Edison’s Blood Tests May Not Be As Accurate As First Reported

When it comes to tests, they normally come at a cost. Not just when it comes to the money but also the process the tests require, with most requiring something from you. Theranos came to the public light earlier in the year saying that its Edison device could carry out over 200 medical tests with a few drops of blood from a finger prick. Now it would seem that leaked documents raise more than a few concerns with the results of the tests not being as accurate as first reported.

The latest revelation comes as federal regulators release a redacted version of an inspection report that covers 121-pages showing some discrepancies with that the company reported and what they actually had achieved. In 2015, the Edison was used to test for testosterone levels and resulted in failure 87 percent of the time when it came to quality control. A similar test to detect prostate cancer failed 22 percent of the time and tests for the hormone prolactin failed 47 percent of the time.

Even internal standards set by the company failed to be met time and time again, with a test for Vitamin D in any given blood sample requiring to be within 20 percent of the results given by the traditionally used machine. On none different and randomly selected blood samples the difference ranged anywhere from 21 percent to a whopping 130 percent difference in Vitamin D levels.

The report doesn’t just argue with the results, it also argues with how the tests were conducted. With test results differing from standard lab devices and even unqualified employees running some of the tests, people have begun to raise more than a few questions regarding the Edison and even the companies viability, with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) stating that while Theranos have got a plan in place, they were unsatisfied with the plan and would impose sanctions that include fines and retraction of the companies approval to test human samples.

Pigeons With Backpacks Are Monitoring Pollution In London

The environment and technology are often seen at odds with one another, with the advance of technology coming at the cost of the environment. While green technology like solar panels get more efficient and generate more electricity with the same resources, people are worried about the pollution and issues we’ve already generated. In the latest attempt to alert people about pollution a selection of pigeons with backpacks patrolling London reporting on the pollution in their area.

The scheme was created by Plume Labs, a firm that focuses on tracking and reducing exposure to air pollution. The scheme, pigeon air patrol, see’s a selection of pigeons equipped with air sensors on their back measuring everything they need to help raise “awareness of this problem and helps Londoners understand the impact of pollution in an accessible, tangible and immediate way” as reported by Romain Lacombe, the CEO of Plume Labs.

Lacome states that “Air pollution is a huge environmental health issue, killing 10,000 people every year in London alone”, before mentioning that a similar system was being created that would allow humans to wear and track the air quality around them.

With the pigeons reporting the air quality around them by tweeting the information, the system is accessible to everyone. Tweeting your location to the account returns a report detailing the air quality in your area as well.

World’s First Smog Filtering Tower Is A Step Forward For Clean Air Tech

An air purifier is considered to be a common household appliance and is certainly not considered to be exciting; a seven metre (22ft) tall smog filtering tower on the other hand could potentially be a revolutionary step forward for clean air technology.

This giant ‘Honey I blew up an appliance’ is situated in The Dutch city of Rotterdam and has been imagined by Bob Ursem, a nano particles expert and Co-designed by Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde. The inner workings allow the skyscraper to “suck in dirty air like a giant vacuum cleaner, Ion technology then filters it, before returning bubbles of smog-free air through the tower’s vents”. The process is very efficient which allows the structure to clean 30,000 cubic metres of air every hour.

Testing in outdoor environments showed the filter was able to clean the air by 60%, to quantify this the measurements accounted for the share of nano particles removed.

The applications behind such a feat could in theory lead to implementations in countries which trade a booming economy for air quality, which is perfectly illustrated by the polluted smog in China where health warnings are a daily occurrence. A startling illustration of the scale of China’s pollution lies in the shutting of hundreds of factories and the removal of 5 million cars from the road in preparation for a parade, which saw the emergence of blue skies instead of dangerous toxic air.

There are limitations however, relying on technology as the sole response to an ever warming and toxic world is foolish, the root causes need to be tackled, which includes a reduction in pollution from manufacturing, transport and an end to the butchery of the Amazon Rainforest.

Furthermore, the filters which have been developed range from €1,600 (£1155.96) to more than €118,000 (£85,251.86), the developers of this tech have not disclosed the exact figure for the tower, but one would have thought it would be very costly.

A fascinating website by the name of the “world air quality index” provides an extensive data set on the levels of air pollution within many parts of the world, if you have a spare moment, it’s worth a look.

Thank you theguardian and waqi for providing us with this information.

3D Printed Milk Lids Reveal Bad Milk

Milk. Some love it, some dislike it. We are told from a young age that calcium makes our bones strong and we are often told to have more. The experience can be a little daunting though for those unfortunate souls who have poured themselves a glass or over their favourite cereals only to have a foul taste and smell emanate from the white liquid they poured out (if it’s still a liquid).

This may be preventable through with the creation of the “smart lid”, a device that is hidden in plain sight. In fact, in the lid you place atop your milk. The device was created by researchers at the University of California and the National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan and aims to help people detect the quality of their milk before they open the bottle.

The lid detects changes within the milk which demonstrate that it’s going off, such as the presence of bacteria and can transmit these details wirelessly to devices such as smartphones and tablets. The resonant chips built inside the 3D printed caps means the caps don’t require a giant battery built in and can allow for low price monitoring and tracking of milk and possibly other foods.

Imagine going to the store and checking with your phone if the milk you just placed in the basket is good or if that sell by date was a really bad estimate for when it would go off.

Thank you Entrepreneur for providing us with this information.

Did BBC Just Release 10 Episodes of Doctor Who on BitTorrent?

BBC has been known to be very helpful in providing access to the latest Doctor Who content in the past. Even so, the company seems to take its content to a whole new level of sharing.

10 episodes of the most recent season have been made available via BitTorrent. Now we know that ‘free’ associated with the word ‘torrent’ means a whole different thing on the internet, but BBC appears to embrace the latest content sharing technique regardless of its never-ending debates.

The episodes are said to come with a short intro video featuring the new Doctor, Peter Capaldi, as well as a preview of the first instalment, namely ‘Rose’. Fans who desire to get more than that need to pay $12 to get the rest.

There is no mention regarding their quality, but looking at the previews, it seems to be quite high. The episodes can be streamed directly or downloaded to be viewed offline from here.

Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information

Confusing Assassin’s Creed: Unity GPU Recommendations and Optimising Issues

As we’re inundated with comments about Assassins Creed: Unity barely performing above 50 FPS on low settings throughout higher end graphic card offerings from NVIDIA and AMD, we’ve taken some time out to look at NVIDIA’s recommendations as to what exactly you should purchase to run Ubisoft’s latest game.

Take a look at this table and explanation below, it mentions that Unity has some pretty demanding system requirements (we wrote about it pre-release) and suggests exactly what you should expect to run to reach smooth frame-rates at full HD – 1920 x 1080 resolution.

Now we must admit, aiming for 40 FPS is pretty poor – we suggest you should be looking at around 120 FPS minimum on any game to have a fully smooth experience. But according to this table, you should be looking at a rather nice experience running your budget grade GTX 780 Ti which will set you back a pocket change amount of $570 US in today’s market. Obviously we’re being sarcastic in this remark, and it leaves us thinking if Ubisoft spent enough time optimizing their game.

Looking at the plethora of posts on Reddits PC Master Race shows that even given these minimum system requirements, the game still isn’t properly functional. Below you can see Reddit user ElliotCarter94 using his R9 290 card coupled with a i5 3570k running at 3.8GHz, only managing to achieve 39 FPS on a 640 x 480 resolution set at the lowest graphic quality.

This is coupled with other users claiming 47-52 FPS when utilizing their GTX 760’s on low settings, among other issues of console wording being unchanged when Ubisoft went through through the process of porting it to PC.

Furthermore, if you take a quick look at NVIDIA’s apparent amazing comparisons when comparing high and low settings within Unity, they provide two total comparisons set in different environments, set to display the major difference between running high or low settings. You can see example one here, and example two here. If you look closely, you’ll find that there’s basically no difference at all – what’s up with that? On top of this fact, NVIDIA are offering free Assassins Creed: Unity copies with some of their graphic cards, which begs the question – why are they offering a game which the card wont run?

Please don’t let it end like this Ubisoft, they’ve made some great games in the past – but as of recent times, they’ve really proven that they are out of touch with the community and are seemingly dragging NVIDIA down with them.

We are currently working on securing a PR contact for Ubisoft – we will continue to report as soon this happens or as the story develops.

Cover image courtesy of eTeknix

Facebook Facial Recognition Software Proven to be More Accurate than FBI Counterpart

There has been a lot of debating when it comes to facial recognition, having the FBI scare people off with its Next Generation Identification project and its intention to gather millions of photos in a federal database.

However, the FBI’s system has been proven to be inaccurate despite the EFF’s concern regarding people’s privacy and pointing out the fact that innocent people might end up in the ‘pool’ of photos. It is said that the NGI returns a ranked list of 50 possibilities, giving only a 85 percent chance of returning the suspect’s name in the list. This means that one in several suspects might slip away from the analysis and nobody can do anything about it.

Comparing the FBI’s project to Facebook’s DeepFace system revealed at the IEEE Computer Vision conference could make the law enforcement agency look like little kids playing with toy blocks. It is said that DeepFace can return a match in two pictures with a 97 percent accuracy, similar to having a human witnessing a suspect. Nonetheless, both the social media giant and the authorities are still far away from true facial-recognition capabilities.

Shahar Belkin, CTO of FST Biometrics, describes that for a facial recognition software to work, it currently needs a person to stare into a camera at an offset of 15 degrees at most off the center axis. Even so, the actual camera or photograph needs to present a high density of pixels and resolution, namely to be a high-quality picture. This is why Belkin states that we are still far away from actual face-recognition software that works. Street cameras and even surveillance cameras are not made for facial-recognition technology due to their poor image quality and angle.

This does not mean that your privacy is secure though. Facebook may win in facial recognition, but it does however present an opportunity which the FBI could take advantage of. While the law enforcement agency cannot provide a fully working facial recognition system just yet, it can still drag the social media giant into court orders to gain access to its database. It is just a matter of time until a fully working facial recognition system will emerge.

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

YouTube App Now Incorporating 1080p and 480p Streaming Options

A long-standing suggestion has now been added to the latest update of YouTube’s android application – the ability to stream in 480p and 1080p quality settings.

Activating these options is easy. Once your video has started streaming, press the three dot menu at the top right of your device, tap the ‘gear’ icon that appears and your available resolutions will be displayed.

Please bear in mind that not all YouTube videos will support 480p or 1080p playback – this is mostly due to them being low quality and/or old.

To take full use of this feature, you will need to be viewing compatible video uploads and update your client to the latest revision (Done automatically or through manual update in Google Play). We’re told this update hasn’t yet been rolled out to everyone however, so don’t stress if your phone isn’t currently displaying these settings, it will come in due time.

Image courtesy of Joshua Worth

HannsG Rolls Out Its New HS Monitor Series Featuring IPS Panel Technology

HannsG has announced its new HS series of affordable monitors, featuring IPS panel technology. The new HS series comes in screen sizes of 21.5″, 24″ and 27″, bearing the HS221HPB, HS241HPB and respectively HS271HPB serial numbers.

The HS series are said to be LED monitors with ultra-wide viewing angles of 178-degrees, featuring IPS panel technology and full HD resolutions. HannsG is said to also include its ACTIVE contrast ratio of 80,000,000:1, which along with the 250 cd/m2 and 1000:1 contrast ration is said to deliver the very best visual display experience.

The IPS technology, HannsG promises consistent, accurate colour from all viewing angles without any blur, as well as stable response times of 5 ms and super fast data processing. This is said to help users experience the best viewing experience, perfect for heavy graphic applications and gaming.

In terms of connectivity, the HS series come with one HDMI 1.4, one VGA and one DVI-D connectivity solutions. HannsG is said to have included the Multi-Video Modes technology, which enables quick selection of optimal picture settings for difference activities, such as Movie, Game, PC and Eco, along with built-in speakers to complete the Audio-Video package.

Other specifications include a 3 year warranty, an Energy Start 6 certification for all HS series monitors and Anti-Glare technology on the panel surface. HannsG is said to have made the 27″ currently available in stores, while the 21.5″ and 24″ monitors are said to follow shortly.

The company has also released a recommended price for the HS series monitors, having the 21.5″ HS221HPB priced at £94.99, the 24″ HS241HPB at £119.99 and the 27″ HS271HPB at £179.99.

LUXA2 Groovy Wireless Bluetooth Speaker Review

Introduction


LUXA2 is a name that not many have been introduced to. The current market for mobile accessories has been flooded with brands that are trying to make a name for themselves, but for the last several years LUXA2 has been in a constant pursuit of feature-rich products with modern aesthetic appeal at affordable prices for everyone to set themselves apart. Apple centric accessories has been the company’s forte, but at CES this past month LUXA2 has shown that they have narrowed down their wide array of products that had included iPhone/iPad cases and misc device accessories to a more focused product stack that is nothing short of impressive.

LUXA2 has split their products into three categories: Portable Battery Packs, Audio Solutions, and Mobile Device Holders. Today we are going to look at the first of their entries into the audio solutions market; the Groovy Wireless Bluetooth Speaker.

Out of the box you are provided with a very easy to read user guide, 3.5mm analog cable, micro USB charge cable, two interchangeable leather straps (in both black and tan), and an attractive black leather carrying pouch.

Mass Production Of Carbon Nanotube Made Possible Thanks To Japanese Researchers

First of all, carbon nanotubes, or CNTs, are allotropes of carbon with a cylindrical nanostructure. Short version of the story, they are favorable materials in nanotechnology, electronics and optics for their unusual and extraordinary properties in terms of thermal conductivity, mechanical and electrical properties. You can read more about them here. The problem is that it’s hard to make them, and therefore mass production is impossible. Or at least it was.

AIST reportedly developed a way to properly manufacture single-wall, or monolayer, carbon nanotubes in quantities that are considered favorable for the eventual mass production. They have used a method called enhanced Direct Injection Pyrolytic Synthesis, or eDIPS, which aims to be a modified production phase based on the chemical vapor deposition used in the semiconductor industry to make thin film products and components. Meijo Nano Carbon Co. Ltd. provided the necessary industrial foundation for this system, and has moved forward to the development of a prototype production plant that demonstrates their method’s improved production rate and efficiency.

The report states that they were able to produce monolayers 100 times faster and with a quality rate of 10 to 20 times higher than before. This might not be so interesting for some of you, but let’s take a more practical approach on this matter. For example, Zyvex Technologies has built a 54-inch maritime vessel called the Piranha Unmanned Surface Vessel with the help of carbon nanotubes, which weighs only 8,000 lbs and has the capacity to carry a load of 15,000 lbs over a distance of 2,500 miles. And the use of carbon nanotubes does not stop at the vessel manufacturing industry. It is used in the manufacturing of wind turbines, car parts, sports equipment such as baseball bats, hunting arrows, surfboards, skis, and in many more manufacturing departments.

The mass production of carbon nanotubes will be an excellent breakthrough in terms of manufacturing goods and their use should have a significant increase in the quality as well. But the real question here is, will there be a breakthrough in terms of prices as well? We will just have to wait and see.

Thank you VR-Zone for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of USC.edu

ARM Striving For Console-like Mobile Graphics, Acquires Geometrics

Geomerics, which has been awarded the title “leader in lighting technology” for the gaming and entertainment industries, offers Enlighten, the world’s first fully real-time global illumination technology. The acquisition will help ARM expand its position in the visual computing and graphics industries, while Geomerics can build on existing partnerships and accelerate development in mobile.

Typical mobile graphics applications today are limited to simple, direct lighting effects only. However, with global illumination, which provides advanced, photo realistic lighting effects in 3D graphics, effects such as compound reflections, refractions, shadows and other advanced effects are enabled. The result: more life-like graphics quality.

“The innovative technologies being developed by Geomerics are already revolutionizing the console gaming experience and are set to rapidly accelerate the transition to photo realistic graphics in mobile,” said Pete Hutton, EVP & GM Media Processing Division, ARM. “Empowering Geomerics’ portfolio with ARM’s graphics capabilities and market reach will be transformative for the user experiences in future mobile and entertainment devices.”

ARM’s announcement boasts that Enlighten is the only solution proven to deliver fully dynamic lighting on today’s PCs, game consoles and mobile platforms. In fact, you may have already seen this tech in action, as it’s used in Battlefield 4 and Battlefield 3, Need for Speed Rivals, Eve Online and Medal of Honor: Warfighter.

Thank you Tom’s Hardware for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Tom’s Hardware

RAPOO H6060 Bluetooth Stereo Headset Released

RAPOO, global leaders in providing cutting-edge wireless peripheral products, launched touch control Bluetooth stereo headphone H6060 with Bluetooth 2.1+EDR wireless transmission protocol. It supports up to 10m high-quality, stereo music enjoyment. It also has DSP noise cancellation technology and echo suppression technology to provide high quality stereo. H6060 headphone can automatically switch to calling mode when there is a call, even if listening to music.

The RAPOO H6060 is touch controlled, with the touch buttons located on the outer surface of the left cup. RAPOO H6060 is having perfect bass effect and is the optimum choice for all kind of users with good style and quality. The headset also comes in two color variations, white and black.

Key Features

  • Bluetooth 2.1+EDR wireless transmission protocol
  • Up to 10 meter working range
  • DSP noise cancellation technology and echo suppression technology
  • On Ear Touch control and high-quality stereo
  • Support HSP, HFP and A2DP protocol
  • USB Charging, with Li-Ion Battery
  • Give 15-hour Calling or 12-hour music playing
  • Built-in omni-directional microphone
  • Low voltage remind function

Thank you Guru 3D for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of Rapoo