Posted in Future, Tech Hardware, Tech Software

6 New Tech Breakthroughs You Need To See!

There have been some very interesting technological breakthroughs over the past two weeks in everything from neuroscience to transportation. These new discoveries will change the way we interact with each other and the world around us. Here are 6 new technology breakthroughs that you need to know about.

1) Transportation

The first self-driving bus hit the roads in China. The bus prototype, developed by Yutong, went on a 20 mile ride on an intercity road in Zhengzhou. The self-driving bus is equipped with two cameras, four laser radars, one set of millimeter wave radar and an integrated navigation system.

2) Communication

Skype is releasing their real-time translation feature that will allow you to hold a conversation in any of the following languages without actually needing to know a word: English, French, German, Italian, Mandarin and Spanish. The application will support another 50 languages through normal chat.

3) Neuroscience

Researchers at the University of Washington, experimenting with brain-to-brain connection, have found a way to transmit brain signals from one person to another. Via brain waves and the internet, participants were able to guess the correct answers to a given set of questions with impressive accuracy.

4) Material

An Italian engineering group has built a 12-meter tall 3D printer that can print houses cheaply using additive techniques. Automating building houses using this type of process could dramatically affect the way we provide shelter to those all around the world.  

5) Robotics

MIT researchers have developed a robotic hand that is capable of picking up an egg without breaking it. The robot uses soft 3D-printed fingers that are skilled at picking up even the most difficult objects, such as a coin or fragile egg.

6) Algorithms

The Japanese company, Hitachi, has begun testing a crime prediction algorithm to attempt to identify potential threats or crimes before they occur. The system gathers data from media, such as weather reports or social media, to find patterns using machine learning.

Are there any new technologies that you are particularly interested in? I would love to hear your thoughts. Send me a message or connect with me on Twitter!

Posted in Future, Tech Hardware, Tech Software

7 Days in Tech

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Technology is progressing at an amazing rate. Each week there are amazing breakthroughs that many times people do not even hear about. This past week has proved to be just the case. Here are 8 awesome technology discoveries from this mid-August that should get you excited about what the future holds.

1. Google Smartwatch

Google’s smartwatches have made it very easy to translate a conversation in two languages in real time. This will make it very convenient for people to talk with locals while traveling in different countries and much more.

2. Hyperloop Transportation

Hyperloop Transportation, led by Elon Musk, is partnering with a Fortune 500 engineering design firm to make the idea a reality. This technology will make it possible for people to travel vast distances in unparalleled time.

3. Battery Advancement

MIT and Samsung have teamed up to tackle the ever present problem of battery life. They have replaced electrolytes with a solid state structure that may improve battery capacity by 20%. It sure would be nice to not constantly be tied down to the wall outlet to keep your phone charged!

4. Spaceplane

DARPA is developing a spaceplane that travels at Mach 10 and can launch satellites into space daily. This plane is reusable and unmanned making it an incredible efficient and effective tool for space travel.

5. D-Wave Computing

D-Wave released the second version of its quantum computer, with this version having over 1000 qubits. This is a major breakthrough that will allow complex computational problems to be solved– more than was previously ever possible.

6. The Artificial Leaf

The artificial leaf, a device that creates hydrogen fuel from solar energy, has now become 22% more efficient at energy conversion. This technology could some day change the way that humans power the world.

7. IBM Computing

IBM has built the digital equivalent of a rodent brain that spans 48 million artificial nerve cells. These chips will have the ability to run “deep learning” algorithms, and will likely drive the future of the internet’s AI services.

8. Google Maps – Energy

Using Maps data and aerial photographs, Google can now estimate how much sunlight your roof gets. This could be a driving force behind solar technology and allow us to know exactly where we should place solar panels to make our homes as energy efficient as possible.

 

Posted in Future, Tech Hardware, Tech Software

New Technology Advancements

Technology is progressing at an amazing rate. Each week there are amazing breakthroughs that many times people do not even hear about. This past week has proved to be just the case. Here are 8 awesome technology discoveries from the past week that should get you excited about what the future holds.

  1. Google Smartwatch

Google’s smartwatches have made it very easy to translate a conversation in two languages in real time. This will make it very convenient for people to talk with locals while traveling in different countries and much more.

  1. Hyperloop Transportation

Hyperloop Transportation, led by Elon Musk, is partnering with a Fortune 500 engineering design firm to make the idea a reality. This technology will make it possible for people to travel vast distances in unparalleled time.

  1. Battery Advancement

MIT and Samsung have teamed up to tackle the ever present problem of battery life. They have replaced electrolytes with a solid state structure that may improve battery capacity by 20%. It sure would be nice to not constantly be tied down to the wall outlet to keep your phone charged.

  1. Spaceplane

DARPA is developing a spaceplane that travels at Mach 10 and can launch satellites into space daily. This plane is reusable and unmanned making it an incredible efficient and effective tool for space travel.

  1. D-Wave Computing

D-Wave released the second version of its quantum computer, with this version having over 1000 qubits. This is a major breakthrough will allows for even more complex computational problems to be solved than was previously ever possible.

  1. The Artificial Leaf

The artificial leaf, a device that creates hydrogen from solar, has now become 22% more efficient at energy conversion. This technology could some day change the way that humans power the world.

  1. IBM Computing

IBM has built the digital equivalent of a rodent brain that spans 48 million artificial nerve cells. These chips will have the ability to run “deep learning” algorithms, that will likely drive the future of the internet’s AI services.

  1. Google Maps – Energy

Using Maps data and aerial photographs, Google can now estimate how much sunlight your roof gets. This could help be a huge driving force behind solar technology and allow us to know exactly where we should place solar panels to make us as energy efficient as possible.

Posted in Tech Hardware

Nintendo’s Newest Project? Not Games, but Sleep Devices

Back in the 80s and 90s, Nintendo was the undisputed master in the world of video games, thanks to such iconic franchises as Mario, Zelda and Pokémon.  In recent years, however, Nintendo’s relevance in the video game industry has gone down as companies such as Microsoft and Sony have dominated the market with their respective game consoles.  Many might think that Nintendo’s glory days are behind them, and trying to outdo Sony and Microsoft is nothing more than a pipe dream.  But Nintendo is a survivor, having existed in one form or another since 1889.  Last year, they first announced their intention to develop a sleep monitor as part of its “quality of life” initiative.  And now, thanks to a recently-published patent unearthed by NeoGAF forum members, we now know what it could look like.

Nintendo is apparently planning to build a sensor-laden gadget, reminiscent of an alarm clock, that’s equipped with a projector.  According to the patent application, the device will assess individuals’ emotions through an array of microphones and cameras that keep track of the noises and movements they make while sleeping.  It will work in a standby mode, where its display will shut down, to minimize the power draw as it watches over users for hours on end. Earlier this year, Nintendo confirmed the existence of an upcoming console, codenamed “NX”, that will apparently represent a major departure from the company’s current and previous strategies.  The NX and its software platform will unify the company’s hardware experiences, and even invite PCs and mobile devices.  It’s possible that the sleep machine will serve as an “appendage” to this new platform.  
Nintendo’s interest in the health sector could prove unsuccessful, since it’s such a major step into a field where the company doesn’t have much experience.  Rivals Sony could be in a better position to pull of such a move, although it seems that Nintendo doesn’t have the reserves or breadth of brand to branch beyond gaming.  In addition to the question of whether or not Nintendo can expand beyond gaming, nobody knows how consumers will respond to a private device that could have cameras and microphones that monitor people.  This idea could make a lot of people uncomfortable, although both Amazon and Xbox have similar devices that have started to ingratiate themselves to the public after some initial suspicion.

Posted in Tech Hardware

Best Tech of 2015… So Far!

Even though New Year’s might seem like it was only yesterday, we’re already more than halfway through 2015, and plenty of great products have come out  From completely useless to surprisingly useful, there’s plenty of variety.  I recently came across an article that features some of the best tech products released so far this year, listed below:

Amazon Echo

While it looks like nothing more than a basic black cylinder that you put on your shelf, the Amazon Echo has all of the features of Siri or Android Now;  it understands your spoken commands from across the room, no matter what you’re doing.  By starting every command with its name, Alexa, it automatically knows when you’re addressing it.  “Alexa” can answer any questions you might have about sports, weather, unit conversions, news, geography, facts or just about anything on Wikipedia.  She can even tell jokes or reorder something you’ve previously ordered on Amazon.  Since Echo works with various music apps through a rich Bluetooth speaker, you can also ask her to play music.  While its vocabulary is somewhat limited, this device is off to a great start.  

Apple Watch

While the Apple Watch isn’t the first smartwatch to be released, it’s still been able to make a huge splash in the media world.  It’s a nicely-designed accessory that allows wearers to check the news, weather forecasts and social media without having to pull out their phones.

ResearchKit

This software toolkit allows researchers to write iPhone apps for medical studies.  While this might sound strange, it allows researchers to track countless bytes of useful data by monitoring activity, sleep, heartbeat and much more.  It has a great potential to unlock that data and safely make it available to researchers without violating your privacy.  As the phone owner, you have total control over how much of your data you want to share, how long you want to share it and which studies you want to join.  

Galaxy S6

Not only is this arguably the most attractive smartphone that Samsung has ever produced, but it also has one of the best cameras of any phone out there.  It’s fast, has a gorgeous display and metal body and boasts both a mobile payment system and built-in fingerprint reader.

LG G4

Much like the Galaxy S6, the LG G4 has got an exceptional camera, that can capture the most accurate and colorful image out of any major smartphone on the market.  In a series of tests that compared this phone to the S6, Note 4, iPhone 6, 6 Plus and the M9, it offered the sharpest and most vivid photos of them all.

Lenovo LaVie Z

Even though it isn’t as attractive as Apple’s signature sleek, minimalist computers, it’s lighter than any other 13-inch laptop on the market, with the processing power to edit photos and videos without slowing down.

MacBook

Ever since the iMac debuted without a floppy drive, it seems like Apple designers have been trying to take away anything that’s not absolutely essential.  Unfortunately, their definition of “inessential” is often-times ahead of the public’s; their new product is super thin and light, causing Apple to eliminate a lot of connectors, such as the standard USB, video output, Thunderbolt, Ethernet and MagSafe power port.  There’s only one USB-C port, which handles both power and data connections.  While some might think Apple’s gone too far, plenty of others find that this works just fine.

Nintendo 3DS XL

Even though they’ve dominated the handheld video game business since the 1990s, this doesn’t mean they haven’t stopped constantly tweaking its systems, as can be seen with their new 3DS XL.  From intelligently repositioned switched to an analog stick nestled above the face buttons, there are improvements everywhere.  Of course, it isn’t perfect, but when compared to other platforms, it remains the best handheld video game system on the market.  

Roku 3

There are plenty of boxes that stream Internet content to your big-screen TV, but none of them are as reliable or easy-to-use as the Roku 3.  With over 2,000 channels to choose from, the Roku 3 allows you to search for something to watch by just speaking the name of a show or channel into the remote.  It will even alert you when shows you’ve been waiting to watch are finally available.  

Sling TV

The arrival of this product is great news for anybody that likes watching sports and other live TV but hates paying their cable provider for it.  For just $20 a month, this app delivers a dozen popular “cable stations” to any connected device.  And for another $5 a month each, you can add packages offering more channels.  While there are occasional connection problems, the Sling TV is an exceptional device whenever it’s working.

Posted in Donna Murdoch, Future, Tech Hardware, Tech Software

Why the Apple Watch is flopping

Wired, as always, has a good article about many reasons why the Apple Watch isn’t selling like the iPhone or iPad did when introduced.  It’s pretty easy to see – it has been out for some time yet I’ve yet to see a person wearing one.  Unsurprising – it’s the first Apple product I haven’t wanted to use in as long as I can remember.  It will be interesting to see.  Will they continue to make new versions, or will they discontinue it?

 

“It wasn’t a good sign when Apple announced shortly before the Watch release that they weren’t going to be breaking out sales numbers. Now, a new report from third-party analysts Slice Intelligence not only show that Apple Watch sales are down 90% since launch—a big deal, since it implies early adopters aren’t regaling more cautious buyers with glowing word-of-mouth—but also that Fitbit is outselling Apple in the wearables space. Apple may have already crushed small time smartwatch companies like Pebble, but the Watch has failed to disrupt the larger wearable marketplace.”

via Why the Apple Watch is flopping.

Posted in Donna Murdoch, Future, Tech Hardware, Tech Software

10 tiny tech advances that will make 2015 awesome

It’s that “list” time of year, where we see predictions and “best-of” articles everywhere.  This prediction of tech advances from TechRadar is good, and includes

Battery tech (hoping!)

Galileo

Virtual Reality (it’s time!)

HTML5 (I would argue that was last year, but still good choice)

Retina Macbook Air (hoping!)

Smartwatches

Fast Charging Tech …and more.  Link below.

“2015 is going to be even better, what with virtual reality, shiny new satellites, and even a few tweaks to the very fabric of the internet itself. Here’s our list of the tiny tech advances that we think will make 2015 a year to remember…”

via 10 tiny tech advances that will make 2015 awesome | News | TechRadar.

Posted in Donna Murdoch, Future, Tech Hardware

Why isn’t wireless charging a thing yet?

Battery power has always been the holy grail of electronics, and the more we carry the more we notice.  Battery life is always a complaint when we talk about our devices.  There have been no real advances in battery power technology.  The only thing that makes them last longer is size – which is why an iPad can last so long.  When I first heard about wireless charging and its potential, I thought it sounded like a fantastic solution.  Get a pad, place devices on it to charge without plugging in – so easy.  That was years ago, and we haven’t really seen it offered.  There have been some efforts, but they require special cases for devices and the charging pads are small.  Seems there is no standard.  We’ll all continue to wait, and this article seems promising.  Maybe we are almost there.

 

“The technology is there. Whether it’s inductive or magnetic resonance doesn’t matter one bit to most people. What entices consumers is the notion of being able to toss down a phone, tablet and pair of wireless headphones on the bedside table and have them all fully charged by the morning.”

via Why isn’t wireless charging a thing yet? | News | TechRadar.