Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg just announced the birth of his first child with his wife Priscilla Chan, along with the huge news that he will be donating a large portion of his wealth to “advancing human potential and promoting equality.” Zuckerberg and Chan made the announcement in a lengthy Facebook post addressed to his daughter, Max.
“We will give 99% of our Facebook shares — currently about $45 billion — during our lives to advance this mission,” he said. “We know this is a small contribution compared to all the resources and talents of those already working on these issues. But we want to do what we can, working alongside many others.”
The post also included the announcement of an entirely new organization: “as you begin the next generation of the Chan Zuckerberg family, we also begin the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to join people across the world to advance human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation. Our initial areas of focus will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities.”
Modern touchscreens like the one on an iPhone work by measuring the change in charge and voltage across a grid of hair-thin electrodes, aka capacitance. “When you touch your finger to the screen, it sucks out some of the charge,” says Geoff Wilson, a mobile-technology consultant and former touch technologist at Intel. That’s because your body is made mostly of water, which is extremely conductive. The touchscreen locates your finger on the grid by measuring how much the charge drops between two intersecting electrodes, a process called “mutual capacitance.”
The problem is that drops of sweat or rain can reduce the charge too by providing another conduit between the electrodes. Thankfully, over the past few years, touchscreen engineers have solved the water problem by drawing on a different mode of touch sensing called “self-capacitance.”
Instead of measuring the charge across pairs of electrodes, the touchscreen measures the increase in charge between an individual electrode on the screen and the ground you’re standing on. Because water droplets aren’t grounded, the phone’s firmware is better able to ignore them.
However, this method alone won’t work for most smartphones because
Facebook announced three big new features today for its mobile app: live streaming, photo and video montages called “Collages, and a new dropdown menu for updating your status. The features are initially restricted to iPhone users in the U.S., but will eventually come to Android users as well. Facebook also appears to be testing a new concert ticket purchasing feature in San Francisco, but that isn’t widely available yet. Here’s a rundown:
Live streaming video apps have been a round for a few years, but the crazy really kicked off earlier this year with the app Meerkat, followed shortly by Twitter’s Periscope, which allowed users to directly interact with their viewers. Never one to be one-upped, Facebook introduced the ability to livestream video in August with a feature called Live, but it was initially only for celebrities.
Facebook finally began rolling out Live for all users today. But right now, you can only do it if you’re a select iPhone user in the US.
To begin livestreaming, tap the “Update Status” button and choose the Live Video icon (it looks like a silhouette with two halos).
Minutes count when treating stroke, but current diagnostics take as long as three hours, careful lab work, and skilled technicians to arrive at a conclusive diagnosis. Scientists at Cornell University’s Baker Institute for Animal Health have developed a device that helps diagnose stroke in less than ten minutes using a drop of blood barely big enough to moisten your fingertip. Having demonstrated proof of principle, the technology could eventually be expanded and used in point-of-care testing devices to diagnose other conditions in humans and animals, including traumatic brain injury (concussion), some forms of dementia, and even some types of cancer and heart disease. The study appears in the journal PLOS ONE.
The study’s lead author, author Roy Cohen, a Research Scientist at the Baker Institute, says the technology represents the successful pairing of two big goals in medical diagnostics–small size and simplicity–a combination that means testing could be carried out at a patient’s bedside.
“Three quarters of stroke patients suffer from ischemic stroke — a blockage of a blood vessel in the brain. In those cases, time is of the essence, because there is a good drug available, but for a successful outcome it has to be given within
If your conversations with digital personal assistants like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, or Google Now haven’t been useful enough, a new challenger of Biblical proportions is about to arrive.
Gabriel, a project by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, and funded by the National Science Foundation, is a personal cognitive assistant that “whispers” instructions into a user’s ear, for things like how to change a tire, perform CPR, or even assemble IKEA furniture. It would be like GPS for everyday actions, but one that knows when to shut up, according to principal investigator Mahadev Satyanarayanan.
The name comes from the angel Gabriel, who Biblically served as the messenger of God.
CMU’s Gabriel is just a software platform, though. It says that the hardware could be something like Google Glass, or any other head-mounted display. However, the long-range goal is that this is something that everyone could wear.
The ideal use for Gabriel would, according to a CMU spokesperson, is to replace the experience of going on YouTube to learn how to do something.
Carnegie Mellon has been working on the basic technology behind Gabriel for more than a year, which includes specific applications of computer vision and bringing cloud computing
Cyberspace isn’t the Wild West, but if anything gets close, it’s 3D-printed guns. The weapons, made at home by people with both a desire for a firearm and access to a printing machine, are themselves untraceable, circumventing most gun regulations by being made at home. James R. Patrick’s 3D printed revolver is very much part of the same, a deadlier evolution of the same concept.
Dubbed the PM522 Washbear, the revolver fires .22LR bullets, common in small-game hunting rifles and some pistols. Every part of the gun is printed in sturdy ABS plastic, except three: elastic bands, a metal roofing nail that acts as a firing pin, and a nonfunctioning slab of metal that goes in the handle so the gun can show up on metal detectors, which is generally required by law. The gun has both 6 (reinforced nylon) and 8 shot (ABS plastic) cylinders. When pulled back, the trigger both advances the gun and cocks the firing pin into place, before it springs forward and fires the bullet. At a resting position, the firing pin sits between chambers, presumably preventing the gun from firing when dropped. Here’s what a model of
Usually, you have to wait 100 years to see how well infrastructure will hold up in a once-in-a-century storm. But not anymore.
At the University of Maine’s new Harold Alfond W2 Ocean Engineering Laboratory and Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory at the University of Maine, researchers from academia and industry will be able to test new engineering designs against the most intense ocean conditions.
The $13.8-million facility will be able to test models of different technologies in the pool, which has an adjustable floor that can descend to a depth of 16 feet. Models of ships, offshore wind turbines, and wave energy devices will be put through the ringer with simulated waves and winds strong enough to rival powerful hurricanes.
The Bangor Daily News reports that paddles will push water in the pool to heights of 2 feet–the equivalent of a hurricane-sized 125-foot monster wave to a 1:50 scale model of whatever engineering marvel the laboratory decides to test.
Testing scale models in extreme conditions can give engineers a chance to correct flaws before pouring energy and resources into constructing a full-sized structure.
“We’re already getting calls from a lot of wind energy folks. There’s no facility that can do this
Yahoo recently came into the crosshairs of the New York attorney general as part of a growing effort to control (and shut down) fantasy sports gaming on the internet, and it’s unclear how much of a problem it would be for the company if they have to shut down gaming.
FanDuel and Draft Kings have been in the headlines recently as attorney generals across the country are looking to identify daily fantasy sports gaming as gambling.
Here’s the short explanation: daily fantasy sports are getting a lot of attention because they change the language of skill-based play for money (not illegal) to luck-based play for money (illegal). You can learn a ton about the history of sports gambling and these complex issues at play right now from this Sports Illustrated podcast.
Skill-based play is the argument by the sites, because fantasy football is considered to be a game of statistics where the person with the best understand of the numbers stands the best chance to win. Chance is the important word, though.
No matter how many numbers are available for consideration, the truth is that previous performance is not a sound indication of final outcome, because of luck. Luck
Caleb Harper is the founder of CityFARM at the MIT Media Lab, a program dedicating to exploring the future of agriculture through “food computing.” Popular Science spoke with him about his Thanksgiving plans for this year.
What are you eating and/or growing for Thanksgiving?
My work involves growing food in environments that we can control with a computer. Imagine a box in which we can create a climate by controlling things like carbon dioxide, oxygen, temperature, humidity, and light. We have sensors running in that box to monitor what’s going on inside, and the computers adjust the variables to the levels we want.
I currently have seven of these little boxes in seven schools throughout Boston. Students from 7th through 11th grade are growing vegetables like mustard greens, kale, basil, and radishes. This week we harvested a bunch of vegetables so the students could take them home for Thanksgiving.
It turns out about 90 percent of what we like about the food we eat comes from the environment. People often claim things like the “best strawberries come from Mexico” or the “best tomatoes come from New Jersey,” but really the best strawberries and tomatoes come from whatever climates produce
Fusing machines and animals is a fairly common theme in both science and science fiction. You’ve heard of cyborg cockroaches, DIY cyborgs, and the Borg.
Fusing machines and animals is a fairly common theme in both science and science fiction. You’ve heard of cyborg cockroaches, DIY cyborgs, and the Borg.
But what about melding plants and machines? That’s something that hasn’t been attempted as much. In a study published today in Science Advances, a team of researchers from the Laboratory of Organic Electronics at Linköping University in Sweden discovered a new use for cut roses: electronic circuitry.
The lab has been working on the problem off and on for over 20 years. They tried to incorporate electronics into trees back in the 1990’s, but funding problems halted the project. Now, they’ve succeeded in building electronic circuits out of roses.
“Now we can really start talking about ‘power plants’ – we can place sensors in plants and use the energy formed in the chlorophyll, produce green antennas, or produce new materials. Everything occurs naturally, and we use the plants’ own very advanced, unique systems.” Magnus Berggren, lead author of the research said.
New Balance announced yesterday that it plans to launch a new running shoe for 2016 that would include a 3D printed midsole. The shoemaker known for its running gear hopes that this method will cut down on the overall cost of the shoe, and will allow users to customize their shoes to fit their athletic needs. The sneaker, which is still unnamed, is set to be available in select stores starting in April of next year.
New Balance isn’t the first shoe company or designer to invest in 3D printed shoes. For the past few years, major athletic companies have hinted at using 3D printing to create their running shoes, but it wasn’t until just recently that the goal has begun to come to fruition.
In October, Adidas announced its partnership with the 3D printing company Materialise to create a similar 3D printed midsole for a running shoe, and Nike also announced its intentions to make a 3D printed sneaker.
To create their midsole, New Balance partnered with 3D printing company 3D Systems to use its printers in combination with a newly developed elastomeric powder called
Will robots ever really understand the human condition? Is it possible, for example, for a machine to know both terrible purpose and utter futility at the same time? As an answer to that question, I present to you an Arduino-powered, knife-wielding tentacle robot in a box:
Watch that flailing! Feel for the machine as every last movement fails to mean anything. Laugh as the tiny knife, part of a Swiss Army utility card, slices through the empty air. Tremble before the knowledge that a human made this rubbery nothing for fun, and then relax in the knowledge that the machine cannot feel, it is just our feelings projected upon it that make us sad.
The device, properly named “’Littlebits’ ‘Arduino’ knife-wielding tentacle,” comes to us from YouTube user Outa Spaceman. Arduino is an open-source electronics platform, which is paired here with a Littlebits proto-module and servo to create a mechanical arm that flails. Outa Spaceman says he built it in his spare time since being let go from his job for medical reasons. Why the knife bot? From the video description: “I build to amuse those who may be bored. Just right now I think the world needs a laugh.”
Future holiday meals might not emerge steaming from an oven but from the heated platform of a 3D printer. The machines have already begun to make food more sustainable, more individualized, and more interesting.
“Today, food and software are very big, but very separate pieces of our lives,” says Hod Lipson, a 3D-printing pioneer at Columbia University. “There is a lot of potential in combining them.” Before long, printers might be a staple in every modern kitchen, like the microwave, or the stove before it.
Here are six ways they could transform your plate.
—Kjeld van Bommel, scientist at TNO, a non-profit research organization
1. Living Appetizers
Even local produce has to be delivered. That’s why food designer Chloé Rutzerveld came up with Edible Growth—printed spheres that contain yeast, spores, and seeds. In three to five days on your counter-top, they grow into living amuse-bouches of plants and fungi. Think Chia Pets, but tinier. And tastier.
2. Personalized Potatoes
Swappable “ink” cartridges make it easy to personalize printed foods. Each serving of mashed potatoes can have custom levels of
Apple Watch buyers wealthy enough to splurge on the $15,000 Edition version were lucky enough to have a jewelry case-style charging dock included with their purchase. The rest of the unwashed masses that own Apple Watches had to settle for an undignified magnetic USB charging cable, but now they will be able to make use of a new official magnetic charging dock.
Spotted days ago by various rumor blogs, the new Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Dock went on sale today on Apple’s website for the relatively steep price of $79.
Rumors of Apple’s official Watch dock first made its way to the web initially via iGen.fr—when packaging for the item first leaked. High resolution images of the dock in action followed shortly thereafter.
Some Apple Watch docks and stands offer walnut exteriors, like from Pad & Quill, or extending mechanisms like Griffin’s charging station. Apple’s keeps it simple with a white bubble-like platform with an inductive charger in the center. The charging puck in the center can be remain flush against the rest of the charging dock’s base or raised to
Users of Google Hangouts, Google’s video conferencing app, have long complained that only those with Gmail or Google+ accounts could use the service. Google answered those complaints today by introducing a “guest” mode, which will allow hosts to invite anyone to a Hangouts session.
Hangouts organizers still need a Google account. But once they launch their Hangout, they can invite “external guests” (that’s the term Google is using for anyone without a Google account) to join the conference via Google Calendar. The guest(s) will click on a link in the invitation, enter their name when prompted and can start chatting without creating accounts on Gmail or the newly-renovated Google+.
External guests can join on any web or mobile platform, and have to be approved (and can be kicked out at any time) by the organizer. The feature is still rolling out, so if you can’t access it yet, you’ll should be able to by the end of the week.
While an obvious plus for current Google Hangouts users, the new capability will probably also further spur adoption of Google Hangouts as a video conferencing and video chatting option, and provides an especially compelling alternative to other rival video chatting
Being constantly connected to the world is great, except when your world revolves around someone you don’t want to see anymore. Facebook is trying to fix that though, and announced a new tool today that will “help people manage how they interact with their former partners on Facebook after a relationship has ended.”
Now when Facebook users update their relationship status after a breakup, they’ll be asked if they’d like to see less of their ex without having to unfriend or block them. Using this option will stop your ex’s posts from making it to your News Feed and won’t suggest their name as someone to tag in your photos.
You can also limit which of your content your exes can see, and edit or untag yourself from any (or every) past post you share with them. While you could do all of this before, this new tool guides you through the process and can edit posts and tags in batches, so you don’t have to go through every individual post if you decide to stay connected to your ex. All of these features are totally optional though, so if you end with someone on good terms, you can
It is easy to forget, in our social age of public profiles and constantly tracked online presence, but there are parts of the internet that still offer obscurity. Tor, an identity-cloaking tool initially funded in part by DARPA and still funded to this day in part by the United States State Department, offers a form of protection for anyone online who wants to stay anonymous, like political dissidents abroad or law-avoiding drug sellers in the United States.
But activity conducted through Tor isn’t entirely untraceable, and there’s increasing evidence that, in exchange for cash, a security research team at Carnegie Mellon turned over information to legal authorities that led to several arrests.
Tor lets people use the internet anonymously by routing data through some of the many nodes in a complex network, obscuring the start point and end point. Built from an idea in the mid-1990s to let government officials securely communicate on civilian internet networks without revealing their location, Tor was one of many tools used by activists during the Arab Spring protests of 2011 to communicate while avoiding government scrutiny. Existing Tor nodes include such innocuous sites as public libraries in New Hampshire and research universities, and
When Gmail launched in 2004, I remember thinking how silly it was that Google, a search engine, was trying to compete with the giants of email like AOL and Hotmail. When I finally got an invitation to the closed beta though, I saw immediately that Gmail was a game-changer.
Seven years later, in June 2011, I had just finished my first year of college and couldn’t wait to see how Google+ would change the likes of Facebook and Twitter. Within 10 minutes of setting up my profile though, I was over Google’s fourth attempt at a social network. On the rare occasions I use my G+ profile in my personal life, it’s almost exclusively because it’s required to do Google Hangouts (another Google product I feel does its job better than competitors). Gmail and Hangouts show that Google is capable of products besides its search engine, but Google+ hasn’t been one of those in the last four years.
So when I saw an announcement on Google’s official blog today that G+ had a new user interface across all platforms, I felt that familiar twinge of hope for Google’s ailing social network. The two newest, and biggest, changes deal with
IBM released a new app today that answers all of your burning questions about holiday shopping trends. It’s called the IBM Watson Trend App and it’s available as a free download from the Apple Store. The app is part of IBM’s push to spread the Watson knowledge via the API.
In a slightly creepy way, Watson has been watching you. It has been monitoring tens of millions of online conversations on social media, and in the comments–yes, Watson reads the comments–as well as other forums, blogs, and websites. Its goal though is not just to snoop. Watson wants to understand how consumers feel.
Watson uses machine learning and natural language processing to determine how much people like or dislike a certain product or brand. Then it goes one step further and uses that knowledge to predict trends. So what has Watson decided is trending? Here are a couple of things of note:
LEGO bricks–a perennial Popular Science favorite– are unsurprisingly popular this year. Watson predicts popular sets will sell out, so if you’re hoping to get your hands on some, you might as well jump on Black Friday deals.
Hello Barbie, who we met at Toy Fair earlier this year,
Hollywood promised us hoverboards by 2015. And while Lexus created a board that actually hovers in carefully controlled conditions, the rest of us have to settle for non-hovering electric scooters with wheels. We want real hoverboards so badly that we’ve allowed these ‘hoverboards’ into our hearts and wallets, with at least one of them basically winning Halloween:
Now, they’re becoming part of the next big holiday season: the Christmas shopping wars. Yesterday, the NYPD’s 26th Precinct (located in Harlem) sent out the above-pictured tweet, noting that the electric hoverboard is illegal “as per NYC Admin. Code 19-176.2”
Many people pointed out that the code cited (which bans motorized scooters) actually seemed to allow hoverboards. Here is the full text of the code:
a. For purposes of this section, the term “motorized scooter” shall mean any wheeled device that has handlebars that is designed to be stood or sat upon by the operator, is powered by an electric motor or by a gasoline motor that is capable of propelling the device without human power and is not capable of being registered with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. For the purposes of this