Hey! Vina scared me.
At the same time, I’ve always envious of close female friendships. I didn’t have a bachelorette party before my wedding (since I have no female besties) and I feel like I missed out. Having a girlfriend you could just call or text and talk over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine seemed nice. Importantly, too, having someone who could discuss and connect over uniquely female problems regarding health, sex and relationships seemed like a real benefit. I don’t know if I’ve ever really had that in my life. Really, I’ve always just wanted to find the Jane Lane to my Daria Morgendorffer.
So, a few weeks ago, I took the plunge and signed up for Hey! Vina. I hemmed and hawed over what I would write in my profile, but decided to just be honest. I gave a brief description of my interests (comedy, food, board games, baseball) and my overall personality (nerdy with a snarky sense of humor). Then I looked over other Hey! Vina profiles to see who I would swipe right on. According to Poole, the profiles I see are according to an algorithm that matches my age, location, quiz results and “some special Vina magic.”
I’m actually not too picky about the kinds of people I’m friends with — I don’t really care if we’re total opposites or interested in totally different things — so I ended up swiping right on most people. The only ones for whom I swiped left were profiles that were mostly blank or those that struck me as pretentious.
Like Tinder, Hey! Vina only matches you with people who swipe right on you too. For the first eight or so hours, I didn’t have any matches and I started to feel a wave of rejection wash over me. Did I write something wrong? Should I edit my profile? Does my photo look weird? So I went back and tinkered with it, updating my photo with a more recent image and filling in my profile with more details. I still don’t know if that helped, but within a day, I received four “Dittos” (that’s Hey! Vina’s term for matches).
Excited but also nervous, I responded to all of them with a “Hi!” and a hand-wave emoji. None responded. So I followed up with a simple “Hey, do you want to grab coffee?” Still nothing. Deflated, I went on with my day, wondering if this thing was a waste of time. A few hours later, though, I received a response from someone. She said she would be interested in a coffee date. But after a few back and forth messages, we couldn’t agree on a time and place and the conversation died. From what friends tell me, this experience is typical of online dating too: Even if you find a match, it might not go anywhere.
The next day, I received another Ditto from someone (she said she wanted to stay anonymous, so let’s call her Jane). She greeted me first, saying she liked that I was honest in my profile about being an introvert. “Introvert pride :)” she texted. She also liked that I was into board games — something I’m pretty passionate about. Before long, we were texting back and forth about our favorite games, what we did for a living and what we did in our spare time. The conversation flowed easily. She seemed nice. So I thought, let’s meet up and see how this works out.
It took a week or so to schedule something due to our busy jobs, but we eventually settled on a lunch date in downtown San Francisco. As I rushed to meet her, I felt nervous. What if I say something stupid? What if she thinks I’m weird? What if I trip and fall on my face?
I approached our meeting point, and I saw her already waiting. I waved hello, and as soon as she recognized me, she waved back. We ordered our salads and sat in a public park to chat. Somehow, whatever anxiety I was feeling melted away. Because we had already chatted on the phone, I found it easy to talk to her. We talked about everything, from our jobs to more existential societal struggles. We also each shared our experiences on how hard it is to make friends as adults, especially with busy schedules. I liked talking to her. Time just flew by.
Poole was inspired to start Hey! Vina when she moved to San Francisco a few years ago. “I’ve always been a very social and connected person, but when I moved here for my career, I lost that,” she said. “I found it very hard to meet new people.” The internet wasn’t that much of a help either, she said, because of the decline of old-school social networking like MySpace and Friendster. “There was this new era of social media like Facebook, where it’s more about maintaining existing relationships instead of making new ones.”
She tried to make friends through OK Cupid, but since the site is predominantly designed for online dating, she had a lot of rejections, though she did make a few female friends here and there. Inspired by the need for more social gatherings for women, she and a girlfriend started a monthly “Ladies Who Vino” social event, where women from all over the city are invited to gather, drink wine and socialize. They invited all the women they knew and had about 60 attendees at the first event. The next time they had it, there were a hundred women. The third time, even more turned up. The event became increasingly popular. They were onto something, Poole thought, so she decided to turn to technology and scale out the idea as an app.
“Part of the difficulty around making friends as adults is that you fall out of practice,” said Miriam Kirmayer, a PhD. candidate at McGill University in Montreal, who specializes in emerging adult friendships. “When we’re younger, there are playdates, and it’s easy to access a social network of people who are the same age as us or who might have similar interests. But once you leave school, and even through university to some extent, established friendship networks tend to be uprooted and disrupted. It’s hard to find people with whom you connect.”
One way to get around this is to simply go out more and meet new people, Kirmayer says, but that’s easier said than done. An app like Hey! Vina can help. Plus, it’s not the only friendship app out there. Tinder Social is a way for groups of friends to get together be they male or female, Bumble has a BFF mode that matches you with friends instead of potential mates, Atleto is an app that helps you find a workout buddy and there are many more. “Apps or sites like Meetup can really facilitate things and help people connect,” said Kirmayer. “Similarity is often the root of friendship, so finding people with similar interests can definitely help.”
When my lunch date with Jane drew to a close, we exchanged phone numbers and promised to connect on Facebook. As we stood up to leave, I asked her “Do you hug?” She smiled and said yes, and we embraced. I waved to her as I walked away. On my way back to the office, there was a slight spring in my step.
Google has made a smartwatch, but not the kind you might expect. Verily, the health organisation owned by Google parent company Alphabet, has (finally) announced its ‘Study Watch’ for medical research purposes. It doesn’t run Android Wear, nor does it help you manage the notifications on your phone. Instead, it passively captures health data “critical to the success of continuous care platforms and clinical research,” including heart rate, electrodermal activity (the skin’s ability to conduct electricity) and body movement. It can also produce an ECG, a recording of the heart’s electrical activity, which can sometimes reveal heart problems.
The Study Watch has a circular e-ink display which displays the date, time, and some basic instructions for the wearer. “No other information is provided back to the user,” Verily says in a blog post. The simple interface is designed to maximise performance; the wearable can last a week on a single charge, and comes with “a powerful processor” to run important algorithms. There are no apps, or any other functionality normally associated with smartwatches. That means it can focus on capturing and storing raw data that will be useful for medical professionals.
“While numerous wearables exist in the market, we have a specific need outside of these offerings,” Verily adds. The team hopes the watch will be deployed in large research groups and prove useful as an always-on, continuous health tracking tool. Initially, it will be used in a few smaller studies including the “Personalized Parkinson’s Project,” a multi-year project led by the ParkinsonNet, Radboud University and the Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands. Normally, Parkinson’s patients would have their heart rate variability measured in a hospital — now, the same tests can be run (in theory) anywhere, any time.
The health-focused Study Watch will also play a role in Verily’s “Baseline” study, which aims to track 10,000 participants over five years. The results will, the company hopes, create a ‘baseline’ of health data that can be used to better understand ageing and disease. It’s one of many ambitious Verily projects which include glucose-tracking contact lenses, nanoparticle pills for detecting cancer and heart attacks, and bioelectronic medicines. The Study Watch does, by comparison, sound like a more realistic endeavour, if only because Apple and Nokia — which now owns Withings — are making similar inroads with their respective smartwatch and health platforms.
Source: Verily, MIT Technology Review
Apple has been granted a permit that enables it to test autonomous vehicles on public roads in the state of California, according to the California DMV website (via Business Insider).
Apple was added to the list of permit holders that are allowed to participate in the Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program in California on Friday, joining companies like Google, Tesla, BMW, Honda, Ford, Nissan, and more.
Obtaining a permit for autonomous vehicle testing requires multiple steps, including outlining details for each specific vehicle being tested, suggesting Apple may have some sort of test vehicle that’s road ready. Whether Apple will actually begin testing a vehicle remains to be seen, as some companies sign up and then don’t go on to use it, but should Apple begin vehicle testing, public reports will need to be filed.
In California, all companies that participate in the Autonomous Vehicle Testing Program must file Disengagement Reports that outline how many miles were covered with self-driving vehicles, so if Apple does test a vehicle, the information will be shared on the DMV’s website.
Apple’s acceptance into the Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program confirms the company’s work on a car-related project. Early rumors suggested Apple was developing its own autonomous electric vehicle, but Apple is said to have since transitioned to building an autonomous driving system rather than a full blown car.
Developed under the leadership of Bob Mansfield, Apple’s autonomous driving system could allow it to partner with existing car makers or return to its own car development project in the future. Apple executives have reportedly given the car team until 2017 to prove the feasibility of an Apple-designed autonomous driving system, and its approval to road-test vehicles could be a signal that the project is advancing.
Related Roundup: Apple Car
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