Google Your Collections
May06

Google Your Collections

When you hear the name “Google”, what do you think of? Probably an awesome company and search engine that’s brought us many of wonderful things like Gmail, Drive, Play, and more. Am I right? Of course I am. Everyone in the world knows Google, so much so that it has become synonymous with Internet searches.  Side note: have you ever Googled yourself? Interesting things come up. The search engine company has grown tremendously since its founding in 1996 from simple search queries into developing apps, social movements, and social media outlets like Google+. Now they are making waves by tackling another previously untouched target. On Monday, Google+ announced its newest feature called Collections. Similar to Pinterest, it allows the user to post pictures, articles, and videos into separate collections (get it) that can be shared with friends, the public, or kept private. The collections will gather in your Google+ home stream alerting others of new posts and collections. You can follow others’ collections, repost them to your own, and vice versa. Google has already dipped into so many different areas of technology it only makes sense to keep the trend up, and this move is a very smart one. Pinterest was founded in 2010 and has quickly grown into one of the most popular social media sites today. Valued at $11 billion, Pinterest has over 70 million total users and is constantly growing. Google’s move to challenge Pinterest is a bold one especially since Google+ didn’t fare too well against Facebook. For now, Collections is available online and on Android devices. Google says it will soon be available on Apple iPhones and iPads as well. It will be interesting to see how many use this new feature, and if in doing so, increasingly use...

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UltraHaptics: The UltraCool Possibilities
Apr28

UltraHaptics: The UltraCool Possibilities

You know how in Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr.’s lab is controlled by his hands? There aren’t any physical buttons, its all hologram-like images that he moves with just a flick of his wrist. Super cool right? The first time I saw it, I couldn’t wait for that to be our reality. Thanks to a company called UltraHaptics, that reality is closer than we think. This technology company based in the United Kingdom is working on developing technology that “enables users to receive tactile feedback without needing to wear or touch anything.” They have made this possible through their use of ultrasonic sound waves. UltraHaptics uses a small collection of ultrasonic speakers that emit low frequency sound waves. These waves are similar to those of the bass you feel when you go to a club. The sound waves are all concentrated to meet in one area, providing an invisible layer of ultrasound that you can feel with your hand. Other companies have been working towards the same goal as UltraHaptics using different strategies, but UltraHaptics has added an extra layer of feedback to their technology. When someone touches the area of concentration, they feel a small vibration against their skin. By giving the feel of a force field to the user, it is easier to interact and utilize the technology. The possibilities of this technology are endless. This technology can be used on a car’s dashboard, to make a phone’s screen larger, really anything. And with the rise of popularity in the development of this technology, many industries are eager to get involved. Tom Carter, UltraHaptic CTO, said they are working in a variety of areas including consumer electronics, home appliances, and even virtual reality. Carter recently said of their work, “I’d like to believe that the first product featuring our technology will be on the shelves in a year”. If Carter’s hopes become reality, our world will just be so much cooler than it already...

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T, You Should Really Clear Your History
Apr23

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, You Should Really Clear Your History

Ok, not the greatest adaptation of the song. You just have to sing it real quick and it works! So we have all seen what happens when a tweet is taken out of context or personal pictures are stolen by hackers. Those affected have to work to reinforce their image while keeping their cool and not saying anything to further aggravate the public. This isn’t just for celebrities. Public image is hugely important in today’s world for everyone from college graduates to company CEOs. It can make or break a person and even a company. And with everyone being connected on social media today, it makes it even easier to unintentionally tarnish that image. Well, now there is an app called Clear that goes through your social media history on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, flagging posts that contain inappropriate content, using IBM’s supercomputer and an algorithm. What constitutes “inappropriate content” on the app? Well, the obvious profanity, but Clear also flags post containing words like “gay” or “women,” that might be offensive to those respective groups, depending on what was originally said.. The app works to flag these posts because if taken out of context, they can be very offensive. Clear was invented by Ethan Czahor, a man who made headlines of his own not too long ago. Czahor was hired as the chief technology officer in Jeb Bush’s political campaign, but after a history of offensive tweets and blog posts were brought to light, he resigned 36 hours later. Not the greatest thing to happen to him that year. Now Czahor wants to help the future generation of professionals who share almost everything online. “Every millennial is now entering the workforce… and everything that they’ve said online for the last 10 years is still there, and that’s a new thing for this generation”. Czahor hopes to help others avoid falling into the same situation he did. The development team is working to improve the algorithm for finding inappropriate content, and to also recognize pictures and videos that might be compromising. As a soon-to-be college graduate I have heard the lecture from parents and teachers about watching what you put online, but you don’t always catch everything. I am currently on the waiting list for this app, and hopefully it will be worth the...

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Sonar Treadmill: The Personalized Running Machine
Apr20

Sonar Treadmill: The Personalized Running Machine

Walking into the gym is like entering a whole new world. There are the serious gym rats who spend hours lifting weights (hopefully not forgetting their legs), the ones who try not to mess up their hair while exercising so they can take selfies, and the ones who don’t really know what they’re doing. Whichever gym body you are, entering this new world immediately makes you question yourself. “Should I go on the elliptical or bike today? Or maybe run the track? But I’d like to stay up to date on current events, so maybe the treadmill, so I can see the TV. But the treadmill – ugh it’s so bad to run on and what if I fly off the end?” Not anymore, my friends. Not any more. Researchers at Ohio State have just designed a new treadmill that aims to make running more natural. Their new treadmill has a sonar device attached to the back of the treadmill that is aimed at the runner’s back. This sonar keeps track of the runner’s distance along the running belt, increasing speed when they get closer to the front of the treadmills, and reducing speed when they get closer to the back. This automatic increase and decrease of speed allows the runner to simply run at their own pace as if outside. Steven T. Devor, an associate professor of kinesiology at Ohio State and one of the developers of the new treadmill, said that the sonar is so accurate that an elite runner could break into a fast sprint and still not hit the front of the treadmill. “It is all seamless and the runner doesn’t even know it’s happening.” Automatic speed isn’t the only good part. Another benefit was discovered when testing runners on the treadmill. They found with endurance runners that their maximal oxygen consumption (V02) scores improved, meaning that their levels of oxygen usage increased. These scores are vital in testing endurance and heart rate, and help make training more effective. The prototype for this awesome new sonar treadmill is near completion and will soon be ready for commercial releases. What does this mean for us? Well, now running on a treadmill won’t be such a stressful ordeal, and there will be no risk of flying off the...

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Hairware: The Everyday Bond Gadget
Apr16

Hairware: The Everyday Bond Gadget

Anyone who’s ever seen any of the James Bond movies knows that the man has the coolest gadgets, from the Aston Martin DB5 to the Rebreather all the way to the classic grapple gun. James Bond’s suaveness and skill make us want to be him – or at least have the gadgets he has. Well my friends, we are one step closer. Beauty Technology, a company that works to develop beauty technology, wearable computers, virtual worlds, and groupware, recently developed a gadget that is raising hairs in the technology world (pun intended). Designer Katia Vega has developed Hairware, an attachable hair clip that lets you communicate with and use your smartphone. I know right? Like, mind blown. So how does this work? The hair extension is woven with wires that “act as a remote touch sensor” to interact with the smartphone. A Bluetooth module and Arduino microcontroller allow the hair to communicate with the phone and tell it what to do. A built-in learning algorithm is then used to detect different touches and strokes, eventually learning to understand and recognize the user’s intentions. Besides Hairware being a super cool James Bond–esque gadget, it could be very beneficial to women everywhere. If they are in a dangerous situation and using a phone is impossible, notifying someone by inconspicuously touching their hair can help save them – for example, by sending a text or turning on a voice recorder. Vega wrote on her website that, “normally, while someone touches her own hair, unconsciously she is bringing comfort to herself and at the same time is emitting a non-verbal message…we add new functionalities to hair extensions, turning them into a seamless device that recognizes auto-contact behaviors concealed to outside observers.” Women aren’t the only ones Beauty Technology is looking out for. Their next step is to use the technology to turn beards into smartphone communicators as well. This is a huge innovation that could definitely make a big impact on the world. Now we just have to sit back and wait until we can get our own Hairware so that we can walk around saying, “The name’s Bond. James...

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