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Posts from the ‘News’ Category

22
Jul

Google tests VR as a replacement for dull training videos


We’ve heard about medical professionals using VR to augment their suites for years, but Google is testing its fit in the broader workplace, starting with employment’s least fun experience: Training. The company’s Daydream Labs hosted an experiment to see if hypothetical new hires learned better by watching training videos or donning a VR headset and walking through simulations — and it turns out, immersive education does a better job. For this single trial, anyway.

The experiment pit two groups against each other in the time-honored competition of brewing better coffee. One watched barista training videos on YouTube, while the other went through a course in VR with a simulated espresso machine (think Job Simulator without the jokes). Ultimately, the VR crew took less time and made fewer mistakes — though Google was quick to point out that neither group made impressive java.

A single trial isn’t enough proof to definitively give VR the work training crown, but it’s certainly promising for anyone making educational tools in virtual reality. It also pointed out the medium’s drawbacks: The VR group might have learned how to twist the right dials on the 3D-modeled espresso machine, but the simulated training didn’t teach the pressure-sensitive art of tamping down grounds into the espresso scoop — something that haptic vibration in controllers doesn’t sell. Plus, hot steam nozzles in VR didn’t carry the same danger as those in real life, and chaperones had to yank the workers’ hands away.

Gloves with better tracking and haptics could make up the difference, but there might just be jobs that can’t be simulated well in VR — at least with our current technology, Google’s Daydream team wrote in a blog post. There were other hurdles with training in virtual reality: Namely, people don’t follow instructions, rush ahead and ignore hints. They also didn’t perform steps in order, so the team had to redesign the training like a video game wherein folks could fulfill tasks in any sequence (steaming the milk before grinding the coffee instead of after, for example).

While this VR session won’t be ported into a Starbucks training course tomorrow, it was still a successful experiment, the Daydream team asserted in the post — and it has promising lessons for learning experiences beyond occupational skill-building.

Via: Road To VR

Source: Google Daydream

22
Jul

Research shows people’s brainwaves sync up when they converse


Why it matters to you

Discovery could help us track agreement, empathy and comprehension in conversations. And maybe even build more effective robots.

Anyone who is a fan of Star Trek is probably familiar with the Vulcan mind meld, a telepathic link between two individuals which allows both participants to temporarily share their brainwaves. Well, as with other Trek fantasies-turned-reality such as teleportation, universal translators, and the holodeck, it seems the idea wasn’t quite as far-fetched as viewers might have thought at the time.

At Spain’s Basque Center on Cognition, Brain, and Language (BCBL), researchers have used electroencephalogram (EEG) brain caps to demonstrate that people’s brain waves really do sync up when they have a conversation. Even if there is not (yet) any telepathy involved.

“Recent evidence has highlighted that the brain’s oscillatory activity, which can be understood like the rhythmic pattern of brain activity at different levels, is modulated by the properties of what the person is hearing — so that the oscillatory pattern gets entrained by the input to favor speech comprehension,” researcher Jon Andoni Duñabeitia told Digital Trends. “In this study, we decided to move a step forward and explore whether brain entrainment also occurs at the person-to-person level, and not just at the person-to-audio level. To this end, we had pairs of people speak to each other in a normal conversation setting and collected EEG data from their brains. Results surprisingly demonstrated that the brains of the two individuals got synchronized in such a way that they showed brain-to-brain entrainment of the oscillatory activity.”

To put this another way, the EEG brain data demonstrated that a person’s brainwaves are synchronized not just to the message they are hearing (which previous studies have shown), but also to the oscillatory pattern of the person they are speaking to. The effect was so obvious that simply looking at brainwave data could reveal whether two people were communicating.

The researchers note that the work is still in its infancy, with plenty more research to be done. For this study, the participants were reading from a set script, but later investigations could open up these parameters.

“There a few [potential applications],” Alejandro Pérez, a postdoctoral researcher on the project, told us. “I envision a future in which we can intervene externally over this ‘brain-to-brain entrainment,’ provoking behavioral changes. In other words, it will be possible by externally stimulating the oscillatory neural activity of two or more individuals to enhance their inter-brain synchronization — boosting the possible outcome of the communicative situation in terms of remembering, agreement, empathy, comprehension and so on.”

Pérez said that specific uses could involve scenarios like improving human robot interfaces by generating robot activity based on a person’s brain state or potentially measuring a person’s willingness to negotiate.

In all, it is fascinating stuff. Even if we are putting in writing right now that we are not going to agree to wear an EEG brain cap next time we negotiate a pay raise — no matter how much our boss assures us it is for research purposes only!

A paper on the work was published in the journal Scientific Reports.




22
Jul

These 4K ‘The Witness’ screenshots are a masterclass in elegant simplicity


When The Witness landed in January 2016, it intrigued players with its silent mystery, mentally demanding puzzles, and picturesque landscape. It showed just how beautiful a game could be with a bit of care and a gentle hand, even with technically simple textures and models. And as these 4K The Witness screenshots demonstrate, it looks even better when you expand the resolution.

It did not take a whole lot of computing power to actually play the game at 4K, but we went ahead and threw everything we had at it anyway. We took the screenshots on our high-end test rig, which is powered by an Intel Core i7-6950X with 16GB of RAM. We chose the Zotac GTX 1080 Ti AMP! Edition with 11GB of graphical memory for our GPU, plugged into an Acer 4K monitor. We also went ahead and turned all of the settings up, and even then, did not see any framerate drops.

One of the more striking elements of the island in The Witness is the juxtaposition between detailed and simple shapes. While trees, rocks, and buildings have a clean, rounded look, there are a number of statues around the island that are deeply detailed, and depict people in lively situations, as if frozen in the middle of a struggle. That stark contrast lends to the eerie nature of the island’s mysteries, even as the colorful atmosphere and booming ecosystem attempt to distract you.

We tried to avoid any spoilers or puzzle solutions in our screenshots, in case you have not gotten around to play The Witness yet. The creator, Jonathan Blow, who is also responsible for the classic platformer Braid, is said to be working on another project. We found out through a post on his personal Twitter account in late March.

We are hiring an experienced 3D character animator to work on a new, unannounced game! Contact me for details.

— Jonathan Blow (@Jonathan_Blow) March 28, 2017

If that sounds like an appealing position, a great place to start would be examining both The Witness and Braid with fresh eyes. The 4K The Witness screenshots up above should give you a good, deep look at the game, with plenty of emphasis on detail, without having to spend a few hours struggling through the often-enigmatic puzzles.




22
Jul

LG Chem to reportedly produce fast-charging L-shaped battery for iPhone 9


Why it matters to you

Apple’s reported plan to have LG Chem produce an L-shaped battery for 2018’s iPhone 9 could increase battery life and charging efficiency.

Still a while away from the iPhone 8 release date, Apple is supposedly already making plans for the iPhone 9. According to an unnamed source Apple has chosen LG Chem as the exclusive battery supplier for the device set to be released in 2018, Korea Economic Daily reports.

The source claims LG has apparently invested “hundreds of billions” of South Korean won specifically for manufacturing facilities and will begin full-scale production early next year. Also added by the source is that the iPhone 9 will be expected to debut in the second half of 2018 and the South Korean company will supply all batteries, AppleInsider notes.

Reportedly, Apple is going to opt for an L-shaped battery module within the iPhone 9 — different than the standard batteries used in current iPhone models. Apple normally uses standard lithium-ion batteries, but this new module is designed to support longer battery life.

The L-shaped battery rumors first started circulating back in February with the iPhone 8. According to MacRumors, KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed the iPhone 8 would include a 2,700mAh L-shaped two-cell battery pack as well. Kuo also explained that with a more expensive logic board design, the OLED iPhone would have dimensions similar to a 4.7-inch iPhone but with comparable battery life to a 5.5-inch iPhone — or possibly even better.

Currently, iPhone models include a battery and motherboard placed vertically next to each other. Kuo said Apple is reportedly working to make the motherboard smaller which would leave room for the extended L-shaped battery. With this design, the iPhone will also be able to charge at much faster speed than any model now.

With a potentially redesigned battery also comes new charging methods for the iPhone. For the iPhone 8, Kuo predicts it will not only have a Lightning port but an embedded USB-C power delivery IC — resulting in higher charging efficiency. The OLED display also adds to saving battery life since it consumes less power by not using a backlight.

It still remains to be seen if Apple will include the L-shaped design in the iPhone 8 along with other features like touch ID, facial recognition, and wireless charging. However, it seems that whatever doesn’t make it into this year’s upcoming iPhone has a good chance of being included in the next one.




22
Jul

Disney uses neural net technology to see if you love its movies like you should


Why it matters to you

Neural net technology might contribute to making the next Disney movie one that you’re almost guaranteed to enjoy.

Disney really wants to know if you like its movies. The entertainment company conducts copious research to answer that question, and in fact, it has its own division, Disney Research, that’s focused on figuring out ways to make you love its movies even more. Now, the company is applying neural net technology to determining if audiences are reacting as they should to Disney’s latest films.

The information comes via Phys.org, which took a look at some recent work by Disney Research to apply deep learning concepts to figure out how audiences are reacting based on their facial expressions. So far, the methods are having better results than the organization’s usual techniques.

Researchers are using what they’re calling “factorized variational autoencoders,” or FVAEs, to use an audience member’s early facial expressions to predict how that person will react to a movie in its entirety. The data was gathered by using infrared cameras that monitored audience faces during 150 showings of a total of nine movies including Big Hero 6, The Jungle Book, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

According to Zhiwei Deng, a Simon Fraser University doctoral candidate who participated in the research, “The FVAEs were able to learn concepts such as smiling and laughing on their own. What’s more, they were able to show how these facial expressions correlated with humorous scenes.”

Disney Research

The real value of the neural net technology is that it allows the analysis of tremendous amounts of data, 16 million facial expressions generated by 3,179 audience members — much more than humans could evaluate without computerized assistance. By correlating common expressions between audience members, the system is capable of taking just a few minutes’ worth of facial expression data and learning a wide range of general facial expressions and then figuring out how audiences are likely to react to an entire movie.

Longer-term, the same techniques could be used to create models capable of making predictions from any kind of time series data. For example, studying how the wind affects a few trees could be used to model an entire forest. As Markus Gross, Disney Research vice president put it:

“We are all awash in data, so it is critical to find techniques that discover patterns automatically. Our research shows that deep learning techniques, which use neural networks and have revolutionized the field of artificial intelligence, are effective at reducing data while capturing its hidden patterns.”

Don’t be surprised, therefore, if you notice some extra cameras aimed your way while you’re viewing your next Disney film. It might just be that you’re contributing to Disney’s efforts to figure out just what it takes to make its next movie a blockbuster.




22
Jul

Weekly Rewind: Atari hats, Reebok space boots, Comic-Con highlights


A lot can happen in a week when it comes to tech. The constant onslaught of news makes it nigh impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of this week’s top tech stories, from what we expect at Comic-Con 2017 to what might be next for Amazon — it’s all here.

10 things we hope to see at San Diego Comic-Con 2017

One of the biggest pop culture events in the world kicks off this week as Comic-Con International in San Diego arrives in Southern California for another year.

The largest event of its kind on the West Coast and an annual celebration of comic books, movies, television, gaming, and all manner of geekery, San Diego Comic-Con (as it’s more commonly known) has become the preferred venue for movie studios and networks to show off their biggest upcoming projects to eager fans. Prior years have seen Marvel’s live-action Avengers assemble publicly for the very first time, had The Dark Knight (or rather, Heath Ledger’s Joker) go viral, and ignited excitement for lower-profile projects like Mad Max: Fury Road that set them on the path to becoming blockbusters.

Read: 10 things we hope to see at San Diego Comic-Con 2017

One small step: How Reebok crafted a space boot for astronauts from running tech

Reebok doesn’t shy away from trying new things. For instance, the footwear giant has 3D-printed shoes with goopy liquid rubber grown from corn and cotton. And on Tuesday, it announced a new product that’s truly out of this world: the Floatride Space Boot SB-01, developed for an upcoming mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

Traditionally, astronauts walked around in tough leather boots with firm soles, which looked like cumbersome buckets of cement. But when Boeing sends astronauts to the ISS next year aboard its CST-100 Starliner, it wants to do better with a lightweight new spacesuit designed by the David Clark Company (DCC).

Read: One small step: How Reebok crafted a space boot for astronauts from running tech

Snapchat’s new Multi Snap now allows videos longer than ten seconds — sort of

Snapchat’s camera features are bulking up, and now include a new way to post videos longer than ten seconds. On July 19, Snapchat began rolling out Multi Snap, a feature that allows users to take six 10-second video clips in quick succession, on iOS, and with an Android update to follow. Snapchat is also adding a new editing tool for both operation systems — the Tint Brush allows users to change the color of an object in still photos.

Multi Snap is a sort of variation on a camera’s traditional burst mode, but instead of taking several still photos in quick succession to get the timing just right, the feature snaps successive 10-second video clips. The feature is designed to help users make sure they get the timing of the Snap right and allows for up to six clips to be recorded in a row.

Read: Snapchat’s new Multi Snap now allows videos longer than ten seconds — sort of

Rolls-Royce’s brand-new Phantom will once again raise the bar for luxury cars

The entire automotive industry sits up and listens when Rolls-Royce announces a new Phantom. As the company’s flagship model, The Rolls-Royce Phantom is the pinnacle of luxury on four wheels. We’re breaking out our notepads out and sharpening our pencils, because the nameplate’s eighth generation in nine decades is just a few short days away from making its debut.

The final design is being kept under wraps for the time being, but teaser shots give us a good idea of what to expect. Designers have taken an evolutionary approach to reinventing the range-topping Roller. Its front end receives thinner lights, a taller grille with a thick chrome frame, and air vents in the lower bumper for a sportier look. The overall silhouette doesn’t change much, and the Phantom retains its classy suicide doors.

Read: Rolls-Royce’s brand-new Phantom will once again raise the bar for luxury cars

Atari’s latest release isn’t a console or a game — it’s a ridiculously high-tech hat

Atari is on a roll lately. The company made a splash at E3 last month with the announcement of its new Ataribox connected console, and now the classic brand is entering the wearables market with perhaps its oddest product yet: Atari Speakerhats, powered by Audiowear technology.

The first three baseball cap styles will debut at San Diego Comic Con this week, and special edition Blade Runner 2049 Atari Speakerhats will be available in conjunction with the much-anticipated sequel’s release this fall, along with other wearables.

Read: Atari’s latest release isn’t a console or a game — it’s a ridiculously high-tech hat

Future chatbots will be able to argue with you enough to help change your mind

Artificial intelligence tools like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa don’t really try and change your mind too much, but maybe they should!

That is the idea behind new research being carried out by Dr. Samira Shaikh, an assistant professor in Cognitive Science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Department of Computer Science. She developed a smart chatbot whose goal is not just to carry out a conversation with users, but to actually engage them in arguments and counterarguments with the specific aim of changing a person’s mind.

Read: Future chatbots will be able to argue with you enough to help change your mind

Amazon could be making a meal-kit service to rival Blue Apron

 

Hot off the heels of last week’s revelation that Amazon might be unveiling a new messaging app, the online retail giant is making headlines yet again. This time, it’s with food. The Seattle-based company proved that you can never have your hand in too many cookie jars by filing a trademark application for “prepared food kits composed of meat, poultry, fish, seafood, fruit and/or vegetables” that would come ready for you to cook and serve as a meal. Sound familiar? Yeah, it’s another meal-kit service.

Clearly, Amazon’s potential entrance into the already crowded space has made waves throughout the market. On Monday, Blue Apron’s shares dropped by 11 percent, underscoring just how powerful Amazon has become in the food industry. After all, this is the same company behind grocery delivery service AmazonFresh, which launched in 2013, restaurant delivery service Amazon Restaurants, which launched in 2014, and its recently announced Whole Foods acquisition.

Read: Amazon could be making a meal-kit service to rival Blue Apron

Apple iPhone X (2017) rumors and news

There are constant rumors surrounding a delay of the iPhone 8/iPhone X’s release date, mostly due to the technical challenges and component shortages it faces making the device. In mid-July, a JPMorgan investment note said that while the phone would be introduced in in late September, supplies of the phone will be very limited, and production wouldn’t level out until November.

This tracks with previous rumors. In April, an analyst’s research note for investment banking firm Drexel Hamilton speculated the iPhone X may be delayed several weeks after the September reveal due to challenges around its 3D-sensing technology, though it will still be available in time for the December holidays.

Pre-orders will open at launch, according to MacRumors, but delivery wouldn’t happen until several weeks later.

Read: Apple iPhone X (2017) rumors and news

The British Museum publishes the first 3D scan of the Rosetta Stone online

You no longer have to visit the British Museum in London to see the Rosetta Stone in detail. Last week, the museum published the first 3D scan of the famous slab of hieroglyphics online at Sketchfab, where it’s accompanied by the website’s new sound support feature.

The Rosetta Stone is one the most important artifacts from ancient civilization but it wasn’t very important when it was first inscribed in 196 BC — one of many copies of a decree stating that a priest of a given temple supported King Ptolemy V for the sake of tax exemption. When these pagan temples were closed in the fifth century, knowledge of Egyptian hieroglyphics was lost, until the stone was discovered in 1799 and the scripts were deciphered two decades later.

Read: The British Museum publishes the first 3D scan of the Rosetta Stone online




22
Jul

Weekly Rewind: Atari hats, Reebok space boots, Comic-Con highlights


A lot can happen in a week when it comes to tech. The constant onslaught of news makes it nigh impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of this week’s top tech stories, from what we expect at Comic-Con 2017 to what might be next for Amazon — it’s all here.

10 things we hope to see at San Diego Comic-Con 2017

One of the biggest pop culture events in the world kicks off this week as Comic-Con International in San Diego arrives in Southern California for another year.

The largest event of its kind on the West Coast and an annual celebration of comic books, movies, television, gaming, and all manner of geekery, San Diego Comic-Con (as it’s more commonly known) has become the preferred venue for movie studios and networks to show off their biggest upcoming projects to eager fans. Prior years have seen Marvel’s live-action Avengers assemble publicly for the very first time, had The Dark Knight (or rather, Heath Ledger’s Joker) go viral, and ignited excitement for lower-profile projects like Mad Max: Fury Road that set them on the path to becoming blockbusters.

Read: 10 things we hope to see at San Diego Comic-Con 2017

One small step: How Reebok crafted a space boot for astronauts from running tech

Reebok doesn’t shy away from trying new things. For instance, the footwear giant has 3D-printed shoes with goopy liquid rubber grown from corn and cotton. And on Tuesday, it announced a new product that’s truly out of this world: the Floatride Space Boot SB-01, developed for an upcoming mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

Traditionally, astronauts walked around in tough leather boots with firm soles, which looked like cumbersome buckets of cement. But when Boeing sends astronauts to the ISS next year aboard its CST-100 Starliner, it wants to do better with a lightweight new spacesuit designed by the David Clark Company (DCC).

Read: One small step: How Reebok crafted a space boot for astronauts from running tech

Snapchat’s new Multi Snap now allows videos longer than ten seconds — sort of

Snapchat’s camera features are bulking up, and now include a new way to post videos longer than ten seconds. On July 19, Snapchat began rolling out Multi Snap, a feature that allows users to take six 10-second video clips in quick succession, on iOS, and with an Android update to follow. Snapchat is also adding a new editing tool for both operation systems — the Tint Brush allows users to change the color of an object in still photos.

Multi Snap is a sort of variation on a camera’s traditional burst mode, but instead of taking several still photos in quick succession to get the timing just right, the feature snaps successive 10-second video clips. The feature is designed to help users make sure they get the timing of the Snap right and allows for up to six clips to be recorded in a row.

Read: Snapchat’s new Multi Snap now allows videos longer than ten seconds — sort of

Rolls-Royce’s brand-new Phantom will once again raise the bar for luxury cars

The entire automotive industry sits up and listens when Rolls-Royce announces a new Phantom. As the company’s flagship model, The Rolls-Royce Phantom is the pinnacle of luxury on four wheels. We’re breaking out our notepads out and sharpening our pencils, because the nameplate’s eighth generation in nine decades is just a few short days away from making its debut.

The final design is being kept under wraps for the time being, but teaser shots give us a good idea of what to expect. Designers have taken an evolutionary approach to reinventing the range-topping Roller. Its front end receives thinner lights, a taller grille with a thick chrome frame, and air vents in the lower bumper for a sportier look. The overall silhouette doesn’t change much, and the Phantom retains its classy suicide doors.

Read: Rolls-Royce’s brand-new Phantom will once again raise the bar for luxury cars

Atari’s latest release isn’t a console or a game — it’s a ridiculously high-tech hat

Atari is on a roll lately. The company made a splash at E3 last month with the announcement of its new Ataribox connected console, and now the classic brand is entering the wearables market with perhaps its oddest product yet: Atari Speakerhats, powered by Audiowear technology.

The first three baseball cap styles will debut at San Diego Comic Con this week, and special edition Blade Runner 2049 Atari Speakerhats will be available in conjunction with the much-anticipated sequel’s release this fall, along with other wearables.

Read: Atari’s latest release isn’t a console or a game — it’s a ridiculously high-tech hat

Future chatbots will be able to argue with you enough to help change your mind

Artificial intelligence tools like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa don’t really try and change your mind too much, but maybe they should!

That is the idea behind new research being carried out by Dr. Samira Shaikh, an assistant professor in Cognitive Science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Department of Computer Science. She developed a smart chatbot whose goal is not just to carry out a conversation with users, but to actually engage them in arguments and counterarguments with the specific aim of changing a person’s mind.

Read: Future chatbots will be able to argue with you enough to help change your mind

Amazon could be making a meal-kit service to rival Blue Apron

 

Hot off the heels of last week’s revelation that Amazon might be unveiling a new messaging app, the online retail giant is making headlines yet again. This time, it’s with food. The Seattle-based company proved that you can never have your hand in too many cookie jars by filing a trademark application for “prepared food kits composed of meat, poultry, fish, seafood, fruit and/or vegetables” that would come ready for you to cook and serve as a meal. Sound familiar? Yeah, it’s another meal-kit service.

Clearly, Amazon’s potential entrance into the already crowded space has made waves throughout the market. On Monday, Blue Apron’s shares dropped by 11 percent, underscoring just how powerful Amazon has become in the food industry. After all, this is the same company behind grocery delivery service AmazonFresh, which launched in 2013, restaurant delivery service Amazon Restaurants, which launched in 2014, and its recently announced Whole Foods acquisition.

Read: Amazon could be making a meal-kit service to rival Blue Apron

Apple iPhone X (2017) rumors and news

There are constant rumors surrounding a delay of the iPhone 8/iPhone X’s release date, mostly due to the technical challenges and component shortages it faces making the device. In mid-July, a JPMorgan investment note said that while the phone would be introduced in in late September, supplies of the phone will be very limited, and production wouldn’t level out until November.

This tracks with previous rumors. In April, an analyst’s research note for investment banking firm Drexel Hamilton speculated the iPhone X may be delayed several weeks after the September reveal due to challenges around its 3D-sensing technology, though it will still be available in time for the December holidays.

Pre-orders will open at launch, according to MacRumors, but delivery wouldn’t happen until several weeks later.

Read: Apple iPhone X (2017) rumors and news

The British Museum publishes the first 3D scan of the Rosetta Stone online

You no longer have to visit the British Museum in London to see the Rosetta Stone in detail. Last week, the museum published the first 3D scan of the famous slab of hieroglyphics online at Sketchfab, where it’s accompanied by the website’s new sound support feature.

The Rosetta Stone is one the most important artifacts from ancient civilization but it wasn’t very important when it was first inscribed in 196 BC — one of many copies of a decree stating that a priest of a given temple supported King Ptolemy V for the sake of tax exemption. When these pagan temples were closed in the fifth century, knowledge of Egyptian hieroglyphics was lost, until the stone was discovered in 1799 and the scripts were deciphered two decades later.

Read: The British Museum publishes the first 3D scan of the Rosetta Stone online




22
Jul

Weekly Rewind: Atari hats, Reebok space boots, Comic-Con highlights


A lot can happen in a week when it comes to tech. The constant onslaught of news makes it nigh impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of this week’s top tech stories, from what we expect at Comic-Con 2017 to what might be next for Amazon — it’s all here.

10 things we hope to see at San Diego Comic-Con 2017

One of the biggest pop culture events in the world kicks off this week as Comic-Con International in San Diego arrives in Southern California for another year.

The largest event of its kind on the West Coast and an annual celebration of comic books, movies, television, gaming, and all manner of geekery, San Diego Comic-Con (as it’s more commonly known) has become the preferred venue for movie studios and networks to show off their biggest upcoming projects to eager fans. Prior years have seen Marvel’s live-action Avengers assemble publicly for the very first time, had The Dark Knight (or rather, Heath Ledger’s Joker) go viral, and ignited excitement for lower-profile projects like Mad Max: Fury Road that set them on the path to becoming blockbusters.

Read: 10 things we hope to see at San Diego Comic-Con 2017

One small step: How Reebok crafted a space boot for astronauts from running tech

Reebok doesn’t shy away from trying new things. For instance, the footwear giant has 3D-printed shoes with goopy liquid rubber grown from corn and cotton. And on Tuesday, it announced a new product that’s truly out of this world: the Floatride Space Boot SB-01, developed for an upcoming mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

Traditionally, astronauts walked around in tough leather boots with firm soles, which looked like cumbersome buckets of cement. But when Boeing sends astronauts to the ISS next year aboard its CST-100 Starliner, it wants to do better with a lightweight new spacesuit designed by the David Clark Company (DCC).

Read: One small step: How Reebok crafted a space boot for astronauts from running tech

Snapchat’s new Multi Snap now allows videos longer than ten seconds — sort of

Snapchat’s camera features are bulking up, and now include a new way to post videos longer than ten seconds. On July 19, Snapchat began rolling out Multi Snap, a feature that allows users to take six 10-second video clips in quick succession, on iOS, and with an Android update to follow. Snapchat is also adding a new editing tool for both operation systems — the Tint Brush allows users to change the color of an object in still photos.

Multi Snap is a sort of variation on a camera’s traditional burst mode, but instead of taking several still photos in quick succession to get the timing just right, the feature snaps successive 10-second video clips. The feature is designed to help users make sure they get the timing of the Snap right and allows for up to six clips to be recorded in a row.

Read: Snapchat’s new Multi Snap now allows videos longer than ten seconds — sort of

Rolls-Royce’s brand-new Phantom will once again raise the bar for luxury cars

The entire automotive industry sits up and listens when Rolls-Royce announces a new Phantom. As the company’s flagship model, The Rolls-Royce Phantom is the pinnacle of luxury on four wheels. We’re breaking out our notepads out and sharpening our pencils, because the nameplate’s eighth generation in nine decades is just a few short days away from making its debut.

The final design is being kept under wraps for the time being, but teaser shots give us a good idea of what to expect. Designers have taken an evolutionary approach to reinventing the range-topping Roller. Its front end receives thinner lights, a taller grille with a thick chrome frame, and air vents in the lower bumper for a sportier look. The overall silhouette doesn’t change much, and the Phantom retains its classy suicide doors.

Read: Rolls-Royce’s brand-new Phantom will once again raise the bar for luxury cars

Atari’s latest release isn’t a console or a game — it’s a ridiculously high-tech hat

Atari is on a roll lately. The company made a splash at E3 last month with the announcement of its new Ataribox connected console, and now the classic brand is entering the wearables market with perhaps its oddest product yet: Atari Speakerhats, powered by Audiowear technology.

The first three baseball cap styles will debut at San Diego Comic Con this week, and special edition Blade Runner 2049 Atari Speakerhats will be available in conjunction with the much-anticipated sequel’s release this fall, along with other wearables.

Read: Atari’s latest release isn’t a console or a game — it’s a ridiculously high-tech hat

Future chatbots will be able to argue with you enough to help change your mind

Artificial intelligence tools like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa don’t really try and change your mind too much, but maybe they should!

That is the idea behind new research being carried out by Dr. Samira Shaikh, an assistant professor in Cognitive Science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Department of Computer Science. She developed a smart chatbot whose goal is not just to carry out a conversation with users, but to actually engage them in arguments and counterarguments with the specific aim of changing a person’s mind.

Read: Future chatbots will be able to argue with you enough to help change your mind

Amazon could be making a meal-kit service to rival Blue Apron

 

Hot off the heels of last week’s revelation that Amazon might be unveiling a new messaging app, the online retail giant is making headlines yet again. This time, it’s with food. The Seattle-based company proved that you can never have your hand in too many cookie jars by filing a trademark application for “prepared food kits composed of meat, poultry, fish, seafood, fruit and/or vegetables” that would come ready for you to cook and serve as a meal. Sound familiar? Yeah, it’s another meal-kit service.

Clearly, Amazon’s potential entrance into the already crowded space has made waves throughout the market. On Monday, Blue Apron’s shares dropped by 11 percent, underscoring just how powerful Amazon has become in the food industry. After all, this is the same company behind grocery delivery service AmazonFresh, which launched in 2013, restaurant delivery service Amazon Restaurants, which launched in 2014, and its recently announced Whole Foods acquisition.

Read: Amazon could be making a meal-kit service to rival Blue Apron

Apple iPhone X (2017) rumors and news

There are constant rumors surrounding a delay of the iPhone 8/iPhone X’s release date, mostly due to the technical challenges and component shortages it faces making the device. In mid-July, a JPMorgan investment note said that while the phone would be introduced in in late September, supplies of the phone will be very limited, and production wouldn’t level out until November.

This tracks with previous rumors. In April, an analyst’s research note for investment banking firm Drexel Hamilton speculated the iPhone X may be delayed several weeks after the September reveal due to challenges around its 3D-sensing technology, though it will still be available in time for the December holidays.

Pre-orders will open at launch, according to MacRumors, but delivery wouldn’t happen until several weeks later.

Read: Apple iPhone X (2017) rumors and news

The British Museum publishes the first 3D scan of the Rosetta Stone online

You no longer have to visit the British Museum in London to see the Rosetta Stone in detail. Last week, the museum published the first 3D scan of the famous slab of hieroglyphics online at Sketchfab, where it’s accompanied by the website’s new sound support feature.

The Rosetta Stone is one the most important artifacts from ancient civilization but it wasn’t very important when it was first inscribed in 196 BC — one of many copies of a decree stating that a priest of a given temple supported King Ptolemy V for the sake of tax exemption. When these pagan temples were closed in the fifth century, knowledge of Egyptian hieroglyphics was lost, until the stone was discovered in 1799 and the scripts were deciphered two decades later.

Read: The British Museum publishes the first 3D scan of the Rosetta Stone online




22
Jul

Oxygen treatment reverses brain damage in a 2-year-old drowning patient


Why it matters to you

This remarkable case study is touted as an example of the extraordinary power of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Doctors at LSU Health New Orleans and the University of North Dakota have successfully reversed severe brain damage suffered by a 2-year-old girl after she came close to drowning. To achieve this remarkable result, the physicians used hyperbaric oxygen, a medical treatment which enhances the body’s ability to heal itself by getting patients to inhale pure oxygen in a special chamber, where atmospheric pressure can be entirely controlled.

“When [patient Eden Carlson] arrived, she really couldn’t stand or bear any weight, her mental status was not normal, and she was very uncoordinated,” Dr. Paul Harch, the director of Hyperbaric Medicine at LSU Health, told Digital Trends. “By the end of the treatment, she was walking and her speech was at a level advanced beyond when she had had the drowning accident months before.”

As Harch notes, brain damage caused by trauma like a near-drowning experience can continue long after a person is rescued. “There’s the initial incident, and then a secondary inflammatory reaction that occurs, which starts almost immediately after a person is pulled out of the water and circulation is reestablished,” he said.

In the case of Eden, treatment began 55 days after her near-drowning in a swimming pool. Although her heart stopped, medics were able to resuscitate her at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital, although MRI scans revealed significant loss of gray and white matter in her brain. “Had we not intervened, an MRI at six months would have likely shown greater atrophy of brain tissue,” Harch said.

The oxygen treatment started 55 days after her drowning event, with two 45-minute sessions taking place every day — using both regular oxygen and hyperbaric oxygen treatments. Over the course of weeks, Eden returned to normal. An MRI scan carried out one month after treatment ended showed that brain damage had been almost entirely reversed, with just mild residual injury remaining.

“Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to treat around 43 near-drowning children with hyperbaric oxygen,” Harch said. “However, this is the first child I’ve been able to treat so early after the injury. Most of the time it’s been one to two years after the injury, at which point most of the injured brain tissue has been lost. While we’ve documented improvement as a result of the hyperbaric oxygen, it was nowhere near as dramatic as with Eden because we were intervening so late.”

While there is still skepticism about the success of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) among some experts, this is certainly a compelling piece of evidence to add to the existing case studies. A paper describing the work was recently published in the journal Medical Gas Research.




22
Jul

Best Cases for Moto G5 Plus


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What are the best cases available for the Moto G5 Plus?

Motorola’s latest budget phone, the Moto G5 Plus, is quite the follow up to the Moto G4 Plus.

If you recently picked one up on sale, you should reinvest some of the money you save on a case to keep it in tip-top condition. We’ve rounded up a wide variety of cases here —from heavy duty rugged to slim and sleek — so you can find the one that fits your lifestyle best!

  • Supcase Unicorn Beetle Pro
  • Spigen Rugged Armor case
  • Incipio NGP case
  • TUDIA Ultra Slim case
  • Cimo clear case
  • Poetic Revolution rugged case
  • LK Leather Wallet Flip case

Supcase Unicorn Beetle Pro with Built-in Screen Protector

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Do you regularly head out into the great outdoors with your phone and need a case that’s rugged enough to take on the elements? Supcase offers its Unicorn Beetle Pro case, which features rugged, dual-layer protection and a built-in screen protector.

It combines a rugged polycarbonate shell with soft TPU to create a durable case with a sporty design. Supcase brags that this case exceeded military shock standards by surviving a 4-foot drop test 26 times so if you’re prone to dropping your phone this is the case for you. All the ports are covered to keep out dirt and lint with access to the phone’s ports and buttons, and also comes with an optional swiveling belt clip holster. It’s come in sleek all black, or premium color cases.

See at Amazon

Spigen Rugged Armor case

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Spigen makes some of the best cases you can buy, with their Rugged Armor lineup offering a great balance between style and functionality without adding a ton of bulk to your phone.

This one-piece case is made from flexible TPU with an internal spider-web pattern to help disperse the shock from drops along with Spigen’s Air Cushion technology in the corners. The screen is protected with a raised lip around the front, and on the back, you’ll find a precise cutout around the camera along with glossy, carbon fiber textures at the top and bottom of the case which increases your ability to maintain a solid grip on your phone.

Precise cutouts around the ports and raised tactile buttons ensure the functionality of your phone is never impeded. For a great, lightweight case that offers rugged protection, you really can’t go wrong with Spigen.

See at Amazon

Incipio NGP case

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If you’re looking for a lightweight rugged case, Incipio’s NGP case is the right voice for you.

Featuring a textured back and bumper to ensure you maintain a solid grip, this one-piece polymer case is designed with enhanced drop protection — you’ll notice the honeycombed interior which helps to disperse the shock when your phone inevitably hits a table or floor.

Precise cutouts mean you’ll have full access to the charging port and headphone jack as well as the volume and power button on the side.

Choose between black and berry pink and keep your Moto G5 Plus protected!

See at Incipio

Tudia Ultra Slim case

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Tudio’s Ultra Slim case for the Moto G5 Plus is a very stylish option for protecting your phone. it features stylish carbon fiber designs at the top and the bottom of the backplate, which both looks great and helps with grip.

Made with high quality TPU, this sleek case won’t add much bulk to your phone, while the raised edge around the screen help keep your phone protected when it’s face down on a surface. It’s available in three color options: black, grey and navy blue.

For a really stylish and slim option for protecting your Moto G5 Plus, the Tudia Ultra Slim case can’t be beat!

See at Amazon

Cimo clear case

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Cimo’s cases always fit really well and their clarity is excellent. Made from flexible TPU, these cases have a great in-hand feel that’s not slippery, so you won’t be fumbling your Moto G5 Plus all the time.

There’s a raised bezel around the front of the case to protect your phone’s screen when you lay it face-down, and the ports and buttons are cut out precisely.

It’s important to note that clear TPU will almost always yellow after some time due to the way it absorbs sunlight. But for around $8, you might as well grab a few.

Interested in checking out other clear case options? Check out the best clear cases for the Moto G5 Plus!

See at Amazon

Poetic Revolution

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If rugged protection is the name of the game for you, you’ll want to consider this Poetic Revolution case for the Moto G5 Plus. It offers full protection for your phone, including a front plate with a built-in screen protector that also adds water resistance to the mix.

This two-piece case combines polycarbonate and TPU on the back to provide a balance of shock absorption and scratch protection, while the front plate is made of solid PC and includes a screen protector to keep your screen protected better than any other case on this list.

There’s a lot of smart design elements in play here, including grippy textures along the side edges of the phone, lint/dust flaps over the ports at the bottom, and ‘edgy’ corners that give the phone a fresh and unique look. Despite all the features and protection built into this case, the profile remains relatively slim so you’re not carrying around a plastic brick in your pocket.

See at Amazon

LK Leather Wallet Flip case

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If you’re looking to keep your phone, ID, credit cards and cash all in one place when you’re heading out for a night on the town, the LK wallet case is your best bet.

Available in both black and brown color options, this case features three card slots on the inside cover, including a windowed slot that’s perfect for your ID, and also includes a pocket for carrying cash as well. Your phone is held in place via a soft TPU shell that offers quality protection in the spots you need it most: the corners. Fold over the front cover to use it as a kickstand for viewing, then use the magnetic clasp to keep your screen protected in your pocket.

Do note that some of the Moto G5 Plus’ functionality may be impeded when the front cover is closes, including the twist and chop gestures for launching the camera and flashlight respectively. Those require the infrared sensor to work properly which is covered by the case when closed. It certainly shouldn’t be a dealbreaker for most, but it’s worth mentioning before you make the purchase.

See at Amazon

Which case will you pick?

We want to know which cases work best for you, so let us know in the comments below!

Update July 21, 2017: We’ve completely rewritten this list from scratch.

Moto G5

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  • Moto G5 Plus review
  • Moto G5 Specs
  • Top 10 things to know about the Moto G5 + G5 Plus
  • Moto G5 Plus vs Moto G4 Plus
  • Join our Moto G5 forums!

See at Amazon

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