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5G – The future of the Internet

Reading Time: 3 minutes
The new opportunities brought by 5G | datos.gob.es

What is 5G?

Put simply, 5G is the fifth generation of wireless technology. It is a global wireless network that is designed to connect everything from machines, devices to objects. 5G technology is expected to deliver ultra-low latencies, higher capacity systems, energy savings, cost reductions, and offering a better user experience. It will also create new opportunities and bring new capabilities to businesses and societies. Here is what some people are excited about with 5G:

“The adoption of 5G will be even faster than what we saw on 4G, which was already fairly fast,” said Ignacio Contreras, Qualcomm’s director of marketing

“5G is one of those heralds, along with artificial intelligence, of this coming data age,” said Steve Koenig, senior director of market research for the Consumer Technology Association.

What is 5G | Everything You Need to Know About 5G | 5G FAQ | Qualcomm

What are the differences between 5G and previous generations of mobile networks?

5G had several predecessors, namely 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G.

1G was the first generation of wireless cellular technology. It was introduced in the 1980s. 1G only offered a channel capacity of 30KHz and a speed of 2.4kbps, being able to only allow voice calls to be made. It suffered from reliability and signal interference issues and had limited protection against hackers.

2G was the second-gen of wireless cellular technology, being introduced in 1991. 2D technology enabled services such as picture messages, text messages, etc.

3G was launched in 2001 and offered wireless voice telephony, mobile Internet access, fixed wireless Internet access, video calls and mobile TV.

The one we know most about, 4G, was released in 2006, and offers speeds up to 10 times faster than they are on the 3rd gen. Its high speeds allow smartphones to be much more compatible with PCs than they ever were.

Now onto the topic of today, 5G. This generation promises to have next to no latency, ultra-high speeds, higher capacity systems, etc. It also further enables the possibility of innovations such as self-driving cars, smart factories, telemedicine (remote diagnosis and treatment of patients), smart buildings and much more. It looks to expand its services from just wireless to a whole ecosystem in the form of the Internet of Things.

Generations of Mobile Networks: Explained

How is 5G is better than 4G?

In terms of pure Internet speeds, the maximum bandwidth (maximum amount of data transmitted over a given amount of time) for 4G is 200mbps while for 5G it’s 1gbps. But the most impressive metric to me is the latency (the time it takes for data to be transferred between its original source and its destination). With 4G the average latency is around 50 ms but with 5G it’s 1ms, which means 5G is on average 50 times faster than 4G. Here are some other superiorities 5G has compared to 4G

4G5G
Bandwidth200mbps1gbps
Download Speed1gbps10gbps
Latency60-90ms1ms
Base StationCell towers
Small cells
OFDM Coding20MHZ channels100-800 MHZ channels

My thoughts on 5G

I think the features that 5G brings are great, but with every sudden jump in the advancement of technology, there is bound to be some controversy. The public is mainly concerned with how 5G’s high-frequency bandwidths affect health. Currently, there are no officially proven health risks concerned with 5G. There are people arguing that 5G possibly causes cancer but the results have been inconsistent. There have also been accusations that the radiation from 5G might be harmful to birds and animals, for instance, high-frequency electromagnetic waves are said to alter insects’ body temperature. I personally believe that it’s important to take all these possibilities into account before deploying 5G towers all over the world. Considering that 5G towers have already been deployed in a lot of countries, even though officially there are no threats towards health, I believe its important that we make sure 5G has no effect on the health of humans before we keep deploying them in other countries and its too late.

Chart: Where 5G Technology Has Been Deployed | Statista

Sources:

Is 5G Harmful to People? Separating Facts from Myths (healthline.com)

What is 5G | Everything You Need to Know About 5G | 5G FAQ | Qualcomm

All About 5G: The Next Big Thing After WiFi | STL Blog

Ovie Smartware – A step towards reducing food waste

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Food waste is a global problem. Not only is food waste morally wrong, but it also massively impacts the environment. Dumping food doesn’t just waste money, it also has a heavy impact on our climate. Approximately 25% of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions are created by food waste, which is unfathomable to me. This is where Ovie’s Smartware comes in as it’s an American company that launched a new line of smart containers. Ovie was founded with a clear goal: reduce food waste. Each of these containers has special tags, the so-called Smart Tags, which show the freshness of the product stored in the container.

Ovie Smarterware Containers (1).jpg

How does Smartware work?

The way Smartware works is rather straightforward. As mentioned above, each of these containers has special tags, the so-called Smart Tags, which show the freshness of the product stored in the container. After tagging the food container, you have to input what kind of food it is on the Ovie app. Then, the app registers the food and starts a countdown for each food on the app. If the marker is glowing green, then the product is fit for consumption. If it turns yellow, then the product is still edible but it should be consumed as soon as possible. However, when it becomes red the food in the container should be discarded.

smarttag-an-2.gif

What kind of features does Smartware include?

The Ovie Smartware offers several convenient features. The features that stand out to me the most are 1) You can download the Ovie Smartware app which can send notifications when the food is starting to spoil, as seen below

Ovie_Notification.jpg

2) The app contains a fridge overview. The foods that are registered with the Smart Tag are tracked in the app. You can change how long you’re storing your food in here and it will update the tag in your fridge.

CES 2018: Ovie Smartware Tells how Long Your Leftover Food Can Last

3) The app is connected to an outside recipe database which allows you to search what you’re craving and filter results by the food in your fridge.

My take on Smartware

I believe that this product is exceptionally impressive. It’s extremely handy to know exactly when your food is going to spoil. Especially in a time where one-third of all food produced is either lost or wasted, having such a product prevalently used in our society could substantially decrease food waste. The prices that come with the product aren’t out of worldly either. The basic kit which including the SmartTags costs only 35$. In my opinion that is worth the money considering that the average US family wastes 1,500$ each year throwing out food. In conclusion, Smartware is a great overall investment considering the price, no impact on the climate, and the features it brings.

Sources:

Ovie Smarterware: smart food containers :: AGDLab.pl

Ovie Smarterware: The First Connected Food Storage System by Ovie — Kickstarter

Neuralink

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Introduction

I’ve always had a strong feeling of empathy towards people with paralysis and the physically impaired. I keep wondering to myself how hard and challenging it must be. But as technology advances, things we thought were impossible become reality. Neuralink is a great example, as it’s a company that is known for its controversial brain-chip interface. When you first hear of the brain chip, it sounds like an idea taken straight from a horror movie, but if you care enough to look beyond that, you can get a glimpse of the future for the physically impaired – a new, sixth sense: Neuralink.

Ciemna strona Neuralink – problem, o którym się nie mówi - SpeedTest.pl  Wiadomości

So what is Neuralink?

Neuralink was founded by arguably the most influential and richest person in the world, Elon Musk. Neuralinks core promise is to enable the brain to communicate directly with computers. It’s essentially a device that is surgically inserted into the brain using robotics by different neurosurgeons. A chipset called the link is implanted into the skull during this procedure. The device itself has several insulated wires which are connected to the electrodes that are used in the process. The Neuralink can be used to operate computers and smartphones without actually touching them. Human trials have not yet started though, as getting approval from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is no easy task.

Is Elon Musk over-hyping his brain-hacking Neuralink tech? - BBC News

What does Neuralink do?

As mentioned above, Neuralink allows people with paralysis to easily operate smartphones and computers directly with their brains. Its main purpose is to help people communicate through text or voice messages. Neuralink is not only limited to that though, as it can also be used to take photos, draw pictures, etc.

How does Neuralink work?

The way Neuralink works is quite complicated. To completely grasp the way Neuralink works, we first have to understand the science behind our brains. Simply put, the brain sends and receives electrical signals throughout the body. Different signals help control different processes, and the brain interprets each. The electrodes that are a part of Neuralink help read the signals made by the neurons in the brain. The signals are then outputted in the form of an action or movement. Additionally, the company’s website mentions that they deliberately implant the device directly in the brain because placing the Neuralink outside the head won’t be able to detect the signals accurately.

Neuralink – Elon Musk obiecuje, że w piątek pokaże działające urządzenie |  Gaming Society

My take on the topic

When it comes to implanting Neuralink on healthy people, I believe that getting most people even remotely interested in having this device will be proven difficult. I think that the possible negatives far outweigh the proven positives when it comes to Neuralink. First of all, in my eyes, the idea of implanting this device in healthy people would require extraordinary evidence of safety. And that’s already hard to picture because as soon as you surgically open someone’s head, you put that person’s life at great risk. Not to mention the security concerns which could be vital in the future era. The technology’s core promise — is to enable the brain to communicate directly with computers — might possibly turn out to be its biggest security flaw. Should a computing device literally connected to the brain, like Neuralink, become hacked, the consequences could be disastrous, allowing hackers to have ultimate control over someone. In conclusion, I believe that while Neuralink could be of great help to people with paralysis or the physically impaired, the process of convincing the healthy public in their product is next to impossible.

Sources:

Hacking Humans: How Neuralink May Give AI The Keys To Our Brains (forbes.com)

What is Neuralink? How does the technology work and what can a person do with it? (republicworld.com)

What Is Neuralink: A Look At What It Is, What It Wants to Be, and What It Could Become | by Kenny L. | Towards Data Science

Infinite Objects – The comfort you need

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Images and videos have been a vital part of people’s lives ever since photo cameras were invented. If you really think about it, the ability to store photos and videos on a device for long periods of time is incredible. Whether it be wanting to reminisce about old times or remembering an old friend, images and video can serve many different goals. But what if you wanted something more sincere than just a video file on your device, something that would feel a lot more like home and wouldn’t just sit on the back of your phone? That’s where Infinite Objects comes in as it’s a company that manufactures and sells a display that’s designed to loop one video permanently. There are no buttons, no connectivity, no app, and no updates. Just one video, looping infinitely.

SteveAoki_whales.gif

What is a Video Print exactly and how does it work?

Infinite Objects is essentially a permanently treated display – a Video Print. There are no apps involved, no fussy configurations, just a video that loops forever. Infinite Objects Video Prints can hold up a video that contains up to 24 hours’ worth of footage. It doesn’t support audio as it was designed to have “always-on” moving images. It’s also not possible to change the art. Infinite Objects are the same as photos, posters, or prints – but for a video. Each object permanently holds the content it was assigned with. Having a feature to change the art would make it less sincere and more like just another device that displays different images such as a smartphone. The content itself can be anything from 3 seconds to 24 hours, but it loops as soon as the video ends. You just need to be sure the object is plugged in as its battery lasts approximately two hours.

Infinite Objects For Everyone!

They currently ship to North America (USA, Canada, and Mexico), as well as all of the EU, UK, and Japan.

What sizes do they offer and how much do they cost?

Dimensions of their objects are as follows:

  XL Acrylic   11.4 x 7.5 x 1.1 in
   Large Acrylic   8.4 x 5.7 x 0.9 in
   Small Acrylic   6.8 x 4.5 x 0.9 in
   Large Bamboo   8.4 x 5.7 x 0.9 in
   Small Bamboo   6.8 x 4.5 x 0.9 in

And the prices are as follows:

   XL Acrylic   $299
   Large Acrylic   $149
   Small Acrylic   $119
   Large Bamboo   $99
   Small Bamboo   $79
size-comparison-fall2021.gif

My take on the product

I think that the simplicity of this product makes it appealing to customers. It can be used as a tool to light up the room by making it more dynamic or by just having particular memories on it to reminisce. I think the overall product could be a great choice as a gift to gift on various holidays. But obviously, the price isn’t the strong point of the product. It might be appealing to people who can afford it, but that’s where the demand for these Video Prints decreases as the majority of the crowd isn’t willing to spend that much. Nevertheless, I believe the product is worth it, considering that the displays are rated for 5 years minimum lifetime being always-on, and if in that time frame there are any issues with the product, one can easily get in touch with an employee to organize the repair or replacement. In my opinion, if you need a gift for a loved one and have the means to easily afford it, these Video Prints are a perfect present. I mean, who wouldn’t love to have one of these on their desk, right?

How to make it a Mother's Day to remember with Infinite Objects

Sources:

General Questions – Infinite Objects (zendesk.com)

About | Infinite Objects

Tablebed – the Epitome of Convenience

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Introduction

Smaller homes mean lower costs in terms of utilities, taxes, raw materials, and other interior decors. Cost is especially concerning for millennials, who suffer overwhelmingly from student loan debt. Between having tight credit conditions and huge amounts of debt, many young people are buying smaller homes later. As more and more people move into smaller-sized homes, new inventions are essential to make the whole experience worth it. One of the main obstacles of living in small homes is finding space. This is where TABLEBED comes in as it’s completely what its name intels.

What is it and how does it work?

TABLEBED can easily be transformed from a table into a bed and vice versa. It’s extremely convenient in smaller-sized spaces and homes. TABLEBED has innovative hinges and gas springs that enable the opening and closing of a safe and light transformation. In addition to the straps and gas strings, TABLEBED also has small wheels in the corners – making the move from the table to the bed smooth and effortless. TABLEBED is also made of high-quality materials such as birch-plywood and pine, which allow it to stay durable for long periods. However, if a manufacturing defect in the mechanical parts is recognized within 36 months of the purchase, a repair, replacement, or other compensation is guaranteed.

How did TABLEBED come about?

Tablebed’s story began when Finnish Dine Renfors, the founder and man behind Tablebed, wanted to find a way to make the space in his home more efficient. It became evident that the most space-consuming pieces of furniture at most homes were the bed and the dining table. Renfors figured why not combine both types of furniture into 1.

Are there any Safety Concerns?

You can rest assured that TABLEBED is safe to use as long as the user & safety instructions are followed. The gas springs ensure a safe transformation. A durable lock is located below the surface of the table, which keeps the table stable when in use. One thing to keep in mind is to not have children near the table when trying to transform it.

How is it assembled?

You can assemble the TABLEBED yourself as long as you follow the user & safety instructions and the building manual carefully. A safe assembly requires at least 2 people so be sure to have someone with you. It is also possible to order a professional to do the whole assembling process, but unfortunately, that service is currently only available in Finland.

The video shown below demonstrates the whole assembly process.

Summary

To summarize, I believe this product has massive potential. As time goes on and land gets more and more valuable, the overall outlook of smaller homes between people is bound to improve. For the majority of people, compared to average-sized homes, the overall convenience of small properties in terms of price alone is already a valid reason to move. More people interested in small homes means higher demand for such compact furniture. Although the cost of these transformable beds is definitely high, considering the durability and how long it lasts along with several other factors, I believe the investment is worth it.

Sources

Tablebed’s Frequently Asked Questions – Tablebed

TIME recognizes Finnish design innovation Tablebed – Tablebed

ICON Vulcan Technology

Reading Time: 4 minutes
ICON presents bigger, faster Vulcan 3D printer » 3dpbm

Introduction

In this modern era, new innovations are becoming ever so necessary in different industries. In my opinion, one of the most ground-breaking inventions in the last 40 years has been the 3D printer. 3D printers allow people to create prototypes of items without the use of non-eco friendly resources. And this is where ICON comes in, as its a company that manufactures advanced construction technologies, mainly 3D printers. The company was founded in 2017 and is headquartered in Austin, Texas. To most people this firm might sound like just another manufacturing company but it’s far from it. Their so-called “Vulcan” 3D printer is specifically built to construct houses in less than a day, and has features that are nowhere available, such as being able to be operated by anyone with basic training thanks to the improvements in automation, mechatronics and a suite of specialized software. That’s one amazing feature to name a few, knowing as they have also achieved astonishing records such as being the first to deliver 3D-printed homes in the US and Mexico.

Introducing the Vulcan 3D Printer for Homes | ICON

Why Vulcan?

As many of you already know, 3D printing is beneficial in many aspects. It’s more efficient/faster, more affordable and it actually constructs a building that has better building performance than regularly built homes. It’s also more comfortable, uses less energy, and it opens up tons of design freedom allowing it’s user to be only limited by their imagination. But what makes Vulcan stand out from these ordinary 3D Printers is it’s features. It has Tablet-based controls, advanced UI, automated material mixing, pumping, and delivery, safety features, remote monitoring, and on-board lighting for printing at night or in low-light conditions. According to their website, it’s also 2.5x faster and has a 4x larger print area compared to the usual 3D printer. I believe that the overlooked part about 3D printers is how durable they are. The Vulcan 3D printer is not only extremely durable, but it’s also built to be able to keep working in non-ideal conditions such as seismic zones, flood-prone areas and a variety of climates.

ICON Announces Vulcan II Construction 3D Printer « Fabbaloo

What kind of awards has ICON won so far?

The accolades that ICON has won so far are truly incredible to say the least. Here is a short summary of all of them.

  • TIME Magazine’s ‘Best Inventions of 2018’ and TIME100 Next list featuring Jason Ballard, co-founder and CEO
  • Forbes ’30 Under 30′ featuring Alex Le Roux, co-founder and CTO
  • Fast Company ‘World’s Most Innovative Companies’ for 2019, 2020, and 2021
  • Red Dot Design Award 2021
  • Fast Company ‘World Changing Ideas’ General Excellence 2020
  • Fast Company ‘Innovation By Design’ 2019, 2020, 2021
  • Popular Science ‘Best of What’s New/Best Innovations of 2018’
  • MIT’s ‘Innovators Under 35’ featuring Alex Le Roux
  • Edison Awards finalist for 2019
  • SXSW Pitch Award – Social Good category 2018

Surely there are some setbacks?

With every new innovation and invention there are sure to be some negatives. Personally, I don’t necessarily see many issues with their “Vulcan” 3D Printer. The main one though that comes to mind is the price. I mean yes, not everyone can afford this product but ultimately, ICON wasn’t intending the customers to be “ordinary” people, seeing as it’s primary focus is to build comfortable houses. Another negative could be the loss of many jobs as a result of wide use of such 3D printers, but I believe that if we restrict the advancement of technology solely fearing the job losses, then we wont advance. The usual drawbacks of 3D printers, such as having to print out separate parts, do not apply to Vulcan, as it’s built to print out tiny houses in less than a day.

ICON's 3D printer for homes wins international award with high-tech, easy  to use design - DISENO YUCATAN

Summary

In summary, I genuinely believe that the Vulcan 3D printer will revolutionize the way homes are built in the future. The features that it brings to the table and taking into account the awards that it has won so far for being innovative, reassures me more about it’s future. Although in my opinion, having the whole world getting used to 3D printers would definitely prove to be a challenge, the merits that it has are inevitable. With the help of Vulcan, the process of building houses in the future will be significantly more faster, cheaper, more energy-efficient and hopefully better!

Sources:

FAQ | ICON (iconbuild.com)

3D Printing Homes – Vulcan II – YouTube

Robin – The Comfort Robot

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Robin the Robot comforts kids in hospitals.

Introduction

After Covid-19 hit the world unsuspectedly in 2020, many never-before-expected problems came into reality. There were many obvious consequences such as higher unemployment rates, an increase in depression rates, people dying because of covid, etc. The number of patients in need of dire medical support grew as a result of Covid-19. More patients in hospitals meant access to urgent medical help would be harder, the people and especially kids that we’re able to access hospitals were suffering from the effects of self-isolation, such as loneliness and stress. As a result, hospitals were looking for solutions to help children deal with these effects, as children are the most susceptible to getting overwhelmed by these feelings. And so, Robin the Robot came into the limelight.

What is Robin?

Robin the Robot wasn’t actually developed after the Covid-19 outbreak, rather it became substantially more popular during this period of time. The team behind Robin the Robot developed Robin at the start of 2018, raising approximately $200,000 in initial funding from SmartGateVCHIVE Ventures, and angel investors. Essentially, Robin is a robot that is programmed to help children overcome anxiety and stress. “It is the first of its kind utilizing our AI-based patent-pending technology to build peer-to-peer emotional interactions with children.” says the CEO of the company Karen Khachikyan.

What sort of things can it do?

A child could think of Robin as a friendly companion. Robin can tell funny stories and jokes, play educational and interactive games, and explain complicated medical procedures in simple ways. During the hospital stay, Robin visits the children regularly to ensure they’re feeling well emotionally, resulting in a faster recovery. Thanks to Robin, the kids are a lot more cooperative and the doctors job is lighter, making it easier for them to prepare the children for their procedures. The CEO adds “Robin is kind of an adorable buddy who is always there to support and help during the challenging times.”

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnakIrp7WXw

How satisfied are children with Robin?

After the first month of joining the staff at the hopital, a questionnaire was created to measure the overall satisfaction of children with Robin. The results were surprising as there was a 34% drop in stress and an overall 26% increase in joyfulness. “All the kids who have once interacted with Robin have shown interest in meeting it again. There were cases of improved appetite and an increase in cheerfulness after interactions with Robin.” said Khachikyan.

A child with Robin the Robot at a clinic in Armenia

Summary

Personally, I believe that implementing such robots in hospitals worldwide would help reduce the uncooperative aspect of children and help them feel more at ease. While I do also think that having such robots roaming around would be hard getting used to for children and adults alike, the overarching benefit that it brings is, in my opinion, undeniable. Having said that, a question still stands, will this robot be normalized in hospitals worldwide or will it be just another invention that goes overlooked? And my answer to that is: I hope it becomes the norm!

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffkart/2020/06/17/robin-the-robot-comforts-kids-in-hospitals-can-help-with-covid-19/?sh=23c4d9b574cc

Meta – The future of Virtual reality

Reading Time: 2 minutes

As we all know, virtual reality has started becoming increasingly popular over the last decade. Recently Facebook has changed its name to Meta, being inspired by the concept of the Metaverse. By definition, Metaverse is a virtual space where users can interact with other users in virtual reality. I believe with the addition of Metaverse that Meta (Facebook) is trying so hard to normalize, the Metaverse has the potential to play a major role in the future of Virtual Reality.

Advantages

I believe there are countless advantages and opportunities that come with the Metaverse that Meta is trying to propose. The main ones would be

  1. The customers can test the products before buying them.

This is one of the most talked-about advantages of what the Metaverse will offer. This will allow the customers to feel and experience the product first-hand before buying it.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=32&v=6Ybt1L8XVhU&feature=emb_title

2. It will allow the user to visit any country in the world.

Being in the Covid-19 pandemic makes international travel a lot more challenging so having that feature enables people to socialize in this environment. Rather than contemplating whether the trip to another country is worth it, a user can just visit the country beforehand to see whether they like it or not.

3. It will be compatible with many different apps like Messenger, Dropbox, MS Teams, etc.

This will be incredibly handy for a lot of users. Rather than pulling out your phone for a notification when you’re using your VR equipment, you can just access it from the VR itself.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6o8B7S70hEA&t=5s

Disadvantages

Like with all things, there are also some drawbacks for the Metaverse. In order to understand the public perception of the Metaverse better, a survey was conducted where 42 participants were asked to answer a few questions after learning about what the Metaverse was. Although the initial feeling about the Metaverse was extremely positive (88%), 12% of the responses were still negative. Some of the people who voted as having negative initial feelings about the concept of the metaverse stated things such as

  • “People will lose that true physical connection, people’s ability to cope with real-world issues/problems and their social skills may deteriorate, can lead to physical inactivity which can lead to poor health, could lead to people escaping from their real-world responsibilities and duties.”
  • “I believe in spending time in the real presence of our family and friends. This scares me because we are going to be spending less time physically and emotionally together.”
  • “People will leave the physical world behind”

Source: https://loupfunds.com/the-metaverse-explained-part-4-challenges/

Summary

In conclusion, I believe that this so-called Metaverse will be a success because of all of the features that it brings to the table. In my opinion, in the long term, it might have several consequences such as people’s communication and social skills worsening, but everyday tasks such as calling people on the fly will be possible like never before on VR.

Sources

https://loupfunds.com/the-metaverse-explained-part-4-challenges/

https://tech.fb.com/connect-2021-our-vision-for-the-metaverse/

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