SUPER HIGH RESOLUTION: From China, the 24.9 billion pixel photo that’s blown minds

Shanghai – VIJAY SHAH via sources

If you are an amateur photographer and your only method of capturing the world around you is with the potato camera lumped in with your smartphone, the subject of this article might make you feel even more ‘crappy’ than before, or it might just inspire you.

Bigpixel, a Chinese company specialising in in-depth photography, hooked up with a handful of tourism promotion agencies in the city of Shanghai to produce a 360-degree photograph with the mind-shattering and eye-burning resolution of 24.9 billion pixels, or 195 gigapixels (195,000 megapixels), the second highest resolution panorama ever produced in Asia to date. Bear in the mind the average smartphone takes pictures at maximum 12 megapixels. Shot from the top of the 468-metre Oriental Pearl Radio & Television Tower in the city’s Pudong New Area, the image of Shanghai’s skyline is breathtaking in itself, but the real fun part comes when you zoom in on different parts of the image, using your mouse.

 

The detail of this panorama is so intense that you can make out the clothing and hair of people walking near the roundabout below the tower. From the default view you see when you open the website, these same people look like mere flecks of dust, a pixel or two in size. You can also see the fine detail on vehicles on the streets below, or become a virtual voyeur of sorts and spy through the windows of the various skyscrapers on view.

The Bigpixel scenery picture has blown minds across the internet, with people comparing it to the world’s most extreme re-interpretation of the classic children’s puzzle book series ‘Where’s Wally?’. Dan Landek tweeted: “That has fried my brain! You can zoom in to the back of the photo and read the number plates on the cars! Unreal”. Meanwhile, on Facebook, Ellie Hodgson exclaimed: “it is nuts how good this image is, and how far you can zoom in and the clarity of the image!”

Sue Tucker, also on Facebook, commented: “Omg you can see things on desks in those offices when you zoom in !!!”. Some commentators however disputed that the image was taken from a single camera shot at all, claiming that the panorama was in fact several hundred images cleverly stitched together. This was the case according to Digital Trends, which said that the picture took two months to set up. Around eight million people have already explored the jumbo holiday pic, which is said to be 2,000 times more precise than that taken by an ordinary camera, according to Business Insider.

Bigpixel also trades under the name Jingkun Technology. The Shanghai image has become the company’s centrepiece, and has helped broaden its appeal among the many Chinese and international companies it has worked with.

You can see for yourself at this link: http://sh-meet.bigpixel.cn/?from=groupmessage&isappinstalled=0

SOURCES:

The Poke, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/PokeHQ/

“You can zoom all the way in to this 24.9bn pixel camera pic and minds are being blown” – The Poke (21 December 2018) https://www.thepoke.co.uk/2018/12/21/can-zoom-way-24-9bn-pixel-camera-pic-minds-blown/?fbclid=IwAR2D1yOlDQFPemUKJrXdPttGQgc9SNyhSke12GgMig6LvHWwEr0H_qGMa0o

“195 Gigapixel Shanghai” – Bigpixel Studio http://sh-meet.bigpixel.cn/?from=groupmessage&isappinstalled=0

“We could explore this astonishing 195-gigapixel panorama of Shanghai all day” – Trevor Mogg, Digital Trends/Designtechnica Corporation (25 December 2018) https://www.digitaltrends.com/news/check-out-this-astonishing-195-gigapixel-image-of-shanghai/

“A Chinese company said it created a photo with such a high resolution that you can zoom from thousands of meters away to see people’s facial expressions” – Christian Edwards, Business Insider/Insider Inc. (21 December 2018) https://www.businessinsider.com/high-resolution-photo-lets-you-zoom-in-on-peoples-faces-2018-12?r=US&IR=T

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Free stock photo of air pollution, architecture, asia” – Pixabay, Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/air-pollution-architecture-asia-building-275506/

 

 

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LOW-FI WI-FI?: What could be blocking your internet signal

VIJAY SHAH via TecNovedosos

Having unfettered and uninterrupted access to wireless internet, is for those of use in the developed world, now as essential as having a continuous supply of electricity, gas and other utilities. We increasingly spend much of our lives online, and the things we need to do, such as shopping and filling in government forms are moving online too. So when your wireless signal becomes weak or choppy, the frustration is palpable.

If you happen to have a rubbish signal, with constant disconnections or super-slow download speeds, it could be your provider, but it could be due to your surroundings. Presented below are some of the things in your home or office that might be interfering with the quality of your Wi-Fi. This article is based off a feature published in the Spanish-language site TecNovedosos.

 

Objects that cause the Wi-Fi to drop or fizzle out are often referred to as ‘interference sources’ or ‘wireless barriers’ in the industry. So what are these barriers and how can you solve the low fidelity of your wireless ‘fidelity’ and get back to happy surfing.

Firstly the cause might be a mirror or a metal surface in the locality. Metal has a high interference capacity, according to the technical support guys at top tech firm Apple. Indeed having flat metallic objects in the same room is by far the most drastic means of limiting the strength of your signal. So it’s time to give the full-length mirror the boot. Just don’t break it, unless you are keen on seven years of bad Wi-Fi luck.

Another leading cause of interference is bulletproof or toughened glass. Its thickness and reflective properties act as a means of soaking up and reflecting the radio waves that propel Wi-Fi. Unless you work for a top-secret agency or military complex, bulletproof glass is probably not going to be an issue for you, but for the average user, things like glass tables, desks, or fancy glass ornaments can cause major interference with the Wi-Fi signal, and you should either remove or replace these sort of objects to lessen the interference capabilities they have.

Web connections can also be affected by the presence of other appliances, especially fridges, washing machines and radiators. Their piping, which often contains liquids like water, can act as ‘sponges’ that drown the signals. The impact of white goods is considerably less than glass or metal, but this is something worth considering if you are browsing through IKEA’s latest sales on the laptop while in the kitchen, and the product pictures take forever to load.

While you’re in the kitchen looking for Wi-Fi signal thieves, you can also add your microwave oven, gas/electric oven and even baby monitors and drones to the suspects list. These devices emit electromagnetic waves that can impede the radio waves used by wireless internet. Both types of signal operate at a frequency of around 2.4 Hz, so can cancel each other out. Other suspects include webcams, cordless phones and the telly. Healthy technological competition this ain’t.

You should keep your router as far away from other electrical devices and shiny surfaces as much as possible. Most of the people I know keep their routers in the hallways or passages of their homes.

As the festive season approaches, you will be pleased to know that Christmas lights can also be a problem for the signal. As with microwaves, lights generate their own electromagnetic fields which can play havoc with Wi-Fi connectivity, so don’t go online while decorating the Christmas tree!.

The popular expression goes ‘the walls have ears’, well in the case of bad signal troubleshooting, if you live in a house that has stone, cement or brick walls, then it may be time for you to move out if you want a better signal, which given that most homes are made of these materials might make house-hunting a bit tricky. The thicknesses of modern construction materials can act as a barrier to getting the perfect level of connectivity. The best way to mitigate this is to keep your router on the same floor as where you go online, so if you do most of your internet activities upstairs, the router needs to be upstairs too. If you find your signal is still weak or negligible, try moving and experimenting with different positions and locations for the router. A good recommendation is to place the router in a high location above other objects in the room or passage it is situated in.

SOURCES:

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

La Publicación 🇪🇸, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/LaPublicacion

“Estos son los objetos que más suelen bloquear tu señal de wifi” – TecNovedosos/Grupo Editorial Grandes Medios (15 September 2018) https://www.tecnovedosos.com/objetos-bloquean-senal-de-wifi/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Wifi, Hotspot, Public, Travel” – mohamed mohamed mahmoud hassan, PublicDomainPictures.net/Bobek Ltd. License: CC0 Public Domain https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=261335&picture=wifi-hotspot-public-travel

VIRTUAL TEACHERS: UK university to trial ‘hologram’ lecturers

London – VIJAY SHAH via LEO KELION and BBC News

A university in the United Kingdom will become the first in the world to introduce ‘holographic’ teaching staff for its students, according to a report by national broadcaster BBC News. 

Imperial College London is bringing in 3D projection technology that will emit ‘holograms’ of lecturers who are unable to attend their lectures in person. While the teacher will not be physically present, the futuristic technology will carry across their voice and body movements. Similar technology was used for a Tupac Shakur music concert at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in 2010, and has also been adopted by airports and train stations.

 

The new technology, which was launched officially this past Thursday, will be at first used solely for students learning at Imperial’s Business School, but the university expects the technology to become more commonplace, perhaps eventually superseding video conferencing and Skype. The technology also means lecturers can broadcast to several halls, holding the same lecture simultaneously, which will cut down on teaching hours.

“The alternative is to use video-conferencing software but we believe these holograms have a much greater sense of presence,” Dr David Lefevre, director of Imperial’s Edtech Lab, told the BBC.

“The lecturers have a high-definition monitor in front of them which is calibrated so they can point at people and look them in the eye. They can really interact.”

Unlike previous such projections, more than one person can be included in Imperial’s ‘holograms’. Projected users also do not have to be even in the same country as the lecture hall for the technology to ‘beam’ their image in front of scholars.

The Imperial technology was developed with the Canadian firm, Arht Media. Lecturers using the technology must stand in a special ‘capture studio’ in front of a black background. The university will be able to make use of two such studios in Los Angeles, USA and Toronto in Canada, alongside a portable projection kit for visiting guest speakers.

SOURCES:

HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind

Nicolas Babin, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/Nicochan33

Simon Hewitt, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/shewitt_vp

“‘Hologram’ lecturers to teach students at Imperial College London” – Leo Kelion, BBC News/BBC (1 November 2018) https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/technology-46060381

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:8oCongresoInnovacion05.JPG” – Thelmadatter, Wikimedia Commons (12 December 2013) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:8oCongresoInnovacion05.JPG

WINGLIGHTS360 ON KICKSTARTER: Funding a new revolution in cycling safety

London – VIJAY SHAH

If you are a cyclist, or just happen to know someone who lives and breathes hi-viz, Lycra, and the wind through their hair while getting about on pedals and two wheels, you will know that cycling is a fun, adventurous and healthy sport. But like any sport, cycling comes with risks, and especially for urban cyclists, the roads of our cities are hazardous places where dangers can be unexpected.

 

On any road network, junctions pose the most danger for cyclists. According to the UK’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), 75% of the 19,000 bicycle accidents a year in the country happen at junctions, where cyclists are forced to contend with often heavy traffic flows, large vehicles and blind spots. Many of these accidents are caused by drivers not spotting cyclists or being unaware of a cyclist making a turn at a crossroads. Today, a quarter of accidents involving cars and cycles are caused by drivers’ failure to judge cyclists’ paths, especially at night, where hand signals by cyclists may not be noticed by drivers. It is this type of statistic that has also discouraged many from taking up daily cycling. Whilst the number of commuters has increased by 144% over the last decade, 68% of non-cyclists still believe it is too dangerous to cycle on the roads, making cycle safety a key issue now more than ever.

Unlike cars, bikes have no way of indicating changes in direction, but a freshly minted technology startup dedicated to producing innovative cycling safety equipment has a solution to help reduce the large numbers of cycling injuries and deaths on Britain’s roads.

CYCL, a London-based cycling technology startup managed by co-founder and chief technology officer, Agostino Stilli, launched a revolutionary new product, WingLights, in 2015, with help from public donations raised via Kickstarter crowdfunding. This simple, yet ingenious, technology involves LED devices attached to the cyclist’s bicycle handlebars, which behave like the turn signals on motor vehicles. Designed to be lightweight, waterproof, shockproof and robust for outdoors use, the product was featured on the BBC programme ‘Dragons’ Den’ in 2017, where it was backed by dragon Nick Jenkins. The gadget was publicised on WIRED, Business Insider and Forbes, and was adopted as the ‘Future of Transport’ by the UK Government.

WingLights began to light the way for cycling safety innovation and in the three years since they were launched, CYCL has fitted 50,000 devices to bikes, including the entire delivery fleet at the British arm of  the takeaway restaurant chain Domino’s Pizza.

Three years after its launch, CYCL has returned to Kickstarter to raise money for the latest iteration of WingLights, inspired by the feedback left by the gadget’s users and the original project’s supporters from Kickstarter. One story in particular stuck out. A cyclist going for a coastal ride in Dorset lost both her front and back lights and retained visibility on her route only by tapping WingLights repeatedly for hours before getting home safely (the original WingLights switch off automatically after 45 seconds). There was a clear need for a steady light mode to provide constant visibility.

 

CYCL’s design team went back to the drawing board, developing an enhanced version of the WingLights with permanent white/red side light functions. They also added an improved utility function where all the cyclist needs to do is snap the gadget on the ends of the bike’s handlebars and switch on: one tap for flashing indicators, and a continuous hold for steady side lights.
The new version, WingLights360, also comes packed with a helpful selection of new key features to help keep cyclists safe. Constructed from CNC aluminium for strength and lack of bulk, the devices are attached to the handlebars using magnets, and when not in use, can be tucked away on the person as a handy keyring. Perfect for the commute, they are now USB rechargeable, with a 3 hours battery operation interval and can be charged in under 30 minutes. The product has already become hot property before its impending launch with Forbes magazine naming WingLights360 their Forbes’ Top Cycling Gadget for 2018.

CYCL is one of a breed of startups catering to previously unexplored and poorly catered-for technological markets and is highly passionate about improving cyclists’ safety on the roads. The firm’s co-founder, Luca, said: “We have created a product based on the concept that motor vehicles have white and red side lights. We wanted to recreate this for the bicycle market, to ensure cyclists’ positioning and intentions are clear to other road users”.

CYCL officially launched the WingLights360 fundraiser to the general public this past Tuesday (11 September 2018). You can donate to the fund at this Kickstarter page. Send enquiries to info@cycl.bike .

cycl.bike

 

SOURCES:

Agostino Stilli/CYCL.

“Compatibility” – CYCL/Indive ltd https://cycl.bike/compatibility/

IMAGE CREDITS:

CYCL

 

LUIGI: Has the green brother of Super Mario been killed off?

Tokyo – VIJAY SHAH via WIL JONES and Joe

Super Mario, the games franchise featuring an Italian plumber who rides dinosaurs and has a penchant for golden rings, has been an icon of the video games circuit since its explosion in popularity. As anyone who has played the games knows, Mario has a taller, greener brother named Luigi. While not as regarded as his shorter sibling, Luigi is the quintessential sidekick, always supporting his brother in his endless quests to liberate royalty from towers guarded by baddies.

But, according to online magazine Joe, Luigi has now passed away. Killed off by his creators, Nintendo, Luigi shuffled off his mortal Kart only yesterday, reports Joe, and fans have reacted in protest and faux mourning.

 

The late Luigi, known only by his first name, made his debut in the very first Mario Bros arcade game in 1983. He soon became a fixture in further versions of the series, popping up in Super Mario Bros, Mario KartSmash Brothers, Mario Tennis and Mario Party. While at first Luigi was kept firmly in the pillion seat, he got his first lead act in Luigi’s Mansion, released on the now-archaic Dreamcube, back in 2001. He also made the leap from computer screen to the silver screen when he appeared in the Super Mario Bros movie, earlier in 1993.

Word first got out that Luigi was, as they say in Italian “la storia” (history) was when Nintendo organised an event to mark the launch of Super Smash Bros Ultimate on the new Nintendo Switch console. In the trailer accompanying the event, Luigi’s demise is actually shown. The unfortunate plumber has an encounter with the Grim Reaper, who literally scares him to death while he appears to be trapped in some kind of prison cell. Luigi’s ‘soul’ is seen departing his body.

As fans on Twitter mourned his death, things have started to be a bit less straightforward it seems. Nintendo UK Versus claimed on the social network that “Luigi is okay”, but did not give any further details. Could it be that Luigi managed to escape the clutches of the Grim One? As we all know, the entertainment industry have a habit of ‘killing’ off their characters only to resurrect them by some twist of the tale. The mystery continues.

Luigi is ‘survived’ (maybe) by his partner Daisy, brother Mario, his alleged son Baby Luigi, and his evil alter-ego Waluigi.

SOURCES:

Ali Hassan Besher/Facebook.

“Nintendo has ‘killed’ Luigi, and it has not gone down well at all” – Wil Jones, Joe (8 August 2018) https://www.joe.co.uk/gaming/nintendo-has-killed-luigi-and-it-has-not-gone-down-well-at-all-193926

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Focus Photo of Super Mario, Luigi, and Yoshi Figurines · Free Stock Photo” – Pixabay via Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/focus-photo-of-super-mario-luigi-and-yoshi-figurines-163036/

THE CASARES FORMULA: An Argentinian trick to become a bitcoin millionaire

Crypto-currencies have heralded the 21st century version of the Gold Rush as rising interest in the investment power of these new forms of payment is buoyed by the innate desire of many people to become rich beyond their wildest dreams. While some are very much wary of the newfangled money, particularly given the oft-reported lurches in the value of Bitcoin itself, a crypto-currency pioneer from Argentina claims to have worked out a simple formula to transform yourself into a bitcoin millionaire.

 

Entrepreneur Wenceslao Casares is the CEO of startup Xapo, a company that offers storage, purchase and purse services for bitcoins, and was previously founder of an Internet service provider, a video game company and a bank. Largely based in the tech heartland of Silicon Valley in the United States these days, Casares has long been a vocal defender of bitcoin and played a role in the development of the internet itself, according to online magazine Grandes Medios. His love of crypto and hobnobbing with the technorati even enabled him to convince Microsoft tech billionaire Bill Gates to adopt the currency. Casares also took on a position as an advisor for the compensation board of the PayPal council in 2016.

Being so familiar with the technology of the Net, you would have expected Casares to be quite knowledgeable about crypto-currencies, and indeed he claims to have cracked the binary code behind how to win big with cryptocoins. 

In an address to crypto advocates at the Westin Hotel in Times Square, New York, US, Casares publicly announced his formula to become a bitcoin millionaire, according to Quartz magazine. Casares advised the attendees to take just one per cent of what they owned in money, convert it into bitcoins and then stash the funds away for five years, simply forgetting about it. He said that even though you will lose one per cent of your fortune, within five years the value of bitcoin will have risen enough that you would be a millionaire in dollar terms, he told the audience.

Casares believes that while bitcoin will be on an upward value trajectory, it is still an investment with risks like any other. He warned that the success rate of his formula is fifty per cent and that there was a twenty per cent chance that bitcoin would fall and become worthless, meaning investors would lose all of their initial cash, but Casares also prophesied that within five years a single bitcoin would trade for more than a million U.S. dollars apiece. As of today’s date, one bitcoin is worth nearly USD 7,650 ($7,643.64), or GBP/£ 5,699.32.

Casares also predicted that bitcoin, as a ‘meta-currency’ would bypass central banks and become a new global monetary standard, “If bitcoin is successful, it will be the biggest leap forward in the democratisation of money we have seen, “ he said.

SOURCES:

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

Alexander Ochoa, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/AlexanderOchoaQ

“La elemental fórmula con bitcoines que te hará millonario” – Grandes Medios/Grupo Editorial Grandes Medios (24 May 2017) https://www.grandesmedios.com/formula-ganar-millones-bitcoines/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Cryptocurrency Concept Blockchain · Free photo on Pixabay” – WorldSpectrum, Pixabay (23 January 2018) https://pixabay.com/en/cryptocurrency-concept-blockchain-3409725/

IJNET: Mentoring clinic for MENA media startups launched

Amman – VIJAY SHAH via IFCJ

 

The International Journalists’ Network (IJNet)’s Arabic division has launched a new service from its mentoring centre designed to help journalists in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region set up or further develop their media startups, the International Center for Journalists has reported.

The year-long programme, aimed at entrepreneurs developing the next generation of technologically-rich Arabic media, aims to help develop new startups in the regional news economy by providing face-to-face and virtual training which culminates in a conference and media ‘boot camp’ hosted in Jordan. IJNet Arabic is also offering a lump sum seed fund of USD 4,000 (GBP 3,002) to startups with the most promising projects to jumpstart.

IJNet’s Mentoring Centre has run for several years, boosting the presence of independent media and entrepreneurship in a part of the world where most major media outlets are tightly controlled government mouthpieces and freedom of speech is often a luxury. In previous years, the Centre has helped support the development of a digital museum for women in Egypt, an independent Iraqi news agency site and a Moroccan podcast service. 

The media startup mentoring service is accepting applications from journalists from or located in the MENA region up until the end of this month, with the first round of project selections scheduled for June, followed in November by the ARIJ conference and boot camp in Amman in Jordan. The seed funding will be awarded at the end of the programme in March 2019.

SOURCES:

HEM Journalism Portal, HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-journalism-portal

ICFJ, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/ICFJ

“IJNet Arabic’s Mentoring Center for MENA Media Startups” – International Center for Journalists https://www.icfj.org/our-work/ijnet-arabic%E2%80%99s-mentoring-center-mena-media-startups

POKEMON GO: International Community Day next month

Tokyo – VIJAY SHAH via RENE RITCHIE and iMore

While the hype around the celebrated Nintendo augmented reality game Pokémon Go has long since died down, perhaps because everyone decided to twaddle with fidget spinners instead, the game still draws a loyal support base. For the uninitiated, Pokémon Go is an interactive game, downloadable to your mobile phone, where you catch animals from the Pokémon kids’ cartoon series in real-life locations, raise them and use them to fight opponents. In 2016, the game’s popularity reached endemic proportions, with people crowding in parks to catch rare and elusive Pokemon, and state authorities such as police, giving out warnings for people to pay attention to their surroundings when immersed in the highly addictive game.

 

Pokémon Go lovers will soon be able to bond and exchange their little friends in a special Community Day event, scheduled for the 17th May 2018 across the world. The Community Day offers game players, known as ‘trainers’ a chance to go out and catch Pokémon together as teams in a special and social bonding experience.The creators of Pokémon Go, in a bid to counteract the perception of gaming as an anti-social hobby, created the events, held monthly, to encourage players to get out, discover new places, and meet new people.

There are many game bonuses being released for the day, according to online magazine iMore. These include extra XP, Stardust, faster egg hatching, lure modules that last three hours, and a special Pokémon with an exclusive move. The featured Pokémon for May’s event (the Community Day occurs for just three hours on one day per month) is Charmander, a small orange fire-breathing cross between a dinosaur and a dragon.

While the event is scheduled for just three hours, start and finish times will vary according to your location. Gamers in the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan, can start hunting at 12 pm to 3 pm JST (Japanese Standard Time). Participants in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and India will have their regional event from 10 am-1 pm UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) and those in the Americas (including Greenland) can play from 11 am to 2 pm EST (Eastern Standard Time).

SOURCES:

interactive storytelling, ICIDS, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/icids/lists/interactive-storytelling

Louz Wate, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/LouzWate/

“Pokémon Go Events for April 2018” – Rene Ritchie, iMore/Mobile Nations (22 April 2018) https://www.imore.com/pokemon-go-events

“Pokémon Go Community Day Guide for May 2018” – Rene Ritchie, iMore/Mobile Nations (15 April 2018) https://www.imore.com/pokemon-go-community-day

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Abington Pokemon GO” – Penn State, Flickr (20 July 2016) https://www.flickr.com/photos/pennstatelive/28170409310

GOOGLE, SPEAK TO ME!: Google Assistant now has a voice in smart speakers

Washington – VIJAY SHAH via HEATHER KELLY and CNN

Google Assistant, the voice-activated virtual personal assistant technology widely used on home devices and mobile phones, is destined to make an appearance on new ‘smart speakers’ fitted with screens, reported CNNtech magazine, an imprint of U.S. news network CNN, recently.

The devices, known at Google HQ as ‘smart displays’, are a step up from the current wave of internet connected home speakers such as Alexa/Amazon Echo devices. Instead of just a round box with a speaker and lights, the new technology incorporates a screen for greater user-friendliness and accessibility.

Image credit: www.nextdayblinds.com/

 

Google announced the technology officially at the renowned CES technology show which was held in Las Vegas, USA from the 9th to the 12th of January this year, and the first smart displays packaged together with the Google Assistant are planned to made available in stores and online later in 2018. Not only will the displays be an improvement on current assistant devices, but also remove the need for people to rely on using mobile phones in having to stand them up in, say, the kitchen.

Google has partnered with hardware manufacturers such as Lenovo of China, and has shown some prototypes. According to CNNtech, the smart displays are sleek rectangular devices, much like a tablet, which can be stood up on counters and tables like a picture frame.

The smart displays are expected to have compatibility with other Google products, such as Photos, Duo and searches using the eponymous search engine. There is also the possibility of being able to watch YouTube videos. The company also announced it has grand plans for its Assistant, hinting that it is planning to bring the voice to more smart televisions, headphones and Android Auto, an app that links Android devices with systems in vehicles.

SOURCES:

HEM Newsbreakers, HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-newsbreakers

Bangladesh News 24, HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/bdnews24

“Google’s assistant now works on smart speakers with screens” – Heather Kelly, CNNtech/Cable News Network/Time Warner (8 January 2018) http://money.cnn.com/2018/01/08/technology/google-assistant-smart-speakers-screens/index.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Google Assistant with notepad and glasses” – NDB Photos, Flickr (16 March 2017) https://www.flickr.com/photos/142305740@N05/33433114166

OUR HIGH-TECH FUTURE: 5 technologies that will shape our tomorrow

Have you ever wondered what kind of technologies will become established in our world in the next 20, 30 or 50 years? Super-thin mobile phones with holographic screens, robot servants, perhaps those flying cars from the Back to the Future films we are still waiting on?. Well I do not keep a crystal ball in my bedroom, but in August 2017, Spanish-language online magazine TecNovedosos played soothsayer and predicted what technologies we might be using and experiencing in our daily lives in the future, perhaps as early as the next decade.

Technology has made leaps and bounds in the past few years. Just remember that only ten years ago, smartphones were just getting on the market, and you can realise the rapid strides we have made in innovation. Here are the five technological developments that could be coming to a house, high street or hospital (maybe) near you.

 

Artificial intelligence (AI) and clones

In 1996, the world witnessed the birth of the world’s first cloned animal, Dolly the sheep. Today we have robo-lawyers that can help fill out asylum applications, virtual holographic assistant on the London ‘Tube’ and every other website seems to have a chatbot. Virtual assistants like Siri and Google Assistant are now a standard feature on many phones. In the future, these ‘e-ssistants’ could become more human-like, perhaps crossing into physical technology as cyborgs, which could talk like us and be almost indistinguishable from flesh-and-blood humans.

Super processors

British scientists are said to be working on a ‘quantum computer’ the size of a sports stadium. This super-comp will have processing power far greater than any current system we have in place currently. It is hoped that this massive hunk of circuitry may unlock cures for diseases that now cannot be treated, solve complex scientific problems and even the enigmas of life.

Smart objects

The ‘internet of things’ is a interconnected setup where electronics like your refrigerator, microwave and heating systems, for example, are linked up via the internet to enable you to run your house and life better. For example, your fridge could tip you off if your milk is about to go off, or if you need to stock up on carrots. An IoT fridge could even place the shopping order for you based on what it detects inside it. In the future, advances in nanotechnology could see microscopic computing systems incorporated into everyday objects such as clothing and hygiene devices, that could even be controlled by your voice. Imagine telling your mop to jump out and start cleaning your kitchen.

Surgical nano-robots

We already have robots that can perform surgery and tiny endoscope cameras that can be swallowed as a pill. Future developments in nano-technology could point the way for microscopic robots that can be delivered into the bloodstream via a simple injection and identify or even obliterate harmful viruses or cells, such as that found with cancer.

A longer life

Some scientists think that within the next century, humans will not find it strange if they make it past their 150th birthday. Researchers in the US working with genetics have found ways to switch off the genes associated with ageing in human bodies. By deactivating them, they could extend the lifespans of certain cells. By 2030, it is hoped that doctors will be able to make their patients live longer just by doing a bit of genetic tinkering, without harming the patient’s health.

What other technological developments do you think will revolutionise our future in the next ten years? Please leave your ideas in the comments section below this post.

SOURCES:

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

Alexander Ochoa, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/AlexanderOchoaQ

“Las 5 tecnologías que cambiarán el mundo en los próximos años” – ANews via TecNovedosos (14 August 2017) https://www.tecnovedosos.com/tecnologias-cambiaran-mundo/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Future Connected City: 2086” – JCT 600, Flickr (12 August 2016) https://www.flickr.com/photos/143789194@N03/28650310590