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8
Nov

The StarkBoard is a hands-free, remote-free eboard for your outdoor adventures


As convenient and exciting as electric skateboards may seem in theory, there’s something less than intuitive about controlling the board beneath your feet with your hands. Using a remote control to determine your speed isn’t always the best when it comes to quick braking or safe acceleration, especially if you’re a novice skateboarder just learning to keep your balance. Luckily, not all eboards require a hand-held remote. Meet the StarkBoard from Stark Mobility, a remote-free, hands-free, electric skateboard that is said to require just three minutes to master. All you need to do is step on it, tilt your body, and ride.

In some ways, it sounds a bit like a feet-only Segway. The board, powered by two HUB motors and an AI-powered smart braking system, will move with your body — if you lean forward, the board goes forward. The StarkBoard features a custom gyroscope sensor and intelligent weight and motion sensors to detect changes in your body’s positioning, and adjust its own motion accordingly.

As you continue to lean forward (and accelerate), the StarkBoard is said to track your body movements and provide continual assistance, so you’re never riding unprotected. And as for your acceleration, you’ll be able to hit pretty impressive speeds with this eboard — up to 20 miles per hour. That said, if ever you step off the board, the StarkBoard will automatically activate the brakes, ensuring that your vehicle doesn’t take off without you. Thanks to a smart braking system, you can come to a complete stop even if you’re on an incline.

The StarkBoard’s battery is said to power the board for up to 13 miles, and when you receive your board, you’ll already find your battery charged and ready for its maiden voyage. Weighing in at 15 pounds, the eboard also features LED lights, which allow for safe riding in darker conditions. Plus, the IP62 rating means that the StarkBoard is both dust- and splash-proof.

You can pre-order the StarkBoard now from Indiegogo for the early bird price of $449, about 55 percent off its retail price of $999. Shipment for the board is anticipated for January 2018, so you can start your new year off with some excitement.

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8
Nov

Battle other robots in first-person perspective with the Geio AI bot


Why it matters to you

Want to relieve some frustration on the virtual battlefield? Geio can help.

Battling robots aren’t confined to the silver screen anymore — not with the Geio. Meet the latest in robotic technology — an artificially intelligent, first-person perspective bot that promises you “an immersive experience” as you duke it out with your frenemies in a virtual battleground.

While you shouldn’t engage in any form of violence, you may find a release for any pent-up frustration you have with the Geio. You’ll be able to control it without ever leaving your seat, as the FPS bot claims to link real and virtual spaces, giving users an almost out-of-body experience. The Geio boasts visual recognition, which means it can actually locate its target, and react accordingly. And thanks to its mobility, the bot can move from Point A to Point B with a fair bit of efficiency, all while keeping you in the driver’s seat.

“Geio is born to create unexpected excitement,” the team notes on its Kickstarter page. “When you are able to see from Geio’s perspective, you can indeed indulge in the royal duel, assault and escort, scavenger hunt race.”

Controlled all from your smartphone, the Geio features a number of different methods of gameplay. There’s the Royal Duel, in which you battle your friend (or foe) in a one-on-one setting. Alternatively, you can engage in Assault and Escort, a mode in which attacking and defending teams take turns defending or capturing various points across a battlefield (think of it as robot Capture the Flag). Then, there’s the Scavenger Hunt Race, in which teams compete against one another to be the first to locate special totems. And finally, you can play in a Speed Race, which as the name suggests, is all about agility. Indeed, the Geio is said to be able to rotate 360 degrees and move up to 2 meters in just a second. So set up an obstacle course of your design, and get moving.

Currently available for pre-order on Kickstarter for $109, the Geio just may be the most fun you can have from your couch. Early bird order are expected to ship in December, so you’ll be able to start enjoying your new bot over the holidays.

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8
Nov

The Burnbud is an all-in-one grinder, lighter, and container for your green


If necessity is the mother of invention then convenience is its father. And when is convenience ever more cherished then when you’re trying to chill out with a doobie or two? (Of course, only where marijuana is permitted.)

Meet the Burnbud, an all-in-one lighter, grinder, and container for your crumbling herb. In a few swift movements, Burnbud helps break, dispense, and ignite your green into glorious haze. Oh yeah, and it’s got a bottle opener. It’s like a Swiss army knife for getting down.

“I realized that the stigma of the ‘lazy smoker’ did not apply to me or any of my friends. We were always on-the-go, house to house, exploring the outdoors as much as possible,” Burnbud founder John Kaplan told Digital Trends. “I’ve always been into minimalism and keeping things organized, this clashed with traditional smoking kits. The hassle of clunky pockets and constantly searching for the lighter became the inspiration to create a solution. One of my friends in the architecture program at my college had access to a 3D printer. I showed him some rough drawings and we decided to create our first prototype. “

Burnbud LLC

Big enough to wield but small enough to fit in a pocket, Burnbud uses mini Bic lighters so rest assured that there’s always more fuel hidden under your couch cushion. Or Tim has some in his pocket. Either way there’s bound to be another mini Bic nearby.

But the Burnbud isn’t tiny. It’ll fit in a pocket, sure, but isn’t the most practical thing to carry around, so many just become a part of the home ritual.

“This is a new type of concept in smoking accessories,” Kaplan said. “With regard to design, it required many prototypes and many redesigns to get to the final product. Making a cool product is one thing, but making a cool product manufacturable without costing an arm or a leg is another. Another challenge was offering it to the customer for an affordable price.”

And the Burnbud ain’t cheap. It currently comes in two versions — a black plastic and hemp-based design, on sale now for $36 and $40 respectively. Unfortunately that doesn’t include a mini Bic but, hey, you probably have one of those lying around anyway.

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8
Nov

Uber’s flying taxis want you to soar above the traffic in Los Angeles by 2020


In the future, car traffic will have no effect on your taxi ride — at least, that is what Uber and NASA are counting on. On Wednesday, November 8, at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, Uber’s head of product Jeff Holden announced more details about Uber’s flying taxis program.

Holden said Los Angeles will be the third city Uber plans to use as a test site for its flying taxi project “Elevate” by 2020. Dallas and Dubai were the first two cities added as initial test sites for Uber’s flying taxi initiative in April. Holden also revealed Uber signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA in an effort to create a custom air traffic control system that would manage Uber’s fleet of low-flying aircrafts.

“[Los Angeles is] one of the most congested cities in the world today,” Holden said. “They essentially have no mass transit infrastructure. This type of approach allows us to very inexpensively deploy a mass transit method that actually doesn’t make traffic worse.”

Uber also unveiled a concept video of how hailing a flying taxi would work. In a promotional video, a woman uses the Uber app to hail a flight on UberAir. Afterward, she enters a building and takes an elevator to the top floor labeled “Uber Skyport.” Once she’s reached the Skyport floor, she scans a QR code from her digital boarding pass on her phone to gain entry. She is accompanied by three other people in the aircraft with and there is an overhead display showing the flight path, elevation, speed, and arrival time.

Even if catching a flight becomes as easy as hailing a taxi, the UberAir fleet won’t be considered flying cars. Uber says the aircraft will be electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (EVTOL). The EVTOL aircraft will possibly be autonomous and use distributed electric propulsion which will allow the vehicles to fly you around while making very little noise. But, these EVTOLs never hit the road, nor do they have an essential component of anything related to a car.

The tagline at the end of the promotion video reads “closer than you think.” With companies such as Air Bus and Boeing working on their own flying car fleet, Uber’s promise may be truer than you may believe.

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8
Nov

Uber’s flying taxis want you to soar above the traffic in Los Angeles by 2020


In the future, car traffic will have no effect on your taxi ride — at least, that is what Uber and NASA are counting on. On Wednesday, November 8, at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, Uber’s head of product Jeff Holden announced more details about Uber’s flying taxis program.

Holden said Los Angeles will be the third city Uber plans to use as a test site for its flying taxi project “Elevate” by 2020. Dallas and Dubai were the first two cities added as initial test sites for Uber’s flying taxi initiative in April. Holden also revealed Uber signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA in an effort to create a custom air traffic control system that would manage Uber’s fleet of low-flying aircrafts.

“[Los Angeles is] one of the most congested cities in the world today,” Holden said. “They essentially have no mass transit infrastructure. This type of approach allows us to very inexpensively deploy a mass transit method that actually doesn’t make traffic worse.”

Uber also unveiled a concept video of how hailing a flying taxi would work. In a promotional video, a woman uses the Uber app to hail a flight on UberAir. Afterward, she enters a building and takes an elevator to the top floor labeled “Uber Skyport.” Once she’s reached the Skyport floor, she scans a QR code from her digital boarding pass on her phone to gain entry. She is accompanied by three other people in the aircraft with and there is an overhead display showing the flight path, elevation, speed, and arrival time.

Even if catching a flight becomes as easy as hailing a taxi, the UberAir fleet won’t be considered flying cars. Uber says the aircraft will be electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (EVTOL). The EVTOL aircraft will possibly be autonomous and use distributed electric propulsion which will allow the vehicles to fly you around while making very little noise. But, these EVTOLs never hit the road, nor do they have an essential component of anything related to a car.

The tagline at the end of the promotion video reads “closer than you think.” With companies such as Air Bus and Boeing working on their own flying car fleet, Uber’s promise may be truer than you may believe.

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8
Nov

Visa wants you to keep your gloves on (and pay with them) at the Winter Olympics


With all the excitement that is sure to be contagious at the fast-paced 2018 Winter Olympics, you can’t be expected to be slow down to take a card out of your wallet when you’re trying to get back to the games. After all, that will likely involve taking off a glove, reaching into your parka, and otherwise navigating your snow-proof winter wear as you brave the temperatures in Pyeongchang. But don’t worry — if you’re set on spending money, there is, of course, a solution for that. It comes from Visa, which debuted payment-enabled gloves, stickers, and commemorative Olympic pins so that inconvenience won’t stop you from spending money.

The NFC-enabled items claim to help fans and athletes alike “complete seamless and secure payments with a simple tap at any contactless-enabled terminal.” So even if you don’t have your wallet or don’t want to de-layer just to get it out, you can simply wave your gloved hand over a point of sale to complete a transaction.

“We are looking forward to transforming the payment experience for everyone who attends the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang,” Iain Jamieson, Korea country manager at Visa, said in a statement. “At Visa, we have been working tirelessly to ensure all of the Olympic venues are equipped with the very latest payment capabilities to provide the best experience possible for all of our clients and guests.”

Created in partnership with South Korea’s Lotte Card, these prepaid payment wearables will be available for purchase beginning Thursday, November 9 (though you have to go to Korea to get them). There’s the Commemorative Olympic Pin, available in four styles and meant to be worn on a lapel (or anywhere else on your person). This guy will set you back about $4.50 and can be loaded with prepaid amounts of either $27 (30,000 won) or $45 (50,000 won). Then, there are the payment-enabled gloves, which contain “a dual interface chip housed with a contactless antenna capable of completing purchases throughout official Olympic Venues and compatible readers globally.” It’s unclear what the pricing on the gloves are, but they can also be loaded with either $27 or $45. Finally, Visa is rolling out a wearable sticker, a micro-tag that can be adhered to just about anything. There are eight designs available, and the sticker offers the most flexibility in terms of loading money — up to $180. Pricing information for the sticker also appears to be unavailable for the time being.

During the Olympics, you will be able to buy any of these three wearables (with more traditional tender) at Olympic Superstores and Visa vending machines.

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8
Nov

Apple’s iPhone 11: News, rumors, specs, and more


Even though Apple just released the iPhone X, rumors are already beginning to swirl about the next iPhone. While we don’t know exactly what the next iPhone will be called, we’re assuming it’s not going to be called the iPhone 9. For now, we’re calling it the iPhone 11.

Display

According to a report on Korean site The Investor at least two of the next iPhones will likely have OLED displays. Earlier this year Apple placed an order with Samsung for 5.28-, 5.85-, and 6.46-inch displays. However, a report in September stated that Apple canceled the 5.28-inch display order, possibly due to low marketability.

In addition to the OLED order, the Wall Street Journal reports Apple made a panel order with Japan Display for a 6-inch-plus model. Japan Display makes Full Active LCD displays which are less expensive than OLED displays yet offer many of the same features. iPhones with Full Active LCD display will feature darker blacks than on a traditional LCD display and can be used with wet hands.

Finally, it looks like 2018 will be the year that Apple finally discontinues its 4.70-inch iPhone. With reports that it canceled an order for 5.28-inch displays due to low marketability potential, it seems unlikely that the company is going to release another 4.7-inch model.

It remains to be seen if iPhone will keep a 4-inch model like the iPhone SE in 2018. The iPhone SE price point makes it an excellent seller in emerging markets and the company recently began manufacturing the devices in India due to high demand.

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Camera

According to a story on Mashable, the next iPhone will not feature TrueDepth 3D rear cameras. The story, based on a report from KGI Securities, states that Apple will instead focus on launching new models with the front-facing TrueDepth cameras and stabilizing shipments. While KGI originally reported that the next iPhones would feature the TrueDepth 3D rear cameras, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Apple’s current cameras are about two-and-a-half-year lead over current Android phones.

Battery

This year’s iPhone X was the first to feature an L-shaped battery. The new L-shaped battery allows Apple to make more efficient use of the limited space inside the chassis. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said this design also allows the battery to charge more quickly.

A report earlier this year in Chosun Ilbo confirmed Apple had chosen LG Chem to supply the L-shaped batteries in 2018 iPhones. While Apple relies on a number of companies to supply batteries for the iPhone, LG Chem is the only company that makes L-shaped batteries.

Although LG Chem has not publicly commented on Apple’s 2018 order, industry insiders believe the company will be the sole-provider for the next iPhone.

Charging

This year Apple finally included wireless charging on its iPhones. This is a welcome addition that has been many Android phones for the last several years. In 2018, Apple may be upping the ante by including an entirely new type of wireless charging for the iPhone 11.

Apple has been rumored to be working with a company called Energous since 2015. Energous created a charging method that would allow you to charge your iPhone 11 up to 15 feet away from one of its transmitters. While there were rumors that this year’s crop of iPhones would include Energous wireless charging, the company was unable to ship its transmitters in time.

Energous, however, announced its wireless charging transmitters will be shipping by the end of 2017. With the company finally bringing its transmitters to market, it is possible that next year’s iPhones will be the first to feature the technology.

Cost

Although the iPhone X is Apple’s most expensive phone the company may be focused on bringing down costs in 2018. A report from KGI securities states that Apple wants to “reduce costs and selling prices” before the release of the next iPhone.

This would not be the first time Apple focused lower-priced iPhones. In 2016, the company introduced the iPhone SE for budget conscious consumers. Apple cut the cost of the SE even further in September from $400 to $350.

While we don’t know how much Apple will charge for iPhone 11, it’s a pretty safe bet that it will be less expensive than the iPhone X and we may even see a replacement for the aging iPhone SE.

Other rumors

AppleInsider reports that Apple has developed a relationship with LG Innotek to create flexible circuit boards for the next iPhone. These flexible circuit boards, already used in some devices like the Samsung Galaxy, would allow Apple to create an iPhone with a curved display.

The next iPhone may offer 5G technology, dramatically increasing data speeds. Business Insider reports that Apple applied with the FCC to begin testing a new wireless technology called millimeter wave. This technology allows devices to access more bandwidth than is currently possible on existing cellular networks.

Earlier this year we reported that Apple may be creating a special version of the Pencil for at least one model of next year’s iPhone. While the Pencil debuted with the iPad Pro in 2015, the company has yet to make a Pencil that is compatible with the iPhone. If the next iPhone does include a Pencil, it will place the phone in direct competition with Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8.

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8
Nov

Apple Pay Cash gets you money fast, but spending it will be tricky


Want to send cash without leaving the comfort of your iMessage screen? Apple released Apple Pay Cash earlier this week in the iOS 11.2 beta 2. The new feature allows iPhone users to send and receive payments to each other through the iMessage app.  

Apple joins a host of other services including Venmo, Zelle, PayPal, and Google Wallet in the peer-to-peer payment industry. It partnered with prepaid debit giant Green Dot to offer free payments between iPhone users. Even though Apple is coming late to the game with Apple Pay Cash, the company is trying to make the product a standout in terms of convenience and ease of use.

While Apple Pay Cash joins number of other payment services, there are several big differences that makes the service unique. The biggest difference is that the service only available on the iPhone. iPhone users who want to make payments to Android users will have to use an alternate service to process peer-to-peer payments.

You’re also unable to transfer Apple Pay Cash payments to your bank. Credits in your account can only be used at places where Apple Pay Cash is accepted. Although the limitation may not be a big deal for smaller transfers, it could make using it for larger transactions less attractive to some users. It  also means smaller businesses that are not set up to accept Apple will not be able to process these payments.

One of the most interesting features of Apple Pay Cash is the ability to send and receive funds in real time. While Zelle began offering almost instant transfers earlier this year, it involves a lengthy verification process with your bank on your first use. Apple chose to go an alternate route, using the credit or debit card in your Apple Wallet to fund transfers.

If you want to try Apple Pay Cash, you’ll need to be part of the iOS Beta Program; you can join by clicking here. You’ll also need to have two-factor identification enabled. Finally, you’ll need to have a credit or debit card in your Apple Pay Wallet.

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8
Nov

Snapchat risks a redesign to create a more user-friendly interface


Snapchat is willing to risk potentially offending current users with a redesign hoping to attract more users. After disappointing third-quarter financial results that NASDAQ called a “train wreck” in Snap Inc.’s first year on the New York Stock Exchange, the company said on Tuesday, November 7, that it will be redesigning the app with a more user-friendly interface and a bigger focus on content. The upcoming redesign aims to bring more users to the platform, an effort that will work alongside the announcement that the company will soon start paying content creators with a monetization system for Stories. The news also comes alongside lower-than-expected profits due in part to unsold Spectacles.

“One thing that we have heard over the years is that Snapchat is difficult to understand or hard to use, and our team has been working on responding to this feedback,” Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel said during the company’s earnings conference call. “As a result, we are currently redesigning our application to make it easier to use. There is a strong likelihood that the redesign of our application will be disruptive to our business in the short term, and we don’t yet know how the behavior of our community will change when they begin to use our updated application. We’re willing to take that risk for what we believe are substantial long-term benefits to our business.”

Snap isn’t providing details other than that the interface will be changing. The company says that, with the change, it is aiming to grow its user count by attracting a larger number older users, more Android users, and more users in other countries. The app’s current design relies heavily on word-free graphic icons and swipe actions, which makes it difficult for new users to find where all the features are located. The app is also still heavily used by younger generations — with 70 percent of people ages 13 to 34 using the app in the U.S., France, the U.K., and Australia.

For Android, the redesign will be from the ground up, Snap said. The company reported an all-time low crash rate for Android devices along with increasing app startup time by 20 percent. Those changes were a result of creating a device lab to test the application across multiple models since Snapchat was used on 60,000 different model variants for Android phones. The company is aiming to continue that growth.

The upcoming changes are in hopes of raising the user count. Snapchat grew from 153 million to 178 million in the last quarter, but that growth rate was less than the original predictions.

Along with focusing on increasing the user base, Snap Inc. will also drive efforts in content and augmented reality. Part of the redesign will focus on making it easier to discover new content, Spiegel said, from both content companies like ESPN and NBC as well as other Snapchat users. The company plans to use artificial intelligence to deliver personalized content, a change the company says won’t compromise the current nature of Snapchat content.

The company’s final focus for the upcoming year will make it possible for more users to create their own Snapchat Lenses. Lens Studio is already in testing with a select group of businesses and next year the platform will roll out to more users in order to “democratize Lens creation so that anyone anywhere can create and publish their own Lenses.”

Spiegel’s announcement of upcoming changes focused largely on software with no mention of hardware — that could be because Spectacles haven’t sold quite as well as the company had hoped. Snap Inc. has about $40 million in expenses related to unsold Spectacles.

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8
Nov

Sounds crazy, but this wall of lava lamps keeps you protected from hackers


Computers are supposed to be predictable. In 99.9 percent of cases, that’s exactly what we want from them. The exception to that rule? When we’re trying to get a computer to generate a truly random number, which is crucial for things like encryption. We’ve previously covered some innovative ways to solve this problem, ranging from quantum physics to carbon nanotubes — but Silicon Valley-based web performance and security company Cloudflare has a different and far more fun, solution: lava lamps.

In the lobby of Cloudflare’s global headquarters in San Francisco, there’s a wall packed with 100 lava lamps of various colors. These lamps are recorded with a camera and a live feed sent to the company’s server, so that lava-related data can be extracted from the image and used to generate packets of unpredictable bits. These unpredictable bits are then sent to Cloudflare servers around the world to help generate cryptographic keys, which ultimately encrypt data for around 10 percent of all web requests.

In other words, when you browse the internet, the security of the data you’re sending and receiving is, in part, provided by a wall of lava lamps.

Dani Grant

“True randomness is difficult to achieve in computers because computers are designed to be predictable,” Nick Sullivan, head of cryptography at Cloudflare, told Digital Trends. “When a computer executes a program, it follows series of predetermined steps. To get truly random numbers, you have to involve the physical world. Most companies rely only on their computer’s operating system to provide randomness, which can sometimes lead to security issues like the recent ROCA vulnerability. It’s always best to mix in multiple sources of randomness.”

Sullivan said the idea for the lava lamp came about in the early days of Cloudflare in discussions between himself, CEO Matthew Prince, CTO John Graham-Cumming, and other early employees — all of whom wanted both to achieve high levels of security and also create some groovy functional art for their office design. “In true startup fashion, we iterated,” he continued. “We started with a single orange lava lamp in the kitchen of the old Cloudflare office, and when we moved to our global headquarters we built an entire wall of them into our lobby.”

News of Cloudflare’s unorthodox (but effective) approach to encryption was recently shared with the world in a video by YouTuber Tom Scott. “I make videos about science, technology, and interesting things in the world — and this was all three,” Scott told us. He’s certainly not wrong on that front!

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