Category Archives: Bez kategorii

Startup accelerators can into space!

Every fan of space industry can open their bottle of champagne, because big players like NASA, U.S. Air Force, Lockheed Martin, Maxar Technologies, SAIC and the Israel Aerospace Industries company, Techstars and Starburst Aerospace have decided to to join their forces together to make a space industry accelerator!

 

Accelerator will be called Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator, with Matt Kozlov as a manager of the whole program, with Van Espahbodi (co-founder of Starburst Aerospace) as his main advisor. TSSA headquarters will be located in Los Angeles, city well known for strong and well established private space sector with companies like SpaceX, Virgin Orbit, Rocket Lab, and many more.

 

As space is getting more trendy, more investors show up, and estimates tell us that by 2045 this sector of economy will be worth 3 trillion USD.

 

 

Sources: Techcrunch

Apple fights for its customers privacy

 

Recently Apple has started a real war with developers violating their privacy policy, starting with facebook and their research app and going to every app that records screen to process how users interact with it. Either this feature will be deleted or the developers will face being removed from App Store.

An apple spokesperson asked about that situation told TechCrunch: “Protecting user privacy is paramount in the Apple ecosystem. Our App Store Review Guidelines require that apps request explicit user consent and provide a clear visual indication when recording, logging, or otherwise making a record of user activity.”

“We have notified the developers that are in violation of these strict privacy terms and guidelines, and will take immediate action if necessary,”

 

Many apps, including ones like Hotels.com, Expedia or Hollister used third party software to record every tap of users and didn’t ask for permission to do that. Software like Glassbox is a cross-platform analytics tool which allows companies to record users activity and analyse every single move. Even though Apple strictly forbids gathering any data without users knowledge, many developers use software like Glassbox despite unconsciousness of users.

 

Is Apple going to continue removing apps like Facebooks “research” from the App Store? Is the company going to strictly execute their policy and rules on developers? We will see soon.

 

 

Sources:
techcrunch.com
theverge.com

Smart pills to help diabetics?

Scientists from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Novo Nordisk collaborate on creating a new kind of drug which aim is to make diabetics’ lives easier and less painful.

Nowadays people suffering from diabetes have to inject insulin multiple times per day to maintain a proper blood glucose level. For the last 100 years scientists tried to find a way to make insulin possible to be taken orally, which is quite a challenge, because many pharmaceutical compounds can’t survive the stomach’s harsh, acidic environment.

The new device created by previously mentioned scientists is about to finally allow diabetics to put injections off and make the whole process a lot easier. The smart pill works by attaching itself to the inside of the stomach and then injecting a payload through the gastric wall. Once the sugar glass that surrounds it is dissolved by acid in the stomach a tiny needle is released and a patient gets a proper dose of insulin.

The current injection is not the most comfortable process because of the pain related to inserting the needle into veins, right? Taking this smart pill orally means the injection will be done inside your stomach, which exactly means that you will not feel any pain. Why? According to Robert Langer, coauthor of the whole project, there are no pain receptors within the gastrointestinal tract.

Leopard Tortoise (Geochelone pardalis), Kruger National Park, South Africa

Moreover, the shape of the pill is inspired by the shape of a leopard tortoise’s shell, which automatically self-rights no matter how it lands – that kind of structure ensures that the device will attach to the gastric wall every time. It’s worth noting that the whole project is still at the proof-of-concept stage and has only been tested in animals, so the device won’t be available in the nearest future.

So, what are your thoughts on this topic? Do you think that in the futue smart pills will be a common thing? Let me know down below!

 

Sources:

https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/612917/smart-pills-filled-with-tiny-needles-could-inject-medicine-directly-into-your/

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/02/pills-armed-tiny-needles-could-inject-insulin-other-important-meds-directly-stomach?r3f_986=https://www.google.com/

 

Tagged , , , , ,

Air conditioner in a fabric?

It is difficult to feel perfectly comfortable in terms of body temperature. We are either too cold or too hot, and constantly tinkering with the air conditioner is not the way to go. How about an AC embedded into our clothing? This seems absurd and impossible, but believe it or not, something of this sort has been made possible.

In the University of Maryland, a new fabric has been invented that cools down a person when they’re hot and warms them up when they’re cold. The strands of the fabric are coated with carbon nanotubes that are efficient at emitting heat, and the other coating is copper that is good at trapping heat. This fabric also feels exactly like regular clothing. When a person is sweating, the fabric reacts to the increased temperature and moisture levels, so the strands twist becoming thinner which activates the nanotube coating. This results in the fabric to have gaps, allowing infrared radiation to pass through, almost like pores in a body, causing a person to cool down. The opposite process is that when a person is cold the fabric is cool and dry, so the strands expand blocking and trapping the heat in order to warm someone up.

I think that this is a great innovation of clothing, and something that I would love to acquire. I myself am either always too cold or too hot, so finding an equilibrium is extremely rare. On the other hand, the uses and advantages of this for different people is uncountable. This fabric is not only comfortable on daily basis, but it would be most beneficial for athletes, but also babies, elderly or disabled people. This is because they require the “most attention and constant comfort”. However, imagine men that wear suits at 30 degrees Celsius during the summer, or women that live in countries that require them to cover up their skin at all times. This fabric would be beneficial not just for specific people, but for all people on regular basis. After all we all sweat.

Sources:

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/612909/this-new-fabric-will-automatically-cool-you-down-when-you-get-hot-and-sweaty/

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2193057-heat-sensitive-fabric-cools-you-on-hot-days-and-warms-you-in-the-cold/

New Fabric Warms or Cools Depending How You Wear It

 

“Ideal Plant”: solution for global warming

Climat change is happening. It is one of the most important problems that the humanity is dealing with. No wonder that many scientists dedicate their time and effort in order to find the most efficient solution of this problem. It wasn’t otherwise at the Salk Institute, California. A group of genius scientists decided to deal with a different spectrum of life than disease. The leader of the project, Joanne Chory, has made groundbreaking discoveries on photosynthesis process. Now she wants to make a difference in one more field she cares about.

 

Ideal Plant isn’t any kind of new, sci-fi plant invented in the laboratory. The main purpose of creating one is to transform the ability of the most popular plants, like wheat, soya or cotton, to be able to store more carbon dioxide in their roots. If the experiment succeeds, the plants will literally “suck out” the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  This way, planting regular crops we would be able to slow down the processes responsible for climate change. Carbon footprint is an inseparable part of our lives  and thanks to this initiative, maybe we could decrease our bad influence on the planet just a bit.

This project is exceptional regarding the fight against climate change. Scientist from Salk Institute were the first ones to think about the solution with the use of what we already know well: plants. But they are not the only ones thinking of plants as a solution of different problems. There are plants identified as a great neutralisers of harmful smog. Keeping one next to your bed will help you sleep better and breathe cleaner air. Hopefully, plants will eliminate most of the pollution inside of our houses so we can be safe.

The plants are copies of one another so the experiments won’t have different result because of their varieties. The idea of ideal plants seems to be promising. Thanks to the hard work of Californian scientists a step towards better future will be taken. Without further engagement of the third side parties, we will be able to clean our air as we seed our plants. It is surprisingly simple mechanism which can prevent us from what’s about to come: more pollution. Except for the long waiting time for the experiment to become true, I have no objections on this project. It is amazing how simple yet powerful some solutions can be.

 

https://www.ft.com/content/aa055276-2419-11e9-8ce6-5db4543da632

For three years Facebook has been craftily collecting data under radar

If you don’t feel well with Facebook analysing your every move in web, this might be very disturbing for you.

Since 2016, Facebook has been running research program in which they offered users in ages from 13 up to 35 small, monthly payments for using their software. The whole idea was that the user gave full access to their phone data, which then facebook could gather, analyse and use. The app, literally called “Research” used for this purpose, was recently removed from the App Store by apple due to the fact that it violated their policy by getting root access to network traffic.

Tim Cook has repeatedly criticised  Facebook for their data collection practices and breaking AppStore rules might be worsening his opinion.

The system was administered by beta testing systems such as Applause, BetaBound and uTest in order to hide any connections to Facebook, the whole project was given a fitting name – “Atlas”, rather highlighting that Zuckerberg and crew tried to map trends among users worldwide.

Will Strafach, Guardian Mobile Firewall’s security expert, was asked to do some research on the “Research”, after all he reported “If Facebook makes full use of the level of access they are given by asking users to install the Certificate, they will have the ability to continuously collect the following types of data: private messages in social media apps, chats from in instant messaging apps – including photos/videos sent to others, emails, web searches, web browsing activity, and even ongoing location information by tapping into the feeds of any location tracking apps you may have installed.” Basically, if you install the app and give it permission to use your data, it will collect anything that goes out or in your phone.

 

This shows how far the tech giant is willing to go for data collection, the direction in which it’s going might even scare some of us, even so big and trusted companies like facebook violate policies and go beyond ethics.

 

 

 

 

Sources:
techcrunch.com
betabound.com

Garmin data used to convict a runner for murder

Recently a British runner was convicted for life in prison for murder of two gangsters. Mark “Iceman” Fellows was under investigation for killing a crime boss and his associate. The nail to Fellows coffin was his Garmin watch. Garmin wathces can measure a lot of parameters such as blood pressure and heart beat, but can also show the GPS location of the watch.

The suspect was seen wearing one of these watches during a marathon in 2014. Police found the watch and checked it’s location history. Data showed that months before the crime was commited Fellows was doing reaserch in the area. Route from the day of the murder was used to support evidence that Fellows was guilty of the commited crime. This case is one of the examples how technology, smart watches, home devices like Alexa or even our mobile phones can help our catch a criminal. In my opinion this is great but there is also a bad side of the story. For us everyday users of smart watches and smart phones it is not that good of a story, unless you like to be stalked all the time. Those devices spy on us constantly, they know our location, they can predict if we are scared or excited based on our heartbeat. It just shows how expensive is information today. Companies go to every measure possible to know the most about customers. For me it looks very grimm that every piece of technology will constantly monitor me, the worst case sceniario is for me Alexa, it can record without your knowledge your whole day schedule, making it easy for someone to hack it and rob the house when you are not at home.

 

Sources:

https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/18/18188205/garmin-data-iceman-murder-mr-big-amazon-alexa

Smart tattoos that will help you stay healthy

Following trend of integrating wellness and technology, researchers at Harvard and MIT have developed a new, compact product to replace fitness trackers – smart tattoos. From wearable fitbits to self powered smart patches, most vital trackers have so far all required some sort of upkeep, were clumsy and relied on a stable wireless connection. The smart tattoo is based on ink which chemically reacts to various fluids in the skin that act as markers of your vital signs, and changes colors accordingly. Furthermore, the tattoos will not neccesarily be permanent, and the ink can be set to degrade in a certain period of time. The technology promises big advancement in the fields of fitness and medicine.

In fitness, the smart tattoo could replace various vital tracking devices. Since nothing has to be worn, it allows for more freedom of movement, and since it is implanted in the skin it can track things such as blood glucose levels which are not so easy to track with wearable devices. Glucose levels can be especially important for athletes, as keeping them at a particular level can increase the efficiency of exercise and minimize exhaustion.

    In medicine the smart tattoo seems as a promising alternative for diabetics. So far, checking blood glucose levels has been a nuisance requiring blood, which many find painful and annoying. With the new ink patients could have a permanent tracker on. The technology can also track heart rate, and thus opens new management pathways for heart disease sufferers.

In conclusion, the smart tattoo is an innovative technology with wide application in fitness and medicine. It may allow athletes for higher performance due to more precise measurements and its compactness. The technology also promises higher living standards for those living with diabetes and heart disease, by removing certain uncomfortable measuring devices from their life.

Sources: https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/01/smart-tattoos/?guccounter=1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sencrop – the future of agriculture

Recently, a French startup has introduced Sencrop – data platform and a service marketplace. As today, agriculture decisions rely more and more on data analysis, company claims that it wants to be a one-step shop for farmer’s digital needs when it comes to leveraging data. Stations measure humidity, temperature, rainfall, windspeed etc. It also gives farmers an ability to make better agronomic decisions (ultra-local weather information), and interact with their partners (streaming data).

 

 

“On the other side of the platform, there are people broadcasting services to farmers,” co-founder and CEO Michael Bruniaux told the reporter of Techcrunch. “For instance, we can predict a disease and the farmer knows whether they need a product or not to prevent the disease.”

 

COSTS
Each station costs from $340 and $570 (you can install it by yourself – it’s very easy) and you can have as many as you want.
Then, you have to pay annual subscription to access the platform. The cost of this is between $170 and $340. Sencrop will predict the next steps that have to be taken to live regarding to sensors.

https://sencrop.com/

 

BENEFITS

What the company wants to achieve is to create a full-fledged marketplace in which communication between companies and their cooperatives can be the most efficient. You could easily subscribe to an insurance product or order seeds.

Sencrop also wants to create a community in which all farmers have combined data points. If people around you are also using Sencrop, you will get a better forecast on what to expect. It also wants  to expand to the new markets (they started with potato crops, vineyard and cereals but now you can find all kind of profiles on Sencrop).

 

FUN FACT:

Sencrop won the top award for its high-precision agrometeorological station and platform at the 2017 SIMA Innovation Awards ceremony.

 

In Europe, over 5,000 farmers are already using the platform to monitor their farms. What do you think, will Sencrop be popular in a few years? Will it be a necessity for modern farmers? Or will it be replaced by some different innovation?

 

Resources:

www.sencrop.com/en/

www.digitalfoodlab.com/en/foodtech-database/sencrop

www.techcrunch.com/2019/01/31/sencrop-is-a-data-platform-to-help-farmers-manage-their-lands/

 

 

MICROSOFT EMOTIONAL AD – XBOX ADAPTIVE CONTROLLER

Microsoft on Thursday released an ad that presents the Xbox Adaptive Controller.

The controller has been designed for players with disabilities so that they can play as quickly and efficiently as other healthy players. The device has two large, programmable buttons and 19 jacks that can be connected to various accessories, depending on the needs of the player. For example, on an ad you can see how a boy uses a controller to which “pedals” are connected to facilitate his game.

“No matter how your body is or how fast you are, you can play,” one player says in the ad.

Microsoft shows that it is not only a giant corporation, but also is tugging at the heartstrings. Since its first Super Bowl commercial in 2014, Microsoft has presented several other works that it performs to enable people with disabilities or other disorders to live normally. It was, among others, an iPhone application for blind people and Office improvements for people with dyslexia.

Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Brand, Advertising and Research Kathleen Hall said in a statement that “The Xbox Adaptive Controller helps in the gaming experience and what’s the best news for a premiere sporting event?”

I think that creating new solutions and devices for people with different needs is very beautiful and I am glad that such a huge company as Microsoft has built a controller so that children and adults with disabilities can enjoy the game as well as their healthy co-players.

What do you think about this project? Let me know in the comment.

 

References:

https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/31/18205193/microsoft-super-bowl-2019-commercial

https://www.cnet.com/news/microsofts-super-bowl-ad-features-kids-gaming-with-the-xbox-adaptive-controller/

Microsoft highlights the Xbox Adaptive Controller in emotional Super Bowl ad

Tagged