Surveillance cameras permeate modern life. Mounted in convenience stores, retail outlets, bars, clubs, ATMs and elsewhere, silent observers record everything from the mundane to the criminal. The cameras serve a dual function as both deterrent and instant legal record. In light of the police shooting of unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, national attention has focused on wearable cameras for police officers. For the (less lethal) weapon manufacturer Taser, there is opportunity in this civic need.
Fitness trackers use suites of sensors and algorithms to turn data from your training regimen into (hopefully) meaningful information about how race-ready you are. But for the rest of the time—when you’re sitting at a desk—there’s not much for devices to do. Spire, a clip-on tracker that looks like a small, silvery stone, monitors a more subtle aspect of your physiology: your breath. By measuring the small vibrations and abdominal movements caused by inhaling and exhaling, Spire’s analytics software can determine how stressed or focused you are, the company says. If you haven’t taken a deep breath in a while, Spire’s smartphone app will kindly remind you. It will even guide you through a calming exercise.
When producers at Maxis wanted to make Sims appear less robotic, they filmed employees at a staff party moving between groups, telling jokes, and responding to awkward situations. They used the footage to help build a model of human behavior that—in combination with other new software—led to a more realistic virtual world.
You may have heard by now that bisphenol A, a chemical commonly-used to make hard plastic and is found in many water bottles, can have harmful health effects. Due to evidence suggesting BPA can impair brain and reproductive development and other reasons, the FDA banned its use in baby bottles two years ago. Since then, evidence increasingly suggests that the chemical that manufacturers have replaced it with, bisphenol S, may be just as bad.
This week, Amazon announced its new 3-D printing store. We were immediately giddy, imagining the endless possibilities of being able to upload any design and, in Amazon fashion, have it shipped to us in solid form overnight. But the online book purveyor that has diversified to sell basically everything on the planet seems to have squandered its opportunity to transform the 3-D printing movement; the products in its new online marketplace are not customizable, fairly expensive, and slow to be delivered.
Last month, online television company Aereo lost in a major case before the Supreme Court. The Court's 6-3 decision in ABC v. Aereo treated the company, and its unique antenna arrays, as just another cable network. In court documents filed yesterday, Aereo argues that it's allowed to keep operating. Only this time, Aereo will explicitly be a cable company.
In the wake of a mysterious disaster that destroys human civilization, a poisonous mist has spread over the land. The only way to gain immunity to the deadly miasma is by consuming spirulina, called the "Viridis," a blue-green algae loaded with protein and nutrients. Spirulina can be cultivated, so your mission is to scout this devastated world and scavenge the needed materials to build and manage a new algae farm. But you'll need the help, or at least the cooperation, of fellow survivors.