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The best portable photo printers of 2018

Canon USA

Choosing the perfect photo printer doesn’t have to be difficult — after all, we’ve already put together a home printer buying guide. But what if you want to take your printer with you on the go? Since most of us now take pictures with our smartphones, wouldn’t it be more convenient to print photo right after taking them?

Sometimes, the best photo printer is a portable printer; they’re compact, easy to use, and transform your digital selfie into a physical keepsake. All you need to start printing is your smartphone, a solid Bluetooth connection, and one of the printer models below.

HP Sprocket Photo Printer ($130)

The HP Sprocket Photo Printer will print photos directly from your smartphone or tablet. Simply download the HP Sprocket app, and instantly share 2 × 3-inch photos or stickers. The printer works with both Android and iOS, and all you need is a Bluetooth connection for printing. The Sprocket is also roughly the size of a smartphone and weights a mere 6 ounces, allowing it to fit just about anywhere. The accompanying mobile app even allows you to customize your photos before you print, letting you make the most of HP’s 10-sheet packs.

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Polaroid Zip Instant Photoprinter ($100)

With the Polaroid Zip, there’s simply no need to shake your printouts like a Polaroid picture. The apt-titled printer offers up 2 x 3-inch, color, smudge-proof photos with little more than a Bluetooth connection. The resulting photos are waterproof, tear-proof, and have a sticky peel-back, allowing you to place your photos anywhere you’d like. Downloading the Polaroid app for either iOS and Android opens up more possibilities, giving you a means for enhancing your photos on the go. The travel-friendly printer is pocket-sized, too, and weighs just 6.6 ounces.

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Kodak Photo Printer Mini ($97)

It just takes one button to print from the Kodak Photo Mini Printer. The all-in-one ink and paper cartridge prints detailed color 2.1 x 3.4-inch photos. The fade-proof dye transfer technology ensures each photo will last for at least 10 years. If you have an Android you can simply tap the device on the surface of the printer, and the innovative NFC one touch has you editing and printing in seconds. The Kodak Mini is also fully compatible with iOS phones and tablets over Wi-Fi network. With the Kodak app, you can edit, crop, and even turn your photos into a collage.

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Canon Ivy Mini ($120)

The Canon Ivy Mini prints your favorite Instagram and Facebook photos directly from your smartphone. Download the app to customize and print your pictures, then easily sync the Ivy to your phone via Bluetooth. The printer uses Zink, or paper with embedded ink crystals, to create a small, portable design that doesn’t require ink cartridges. While mini Zink printers have been around for years, Ivy is Canon’s first foray into 2 x 3 photo printers, making it the company’s smallest and lightest printer yet.

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Canon Amazon

Lifeprint Photo and Video Printer ($99)

Watch your photos come to life with Lifeprint’s Augmented Reality Hyperphotos. Thanks to the unique Hyperphoto technology, you can print live photos from Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Easily add filters, texts, memes, and stickers through the Lifeprint App. Connects to your iPhone or Android’s Bluetooth for wireless printing from up to 30-feet away. The Lifeprint weighs just 10 ounces and is compact enough to travel with. No ink to print just put the paper in and it’s ready to go.

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Apple Amazon

Fujifilm INSTAX Share SP-3 ($151)

The Fujifilm INSTAX Share SP-3 Printer is perfect for printing large INSTAX photos from your smartphone. Select your best pictures from your smartphone and simply transfer the photos from the app via a Wi-Fi connection. You can also print images from your Instagram, Facebook, Google Photos, Flickr, and Dropbox accounts. Print your favorite 2.4 x 2.4-inch photos in just 13 sounds. When you download the INSTAX share app you can add text, split the photo, make a collage, and add a filter to your images.

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SereneLife Portable Instant Photo Printer ($100)

The portable SereneLife is the size of a cell phone and fits easily in your back pocket. Connects with all iPhones, Androids, and tablets. Wirelessly transfer pictures by connecting to Wi-Fi and print in an instant. Print up to 25 images on a single charge and the inkless self-contained cartridges contain both paper and ink enough for 10 prints. Connecting to the Pickit app helps you share the photos you take. You can also use the app to make quick edits and adjustments, adjust color, add filters, and set the image borders.

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Canon Selphy ($101)

A little bit bigger then the rest, the Canon Selphy prints 4 x 6-inch photos and weighs a little less than two pounds. You can print from Airprint, compatible with both iOS and Android, through your camera’s memory card, or from Facebook and Instagram. The photos are water resistant and easily transforms into stickers. Downloading the Canon Print app, you can edit your favorite pictures to look perfect. Take the printing on the go with the optional battery pack, so the photos can be printed from anywhere.

Buy it now at: 

Canon Amazon

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Motorola Moto Z3 vs. Moto Z3 Play

Motorola’s latest phone is finally here — but it’s perhaps not what many were expecting. Featuring some nice specs and an even nicer price tag, however, the new Moto Z3 may well be the phone for you.

Of course, there’s another Motorola phone that might be even better, depending on your needs. The Moto Z3 Play comes in at a similar price, and is very similar in many other ways. But does the new standard Moto Z3 feature enough power to beat out the Moto Z3 Play? We put the two phones head to head to find out.


Motorola Moto Z3
Motorola Moto Z3 Play

6.16 x 3.01 x 0.27 inches (156.5 x 76.5 x 6.8 mm)
6.16 x 3.01 x 0.27 inches (156.5 x 76.5 x 6.8 mm)

5.5oz (156g)
5.5oz (156g)

Screen size
6-inch Super AMOLED
6-inch Super AMOLED

Screen resolution
2,160 × 1,080 pixels (402 pixels per inch)
2160 x 1080 pixels (402 pixels per inch)

Operating system
Android  8.1 Oreo
Android 8.1 Oreo

Storage space

MicroSD card slot
Yes, up to 2TB
Yes, up to 2TB

Tap-to-pay services
Google Pay
Google Pay

Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636


Dual 12MP + 12 MP rear, 8MP front
Dual 12MP + 5MP rear, 8MP front

4K at 30 fps, 1,080p at 120 fps
4K at 30 fps, 1,080p at 60 fps

Bluetooth version
Bluetooth 5.0
Bluetooth 5.0


Fingerprint sensor

Water resistance


App marketplace
Google Pay
Google Pay

Network support
All major carriers

Ceramic black
Deep indigo


Buy from

Motorola, Amazon

Review score
3.5 out of 5 stars

Performance, battery life, charging

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Let’s get one thing straight right away — the new standard Moto Z3 is clearly better in the performance department than the Moto Z3 Play, and it all comes down to the fact that the Moto Z3 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835. Now, the Snapdragon 835 isn’t the most powerful Qualcomm chip around — that title falls to the newer Snapdragon 845. But it is Qualcomm’s 2017 flagship, and as such it’s a very powerful chip. The Snapdragon 636, which is found in the Moto Z3 Play, is a decent chip but decidedly more midrange. Both phones feature 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.

The two devices are identical when it comes to battery life and charging. Both have a 3,000mAh battery with a USB-C port for charging, and both come with a 15W TurboPower charger for fast charging.

Winner: Moto Z3

Design and durability

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Battery life and charging aren’t the only ways in which these phones are identical. They also feature an identical design, only coming in slightly different color options. Both the Moto Z3 and Moto Z3 Play feature a 6-inch display with beautifully rounded corners, and while it’s hard to judge the display as truly edge-to-edge, it is pretty close. The devices have a fingerprint sensor, but it’s not on the front or the back — instead being found on the left side. On the back, there’s a typical Motorola camera bump, with both phones boasting a dual-lens sensor.

When it comes to durability, neither of the two phones are great. Neither have any real water-resistance beyond basic splash-proofing, and both feature heavy use of glass in their design, so you will want to consider buying a good case.

Winner: Tie


Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The display used is also the same on both devices. It’s a 6-inch Super AMOLED display, with a resolution of 2160 x 1080 pixels. It’s a pretty decent display, to be sure, though a higher resolution is always nice. This resolution translates to 402 pixels per inch. The aspect ratio on the phones is 18:9, which helps give the phone a nice, modern look — and means that the fingerprint sensor had to be moved to the side of the phone.

Winner: Tie


Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

While the camera may look the same from the outside, it’s actually pretty different. Both devices feature a dual-sensor camera, but the Moto Z3 features two 12 megapixel sensors, while the Moto Z3 Play boasts one 12-megapixel sensor and one 5-megapixel “depth-sensing” lens. In other words, while both devices feature dual-sensor cameras, the camera on the newer Moto Z3 should be a little better in some situations than the Moto Z3 Play.

The Z3 sports an aperture of f/2.0, while the Z3 Play comes in at f/1.7, which theoretically means that the Z3 Play should be a little better in low-light shots — though we’ll have to wait and see if that turns out to be true. However, only the Moto Z3 offers a black and white mode that employs that second 12-megapixel lens.

On the front, both phones feature an 8-megapixel camera with an aperture of f/2.0.

While we’ll have to wait and see how the cameras perform in the real world, for now, this one goes to the Moto Z3.

Winner: Moto Z3

Software and updates

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Both the Moto Z3 Play and the Moto Z3 ship with Android 8.1 Oreo, and they should both get updates to Android Pie at some point in the near future. Generally speaking, Motorola ships relatively stripped-down versions of Android with its phones, and the Moto Z3 Play is no exception to that rule. The phone features little bloatware.

Unfortunately, things are a little different on the Moto Z3, likely because of its Verizon exclusivity. That’s something to keep in mind if you’re in the market for the Moto Z3.

Of course, Motorola has also made a few tweaks for its phones, and they’re pretty nice. For starters, the phones allow you to turn on Moto Actions, giving you extra gestures that you can use for things like turning on the flashlight. Moto Display, another tweak, allows you to see discreet notifications on the lock screen.

Motorola isn’t the best these days when it comes to updates. While the phones should get Android Pie and eventually Android Q, it may take a while. That’s also true for security updates — so keep that in mind.

Winner: Tie

Special features

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

While many of the special features fall into the software category, there is one special feature that only the new Moto Z3 boasts — it’s the first phone to be upgradeable to 5G. With the new 5G Moto Mod, which will be available in 2019, you’ll be able to connect to 5G networks — providing there’s 5G service in your area.

The Moto Z3 also adds Amazon Alexa support — so you can set Alexa to be your default digital assistant if you so choose.

Winner: Moto Z3


The price of the two phones is perhaps surprisingly similar. While the Moto Z3 Play comes with a Moto Power Pack mod and comes in at $500, the standard Moto Z3 has a price tag of $480. Keep in mind, however, that the standard Moto Z3 is only available through Verizon — so if you’re not on Verizon or not willing to switch, you won’t be able to get your hands on the device.

Overall winner: Moto Z3

The Motorola Moto Z3 is the clear winner here. It features a better processor, slightly better rear-facing camera, and comes in at a slightly cheaper price. There’s only one problem — it’s really only the better choice if you’re a Verizon customer or you’re willing to switch. Otherwise, unfortunately, you’re out of luck.

That said, the Moto Z3 Play is still an excellent device. It supports a range of Moto Mods and features pretty decent specs for the price.

Editors’ Recommendations

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‘There’s Waldo’ robot will find Waldo long before you can

Matt Reed / Redpepper

Add another name to the list of games machines have dominated: Where’s Waldo.

Few things fill us with angst growing up quite as much as trying to find that candy cane man amid a scene of chaos. Most games get easier with practice, but lanky ol’ Wally just got harder to find with each turned page.

So you may watch a new robot called There’s Waldo with a mixture of respect and resentment as it locates our beanie-at-the-beach main character in under 4.5 seconds. It’s impressive, yes. But also a bit of a spoiler.

There’s Waldo is the brain child of Matt Reed, a creative technologist at the creative agency Redpepper. Reed and his colleagues built the bot out of a uArm Swift Pro that’s controlled by a Raspberry Pi computer. On the front of the arm sits a Vision Camera Kit, which snaps a photo of the puzzle and runs it through the computer vision program OpenCV to recognize faces in the crowd.

The secret sauce is in Google’s AutoML Vision, a user-friendly system that lets users train A.I. without prior knowledge about coding. Reed trained his algorithm on 62 distinct photos of Waldo he found online. That might not seem like a lot of data, given that A.I. are often trained on many times that, but it seems to work.

In a video posted online, There’s Waldo is shown solving Where’s Waldo scenes in just a few seconds. When tasked with finding Waldo, the robot snaps a photo, picks out the faces, and decides which ones are mostly like Waldo based on anything higher than 95 percent confidence. It then reaches out with a tiny silicone hand and selects the character for good measure.

There’s Waldo records times between 4 seconds and 30 seconds depending on the number of characters on the page.

Reed was apparently inspired to develop the system after seeing the Amazon Rekognition for celebrities.

“That got me wondering if detecting illustrated celebrities was even possible,” he told Digital Trends. “For some reason that thought combined with my childhood memories of looking for Waldo hours on end popped together and spawned this project.”

The whole thing took Reed about a week to program, which is about how long many of us usually spend trying to find Waldo in the first place.

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Need to work from the road? Here are the 5 best laptops with LTE

Now that mobile computing is shrinking down to thin-and-light designs and convertible form factors, the smartphone isn’t quite the major focal point in our Facebook trolling and email reading. And while you can still hop on the internet outside the home using your phone as a hotspot, the setup process is annoying. All we want is to open our laptops and just surf with no manual connections required. This is where our list of the best laptops with LTE comes into play.

With the recent push for “always connected” PCs, you’ll want to know what’s the best of the best along with the data plans that support them. Our list details the best that you can find, in our opinion, along with three other great picks. Here you’ll find LTE connectivity, eighth-generation Intel CPUs, great battery life, great screen resolutions, and more to create the best laptops with LTE you can purchase right now.

The Best

Surface Pro ($1,500)

The Surface Pro may not have the largest screen in our batch, but it’s a solid device sold by Microsoft. The problem is that out of the seven set configurations, only one sports LTE connectivity. That’s the Core i5 model costing $1,449. It’s also not part of the new “always connected” family, thus its download speed will be slower than the recent Snapdragon-based LTE capable laptops that fall under the new “always connected” umbrella.

In this model you’ll find a 12.3-inch PixelSense display with a 2,736 x 1,824 resolution powered by Intel’s seventh-generation Core i5-7300U processor and 8GB of system memory. The graphics are handled by the processor’s integrated HD Graphics 620 component while the Windows 10 Pro operating system resides on a 256GB SSD. All of this is powered by a battery promising up to 12.5 hours of local video playback.

Port-wise, the Surface Pro includes one full USB-A port (5Gbps), a Micro SD card reader, one Mini DisplayPort connector, a headphone jack, a port for the Surface Type Cover (sold separately) and a Surface Connect port. Connectivity is handled by Bluetooth 4.1, Wireless AC, and a 4G LTE Advanced cat 9 modem supporting download speeds up to 450Mbps. You can read our review here.

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The Rest

HP Envy x2 ($900)

Matt Smith/Digital Trends

Like the Surface Pro, the HP Envy x2 sports a 12.3-inch screen but with a lower 1,920 x 1,280 resolution. Yet unlike the Surface Pro, HP’s latest detachable falls under the “always connected” umbrella packing Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 all-in-one-processor. Backing the screen is integrated Adreno 540 graphics and 4GB of system memory (LPDDR3).

As for other goodies crammed into this detachable, you’ll find 128GB of storage, an HP Wide Vision 5MP camera on the front, a 13MP camera on the back, and a pair of Bang & Olufsen speakers. Powering this device is a 49WHr battery promising up to 22 hours.

For ports, the Envy x2 includes one USB-C port (5Gbps), one Nano SIM slot, one Micro SD card reader, and a headphone jack. Connectivity is provided by Wireless AC (867Mbps), Bluetooth 5, and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X16 LTE cat 16 modem promising download speeds of up to one gigabit per second (1Gbps). You can read our review here.

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (starting at $1,140)

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Lenovo’s sixth-generation ThinkPad X1 Carbon is the largest laptop in our bunch with a 14-inch screen. But in this case, you have six starting points to customize the 2-in-1 to fit your needs, including four processor options ranging from the eighth-generation Core i5-8250U to the Core i7-8650U sporting the same integrated UHD Graphics 620 component.

This laptop provides options for a 1,920 x 1,080 display with a brightness of 300 nits, and a 2,560 x 1,400 display with a brightness up to 500 nits. Memory is served up in either 8GB or 16GB configurations, and you have a choice of storage solutions spanning 256GB to 1TB on an M.2 SSD. All of this is powered by a 57WHr battery promising up to 15 hours on a single charge.

For ports, the ThinkPad provides two USB-A ports, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one headphone / microphone combo jack, one Micro SD card reader, and a fingerprint reader for password-free logins into Windows 10. Wireless connectivity consists of Bluetooth 4.1, Wireless AC (867Mbps), and an optional Fibocom L850-GL 4G LTE Advanced Cat 9 that adds $100 to the total price and provides download speeds of up to 450Mbps. You can read our review here.

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Asus NovaGo ($700)

Matt Smith/Digital Trends

Like the HP Envy x2, the Asus NovaGo falls under the “always connected” umbrella, promising a constant internet connection. It relies on the same Snapdragon 835 chip and Snapdragon X16 LTE Cat 16 modem as HP’s model, promising a super-long battery life of up to 22 hours on a single charge via a 52WHr battery.

The NovaGo sports the second-largest screen in our batch measuring 13.3 inches with a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution. It’s backed by the Snapdragon chip’s integrated Adreno 540 graphics and an unusual 6GB of system memory – typically we see 4GB, 8GB, 16GB or 32GB. The 128GB storage plays host to Windows 10 in S Mode, meaning the platform is locked to Microsoft Store apps until you upgrade to Home or Pro.

Other goodies thrown into the convertible include two USB-A ports, one HDMI port, a headphone / microphone combo jack, a Micro SD card slot supporting up to 256GB cards, a front-facing 720p camera, and a Nano SIM card tray for your wireless carrier’s SIM card. Wireless connectivity includes Bluetooth 4.1 and old-school Wireless N. You can read our review here.

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These yeast colony patches are like living Geiger counters

Most people don’t think twice about the radiation when they check in for a routine X-ray. But for radiologists and workers at nuclear power plants, the risk is persistent.

To save them from side effects, workers use protective clothing and patches, called dosimeters, that keep track of radiation exposure and warn the wearer if they have reached dangerous levels. The only problem is, these patches are worn for a month or two before being shipped off for analysis. It can take another week after that before the results come in.

A faster way to measure exposure may soon be on its way, thanks to a team of researchers from Purdue University who have designed a dosimeter that can measure radiation exposure in near real time. It’s simple, made out of little more than paper and yeast, and costs pennies on the dollar. A paper detailing the device was published recently in the journal Advanced Biosystems.

The patch works by enveloping a yeast colony (the same kind used to brew beer and make bread) within freezer paper, aluminum, and tape. After being worn for a day or so, wearers place a drop of water on the patch and scan it with a system that measures how much yeast remains by how well the patch conducts electricity. Radiation kills yeast so, the less yeast, the higher the wearer’s radiation exposure.

“We put the yeast inside an electrical device, a capacitor, and when activated with water the electrical characteristic of the device changes,” Babak Ziaie, an electrical and computer engineer at Purdue and co-author of the paper, told Digital Trends. “When radiation goes through some of the yeast, it damages the yeast, so we can electrically detect radiation by detecting the response of the yeast to radiation.”

The patch’s biggest advantage is in its near real-time readout, which can help both radiologists and responses to nuclear disasters, who are exposed to much higher levels of radiation and may not have the luxury to wait weeks for results.

The patch can detect radiation doses down to one milliard, according to the researchers, which puts it close to par with conventional dosimeters. The researchers hold a patent to the device but have not yet decided on how the move forward with it commercially. Either way, it will still take several years for the device to go through regulatory approval before it comes to market.

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Georgia is paving the way for a high-tech, sustainable highway

The Ray

If you want to see what the highway of the future might look like, then you only need to drive down to Georgia.

On an 18-mile segment of Interstate 85 — stretching from the city of LaGrange to the Alabama border, 67 miles from Atlanta — a consortium of government agencies, global companies, and academic researchers, along with the Ray C. Anderson Foundation are working together to build a smart roadway. Using a variety of technologies ranging from electricity-generating surfaces to pollution-reducing ditches, it’s a real-world laboratory that’s paving the way to the roads of tomorrow.

It’s also aimed at demonstrating how a smart transportation corridor can not only be environmentally friendly, but generate revenue as well.

Cities across the globe are installing technology to gather data in the hopes of saving money, becoming cleaner, reducing traffic, and improving urban life. In Digital Trends’ Smart Cities series, we’ll examine how smart cities deal with everything from energy management, to disaster preparedness, to public safety, and what it all means for you.

That tantalizing possibility — making money off public roads — has attracted a lot attention to what is known as “The Ray,” the stretch of I-85 that includes the right-of-way land along the highway, the highway itself, and the Georgia Visitor Information Center in West Point. Officially the Ray C. Anderson Memorial Highway, the segment is named after the man who founded Interface Inc., a carpet manufacturer, and the namesake foundation that’s involved in the project. Anderson, who died in 2011, was recognized during his tenure at Interface for his efforts to make his company environmentally sustainable, and projects that promote a sustainable society is one of the nonprofit’s goals.

Like urban environments, highways present an interesting opportunity — and a significant challenge — for new technology solutions. Roadways impinge on natural habitats in 15 percent of the country, for example, and the cars and trucks that travel on them produce millions of tons of carbon dioxide annually.
And, there’s a lot of pavement out there: Over 164,000 miles of highway crisscross the United States. That’s enough concrete and tarmac to go around the world 6.5 times.

So far, most of those are roads do only one thing: carry vehicles. The Ray wants to show they can do much more.

A highway powered by the sun

Perhaps the most ambitious idea is to turn all that pavement baking in the sun into a giant solar power source. At the West Point Visitor Information Center, the Ray is starting with Wattway, approximately 538 square feet of solar panels laid down on the road’s surface. Durable enough to withstand the traffic from tens of thousands of vehicles a year, the photovoltaic pavers are thin and skid-resistant, and can be installed over existing pavement, so there’s no need to tear up roads.

The Ray

“The next project is to see if it’s feasible to put solar panels in the shoulder of the road,” Costas Simoglou, director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Energy Technology, told Digital Trends. Simoglou is interested in putting the panels on the side of the highway not because of durability concerns, but they would get more sun exposure.

Wattway was developed by the French transportation company Colas. The technology took over five years of research and development, working in conjunction with the French National Solar Energy Institute. Wattway currently provides electricity to the visitor center, but it could do much more.

Additional energy generated by Wattway could not only feed electricity back into the grid, but also power everything from street lights to traffic signals. It could be a source of electricity anywhere there’s pavement and people: shopping centers, airports, even bike paths. Solar panels on the road could also power needed vehicle-to-infrastructure communications for the forthcoming generation of self-driving cars.

Then, there’s the electric car charging stations. At the visitor center, there are charging stations for electric vehicles, sponsored by Kia Motors, which has a manufacturing plant in West Point. The stations are currently powered by pole-mounted photovolaic solar panels, and owners can power up their electric cars free of charge.

“But solar could be a new revenue source for the state,” Simoglou said. “There are already 25,000 electric vehicles in Georgia. So the state could eventually sell electricity” rather then charging gasoline tax.

Keeping vehicles in top shape

Roughly 700,000 people make a pit stop at the West Point visitor center every year. So, it’s not just an ideal proving ground for new technologies, it’s also a great way to show drivers the benefits these new smart systems have to offer them.

One of the most successful projects, for example, is the WheelWright system. People drive their cars slowly past the system’s wheel sensors, which take thousands of pictures of the tires in a few seconds. WheelWright, a British company, will then either spit out a paper report or text the driver with information on the tire pressure and tread wear on the car. The goal is to alert drivers when their tires are under inflated, which can reduce fuel efficiency and traction, or need to be replaced.


The technology has other possible applications, such as the thousands of truck weigh stations across the United States. Today, most commercial truck drivers do a visual — and not terribly accurate — inspection of tires and tread wear. The WheelWright system could do it more accurately and more quickly.

It’s not just the highway that benefits

Highways comprise more than just pavement, of course. Other parts of The Ray project are working to leverage the land alongside the road.

Instead of conventional ditches, for example, The Ray is utilizing so-called “bioswales.” Rather than simply facilitating rain runoff, bioswales are shallow drainage ditches that are filled with vegetation that is known to capture particulate pollutants, such as rubber, lead, and oil that can wash off the road. The plants, often switchgrass, are all native to Georgia, and some bioswales include compost to slow water movement and reduce the threat of sudden flooding in a rainstorm.

“We would love to have this carbon-free highway — zero waste, zero carbon, zero deaths.”

Other smart agriculture road work includes planting wheat farms along and around the highway. The project has been using intermediate wheatgrass, which have 10-foot deep roots that help prevent soil erosion, help retain clean water, and trap carbon. The perennial is currently in the midst of a three-year study along the side of The Ray.

The Ray just received state approval to install a 2-megawatt solar array in another right of way, said Simoglou of the Georgia Center of Innovation. The new solar array will be installed at an exit ramp near the city of LaGrange. Future solar array plans include using the panels strategically to also act as noise dampening walls — all of it covered by a pollinator meadow ground cover.

It has to be safe, too

Besides sustainability, smart infrastructure must be safe, as well. It’s estimated that $277 billion is lost every year in the U.S. due to car and truck accidents, according to the entities behind the projct.

“We would love to have this carbon-free highway,” said Harriet Anderson Langford, president of The Ray. “So that’s zero waste, zero carbon, zero deaths.”

Smart roads could include speed warning systems, for example. One technology is speed control pulsing. The system, developed by Innovia, involves embedding light studs in the road. The studs flash in sequence to warn drivers of trouble ahead — yellow to reduce speeds and red for congestion or traffic stoppage ahead.

The lights can also be used to encourage safe following distances, alerting drivers when they get too close or tailgate cars in front. A line of red studs along the dotted white lane dividers could also tell drivers there’s a vehicle approaching from behind and that it’s unsafe to change lanes. The smart dots could even be used to deliver lane departure warnings and alerts about black ice. It means any car, not just newer connected cars, could benefit from early alerts to help them avoid accidents.

Showcase for others to follow

So far, the costs associated with The Ray project are relatively small. The organization’s executive director, Allie Kelly, says The Ray spends about $1 million a year. The money comes from the Georgia Department of Transportation, private corporate partnerships, and the Ray C. Anderson Foundation endowment.

For government departments like the DOT it’s a chance to test new smart infrastructure technologies. For the private firms involved, it’s an invaluable real world testing bed to improve their technologies. (Colas, for example, believes it will now be able to bring the cost of its solar pavers down to the equivalent of roof top solar panels.)

For The Ray, it’s a way to spread the ideas and solutions for a smart road infrastructure to other states and communities. There’s now a constant flow of new visitors to the Georgia site, from Florida and Missouri state reps to researchers from the asphalt industry and academic institutions.

“All this smart stuff can be overwhelming, especially for town managers” trying to balance budgets, Simoglou said. So The Ray is out to shown them not only how smart roads can be sustainable, but also be a sustainable business.

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New York City caps ridesharing licenses, deals major blow to Uber and Lyft

While it might seem like a mindless convenience to grab an Uber or Lyft straight from your smartphone to get to your next obligation, the two ridesharing companies are actually at odds and locked into an ugly clash with regulators in metropolitan areas. More specifically, in New York City, city regulators just placed a cap on how many operational licenses it grants for potential Uber and Lyft drivers, mainly in an effort to save the city’s integral Yellow Cab system.

Taxicab liveries and Uber and Lyft rideshares are at odds because Uber and Lyft have long threatened the taxicab companies for stealing their business. It’s resulted in controversy that has even led to some to engage in physical altercations with each other as drivers fight for their own share of fares.

The threat has many worried after some taxicab drivers even committed suicide for the financial burden from the onslaught of overwhelming competition from Uber and Lyft.

To try and keep the playing field level in such a highly competitive market for individual cabs and drivers, New York City Council voted to cap the number of licenses available for ridesharing services for one year.

It’s the first major blow to one of the major ridesharing companies that have ultimately relied on the largest U.S. metropolitan city as its main source of business. It’s also the first major U.S. city to place such a cap.

Worawee Meepian

“The city’s 12-month pause on new vehicle licenses will threaten one of the few reliable transportation options while doing nothing to fix the subways or ease congestion,” Uber said in a statement.

“These sweeping cuts to transportation will bring New Yorkers back to an era of struggling to get a ride, particularly for communities of color and in the outer boroughs,” Lyft said in its statement.

The policy wasn’t met without controversy, obviously from the ridesharing companies. But the city continued to support its decision, saying it will not only help the dwindling taxicab industry, it will also aid in reducing traffic congestion and could potentially hike driver paychecks on both sides from a possible hike in fees for riders. In July, Uber sent an email to its 5 million subscribers in New York to notify them that riders could face rate hikes, longer wait times, and increased difficulty searching for service to the city’s outer suburban areas.

According to the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, the explosive growth from Uber and Lyft completely overturned the morale of taxicab drivers, leading to as many as six taxicab drivers committing suicide over the past several months from a seriously uncertain financial future — especially when you consider the costs of just even obtaining a medallion (license to operate a taxicab) in New York City.

Reuters reports the number of ridesharing vehicles skyrocketed from 12,600 in 2015 to about 80,000 this year. The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission report that there are 14,000 yellow cabs in service throughout the metro area.

Although this particular cap only applies to the New York City metro area, New York isn’t the only city experiencing this clash between government-sanctioned taxicab and livery services and private ridesharing programs. Other cities abroad have seen strikes and even violent riots between taxicab drivers and ridesharing drivers competing over fares. And we’re certain this probably won’t be the last of such decision among governmental bodies of major metro cities as ridesharing continues to grow at rapid rates.

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Engineers in the U.K. unveil the world’s first graphene-skinned airplane

Graphene, the versatile miracle material that can be used for everything from creating better speakers for hearing aids to body armor that’s stronger than diamonds, has another application to add to its résumé. In the U.K., engineers at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) recently unveiled the world’s first graphene-skinned plane at the “Futures Day” event at Farnborough Air Show 2018. Called Juno, the 11.5-feet wide unmanned airplane also boasts graphene batteries and 3D-printed parts. The combination adds up to a pretty darn impressive whole.

“This project is a genuine world’s first,” Billy Beggs, UCLan’s Engineering Innovation manager, told Digital Trends. “It represents the latest stage of an ongoing collaborative program between academia and industry to build on innovative research, and exploit graphene applications in aerospace. We are establishing a lead in the industrial application of graphene.”

While the 3D-printed elements and graphene batteries are certainly exciting, the graphene-skinned wings are the most promising part of the project. Specifically, it is hoped that the use of graphene can help reduce the overall weight of the aircraft to increase its range and potential payload. This is made possible because the graphene carbon used in Juno is around 17 percent lighter than standard carbon fiber. Other properties of the graphene can help it counter the effects of potentially dangerous lightning strikes, due to its extreme conductivity, and protect the aircraft against ice buildup during flight.

Working with UCLan on the project is the Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Center, University of Manchester’s National Graphene Institute, Haydale Graphene Industries, and assorted other businesses and research institutes.

“The U.K. Industrial Strategy highlights graphene as an example of a scientific discovery that needs to translate into industrial applications,” Peter Thomas, head of Innovation and Partnership at UCLan, told us. “Post-Brexit, the U.K. needs to continue to develop competitive advantage in aerospace through innovation.”

With Juno having made its stunning public demonstration, the next phase of the operation will include further tests to be carried out over the next two months. Should all go according to plan, airplanes such as this may well turn out to a particularly promising line of inquiry for graphene-related initiatives.

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Marc Jacobs Riley Touchscreen Smartwatch review

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Marc Jacobs Riley Touchscreen

Throughout its existence, the Marc Jacobs aesthetic has become synonymous with words like quirky, playful, and fun. But with the Riley Touchscreen Smartwatch — the first of its kind for the brand — the design is the complete opposite, in a good way.

While the Riley Hybrid Smartwatch was Marc Jacobs’ initial attempt in the wearable space, we found it looked a bit too loud for our tastes. That’s why we were relieved to see the touchscreen version dials the original design down a few notches. While $295 is a higher price for Wear OS watches, the Riley Touchscreen Smartwatch blends a sleek and versatile timepiece with smart features, allowing you to track activities, fitness, and receive notification alerts.

But is it worth the high price? We take a closer look.

Sleek and refined design, chunky case

With a 42MM case, the Marc Jacobs Riley Touchscreen smartwatch doesn’t seem too large on the wrist when glanced from above, but at 11.2 mm thick it’s a little too bulky and heavy. After a while, we became used to the weight but still felt relieved when taking it off after wearing it for an entire work day. As a unisex smartwatch, men may find it isn’t too different than traditional watches, aside from it possibly being a little bit smaller.

It comes in three color variants — but we tested the rose gold case with a cement colored watch strap. Other options are a black case with a black watch strap and gold case with a white watch strap.

Even though it follows the common rose gold color scheme that’s become typical in women’s smartwatches today, the Riley Touchscreen is sleek. Similar to the Kate Spade Scallop smartwatch, both the case and strap look and feel high-end — giving the watch a chic and minimalist look.

The 1.19-inch AMOLED display is small in comparison to other smartwatches. Even though it’s the same size as the Kate Spade Scallop touchscreen smartwatch, the metallic bezel stops it from looking too overwhelming. So, those with small wrists won’t feel like it looks too big.

The subtle look of the case allows us to wear it both day and night.

It’s extremely versatile, blending in with all our outfits nicely — a task the hybrid version struggled with. While we thought a silicone watch strap would make the smartwatch look too sporty, the subtle look of the case allowed us to wear it both day and night, as well as comfortably at the gym. Rather than a buckle or clasp, the watch strap on the Riley requires you to slide one strap through the other and snap it closed through the preferred notch.

Unfortunately, the straps aren’t interchangeable, so you’ll have to commit to a specific color variant. But the solid color options make it easy to mix and match with all your outfits.

The crown on the right side of the Riley is a large button, which opens a list of installed apps such as contacts, the weather, and the Google Play Store when pressed. Hold it down to trigger Google Assistant – which we’ll get to later.

Large display, smooth performance

Like nearly all Wear OS smartwatches, the Riley is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor and backed by 512MB of RAM. With 4GB of storage, you can also store music on the smartwatch and play it via Bluetooth-connected earbuds. For the most part, we didn’t have any issues with performance. Scrolling through the menu felt fast and fluid, as did opening the apps.

The screen is vivid enough to allow the colors and graphics to pop.

The Riley Touchscreen Smartwatch has a display resolution of 390 x 390 pixels — which is fairly high for a 1.19-inch AMOLED screen. The screen is vivid enough to allow the colors and graphics to pop, it also gets bright enough to comfortably see content outdoors. But we did prefer sticking with the highest brightness level rather than keeping the setting on automatic.

Wear OS works best with Android phones

The Marc Jacobs Riley Touchscreen Smartwatch runs Google’s Wear OS 1.4. For people on Android, the watch is simple to use even if you’ve never owned a Wear OS smartwatch. To view your notifications, swipe up on the display, swipe to the left or right to change your watch face, and swipe down to access your settings. You can also swipe left or right to clear notifications and alerts. For messaging, you can either use the quick responses provided, swipe type, or voice reply.

When connected to an iPhone, the Wear OS capabilities are a bit more limited. As with Android, you’ll have to download the Wear OS app, but it also always has to run in the background. Otherwise, you won’t receive notifications to your smartwatch and will have to reconnect the watch to the app every time. If you pair with an iPhone then you also can’t answer text messages, though you can accept or decline calls.

You can enable Google Assistant by holding down the crown button, and it allows you to send messages, set reminders, and ask for weather updates. For fitness, the Riley uses Google Fit to track steps, distance traveled, and calories burned. But it doesn’t use GPS or a heart rate sensor for further tracking.

While you’re able to keep track of your activity using the smartwatch, you can also see a more in-depth analysis via the Wear OS app. It’s also where you’re able to control which apps you receive notifications from.

If you pair with an iPhone then you also can’t answer text messages, though you can accept or decline calls.

There’s a great range of pre-installed watch faces on the Riley Touchscreen smartwatch — from basic and understated to loud and eccentric. We found that any of the watch faces looks great against the plain rose gold case, no matter how flashy. While we enjoy the designs the one critique we have is that most of them are animated — which tends to deplete the battery.

We specifically enjoyed the “Make a MARC” watch face, which allows you to set multiple dials on the watch face to show different information. Ours specifically shows the amount of notifications you have, a second time zone, the date, battery status, and the weather. To edit each one, hold down on the watch face and tap on the part of the watch face you’d like to change. You can then save the changes on Marc Jacobs’ microapp.

With the Google Play Store available on the watch, there’s also the option to browse and install a variety of great third-party Wear OS apps.

Standard one-day battery life

The Marc Jacobs Riley Touchscreen Smartwatch has a 300mAh battery that supposedly returns 24-hours of use.  After taking it off the charger at 100 percent at 8:30 a.m., it’d be down to about 6 percent by 11:30 p.m. — and that’s with notifications on.

Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

With the Kate Spade Scallop, we found the battery lasted a bit longer if we didn’t use an animated watch face. With a static watch face displayed we still had 13 percent battery left at 2 a.m. While we had a static watch face displayed on the Riley Touchscreen, we did also keep the brightness at its maximum which drains the battery faster.

We used it with an iPhone, so for Android users, it’s important to note the battery might drain even faster — especially if you’re using it to reply to text messages. Regardless, it generally did last us through an entire work day and through the evening that followed.

Warranty information

The Marc Jacobs Riley Hybrid Smartwatch has a 2-year warranty that covers the internal pieces of the watch. External components – like the case, band, crystal, and battery – are not included.

The rose gold case with a cement colored watch strap; a black case with a black watch strap; and gold case with a white watch strap are all available for $295. Each one can be purchased through Marc Jacobs’ site.

Marc Jacobs Riley Touchscreen Compared To

Tag Heuer Connected Modular 41

Mondaine Smart Helvetica

Nixon Regulus

Alpina AlpinerX

Apple Watch Series 3

Motorola Moto 360 (2015)

LG Watch Sport

Huawei Watch 2 Sport

Huawei Fit

Apple Watch Series 2

Martian Passport MP100WSB

Garmin fenix 2

LG G Watch R

Martian Notifier Watch

Phosphor Touch Time

Our Take

The Marc Jacobs Riley is a fashion-forward watch that looks sleek on the wrist. With a large display, you can easily view your notifications in one swift motion and its subtle look makes it an easy go-to pick that will match with any outfit. While the battery depletes faster than we’d like it to, it did last us an entire day which is the average for most Wear OS smartwatches.

Is there a better alternative?

Yes. If you’re looking for another smartwatch with the same features and price but that’s a bit more feminine, there’s the Kate Spade Scallop Smartwatch. Aside from looking daintier, it’s also thinner than the Riley Touchscreen — the case measures just 9mm thick. With interchangeable watch straps, it’s more customizable too. We also found the battery lasted us a little longer.

If you’re looking for another unisex smartwatch with an even larger watch face, the Misfit Vapor features a 1.39-inch display. With a touch-sensitive bezel, you can browse through menus and notifications by brushing your finger along the black edges of the watch. There’s also a built-in heart rate sensor. As for price, it’s not as expensive, with a price tag of $200.

For iOS users keen to take advantage of all the features on a smartwatch, we recommend the Apple Watch Series 3.

How long will it last?

The Marc Jacobs Riley Touchscreen Smartwatch should last you beyond the two-year limited warranty. But the battery will deplete overtime, and it’s unclear how long it will receive software updates for — especially with reports of Qualcomm releasing a new chip in the Fall.

The smartwatch is IP67 water-and-dust resistant, so you can take it underwater up to 1 meter for 30 minutes — meaning it’ll survive a shower.

Should you buy it?

Yes. Even though it’s more expensive than other women’s smartwatches on the market, you’ll wear it enough to get your money’s worth. Its fashion-forward design makes a statement but is subtle enough to be worn every day


Here’s how Stanford scientists measured the speed of death

How fast does death move? No, it’s not a riddle, but an actual honest-to-goodness question examined by researchers at Stanford University. For the first time ever, scientists have been able to observe the speed at which death spreads across a cell once the self-destruct so-called “trigger wave” has been initiated. Their conclusion? Death moves at around 30 micrometers per minute.

“Trigger waves are just now being appreciated as a recurring theme in cell regulation,” James Ferrell, a professor of Chemical and Systems Biology and of Biochemistry at Stanford University, told Digital Trends.

For their study, the researchers used cytoplasm, the fluid inside a cell, taken from frog eggs. This was then placed in Teflon tubes several millimeters in length, after which the molecular “death signal” apoptosis process of cell death was initiated. Using a fluorescent technique associated with the activation of apoptosis, the researchers were able to watch the way that the cell’s self-destruction, marked by fluorescence, moved the length of the tube.

“Ideally you’d like to carry out the experiments in real cells,” Ferrell continued. “However there is a problem with that: Most cells are too small to make the distinction [obvious] between a trigger wave, where the wavefront moves with a constant speed, and random walk diffusion, where the farther you go, the slower you go.”

The researchers further backed up their observations by using fluorescence microscopy to study intact frog eggs. Due to the eggs’ opacity, this proved more difficult, but they nonetheless noted a similar ripple of pigmentation change at the egg’s surface as the trigger wave moved through it.

So what did the scientists learn from their research? Namely, that death inside a cell takes place a bit like a group of fans doing the wave in a stadium; as a series of rolling surges in which the self-destruction of one bit of the cell triggers the self-destruction of the next. Similar trigger waves are found in nerve impulses and, on a much larger scale, in the spread of wildfires.

“Trigger waves allow electrical signals to be propagated down axons, and allow waves of calcium to spread through cells, waves of mitosis, and — we now know — of apoptosis,” Ferrell said.

While this might sound of only theoretical interest, it could turn out to be vital information in future medical research, in which we either want dying cells to live (in neurodegenerative diseases) or living cells to die (in cancer). In terms of future work, the researchers hope to look at other “biological contexts” in which these trigger waves occur.

A paper describing the work was recently published in the journal Science.

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