Toshiba Recalls Batteries Amongst Fears of Melting

Toshiba is a company known for their laptops and SSD’s, offering hardware to hundreds of people. If you are one of those people it may be best to double-check your laptop as Toshiba recalls batteries amongst fears of the batteries overheating and melting.

That’s right, the batteries can actually melt. Affecting nearly 40 different including popular Satellite models, the recall is expected to affect over 100,000 devices in the US and Canada alone.

In order to check if your battery, be it an original or one you’ve ordered as a replacement, you can go to Toshiba’s website and download a utility that will check if your battery is one of those affected by the recall. You can check the battery manually by comparing its battery part and accessory party number to the list provided here. As part of the recall, anyone who is found to have an affected battery will receive a replacement battery, with reassurances it won’t be one known for overheating and melt.

With large companies like Microsoft and Amazon having recalled equipment, all amongst heating and safety risks, the risk that a bad battery or charger is far too great to ignore. People have reported mobile phones exploding due to charging and most recently a mobile phones was found to have burst into flames on a plane, both examples of why we as purchasers and users of technology should be careful and check their devices when recalls such as these are announced.

Battlefront Glitch Gives Gamers a Massive Advantage

If you’ve been Star Wars: Battlefront, one of the most eagerly awaited games released this year, you may have noticed a slight glitch in the system.

Recently there have been a lot of players crashing their X-wings and tie fighters at full pace into the ground, daft as it sounds, doing so triggers a glitch in the game that gives you infinite health. Kotaku said that “It’s the kind os s*** that you would tell a new player in the chat so you can laugh as they fly their craft straight into the ground”

Above you can see the video by Flynn Moloney demonstrating the new-found glitch. Since the surfacing of the bug, there has been lots of threads and videos popping up on various forums. Reddit users have posted their thoughts on the matter, you can see them here. alongside over videos of people finding the glitch.

The confusing (and a little amusing) thing is, not every nose dive into the map activates the glitch and sometimes the glitch happens without a crash occurring. Hopefully, Dice will manage to correct the glitch before too many people discover it and ruin the game.

The problem seems limited to Xbox One and PS4 only though, but please let us know if you find any bugs on the PC version.

I will say though, this game is stunning, they really have done a fantastic job (other than the glitches) and it certainly fails to disappoint me. What do you think of the game so far? let us know in the comments below

Xiaomi Announces $16 Heart Rate Monitoring Fitness Watch

The fitness market is booming as people try to lose weight through calorie controlled diets, and rigorous exercise. Technological advancements have allowed consumers to better understand their eating habits and even track sleep deprivation through fitness monitors. One popular example is the Fitbit Flex, which acts a pedometer and whole host of other features to put you on the right track when trying to lose body fat.

At $99, it can seem like an expensive proposition, but this is the norm for any innovative fitness equipment. However, Xiaomi has devised an incredibly cheap, heart rate monitor for a mere $16.  According to Xiaomi’s forum, the device will feature a 45mAh battery and strong strap material to prevent the watch from breaking during intense workouts.

The fitness band, entitled, Mi Band Pulse is set to become extraordinarily popular in the Chinese market and could be a great choice for people trying to lose weight on a budget. I doubt it’s going to match the seamless user-experience of the Fitbit, but this is expected given the low price point.

Fitness trackers, are replacing traditional watches for many consumers, as mobile phones become the standard to view the time. Personally, I prefer to wear a mechanical watch, but devices like the Mi Band Pulse have widespread appeal and provides information to help us all live a better lifestyle.

Do you use a fitness band?

Amazon Web Services Goes Down Before Getting Up Again

Bit of Tubthumping play on words in the title there, readers who remember the 90s will get this, surely, oh come on I am not that old! Anyway, many web services are intrinsically integrated with each other to bring benefits to consumers, all well and good then right? Yes and no, as having many services which rely on a single destination, whether it be a server or software, provides its own challenges; this includes a domino effect to any technical glitches that would inevitably affect other connected pages.

Yesterday (20th September 2015) there was a problem with a server in Virginia which affected most of the north-east of the US. This glitch in turn killed the infrastructure for many popular products and services including Netflix, Social Flow, Group Me and Amazon Echo among others. The error was described as an “Elevated API Error rates” but has since been resolved to normal operating functionality within the same day.

Any outage in these services for the US giant could lead to a painful financial loss; let’s take a 2013 technical outage as a study example. AWS suffered a similar problem which took services that included Instagram, Airbnb and Vine off-line, it was reported that Amazon accumulated a loss of about $1,100 dollars per second in average net sales.

To keep track of any potential errors there is a handy website by the name of “Amazon web services health dashboard” which publishes up-to-the-minute information on the health of services within four tabs, these are North and South America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. It’s pretty interesting and I have said before that in fact I do have a life, just intertwined with stats and tech that is all.

“Amazon reminds us of the good times
We sing songs that remind us of the best times”  ha!

Thank you status.aws and thenextweb for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of muycloud

Google Health Now Contains Over 900 Illnesses Information

Google is developing a lot of tools and technologies that are said to be shaping the future. From their AR glasses, Google Glass, to their self driving cars, Google is not staying with just the internet when it comes to what they develop. One of their software pieces is titled Google Health, and surprise surprise it helps people with their health. I say it helps people with their health, it helps people know and understand the symptoms and treatments related to a particular ailment; Google has recently expanded this system to include over 900 illnesses and their symptoms.

The concept is simple, if you hear about an illness or think you may have one you can search it up by its name or even the symptoms and then using this you can quickly find out about treatments and what is actually happening. Google has been keen to make sure this information is correct and has consulted and is continuing to communicate with Doctors and Specialists as they expand and update the system.

Among the chief users of the system are intact doctors and other medical professionals, with doctors even requesting a new feature which lets you print off the information about the illness, meaning you can hand into your doctor the information you have regarding treatments and what may have caused it.

I know we keep getting told to avoid self-diagnosis but if it’s done right, which this app aims to help with, the effect on the health services could lessened to just dealing with situations, not discovering what they could be.

Thank you Google for the information and the image.

Almost ‘Fully Formed’ Human Brain Grown in a Lab for the First Time

Researchers from Ohio State University have come tantalizingly close to cultivating a human brain for the very first time. This technological breakthrough is designed to monitor brain activity to help understand neurological conditions such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons. Although not conscience, the synthetic brain reflects the genetic maturity of a five-week-old foetus. Unbelievably, the brain is approximately the size of a pencil eraser and constructed from human skin cells.

Rene Anand, displayed the team’s findings at the Military Health System Research Symposium in Fort Lauderdale and announced 99% of the human brain had been successfully recreated. Additionally, Anand said the reproduction contains a spinal cord, and retina. The time-scale of this process is appropriately 12 weeks but Anand is already looking to enhance the research:

“We’d need an artificial heart to help the brain grow further in development.”

It’s difficult to overemphasize how significant this discovery is and could pave the way for life-changing medications. Anand provided an insight into the potential of this monumental revelation:

“We can look at the expression of every gene in the human genome at every step of the development process and see how they change with different toxins. Maybe then we’ll be able to say ‘holy cow, this one isn’t good for you.’”

Critics of the process may point to ethical concerns, but Anand is adamant that this isn’t an issue because the brain is unconscious.

Thank you The Guardian for providing us with this information.

E-Cigarettes Could be Prescribed by NHS to Wean Smokers Off Cigarettes

Smoking is one of the major health risks of modern society and contains over 4000 chemicals including nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic, and DDT. A recent technological alternative is the E-Cigarette, which offers the addictive nicotine hit without the dangerous chemical after-effects. Despite this, there have been some concerns about their formula and lack of regulation could lead to hidden, harmful compounds. On another note, some critics have argued E-Cigarette smoking is a precursor to traditional smoking.

However, an evidence review for Public Health England has investigated E-Cigarette use and recommend their consumption to struggling smokers trying to kick the habit. It’s entirely feasible, that E-Cigarettes could be issued as a prescription. Prof Kevin Fenton, clarified the research and said:

“E-cigarettes are not completely risk-free but when compared to smoking, evidence shows they carry just a fraction of the harm.”

The problem is people increasingly think they are at least as harmful and this may be keeping millions of smokers from quitting.”

More specifically, the study suggests E-Cigarettes are around 95% less harmful than smoking and a technological marvel to improve people’s health throughout the world. While there is still some negative press regarding this invention, regulation and proven research should make E-Cigarettes a trusted device. In an ideal world, I’d like to see smokers replace their traditional smoking habits with E-Cigarettes and slowly reduce consumption until they are Cigarette free.

Although, this is easier said than done. It’s important to reiterate though, that type 2 diabetes and obesity is probably a greater problem for future generations but smoking is currently the number one cause of death in the UK and must be tackled.

Thank you BBC for providing us with this information.

First Details Emerge About Nintendo’s “Quality of Life” Device

There has been a great deal of contrasting theories regarding Nintendo’s “Quality of Life” device and its possible relation to the Codename NX project. Recently, a NeoGAF user stumbled upon Nintendo’s WIPO Patent Application WO/2015/107747 which includes schematics about the Quality of Life programme. Unfortunately, the text is in Japanese, so it’s difficult to deduce the technical information within the patent application. However, the diagrams provide a general synopsis of the device’s functionality.

In its most basic form, the Quality of Life device appears to fixate on fitness and trying to improve the user’s overall health. The dock contains sensors to relay information between a number of accessories including a Wii Balance board. Supposedly, the docking station can detect the user’s emotional state through an integrated microphone or webcam. I would also presume that the unit detects movement and begins operating as you enter a room.

The second image suggests the inclusion of a projector designed to gauge an individual’s tiredness. For example, a sensor is used to determine the user’s pulse rate and engagement in mental activities. This projector displays an image onto the ceiling and can be adjusted using a remote control. It’s still unknown what type of image will be displayed but perhaps it’s designed to help people with disturbed sleep patterns. However, it might be a way to save power during a form of entertainment and realize when the end user is asleep.

 

Finally, a terminal system collates information about each person’s health and sets targets to improve their well-being. Perhaps, the device measures your fat %, weight, heart rate, and other vital aspects. That would make sense given the image appears to show the Wii Fit board being an integral part of the experience.

Whatever the Quality of Life device entails, it’s a major change from Nintendo’s gaming focused market. Perhaps, Satoru Iwata’s poor health and eventual demise made his team reconsider their priorities and try to help extend people’s lives. Traditional fitness is quite boring and engaging people in a new, visual manner to improve their lifestyle could make such a profound difference.

Thank you Nintendo Life for providing us with this information.

Can Depression be Detected by Analyzing Smartphone Data?

When I first stumbled upon this story I became interested for two reasons, firstly, sufferers all too often hide this illness from view, the “yes I’m fine” is a mantra which all too often covers a veil which is impossible to imagine. According to ball park stats, more than 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression worldwide; this is the leading cause of disability on the planet. According to Mental Health UK, 1 in 4 people will experience a form of mental health related issue each year.

Secondly, it does not matter what your social standing is, how many cars you have or the wealth you have accumulated, this form of mental illness can still be developed and is indiscriminate regardless of status. Awareness is crucial and according to researchers at Northwestern University, a Smartphone’s sensor data can potentially detect depression by tracking the amount of minutes a person uses their phone per day and also how often they change their geographical location.

This study which was published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research on Wednesday, involved analysing the GPS locations and phone usage of a study group of 28 people over two weeks. Their locations were tracked every five minutes. The findings showed that the average daily usage for depressed people is 68 minutes; this was compared to just 17 minutes for non-depressed individuals. It was also found that there might be a link between the amount of geographical locations and depression; the fewer places a person visits could be an indicator of depression.

To explain the correlation between phone usage and possible depression, when a person is developing or at a high risk of this illness, they tend to withdraw, the more someone uses their phone alone without talking to for example friends, this may be an indicator. Participants in the two-week study also took a standardized questionnaire measuring levels of depression which was called a PHQ-9 survey. This asks about symptoms used to diagnose depression for example sadness and loss of interest in hobbies etc. The results were that 14 people out of the controlled group did not have any signs of depression while 14 did exhibit these signs which ranged from mild to severe.

In order to gain a better understanding of the correlation between Smartphone usage and depression, a bigger study is needed. What this study does highlight is the imperceptible fine line between regular socializing and withdrawing.

I am not going to end this article to patronize or lecture, if anyone is reading this who feels as if they are feeling more miserable than normal, or has thoughts which might be extreme, I would say just find someone, whether it be a friend, relative or a trusted person or professional, and talk to them. Never think it’s just you or bottle up your feelings. If you know of a friend or relative whose mood has changed or is acting differently, then the best thing you can do is be there for them.

Thank You RT and Mental Health Foundation UK for providing us with this information

66-Year-Old Man’s Rare Heart Condition Cured by 3D Printing

A specialized team of Doctors at UCLA recently performed a medical marvel thanks to the capabilities of 3D printing. One of their patients, Richard Whitaker had been suffering from a rare long-term heart condition and conventional procedures posed a significant risk of death. Whitaker’s suffering was caused by congestive heart failure which led to swollen ankles and extreme fatigue. In simple terms, his heart wasn’t circulating enough blood and this restricted the lungs’ air flow. Why? The pulmonary arteries were shockingly large and Doctors could only resort to an extreme space-age solution to save his life.

The Doctors at UCLA enlisted the help of Materialise to create a 3D printed model of Whitaker’s heart and test a variety of materials. This was a very unusual process and it was unknown which material would create the best replacement. A mock up was constructed to see the viability of the operation. The end result was a combination of silicone and harder materials to accurately depict the heart’s tissue. This graft was made through a CT scan of Whitaker’s chest to produce the best results.

So how does the operation actually work? The team had to carefully feed a valve and stent through a vein in Whitaker’s groin, up to his heart, using a catheter. Once this procedure was complete, the blood flow moved in a single direction and transported the proper amount of oxygen. Miraculously, Whitaker was ready to be discharged within a mere 4 days and elated with the results. He said “I didn’t miss a beat and was able to get back to my life quickly.”

It’s difficult to deduce if the operation through traditional means would have been successful and once again shows how 3D printing is possibly one of the most groundbreaking inventions humankind has ever devised. I’m happy to see Mr. Whitaker in good health and hope 3D modelling of organs will become cheaper, and more widespread to help those with chronic medical condition. The possibilities of 3D printing are endless and perhaps the future isn’t as bleak as it seems.

Thank you 3D Print for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of UCLA Health Science.

Prosthetics Get a Huge Leap Forward with Brain-Powered Technology

A lot of research has been made in terms of prosthetic and the technology to use them as naturally as possible. So far, we’ve seen some pretty amazing ways advanced prosthetics make use of hydraulics and computerized algorithms to simulate limbs and use them more naturally. However, they also cam with limitations in terms of how you could use them.

However, an Icelandic company by the name of Ossur might have propelled this technology far beyond everyone could hope. I’m talking about using prosthetics with the power of your mind. This apparently was the idea over at Ossur, who is now making large-scale clinical trials with its technology.

Ossur’s prosthetics plans to replace today’s prosthetics with their advanced technology, which apparently requires nothing more than a small 15-minute surgery to get the controller in place. After that, people are said to be able to use their prosthetics like they were their own limbs.

The lag between impulses is said to also be significantly small, which they say can improve the performance and health of existing muscle and biological limbs by using the prosthetics more naturally compared to other lower-tech stuff.

If you are worried about battery life or that you need to have it replaced periodically, don’t be. Ossur states that no battery power is required to operate the prosthetic and once the implant is made, it’s there for life.

Past small-scale trials are said to have passed significantly well, with a lot of hope for this next large-scale trial they are currently involved in. Now let’s just hope this is something our health insurance policy will cover in the future.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Ossur.com

Microsoft’s Band Gadget Finally Lands on the UK Market

Having a desk job is extremely stressing and messes with your body, this is why doctors recommend a minimum of 30 minutes workout per day. This helps relieve stress and keep you in shape both physically and mentally. But why not track your activity and health with the latest fitness and health bands on the market?

If you are living in the UK and wanted the Microsoft Band, the company appears to have started to offer it for a price tag of £169.99. The band seems to help keep track of activities such as heart rate, sun exposure, stress levels, calories burned and quality of sleep.

The Band connects to any iOS, Android or Windows Phone device via its companion app and offers customizable workouts. Whether you want to burn a lot of calories or just want to have a balanced diet, the Band and its app are available to help you with that.

Also, Microsoft’s gadget can be controlled with commands sent to Cortana, the company’s personal assistant and Siri’s rival. Is this why Cortana aims to arrive on the iOS and Android markets in the near future? Will Microsoft’s personal assistant squeeze its way into other mobile operating systems and offer integrated support in other applications too? We don’t have the answer for the latter questions, but time is bound to reveal the answer to that.

As far as the Band is concerned, you can order one from retailers such as Amazon, Harrods, Currys, O2 or even Microsoft’s Store itself. How do you find Microsoft’s health and fitness gadget? Are you planning on acquiring one yourself?

Thank you TheNextWeb for providing us with this information

Video courtesy of TheNextWeb and image courtesy of Digital Trends

HIV Can Now Be Detected in Just 15 Minutes – With A Smartphone!

Researchers from Columbia University have apparently created a $34 plastic smartphone STD scanner which would “accurately” identify HIV and syphilis antibodies. The scanner is said to be compatible with Google Android and Apple iPhone smartphones.

In order to perform one of these tests, a pin-prick of blood is needed for the scanner and from there onwards, the app is said to spit out the results in just 15 minutes. It is said that the device is able to replicate the mechanical, optical and electronic functions of a traditional lab-based STD analysis.

“This work is a proof of how technology can improve diagnosis and care, making it faster and simpler and cheaper without compromising the existing quality,” said Sabin Nsanzimana, the Rwanda’s Ministry of Health manager of STDs. Although “it may take time, or bigger studies” before additional knowledge of the dongle is known

However, attaching such a device to a smartphone should have raised concerns on power consumption. This is where the researchers stated that they chose a “one-push vacuum” instead of a power-consuming electrical pump.

The device is said to have been field-tested over two weeks at three health clinics in Kigali, Rwanda. The outcome stated that the accuracy was “on par with ELISA tests, but are significantly cheaper”. This means that similar tests can be completed in remote villages and health clinics.

The ultimate goal of the researchers over at Columbia University is to expand the testing beyond HIV and syphilis. But until then, additional testing could drive the price down while allowing mass adoption of the technology in the developing world, which is a good start.

Thank you Daily Tech for providing us with this information

Twitter Could be Used to Predict Chances of Heart Attack

Twitter could save your life. Using the micro-blogging site as a diagnostic tool, the chances of someone succumbing to coronary heart disease can be plotted using their tweets, according to researchers at Pennsylvania State University.

The research team compiled a set of measures that tracked expressions of negative emotions – anger, stress, and fatigue, for example – and found that users who conveyed those emotions in tweets were at greater risk of suffering heart disease. Conversely, Twitter users who expressed more positive emotions, like love, excitement, and optimism, were associated with a lower risk.

The study, published in Psychological Science, used Twitter as an effective bypass to the troublesome survey system such a study would usually rely on. Johannes Eichstaedt, lead researcher on the study said, “Getting this data through surveys is expensive and time consuming, but, more important, you’re limited by the questions included on the survey. You’ll never get the psychological richness that comes with the infinite variables of what language people choose to use.”

This seems as good a reason as any to make Twitter a more positive environment.

Source: Penn News

Finalwire Released AIDA64 v5.00

FinalWire announced the release of version 5.0 in all the AIDA64 software products: Engineer, Extreme, Business and Network Audit. AIDA64 is a very popular piece of software that offers a wide variety of tools for monitoring and benchmarking your systems.

The latest AIDA64 update introduces wireless remote monitoring of sensor values on smartphones and tablets via RemoteSensor and Logitech Arx Control and it also provides detailed information on system certificates, supports Aquaero and Aquaduct sensor devices.

The existing LCD module has been extended to support wireless remote monitoring of sensor values on smartphones and tablets via two new interfaces: RemoteSensor and Logitech Arx Control. CPU and memory utilization, network traffic, temperatures, voltages, fan speeds, and power draw measurement can now all be monitored on mobile device LCD screens, inside a WiFi network or even over the internet. Logitech Arx Control supports Android and iOS devices; while the new web server based RemoteSensor supports virtually any mobile devices, including but not limited to Amazon, Android, BlackBerry OS, Chrome OS, Firefox OS, iOS, MeeGo, Windows Phone, and Windows RT.

A brand new operating system information page to display various details on installed system certificates. Certificate Authorities, My Certificates, Root Certificates and Software Publisher Certificates enumeration with compression and encryption algorithm identification for both signatures and public keys.

Multi-threaded OpenCL GPGPU benchmarks, graphics processor, OpenGL and GPGPU details, temperature and cooling fan monitoring for the latest GPUs: AMD Radeon R5, R7, R9 Series; nVIDIA GeForce 700, 800, 900 Series. Improved support for Crucial SSDs have all been added as well, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg as you can see below.

New features & improvements

  • RemoteSensor smartphone and tablet LCD integration
  • Logitech Arx Control smartphone and tablet LCD integration
  • System certificates information
  • Support for Gravitech, LCD Smartie Hardware, Leo Bodnar LCD devices
  • Microsoft Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 9888 support
  • Improved support for Intel “Skylake” CPU
  • Preliminary support for Intel “Braswell” SoC
  • Aquaero and Aquaduct sensor devices support
  • Improved support for Crucial SSDs

What’s new since AIDA64 v4.00

  • Microsoft Windows 10 Technical Preview and Windows Server 2015 Technical Preview support
  • Microsoft Windows 8.1 Update 1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 Update 1 support
  • OpenCL GPGPU Benchmark Suite
  • AMD Mantle graphics accelerator diagnostics
  • Multi-threaded memory stress test with SSE, SSE2, AVX, AVX2, FMA, BMI and BMI2 acceleration
  • Optimized 64-bit benchmarks for AMD Kaveri, Bald Eagle, Mullins, Beema APUs
  • Optimized 64-bit benchmarks for Intel Atom C2000 “Avoton” and “Rangeley” SoC
  • Optimized 64-bit benchmarks for Intel “Bay Trail” desktop, mobile and tablet SoC
  • Full support for the upcoming Intel “Haswell Refresh” platform with Intel “Wildcat Point” PCH
  • Support for 47 new LCD and VFD devices
  • Improved support for Intel “Broadwell” CPU
  • Preliminary support for AMD “Carrizo” and “Toronto” APUs
  • Preliminary support for Intel Quark X1000 “Clanton” SoC
  • Preliminary support for Intel “Skylake”, “Cherry Trail”, “Denverton” CPUs
  • Improved support for Intel “Haswell-E” CPU and DDR4 memory modules
  • Support for DDR4 XMP 2.0 memory profiles
  • Intel H97 and Z97 chipset based motherboards support
  • LGA2011-v3 motherboards support
  • Socket AM1 motherboards support
  • SMTP SSL support
  • Improved handling of XSL files
  • Revamped Direct3D Compute Shader devices enumeration
  • CUDA 6.5, OpenGL 4.5, OpenGL ES 3.1 support
  • Improved support for OpenCL 2.0
  • Support for VirtualBox v4.3 and VMware Workstation v10
  • AData SP610, AData SP910, A-Data SP920, Corsair Force LX, Corsair Neutron, Corsair Neutron GTX, Crucial M550, Intel 730, OCZ Arc 100, OCZ Vector 150, OCZ Vertex 460, Plextor M6M, Plextor M6S, Samsung 845DC Evo, Samsung 850 Pro, Samsung
  • XP941, SanDisk Extreme Pro, SanDisk X300s, Seagate 600 SSD support
  • GPU details for AMD Radeon R5, R7, R9 Series
  • GPU details for nVIDIA GeForce 700, 800, 900 Series

Version 5.0 of AIDA64 is available for download and purchase now. The price depends on what version you want, but the Extreme version is most likely the one a consumer will go for. There are also trial versions available, but I think they have limited functionality.

Thanks to FinalWire for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of FinalWire

Fitbit Walks Off Apple’s Online Stores

Fitbit’s fitness tracking device has been removed from Apple’s retail website, though is still currently available in Apple stores for the time being. This follows the removal of Fitbit’s Apps for Health from the App Store back in October.

The reasons for the move are thus far unclear, but speculation suggests it could be due to the device’s incompatibility with Apple’s HealthKit developers tool. A statement from Fitbit suggests the feud is set to continue, as they affirmed that, “We do not currently have plans to integrate with HealthKit… It is an interesting new platform and we will watch as it matures, looking for opportunities to improve the Fitbit experience. At the moment, we’re working on other exciting projects that we think will be valuable to users.”

Fitibit have, however, suggested that their position may change if there is enough demand from Apple customers.

Source: CNET

 

Apple Unveil Their New Smart Watch

Apple’s live event is over and we’ve been presented with the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and they look great. The live event-stream had some trouble with blackouts and the wrong audio, but the viewers hung in to see the next big thing, and I think this is what most people were waiting to see. The excitement is over and it’s here.

The new Apple Watch is a reality and not only does it looks gorgeous, it’s also highly customizable, to fit your own personal style. It doesn’t matter if you prefer your Apple Watch in 24-carat gold or in a simple aluminium case with a black leather strap. Apple has it all covered with custom alloys and thoughtfully designed bands.

“Apple Watch is the most personal device we’ve ever created”, said Tim Cook during the presentation. “A comprehensive health and fitness companion and it’s an extremely precise and customizable timepiece.”

Once again Tim Cook takes the audience on a trip down the memory lane to some of Apple’s previous inventions. First it’s the computer mouse, then it’s the clock wheel on the iPod and finally the iPhone with its multi-touch. The new invention on the Apple Watch is the Digital Crown. A versatile utility that answers the fundamental challenge of how to magnify content on a small display. The digital crown can scroll, zoom and navigate the Apple Watch without covering the display.

The screen has a flexible Retina display, curved around the edges and laminated to a single crystal of sapphire. Sapphire is the hardest transparent material known after diamond. There are a range of watch faces to chose from and millions of ways to personalize them, to fit your specific needs and preferences.

On the inside of the watch, it has infra-red and visible-light LEDs along with photo-sensors to detect your pulse rate and physical condition. Working with other technologies in Apple Watch, these help provide a comprehensive picture of your daily activity.

The home screen looks very familiar, yet slightly different. It’s of course optimized for the small display and navigational options. A press on the Digital crown and it’s launched. The Apple Watch also allows you to receive and send messages in new ways, directly from your wrist. Pre-set phrases, smart responses based on your conversation, audio messages, your location and even interactive emoticons. Apple Watch of course also features Siri; the voice based assistant.

There are a lot of useful apps that have been ported to the new format; Maps for example. It can show your current location in case you should get lost, give you turn-by-turn directions and tell you how long it will take you to get to your destination. It doesn’t just show and tell you where to go, it also gives you a tap if you need to change direction.

For the quick and personal message to the one you care about, the Apple Watch comes with some funny alternatives to just a text. It allows you to draw a fish or a flower, or what ever you’d like, with your finger and send it to someone. If it has to be really personal, you can even send your own heartbeat by just pressing and holding two fingers onto the screen.

Another big aspect of the Apple Watch is fitness and as such the watch comes with two apps that give you a complete picture of your health and fitness. The activity app monitors movement throughout the day and the workout app tracks dedicated workouts. An everyday, all-day fitness tracker and highly advanced sports watch designed in cooperation with some of the leading experts within the field.

The Apple Watch has built in accelerometers and a lot of other sensors, but still rely on your iPhone for WiFi and GPS to track your distance.

[youtube width=”800″ height=”500″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7EHkwBybqI[/youtube]

Thank you Apple for providing us with this information

Images and video courtesy of Apple

Apple Alter their Health App Privacy Policy

Apple has recently changed it’s privacy guidelines for developers wishing to utilize its own HealthKit framework. Some are taking this change as another sign that Apple’s iWatch release may be coming sooner rather than later. This update addresses how health apps handle user data when developed through HealthKit.

HealthKit is set for release with iOS8, being quoted on the official site as “An entirely new way to use your health and fitness information.” This service will act as a hub for all data tracked by third-party fitness and health applications – with this information then being passed to Apple’s Health App. The Health App analyzes and breaked down the data, presenting it to you in an easy to read format.

Mashable helped us understand what these new guidelines entail:

“…developers can’t “sell an end-user’s health information collected through the HealthKit API to advertising platforms, data brokers or information resellers,” developers can’t “sell an end-user’s health information collected through the HealthKit API to advertising platforms, data brokers or information resellers,” according to the report. What’s more, developers cannot use HealthKit’s API or its information “for any purpose other than providing health and/or fitness services.”

Once again, this privacy policy is being linked to the so-called impending release of the iWatch. HealthKit and the Health app are said to be a big part of the smartwatches functionality, acting as a ‘middle man’ to tie everything together – apps, phones, watches and services. As competitor products such as Fitbit and Jawbone are becoming a much more popular addition any ‘fitness freaks’ arsenal, it’s only logical that Apple want a part of this market share.

Alongside the growth of fitness technology devices themselves, Flurry Insights reported that fitness applications are growing 87% faster than any other app available on the store – alongside a massive 117% growth of apps downloaded as a whole.

Image courtesy of Tech Crunch

Apple Bans Two Chemicals Used in Overseas Factories

Apple have many overseas factories, that’s for sure, 22 to be exact! Some of the factories have been using very harsh chemicals during production of Apple products, the chemicals in question are benzene and n-hexane, extremely harsh chemicals that have links to leukemia and potential nerve damage! China Labor Watch and Green America are activist groups that look into this kind of thing to guarantee the staff are working in safe environments and spotted that these chemicals where being used and caused a scene.

18 of Apples factories were not using the chemical at any stage in production, however, 4 were and it’s in these 4 that the new ban has come into place. The factories were reportedly using the chemical solutions within safe limits but Apple has decided to ban them nonetheless. Apple was called out in the past when a factory used N-hexane, which evaporates faster than alcohol, reportedly led to 137 employees being hospitalized. I guess they don’t want a repeat of that episode which is why such swift action has been taken this time. 

This is doing everything we can think of to do to crack down on chemical exposures and to be responsive to concerns,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple VP of environmental initiatives, in a statement to the AP. “We think it’s really important that we show some leadership and really look toward the future by trying to use greener chemicals.”

It’s nice to see a huge company such as Apple actually seem to care about their staff and make a change for the better, for their sake at least. Good job Apple, you have our respect, for now.

Thanks to Tweaktown for supplying us with this information.

Image courtesy of Tweaktown.

Foxconn CEO Says Employee Suicides Due to Personal Problems, Not the Company

Chinese technology manufacturer Foxconn is essentially denying responsibility for worker deaths, saying 90 percent of the problems were related to personal and family problems.

Foxconn produces products and hardware for Apple, Nintendo, Hewlett-Packard, and other major global manufacturers.  When demand for products ramps up, Foxconn adds tremendous workload to its current workforce, in addition to hiring part-time employees.

Furthermore, Foxconn CEO Terry Gou said since many workers are 20 to 25 years old in age, away from their families, and emotions can add additional stress which lead to suicides.

Here is what Gou said during the Foxconn annual shareholders’ meeting:

“It wasn’t because the workers were tired.  Some of it was because the work is monotonous, but 90 percent of it had to with personal relationships or because of family disputes.”

Foxconn is notorious for employee suicides, related to the company’s poor working conditions – but Foxconn, due to tremendous pressure, has worked to improve services to employees.  There were more than a dozen suicides in 2010 alone, and the Chinese government sent investigators and officials to study the rash of deaths.

Despite the suicide rates, Gou told the media in 2010 that Foxconn had better working conditions than the majority of other Chinese factories.

Thank you to PC World for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of CNET

People Who Watch Too Much TV Are Twice As Likely To Die Early

I think just about everyone knows by now that watching TV for extended periods of time is not good for you. That is from a mental perspective, because a lot of things on TV are hardly stimulating for your brain, and from a physical perspective, because sitting still for hours on end is bad for your body. However, some research from the American Heart Association suggests it could be a lot worse than we think. The evidence indicates that people who watch TV for more than three hours on a daily basis put themselves at risk: they are statistically twice as likely to die an early death than those who do not watch more than three hours on a daily basis. The strong claims made by the American Heart Association are based on data collected from monitoring 13284 individuals whose average age was over 37 throughout an 8.2 year time period. In that period 97 deaths occurred of which the most were racked up among the said group of lazy TV watchers.

Of course there is a case of caution to be noted here: excessive TV watchers could just be symptomatic of lazy and unhealthy people that are likely to die early. TV watching does not have to be the actual cause of those deaths. However, the underlying point is that sedentary lifestyles are not healthy.

“Our findings suggest adults may consider increasing their physical activity, avoid long sedentary periods, and reduce television watching to no longer than one to two hours each day.” States the research.

The recommendation is that all adults should do 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise every week to avoid the health problems of sedentary lifestyles.

On a side note I think this news is of relevance to a lot of our readers too. TV watching isn’t too different from PC gaming, of course PC gaming is more engaging than TV watching at a mental level but generally speaking it still involves sitting still in front of a screen. How much time do you spend sedentary in front of a screen each day?

Source: American Heart Association, Via: Softpedia

Image courtesy of blogs.plos.org

Nestle Working on Nespresso Style Replicator for Nutrients

It’s never long before another piece of technology from Star Trek becomes more and more like reality, we’ve seen it before with tablets and mobile phones, there are even people tinkering with teleportation technologies and warp travel, now it looks like the time of the replicatior is at hand.

Nestle Health Science are one of the leading industry forces for creating nutritional products and maladies, but now they’re looking to advance the technology on how these treatments are deployed.

Their wanting to create  reliable, inexpensive method for measuring deficiencies of multiple nutrients at once, then feeding those requirements into a machine that could dispense a drink with the required doses to help top-up those deficiencies. Just imagine a Nespresso coffee machine or food replicator that could monitor your health, then top-off your drink / meal with the vital remedies you need to stay healthy! NIHS chief Baetge even goes are far to say it could dispense meals on demand.

“Out comes your food at the press of a button,” Baetge said. “If we do this right, it can be the next microwave in your kitchen.”

It’s obviously a long way off just yet, but they’re working on it and it could be the first steps towards replication technology, especially if it#s combined with 3D food printers and similar devices.

thank you Bloomberg for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Tumblr.

Delaying Death? Suspended Animation Trials To Begin This Month

Suspended Animation may seem like something found only in Sci-Fi and futuristic movies but the concept is about to get a lot more real than people might have thought. In the USA the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) have approved a small study which permits surgeons at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh to try and suspend human life during trauma-related surgery. The technique, Emergency Preservation and Resuscitation (EPR), is a far cry from the suspended animation we’re used to seeing in Hollywood films where people are literally frozen solid. In reality the technique involves reducing the body temperature to 10 degrees celsius, 50 degrees fahrenheit, by flushing the body with cold saline. This slows the blood flow to prevent bleeding out from traumatic injuries, it can also slow other biological processes which may increase likelihood of death after a traumatic injury. EPR puts the patient in an effective state of hypothermia which can only be sustained for around 2 hours. The EPR technique is expected to raise the survival rate among trauma patients from injuries like cardiac arrest from its current level of 7%.

The EPR technique is based on a whole swath of medical research about suspended animation techniques. A study published in 2006 by Alam et al demonstrated that compared to a “control” population of pigs the use of EPR increased the survival rate from 0% to 90%. In practice the improvements among humans in real-life situations may not be so dramatic but the technique does buy time for surgeons operating on trauma patients, potentially up to 2 hours, which could result in emergency surgery saving more lives than ever before. Results of EPR use will be compared to non-EPR use in real-world situations to determine whether the technique has any viable future in medicine. An official website for the pilot undertaking, with an opt-out option, has been set up.

Source: Acute Care Research, Via: IFL Science

Image #1 from Avatar (2009 film by 20th Century Fox). 

Image #2 courtesy of Singularity Hub

Computer Chips Could Keep You Slim In The Future

According to an article from Fudzilla, Swiss researchers have developed a computer chip implant which can keep you slim. The chip constantly checks for fat in the blood and, when someone has eaten too much, release a hormone that sates hunger. It works on mice.

The researchers hope that within five to ten years they will have a version the size of a coin that can be slipped under the skin of a slimmer’s arm. According to the journal Nature Communications reports that the chip contains two genes that work together to keep appetite in check. The first monitors fat levels in blood. When they get too high, it tells the second to make the appetite suppressant.

Chip inventor, Professor Martin Fussenegger, said chips containing other combinations of genes could be developed to tackle other illnesses. The downside is that US born again Christians would think that a chip being installed in the body is part of the reign of the anti-christ. If the chip use takes off then US Christians will remain obese while the rest of the world stays slim.

Thank you Fudzilla for providing us with this information

Google Rolling Out An App For Live Video Lessons From Experts Named Helpouts

Google is launching a new product it’s calling “Helpouts.” It’s a new website that allows users to get in touch with experts and pay them for “services” over video chat. Google is imagining that it will be used for things like cooking tips, home repair, guitar lessons, and even healthcare. The service is now live with a small set of partners, including Weight Watchers, Sephora, and One Medical. Google is vetting anybody that wants to offer Helpout services with a full background check and keeping the categories of services offered relatively short.

The video-chat services will be offered in a wide range of prices, from free with volunteers up to $20 per hour or more. Google says it has no intention of allowing “adult” content on Helpouts. Users will be able to rate the experts they work with and said experts will have a few tools to block users, should it come to that. For all of it, Google gets a 20 percent cut and is offering a money-back guarantee if things don’t work out.

The website for Hangouts looks very much like a one-off custom version of Google+, and even shares some of the same Hangouts on Air features that have been baked into that product. Each expert has a landing page where users can schedule a future Helpout or start one immediately. Users are identified with their public Google+ profiles, so each party knows who is calling, but nothing is posted publicly to Google+. If both parties agree, a Helpout chat can be saved for later review.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-VFC9AQM1k[/youtube]

Some of those policies don’t apply to the health section of Helpouts, however, where Google says it applies slightly stricter rules surrounding a user’s identity and privacy. It also claims that any health-related Helpout will be HIPAA compliant.

Although it’s a small launch, Google VP of Engineering Udi Manber was bullish on Helpouts’ future. Likening current skepticism about Helpouts to how some felt about online shopping in the early days of the internet, Manber repeated over and over at a press event today that “in the end, convenience and efficiency always win.”

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information
Image and video courtesy of The Verge

Derbyshire’s Toxic-As-Bleach “Blue Lagoon” Is Dyed Black To Prevent Swimmers

According to a story reported by the Daily Mail the so called “Blue Lagoon” of Derbyshire has just been dyed black by the local authorities to prevent swimmers. This is because government authorities say that this “Blue Lagoon” is actually a disused quarry. In fact the only reason why the waters of the “Blue Lagoon” are blue is because of excessive amounts of toxic chemical compounds which are apparently very dangerous. If that wasn’t bad enough car wreckages, dead animals, excrement and other rubbish are all known to be resting at the bottom of it.

Several specialists who have investigated it liken the quality of the water to swimming in bleach. Despite this toxic water quality locals have come back repeatedly without fail despite many warnings. It is easy to see why people would want to go for a swim but a Blue Lagoon in the UK? Really? As this story proves for us Brits, if it looks to good to be true then it probably is. Now that it is dyed black the attraction has very much warn off, one local business owner, Rachel Thomas, commented:

“It was absolutely beautiful to look at but was horrendously dangerous. It’s not pretty any more. They don’t think they’re on holiday in the Bahamas any more, they know they’re in Harpur Hill”

Image courtesy of the Daily Mail

Soda Can Be As Bad As Meth And Crack For Your Teeth, Study Shows

We are always told about how bad canned drinks like Soda are for us. Dentists always tell us how we should avoid drinking excessive amounts of fizzy drinks and just googling the phrase “other uses for coke” will show you that the ingredients within your average can of coca cola will allow you to clean your car batteries and remove tarnish from coins.

A recent study, detailed by the Inquisitr, shows that your average can of soda affects teeth in roughly the same way as methamphetamine (meth for short) and crack cocaine. Interestingly enough it does not matter if they are diet or not, the sugar level is not what causes the harm. The harmful agents are the various acidic substances that are present in fizzy drinks.

Dr Eugene Antenucchi, writing in the Journal of General Dentistry, stated that:

“From my experience, the damage that happens to people’s mouths from cocaine or methamphetamine are degrees greater than what I see from soda, but I see a lot of damage from soda.”

He talks further about closely monitoring a crack addict, a regular meth user and someone who had 2 liters of  soda per day. He states that after a while they all suffered a similar amount of extensive tooth decay and oral damage.

However, Dr Antenucchi did go on to say that “To single out diet soda consumption as the unique factor in her tooth decay and erosion – and to compare it to that from illicit drug use – is irresponsible”. There is a need for a more complete picture of the person’s lifestyle and bad oral health cannot be put down to a single thing.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you regularly drink “fizzy drinks” or soda?

Image Courtesy of Snapshots of Spinach and Sneakers