Elon Musk hopes to conquer electric car range limits by 2020
Sep26

Elon Musk hopes to conquer electric car range limits by 2020

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Range anxiety may keep you from driving an electric car right now, but Tesla chief Elon Musk doesn’t expect that to be a problem for very long. When grilled about driving distances in a Danish interview, Musk revealed that he expects the battery technology to improve at a rate of 5 to 10 percent per year, which could lead to some massive range gains in a relatively short space of time. The CEO notes that people have already driven the Model S up to 500 miles on a charge at slow speeds, and that this could extend to over 600 miles as soon as 2016, and a whopping 746 miles by 2020. While it’s doubtful that you’d get these figures blazing down the highway, Treehugger‘s back-of-the-napkin math suggests that this should still lead to a realistic range of 382 to 483 miles. That’s enough for many city-to-city trips, and it doesn’t account for lighter materials or other efficiency refinements. Musk is also unsurprisingly bullish on the notion of self-driving cars. He believes that there will be fully autonomous vehicles (that is, capable of driving anywhere) around 2018. That’s a surprisingly short span of time, especially when prototype designs still have plenty of flaws. However, the executive doesn’t see robotic vehicles flooding the roads right away. He believes that cautious regulators won’t permit self-driving cars on their roads for another 1 to 3 years after that, and some regions will be more welcoming of autonomy than others. You may well get a hands-free ride around town in the next few years — just don’t mark a date on your calendar. [Image credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images]   Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Robotic exoskeleton and zaps of electricity helped man walk again
Sep06

Robotic exoskeleton and zaps of electricity helped man walk again

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. It’s not the first time Mark Pollock tested Ekso Bionics’ exoskeleton, but he can now move more naturally, as you can see in the video below the fold. That’s because Pollock, who’s been paralyzed from the waist down since 2010, gained back some control of and feelings in his legs, thanks to a process known as “transcutaneous spinal cord stimulation.” A team of UCLA scientists attached electrodes on his skin and stimulated his spine with jolts of electricity. After the process, Pollock’s legs tingled when exercising, regained enough voluntary control — he can raise them and flex his knees now — and even started sweating, which hasn’t happened since his accident. As a result, his legs and the battery-operated exoskeleton now work in tandem to give him a more natural gait. While he might never be able to walk unassisted, the result of his five-day training in UCLA sounds promising: he successfully walked thousands of steps. According to one of the researchers, Reggie Edgerton, restoring at least some of paraplegics’/quadriplegics’ ability to move on their own is essential despite advances in exoskeleton technologies, as it “will greatly improve their overall health and quality of life.”   Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Google’s making it easy for you to get solar panels onto your roof
Aug17

Google’s making it easy for you to get solar panels onto your roof

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Adding solar panels to your roof is a frustrating process, since it’s often difficult to work out if your home receives enough light to justify your initial investment. Google, however, has mapping, satellite and sunlight data for every property in the world, so it’s ideally placed to let you know how many rays hit your home. That’s why the firm is launching Sunroof, a database of how much solar energy hits a building in a city to create a “treasure map” of future green energy projects — including how much money you’d make each year. How do I know if solar power might be right for me? A few key factors go a long way in determining whether solar power can save you money. You could be a great candidate for rooftop solar if: You own your home You have a roof that isn’t heavily shaded and is in good condition Your home uses at least a moderate amount of electricity You have a good credit score (this matters only if you prefer to finance your system) You live in one of the roughly 35 states with good solar policy To begin with, Project Sunroof is only starting in a few places: Boston, San Francisco and Fresno, but if it’s successful, will roll out to the rest of the country, and the rest of the world, in the future. Once you’ve worked out how much you’re likely to generate in energy savings, the Sunroof website will put you in touch with a local installer.  We tested the service out on Aol’s building in San Francisco, and it told us that it received 1,841 hours of usable sunlight per year. The site was also able to tell us that we have roughly 15,461 square feet of available space that we could use to install solar panels into that space. It then took us through our options, letting us know that we’d save $14,000 if we leased the hardware from a third party, or $24,000 if we bought them outright. Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Cornell’s website can ID bird species through photos
Jun07

Cornell’s website can ID bird species through photos

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Casual birdwatchers may want to bookmark Merlin Bird Photo ID, a website created by Cornell University and the Visipedia research project. Thanks to powerful artificial intelligence techniques, the website can identify birds in photos you upload, so long as they’re species found in the US and Canada. You will need to draw a box around the feathered creature, click its beak, eye and tail, as well as identify where and when you took the picture. But after that, the system will do the rest: it will sift through the numerous photos taken by other birdwatchers, including the 70 million images in the eBird.org database, to find ones that match your image. It will then present you a list of the best matches “within seconds,” along with their photos and recordings of the sounds and songs they make. Like any other system that uses machine-learning tech, the more people use it, the better it becomes at identifying different species. As Cornell Tech Computer Science professor Serge Belongie said: Computers can process images much more efficiently than humans-they can organize, index, and match vast constellations of visual information such as the colors of the feathers and shapes of the bill. The state-of-the-art in computer vision is rapidly approaching that of human perception, and with a little help from the user, we can close the remaining gap and deliver a surprisingly accurate solution. The website is open to anyone and free to use, but it doesn’t work on phones and tablets yet. However, its creators promise that when it does become good enough to ID birds in smartphone photos, they’ll add the feature to Cornell’s Merlin app for Android and iOS. That application helps you identify avian species, as well, but it’s by asking five questions about the bird you spotted. Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Diabetes app shares your blood sugar levels with strangers
Apr23

Diabetes app shares your blood sugar levels with strangers

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Living with diabetes means tracking your meals and insulin level. The new One Drop app for iOS (an Android version is planned) aims to not only make that monitoring easier, but also use the logged information to help the larger diabetic community. The brainchild of Razorfish co-founder and diabetic Jeff Dachis, the app tracks food intake, insulin levels, medication and exercise. Users can then share that information (either publicly or anonymously) with other One Drop users to help the community learn from one another. They can also encourage each other via likes and stickers and use the gathered data to help inform their own regimen. The app is currently free, but Dachis told TechCrunch a monthly subscription is coming later in the year that would include a stylish bluetooth-enabled glucose meter and test strips.     Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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NASA assembles unprecedented scientific team to find out if we’re all alone
Apr21

NASA assembles unprecedented scientific team to find out if we’re all alone

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. NASA wants to find life outside the solar system, and it is putting Earth’s best minds on the job. The space agency said today that it is launching an interdisciplinary effort aimed at searching for extraterrestrial life. Known as the Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (or “NExSS”), the project will bring together a wide range of scientists, researchers, and academics to try to “better understand the various components of an exoplanet [a planet around a star], as well as how the planet stars and neighbor planets interact to support life.” NASA said that since the discovery of the first exoplanet in 1995, it has found more than 1,000 of them, with thousands more likely to be similarly designated in the future. At the same time, NASA said, scientists are trying to figure out which of these many worlds are, at least in theory, habitable, and which may have signs of life. “The key to this effort is understanding how biology interacts with the atmosphere, geology, oceans, and interior of a planet,” NASA wrote, “and how these interactions are affected by the host star. This ‘system science’ approach will help scientists better understand how to look for life on exoplanets. NASA’s new project, run by its Science Mission Directorate, will bring together earth scientists, planetary scientists, heliophysicists, and astrophysicists “in an unprecedented collaboration to share their perspectives, research results, and approaches in the pursuit of one of humanity’s deepest questions: Are we alone?”   Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Venturebeat - Read the original article...

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Computer keyboards could detect early-stage Parkinson’s disease
Apr03

Computer keyboards could detect early-stage Parkinson’s disease

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. It’s tough identifying Parkinson’s disease in its early stages, because there are no standard lab tests to diagnose it yet and symptoms are typically subtle. A group of MIT researchers believe the answer could lie in something a lot of people already use, though: the computer keyboard. They’ve recently conducted a study proving that people with conditions affecting motor function have different typing patterns than those who don’t. To be exact, the researchers designed plug-in software to measure how long subjects pressed each key before releasing it. Those with impaired motor skills ended up pressing keys for a longer duration. Most of the time, a big part of the brain is already damaged before the illness becomes apparent. An early diagnosis will allow doctors to plan a treatment strategy that slows down its effects. Motor skill impairment, however, doesn’t automatically mean Parkinson’s. In fact, the study’s original goal was to observe the effects of fatigue. After the team determined that it could work as a diagnostic tool for Parkinson’s, though, they enlisted the help of 21 patients for more tests. The team found that those with the condition exhibited “greater variation in the keystrokes” compared to the 15-person control group. Sounds promising, but the results have to be validated in larger studies with people in various stages of the disease, before doctors can start asking possible patients to take typing tests. [Image credit: Getty Images]   Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Volvo’s reflective bike paint helps cars spot you at night
Mar29

Volvo’s reflective bike paint helps cars spot you at night

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Want to feel nervous? Try riding a bike at night alongside a busy road. Even if you’re festooned in lights and reflectors, there’s a real chance that a less-than-attentive driver will smack into you. Volvo may have a better way to keep cars at a distance, however. Its new LifePaint spray is invisible during the day, but reflects car headlights in the evening. You can coat your bike, your clothing or most anything else and provide a heads-up to motorists, who’ll see bright white as they get close. It only lasts for 10 days at a time, but you can wash it off – just don’t ride during a heavy rainstorm and you’ll be fine. The biggest challenge is simply getting some cans for yourself. Volvo is only offering LifePaint in six London- and Kent-area bike shops right now, and availability will depend on how it fares in these test areas.   Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Stanford scientists make leukemia ‘grow up’ and eat itself
Mar18

Stanford scientists make leukemia ‘grow up’ and eat itself

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. A team at Stanford’s School of Medicine has reportedly uncovered a potent new treatment method for combating one of leukemia’s most aggressive forms — and they did it pretty much by accident. While survival rates for B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a particularly nasty form of white blood cell cancer, have risen to about 85 percent over the past decade thanks to the advent of stem cell therapies, the prognosis for this disease in the presence of a Philadelphia chromosome mutation remains quite poor. But thanks to a chance observation by Dr. Scott McClellan, the Stanford team believes it’s figured out way to neutralize the disease using its own cancerous cells against it. The research effort began when, in the lab one day, McClellan noticed that a number of leukemic cells had transformed from cancerous cells into “mature” macrophages. These are a type of immune cell tasked with not only directly consuming cellular debris, pathogens and cancers but also with recruiting other immune cells for the fight. “B-cell leukemia cells are in many ways progenitor cells that are forced to stay in an immature state,” Dr. Ravi Majeti, an assistant professor of medicine at Stanford, said in a statement. But with the addition of various transcription factors — proteins capable of latching onto and activating specific DNA sequences — Majeti and McClellan essentially forced these deadly cancer cells to “grow up” into fully formed macrophages.   Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Drones will soon detect unexploded bombs in Laos
Mar16

Drones will soon detect unexploded bombs in Laos

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Drones are more than just flying robots designed for commercial deliveries and buying Crocs. Despite some lingering suspicion from consumers, unmanned aircrafts have been deployed for social good too. They can aid rescue missions, navigate tough regions and even put out fires. Now, Austin-based ArchAerial‘s new drone mission could potentially save lives in war-torn regions that are prone to accidents and fatalities from unexploded bombs. An aerial imaging firm, ArchAerial, already employs multi-rotor aircrafts for agricultural mapping, academic research and archeological surveys. Over the weekend at SXSW, Ryan Baker, the company’s CEO, announced that his firm plans to deploy a prototype that will map minefields and locate unexploded bombs in areas historically ravaged by war. The humanitarian drone, essentially an Octocopter, will be loaded with LIDAR, a remote sensing technology that 3D maps the surface of the Earth with immaculate precision. If the mission goes as planned, it will keep surveyors from ever having to set foot on the ground in search of minefields. ArchAerial’s first minefield-locating mission will be in Laos, a country quite literally scarred from the Vietnam War. The US dropped about two million tons of explosives within a span of nine years, making Laos, a small Southeast Asian country the most bombed area in the world. Half a century later, an estimated 80 million baseball-sized bombs scattered across the country continue to threaten civilian lives. [Image credit: ArchAerial]   Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Google’s fifth Science Fair rewards teens for saving the environment
Feb18

Google’s fifth Science Fair rewards teens for saving the environment

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Google’s Science Fair competition regularly leads to clever inventions from teens, and this year’s event (the fifth ever) is giving junior pioneers an extra incentive to strive for a prize. On top of familiar rewards, including $100,000 in scholarships and trips to the Galapagos or Virgin Galactic’s spaceport, there’s a Community Impact Award that honors efforts tackling environmental or health issues – kids who clean up the planet or save a life may get special recognition. Teachers will also get their due through a new Inspiring Educator award. Young creators have until May 18th to submit their finished projects to Google, and you’ll hear about the winners at a finalist event starting on September 19th. Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Blue Spark debuts wearable baby thermometer and app
Jan04

Blue Spark debuts wearable baby thermometer and app

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Blue Spark Technologies’ new wearable thermometer is built into a soft bandage-like patch that sticks to the skin. It continuously monitors body temperature and reports the data back to a smartphone app in real time. The product is called TempTraq, and is powered by Blue Spark’s patented, printed flexible battery. The company has been working with Food and Drug Administration guidelines for developing the product, which is now waiting for final FDA approval as a safe and effective medical device. The product will not be available for sale until it’s approved. As you might expect, TempTraq is targeted at parents with babies. “TempTraq allows parents to keep a close watch on their child’s temperature without having to continually disturb them,” said Blue Spark CEO John Gannon in a statement. “It’s the only way to monitor a sick child.” A parent can monitor the data being gathered by the wearable, provided they’re within a range of about 40 feet. The thermometer measures temperatures between 86.0°F and 108.3°F. The TempTraq app displays both real time and historical temperature data transmitted from the patch in graphical or tabular view, making it possible for caregivers to see fluctuations and quickly adapt treatment. The app is available for Apple or Android devices. Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Venturebeat - Read the original article...

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Alabama anti-discrimination bill to be named for Apple CEO Tim Cook
Dec04

Alabama anti-discrimination bill to be named for Apple CEO Tim Cook

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. A bill is being introduced in the state of Alabama to ban discrimination against state employees because of their sexual orientation, and it looks like that measure will bear Apple CEO Tim Cook’s name.  According to Reuters, democratic state representative Patricia Todd, who is the state’s only openly gay lawmaker and the sponsor of the bill, will put Cook’s name on it after the Apple CEO spoke out against sexual orientation discrimination at the Alabama Academy of Honor. Cook’s speech took place just days before Cook came out publicly in a Bloomberg Businessweek editorial, saying that he was “proud to be gay.” The combination of Cook’s speech and his public announcement that he was gay led Todd to say that she would put his name on the bill, but she then said she was initially speaking in jest. Todd also said that an Apple representative had contacted her, expressing concern about attaching Cook’s name to the measure. However, it sounds like those comments reached Apple, and Cook (who grew up and attended college in Alabama) said he was proud and honored to be associated with the bill. In a statement to Reuters, Apple said that “Tim was honored to hear that State Rep. Todd wanted to name an anti-discrimination bill after him, and we’re sorry if there was any miscommunication about it. Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: The Verge - Read the original article...

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Flat battery? This new prototype turns waste heat into electricity
Nov30

Flat battery? This new prototype turns waste heat into electricity

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Picture a device that can produce electricity using nothing but the ambient heat around it. Thanks to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science today, this scenario is a step closer – a team from MIT has created an electrochemical cell which uses different temperatures to convert heat to electricity. The cell only needs low-grade waste heat – less than 100C – to charge batteries, and is a significant step forward compared to similar devices which either require an external circuit for charging or high temperature heat sources (300C). “It’s a great idea to be able to recover useful electrical energy from waste heat,” Anthony Vassallo, Delta Electricity Chair in Sustainable Energy Development at The University of Sydney, said. At higher temperatures (60C), the cell (which is made of Prussian blue nanoparticles and ferrocyanide) was charged, and following cooling to 15C, the cell discharged energy. At lower temperatures the cell discharged more energy than was used to charge it, so converted heat to electricity. Diagram depicting how energy is generated as temperature varied. Gang Chen, CC BY The amount of heat energy generated is dependent on the temperature and the Carnot limit. The Carnot limit is the maximum absolute amount of heat energy that can be converted to useful electricity. In cars, engine heat efficiency has reached around 20%, while the Carnot limit – the absolute efficiency which could be reached at that operating temperature – is 37%. This means that most heat energy conversion is based on high temperature, and low-grade heat conversion devices will never be able to achieve high conversion efficiencies. This first prototype can only convert 2% heat energy to electricity, and, Professor Vassallo predicted, will have a Carnot limit of “less than 10%”. “While this will no doubt be improved, there are thermodynamic limits which basically say the maximum efficiency will always be low at the sort of temperatures these electrochemical cells could work at,” he said. Tao Zero/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA When dealing with such low conversion efficiencies (generating watts rather than kilowatts), Damon Honnery – a research engineer at Monash University – said that “overcoming system losses can be a significant technical barrier”. But it’s not all bad, according to Associate Professor Honnery: “There is a demand for low power sources. Lots of electrical systems require low power, and there could be niche uses for smaller devices where the energy density doesn’t need to be so high.” On the road to application The researchers want to try use the technology to harvest heat from the environment in remote areas....

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Tinder for pets helps you give shelter animals forever homes
Nov03

Tinder for pets helps you give shelter animals forever homes

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. This new addition to the growing number of Tinder-like apps out there is possibly the cutest one yet – it lets you browse dogs, cats and other animals in shelters looking for their forever home. The Tinder for pets we’re talking about was developed by adoption website AllPaws, which isn’t new to taking cues from dating services. In fact, the website itself looks more like online dating portals instead of traditional pet adoption haunts on the web. Just like Tinder, you need to swipe left or right to browse through contenders and message a shelter through the app when you find one that tugs at your heartstrings. The app lists 200,000 adoptable animals at the moment, and while we can all look at dog and cat pics all day, you can also filter them based on breed and on your geographical location to easily find viable candidates. Of course, nobody should ever adopt pets based on looks alone, but apps like this help entice people to go to shelters – many might even end up going home with another dog or cat than the one they originally wanted. You can now download the AllPaws app from iTunes and finally find someone who’ll love you more than you love him/her. Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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‘Minecraft’ add-on helps you learn programming while you play
Aug18

‘Minecraft’ add-on helps you learn programming while you play

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Programming languages can be daunting to learn, especially if you’re a kid who’d rather be playing games than creating them. Thankfully, ThoughtSTEM has found a way to make coding both accessible and entertaining in one shot. Its upcoming LearnToMod software teaches you how to write JavaScript code by producing Minecraft mods that are appropriate to your skill level. If you’re just starting out, you can use building blocks of code that produce simple-yet-fun features, such as a bow that shoots teleporters. Advanced students, meanwhile, can write in raw JavaScript and produce content that you wouldn’t think was possible in Minecraft‘s cuboid universe, such as a Tetris mini-game. The system also includes plenty of motivators, in case the gameplay itself isn’t enough. There are more than 100 lessons with video tutorials, badges for accomplishing certain tasks and private servers that let you show projects to your friends. You can even get credit at the University of California in San Diego, if you’re pursuing a programming degree. While only 150 students are testing LearnToMod now, you can pre-order it for $30 ahead of its wider October launch — a bit late for back-to-school, but just fine if you’re hoping to get your feet wet. Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Meet Data for Good, the Hacker News for showing off your world-changing data science
Jul16

Meet Data for Good, the Hacker News for showing off your world-changing data science

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Data scientists already have DataTau, a specialized version of Hacker News, that popular online water cooler for programmers. But some socially minded data scientists thought DataTau wasn’t great enough, and now they have their own site. Data for Good is a public-good-only fork of DataTau. Data for Good, which itself is a nonprofit organization, represents a new community to display the most noble-minded efforts of data scientists as the field stays hot and more companies pursue data scientists. Physical and virtual places to learn data science are multiplying, as are programs geared toward social good. So Data for Good’s appearance is timely. Tobias Pfaff, Vicens Fayos, and David Geffroy built Data for Good 10 days ago, during a startup weekend in Hamburg, Germany. Pfaff hails from the German city of Münster. Fayos comes from Spain. Geffroy is French. Fayos and Geffoy work in Hamburg. Pfaff, who lives in Munster and took a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Münster last year, wondered what he could do with predictive analytics after being inspired by a big data book that talks about how the New York City Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics prevents fire risk with predictive analytics. Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Venturebeat - Read the original article...

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Scientists have figured out how to create blood vessels in 3D printed organs
Jul02

Scientists have figured out how to create blood vessels in 3D printed organs

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. While 3D-printed organs sound like a great idea – imagine no longer waiting around for a transplant – a major hurdle for printing internal ones thus far have been creating intricate blood vessels and ventricles that are required for the organ to actually, you know, work. Now, a collaboration between scientists from the University of Sydney, Harvard, Stanford and MIT have discovered a way to do just that. The team used an advanced bioprinter to create tiny interconnected fibers, and then coated them in human endothelial cells and a protein-based material, which hardens under light. They then removed the fibers, and voilà — a network of capillaries was born. Lead author and University of Sydney researcher, Dr. Luiz Bertassoni, said: “While recreating little parts of tissues in the lab is something that we have already been able to do, the possibility of printing three-dimensional tissues with functional blood capillaries in the blink of an eye is a game changer.” We can’t help but agree. If you want to learn more about 3D-printed organs, we’ve got a handy explainer to do so right here. Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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‘Reading Rainbow’ is the most popular Kickstarter to date
Jun30

‘Reading Rainbow’ is the most popular Kickstarter to date

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. As it turns out, there are a lot of people who want LeVar Burton teaching kids how to read. The Reading Rainbow remake has just become the most popular Kickstarter project, ever — it broke the record with over 91,600 backers on June 30th. That puts it ahead of legendary efforts like the OUYA game console, the original Pebble smartwatch and the Veronica Mars movie, and it still has roughly two days left to go as of this writing. Not that Burton and crew are content with those numbers, mind you. To spur additional pledges, they’re offering new perks that include signed art prints and library visits for the bigger spenders. It’s not certain that Reading Rainbow will reach its next big objective of 100,000 backers, but we wouldn’t rule out a last-minute push that puts it over the top. Suffice it to say that anyone hoping to beat LeVar’s final result is going to need a bona fide hit. Reading Rainbow just crushed the record for most backers ever! https://t.co/A9gyA9uNTT pic.twitter.com/ygsCxomJmb – Kickstarter (@kickstarter) June 30, 2014   Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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High-tech gloves can teach you Braille even if you’re distracted
Jun24

High-tech gloves can teach you Braille even if you’re distracted

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. It looks like a team of Georgia Tech researchers is in the business of making wondrous, high-tech gloves — their most recent one, for instance, can teach you Braille even if you’re doing something else. Similar to the piano-teaching glove they designed years ago, this new pair has vibrating motors on each knuckle that buzz in different patterns to correspond with preset Braille phrases. To test how well the gloves work, they asked volunteers during an experiment to play a game for 30 minutes while the motors buzz along with audio cues. When the subjects typed the phrases after half an hour, the researchers found their answers to be mostly accurate, with some even getting perfect scores. Even better, the subjects, who’ve supposedly never studied Braille before, could not only type random phrases after the test, but also read and recognize some Braille letters. As with any new technology, the researchers are still conducting more tests, but the gloves have a huge potential to help with teaching more blind people the language. The wearable might also make it easier to learn Braille (something that’ll take years to master) for those who lose their sight later in life.   Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Chicago is getting lamp posts that count people and track pollution
Jun23

Chicago is getting lamp posts that count people and track pollution

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Apparently, Chicago is becoming even more like its Watch Dogs doppelganger than we first thought. Researchers are deploying networked, sensor-equipped lamp posts from this July onward to learn how they could help urban planning and safety. They’ll collect environmental data like air quality, noise levels and wind, and they’ll also measure foot traffic by counting the number of passing cellphones. If the project takes off, Chicago officials could easily tell if air pollution is on the rise, or if a narrow sidewalk is creating a choke point. That may seem a bit Orwellian at first glance, and there is a concern that the pedestrian info could be used in tandem with other monitoring techniques to get a better idea of someone’s daily activity. However, team scientist Charlie Catlett tells the Chicago Tribune that all the data collection is anonymous – the smart lights won’t be identifying people, recording sounds or taking pictures. That’s not going to completely assuage privacy advocates worried about a surveillance-happy government, but the initiative may pay off if it makes urban life a little more bearable.   [Image credit: Iceninejon, Flickr]   Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Teenager builds browser plugin to show you where politicians get their funding
Jun19

Teenager builds browser plugin to show you where politicians get their funding

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. The murky world of lobby groups bankrolling politicians is garnering more attention, but is there a way to find out which representatives are in the pocket without a lot of tedious research? A 16-year-old programmer, Nicholas Rubin, has developed a browser plugin that, when you mouse-over the name of a US lawmaker, will serve up a list of which parties have donated to their campaign funds, and the quantities. Greenhouse (geddit?) is currently available for Chrome and Safari, with Firefox coming at some point in the future – although our lawyers have (probably) asked us to point out that the data is from the 2012 elections, so they may not be entirely up to date but he does have plans to update it in the future. From the Greenhouse site: It is my hope that providing increased transparency around the amount and source of funding of our elected representatives may play a small role in educating citizens and promoting change. If you use the extension when reading about a Congressional vote on energy policy, for example, maybe you’ll discover that a sponsor of a bill has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the oil and gas industry. Or maybe you’ll learn that the top donors to a member of Congress who opposes tort reform are lawyers and law firms. I use data from the last full election cycle (generally 2011-12 for Representatives and 2007-12 for Senators) and plan to update it as more relevant data becomes available.   Source: Greenhouse Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Oxford University’s smart glasses help people with partial vision see more detail
Jun17

Oxford University’s smart glasses help people with partial vision see more detail

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. When we hear the term “smart glasses” these days, we tend to focus more on the smart and less on the glasses. Researchers at Oxford University see things the other way around: putting the emphasis on glasses suggests a device that helps the visually impaired see the world, not augment it. This is the project Dr. Stephen Hicks of the Nullfield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Oxford has been working on: a wearable designed to give folks with partial vision a clearer view of their surroundings. It’s not as flashy as Google Glass, but it has the potential to change lives. It’s also being tested in the wild. Hicks’ early prototypes show a lot of promise. Test users with partial vision are treated to a high contrast view of nearby objects. “The idea of the smart glasses is to give people with poor vision an aid that boosts their awareness of what’s around them,” Hicks says. It’s not a cure for sight loss, but test users say the system helps to add context to their surroundings, and makes the most of their existing vision. Unfortunately, the University’s current rigs are somewhat bulky — cramming a pocket-sized computer, Epson Moverio-sourced optics and a head-mounted motion camera into a single wearable — but Hicks says the unit will eventually “look like a regular pair of glasses.” The final unit may also have audio feedback as well as face and text recognition features, but the University is waiting for additional funding before tinkering with new features. Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Father of “net neutrality” runs for office, wants to block Comcast/TWC merger
Jun17

Father of “net neutrality” runs for office, wants to block Comcast/TWC merger

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Tim Wu. Stanford Center for Internet and Society Tim Wu, the Columbia Law School professor and author who coined the phrase “network neutrality,” is running for Lieutenant Governor in New York. If he wins, Wu will try to block Comcast’s attempted purchase of Time Warner Cable. While the merger is being reviewed by federal regulators, it is also being reviewed at the state level. In New York, the Public Service Commission is scrutinizing the deal. “The main issue [related to technology] I’m focusing on right now is Comcast and the really big mergers,” Wu told Ars today. While the lieutenant governor doesn’t make merger decisions, “I see the lieutenant governor position as one that puts pressure on other agencies and advocates for the public’s interest. I would push the agencies to block the Comcast merger,” he said. Wu explained to The Washington Post that “The state can block a merger. They can’t block two companies merging in Texas, but Comcast wants to buy Time Warner Cable, which happens to have substantial business operations in New York. It is a New York State merger.” Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Ars Technica - Read the full article...

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A ‘bionic pancreas’ might transform how diabetes is managed
Jun16

A ‘bionic pancreas’ might transform how diabetes is managed

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Scientists have successfully tested a “bionic pancreas” on 20 adults and 32 teenagers with Type 1 diabetes for five days, reports the Associated Press. The pancreas is a wearable device that continuously monitors a patient’s blood sugar levels and administers insulin automatically, when needed. And, unlike other wearables currently in the works, this one was able to correct low blood sugar levels, as well as high. In the study, 20 adult participants were asked to stay in a hotel room for five days. They could eat and behave normally, but were asked to limit their alcohol intake, reports Time. The teenagers, on the other hand, were sent to a summer camp. During these experiments, the researchers said, the device performed better than conventional pumps and insulin monitors. These results were presented at the American Diabetes Association conference in San Francisco on Sunday, and the study was published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The device itself has three parts: two cell-phone sized pumps that administer insulin and glucagon, as well as an iPhone that connects to a glucose monitor. This might not seem like the best setup, but Kristina Herndon told the Associated Press that her 13-year-old son — one of the study’s participants — clearly preferred wearing the device over pricking his finger up to 10 times each day. Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: The Verge - Read the original article...

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Backers pledge over $1 million to bring Reading Rainbow to the web
May28

Backers pledge over $1 million to bring Reading Rainbow to the web

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Few things in this world are as moving as a potent mix of nostalgia and passion. Don’t just take my word for it: just look at the more than 22,000 people who backed LeVar Burton’s vision of bringing Reading Rainbow to the web on Kickstarter. That’s more than a million dollars raised in less than a day, and it’s all to help kids realize that theeeeeey can be anythiiiiiiiiing. This isn’t the first time Reading Rainbow has been brought back to life since it left public airwaves in 2009 — Burton and company launched a Reading Rainbow iPad app nearly two years ago. The real issue here is access. Wanting to teach kids the joy of reading is a noble goal, but affecting change on a wider scale requires more than just hardware designed in California and assembled in China. Now that the team has shattered its funding goal, they’re going to make the books and “video field trips” from the app available on the web, and craft a version specifically meant for classrooms. Alas, Reading Rainbow’s public television days have long since passed, so you’ll actually have to pay a subscription fee for all that fine content. LeVar’s looking out for the disadvantaged too, though — the team plans to make that web version available for free in underprivileged schools.   Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Human ‘suspended animation’ trials to start this month (cooling you down to help you survive major surgery)
May26

Human ‘suspended animation’ trials to start this month (cooling you down to help you survive major surgery)

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. The researchers behind it don’t want to call it suspended animation, but it’s the most conventional way to explain it. The world’s first humans trials will start at the UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, with 10 patients whose injuries would otherwise be fatal to operate on. A team of surgeons will remove the patient’s blood, replacing it with a chilled saline solution that would cool the body, slowing down bodily functions and delaying death from blood loss. According to Dr. Samuel Tisherman, talking to New Scientist: “We are suspending life, but we don’t like to call it suspended animation because it sounds like science fiction… we call it emergency preservation and resuscitation.” Successful tests on pigs were achieved in 2000. After inducing fatal cuts, scientists were able to drop the body temperatures by around 10 degrees celsius. All the control pigs died, while those ‘preserved” had a 90 percent survival rate – after some heart restarts. Like these trials, the technique is currently only useful for emergency procedures after severe injuries, situations with a survival rate of only seven percent. Funding for part of the project has come from the US Army, and the idea apparently came from the Vietnam War, where military surgeons noted that the leading cause of death was blood loss in the first 5 to 20 minutes after injury, even though roughly a third of the soldiers had wounds that would have been survivable in a typical emergency room. Science fiction-like suspended animation is still a way off: this preservation state can apparently only be prolonged for around four hours. Not nearly enough for an intergalactic journey, but possibly enough to save lives.   Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Paralyzed teen to kick World Cup’s first ball with mind-controlled exoskeleton (video)
May26

Paralyzed teen to kick World Cup’s first ball with mind-controlled exoskeleton (video)

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. This year’s World Cup could be host to something more exciting than a bicycle kick scoring the winning goal. Thanks to an international collaboration between universities such as Colorado State University, The Technical University of Munich and Duke University, a paralyzed teen is set to open the sporting event by kicking a football while wearing a motorized exoskeleton powered by their brain. Colorado State University in particular recently published a video of its portion of the Walk Again Project, describing just how the mind-control helmet was 3D-printed layer-by-layer in order to fit the wearer’s head and connect the electrodes. Take a peek after the break to see the video in question, which also offers a fascinating look into how advances in robotics and 3D printing can improve people’s lives. Which is a hell of a lot more entertaining than watching Nigel de Jong roughing up Xabi Alonso again.   Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Share if you get sick: Yelp reviews lead investigators to restaurant health violations
May23

Share if you get sick: Yelp reviews lead investigators to restaurant health violations

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/unnormalized/4401596072/sizes/l New York City investigators have successfully used Yelp reviews to find hundreds of cases of food-borne illness and undiscovered health code violations. It appears that all those uneasy stories we read on review sites can end up saving us from unpleasant nights. “The results suggest that online restaurant reviews might help to identify unreported outbreaks of food borne illness and restaurants with deficiencies in food handling,” concludes the report. After mining Yelp reviews for phrases like “I got sick” and other unsavory descriptions, health officials contacted reviewers, some of which led to re-inspection of restaurants. In some cases, the restaurants had been reviewed just days earlier, “The two investigations and the routine inspection identified multiple violations at each of the outbreak restaurants.” For now, the Yelp investigation process is disturbingly slow. It takes around 8 days to find a review and interview the user. In that time, the restaurant continues to serve dangerous meals. “We’re now taking this a step further by providing a two-way street for the data: Alert environmental health inspectors when an outbreak occurs while providing the latest inspection information to diners,” said Yelp’s director government affairs, Luther Lowe. He hopes the new collaboration will lead to a “dramatic reduction in food-borne illness” The Yelp experience is another in a long line discoveries of how to mine social media for nuggets of health data. Twitter has led researchers to HIV outbreaks A rise in Google searches for flu symptoms can tip officials to an impending outbreak (though the accuracy is under contention). Healthmap can scan international news for ‘strange illnesses’, which led experts in the US to an outbreak of H1N1 in Mexico   Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Venturebeat - Read the original article...

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Sitting all day is bad for your brain, too
May03

Sitting all day is bad for your brain, too

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. We know that spending all day hunched over laptops is shortening our lifespan and expanding our waistlines. Still, the threat of never growing up to be an Anderson Cooper-caliber silver fox may not be enough to motivate young tech workers to switch to a treadmill desk and sign up for some daily Jazzercise. But if you value your mind, beware: A new study shows how added pounds can make us dumber. “The findings show that lower-fit individuals lose more memory across time,” said Kimberly Fenn, assistant professor of psychology at Michigan State University, in a chat with VentureBeat. The study found that less fit college-age students had a worse long term memories than their fitter counterparts. Even after controlling for race, age, and IQ, participants who had fatter body compositions and less aerobic capacity (Vo2 max), performed worse a test of long-term memory. Study participants were asked to memorize word pairs until they could reliably remember at least a few groups. Then, after at least 24 hours, they were asked to perform the same memory test. “These findings contribute to a larger body of research that has begun to indicate that cardiorespiratory fitness may be important for the optimal functioning of multiple aspects of high-level cognitive and memory processes,” concluded the researchers. In other words, poor fitness impacts at least one critical area of our intelligence and could be related to even more. Two possible solution Get a treadmill desk. I love my walking treadmill. I walk around four to nine hours each day, and don’t lose an ounce of productivity. Indeed, at least a few studies have show that people are smarter while walking. Treadmill desks are a tad expensive ($1,000-$1,500), but it’s well worth the cost in increased health and productivity. Exercise! I discovered that I could replace coffee with 30 seconds of high-intensity exercise. About every two hours, I do a quick bout of burpees, mountain climbers, or shadow boxing, and I feel an immediate surge of mental energy. In a word, if you value your mind, you have to value your body as well. Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Venturebeat - Read the original article...

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