Tag: Tech

Aston Martin Is Converting Classic Cars To Electric Rides

Aston Martin learned a lot about electric technology while developing a battery-powered variant of the Rapide sport sedan.

It’s now applying some of these lessons to the world of classic cars in order to offer enthusiasts a zero-emissions alternative to carburetors.

The central component of the electric powertrain is what Aston Martin refers to as an EV cassette.

It’s a lithium-ion battery pack that’s attached to the body via the original engine and transmission mounts, meaning there’s no need to cut or weld anything under the sheet metal.

The battery pack zaps the electric motor via wires, just like it does in a modern-day electric car. Aston also integrates a screen to the interior to let the driver keep an eye on the power management in real time.

To demonstrate what it’s capable of, the firm installed its electric powertrain into a 1970 DB6 MKII Volante (pictured).

It looks fully stock — it even keeps its exhaust system even though it no longer needs it.




There’s no word on how the electric conversion affects performance and handling, however, and Aston Martin hasn’t provided technical specifications.

We learned from a spokesperson that the EV cassette will be a weight-neutral replacement for the internal combustion engine. It will deliver a quicker zero-to-60-mph time, and match the original car’s top speed of 120 mph.

Aston Martin noted the conversion is reversible, so owners can return their car to its original configuration at any time.

The company claimed it’s the first firm to offer a reversible electric car conversion, but that’s not entirely accurate. The E-Type Zero that Jaguar introduced in 2017 can be converted back to gasoline, too.

Classic car enthusiasts who want to drive electric will be able to commission the conversion starting in 2019.

Aston will perform all of the work in-house, so owners will presumably need to ship their car to the company’s headquarters. Pricing information hasn’t been released yet.

Aston Martin said that the powertrain is modular. It was designed to replace the six-cylinder engine in a variety of models including the DB4, the DB5, the DB6, and the DBS.

Buyers who would rather drive a more modern electric Aston will need to hope they can get their hands on one of the 150 examples of the Rapide E.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

What Will Happen To Bitcoin In 2019?

The crypto market is yet to start the much expected bull run. All the digital currencies in the market are still deep in the red. Bitcoin (BTC) is yet to recover, and it’s still struggling to break over the $4,000 level.

The digital currency recently broke below the key psychological levels of $6,000 and $5,000. The value of the coin is now eyeing the $3,000 mark.

Many governments, all over the world, have adopted this technology for one thing or the other.

Here are some Bitcoin expert predictions about 2019:

Joel Kruger, currency strategist at LMAX Exchange

“Our 2019 outlook for Bitcoin is far more constructive than what we had been projecting for 2018. As 2017 came to a close, we had warned Bitcoin had rocketed ‘past the point of rational appreciation’ and highlighted massive downside risk in a bubbling market with far too many holes (regulation, development, hard forks).

“As we head into 2019, Bitcoin has retraced that move and then some, with a recent breakdown below the $6,000 area, opening this next downside extension that targets a bigger drop towards the September 2017 low at $2,975.

“We’ll look for Bitcoin to round out 2019 trading back in the $5,000 to $8,000 region, after recovering from lows that may have extended below $2000 between now and the end of H1 2019.”




Kevin Murcko, CEO of CoinMetro

“Despite Bitcoin’s fairly limited use cases, and even though its technology may be less sophisticated when compared to some other projects, it will likely continue to remain the market leader in 2019. Bitcoin still has the reputation and the liquidity that make it preferable to other cryptos.

“It’s difficult to put my finger on a price, however: Bitcoin’s value will continue to be driven by a great deal of financial speculation.

“It’s important to remember that the crash we saw with Bitcoin this year doesn’t indicate lack of long term value. The bubble may have burst in 2018, but there’s still enormous substance and potential in the crypto market at large.

Mitch Blakeway, Head of Trading at Quantatex

“We expect a high degree of volatility in the very near future.

“A high level of Bitcoins has recently been moved from cold storage to hot storage by significant influencers in the cryptocurrency market. What this means is that investors who have the ability to move the market are gearing up to trade. This could mean moves greater than 10% in either direction.

“There are notable levels of support and resistance with support around the $2,850 level for Bitcoin and resistance around $4,000 therefore a break either below $2,850 or above $4,000 could lead to momentum in that direction.

“We believe that Bitcoin will eventually shrug off the recent weakness during 2019 and expect the price to retest record highs of $20,000 by December 2019. This is justified on a number of fronts.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

Tiny Sun Sensor Can Protect You From Sunburns And Prevent Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is scary: According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer than all other cancers combined.

One in five Americans will develop skin cancer by age 70. One person dies of melanoma (a less common skin cancer that is more likely to grow and spread) every hour.

These statistics won’t stop millions of Americans from spending time outdoors this summer, though it’s important to realize that we all could and should be better about protecting our skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

Now, L’Oréal has a new product that may make it a whole lot easier: It’s called UV Sense.

The cosmetic company teamed up with Northwestern University professor John A. Rogers to create a small wearable device, called UV Sense, that can precisely measure a person’s exposure to UV light from the sun.




If you’ve gotten too much exposure, the app linked to the sensor will let you know.

The device is powered by the user’s phone, and activated by UVA and UVB rays. It’s waterproof and can be attached to almost any part of the body or clothing.

Users can monitor their exposure by using the app, which would warn them when to be mindful of UV exposure.

L’Oréal launched a similar product in 2016 called My UV Patch, a stretchable skin senor to monitor UV exposure.

The company has distributed over one million patches to consumers in 37 countries for free, to encourage sun-safe behaviors.

So far, it’s worked: 34 percent of users applied sunscreen more often, and 37 percent tried to stay in the shade more frequently.

Engineers built on the design of My UV Patch to create UV Sense — and hope it will be just as effective in promoting sun safety.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

Marriott Hacking Exposes Data of Up to 500 Million Guests

Marriott’s reservation database has been hacked, potentially affecting hundreds of millions of guests who have stayed in the hotel chain’s properties since 2014, the company announced on Friday.

In a press release on its website, the company said it was first alerted that an unauthorized party had attempted to access its guest reservation database for its Starwood properties, which comprises hotel chains including the W and Four Points by Sheraton, on September 8.

An investigation revealed that there had been “unauthorized access to the Starwood network since 2014,” and that approximately 500 million guests’ personal information had been compromised.




For roughly 327 million of those guests, the data breach revealed “some combination of name, mailing address, phone number, email address, passport number, Starwood Preferred Guest (‘SPG’) account information, date of birth, gender, arrival and departure information, reservation date, and communication preferences,” according to the company’s statement. Other guests’ credit card numbers and expiration dates also may have been accessed.

We deeply regret this incident happened,” Marriott president and CEO Arne Sorenson said in a statement.

We fell short of what our guests deserve and what we expect of ourselves. We are doing everything we can to support our guests, and using lessons learned to be better moving forward.”

Who is affected by the Marriott hack?

The hack affected an estimated 500 million guests who have stayed at Marriott’s Starwood brand hotels since 2014.

Those properties include the W Hotels, the St. Regis, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Westin Hotels & Resorts, Element Hotels, Aloft Hotels, the Luxury Collection, Tribute Portfolio, Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, Four Points by Sheraton, Design Hotels, and Starwood-branded timeshares, according to the company.

Marriott will begin emailing guests whose information may have been compromised on November 30, the company said in a statement.

It has also set up a dedicated website and call center for guests who have questions about the hack and whether their information was compromised, and is giving guests in the US, UK, and Canada free year-long subscriptions to WebWatcher, a software that alerts users of potential identity theft or fraud.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

An Edible Controller Moves Gaming From the Screen to Your Gut

 

Just like “Back to the Future Part II” predicted, Gamepads are so old-fashioned.

A new pill acts as the controller for a new video game out of Australia’s Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

In “The Guts Game,” two players will have anywhere from 24 to 36 hours to kill off a digital parasite by raising and lowering the temperature of their digestive systems as measured by the pill.




Eating for Two

Players are encouraged to do whatever they need to raise or lower their body temperature and kill off their virtual bugs: eat spicy food, drink ice water, go for a jog, or anything else.

When The Guts Game was presented at Chi Play 2018, a gaming technology convention held in Melbourne in late October.

The developers reassured the crowd that any temperature changes in the body were completely safe.

After all, people eat spicy food and exercise all the time; there’s nothing about doing so for a new video game that suddenly makes it dangerous.

Presumably, The Guts Game’s version of cheat codes would be popping the pill before sweating your virtual parasite out in a sauna, but since you would have to buy each single-use pill, this sort of defeats the point.

Race Against the Clock

Like all good things in the world, this game too must end. Players in The Guts Game are in an endless race against time, against whom there are no victors.

Win or lose the game ends the moment the controller leaves the body.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

Robots Will Know They’ve Been Blasted With a Shotgun

Light fibers in the silicone foam allow an AI system to detect how it’s being manipulated.

Soft robots could soon be everywhere: the squishy, malleable buggers might lead search and rescue missions, administer medication to specific organs, and maybe even crawl up your butt.

And now, soft robots will know how and when they’ve been bent out of shape — or shot full of holes by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The trick is to simulate an animal’s peripheral nervous system with a network of fiber optic cables, according to research published Wednesday in the journal Science Robotics.

The Cornell University scientists behind the project hope that the tech could be used to build robots with a sense of whether they’ve been damaged.




Light Show

As the fiber optic cables, encased in a block of smart foam, bend and twist, the pattern and density of the light traveling through them changes in specific ways.

But the differences in light among various movements and manipulations are too minute for a human spot, so the researchers trained a machine learning algorithm to analyze the shifts.

The AI system was trained to track how the light traveling through the fiber optic cables changed based on how researchers bent the foam.

Once it picked up on the patterns, according to the research, the machine learning algorithm could predict the type of bend with 100 percent accuracy — it always knew whether the foam was bent up, down, left, right, or the direction in which it had been twisted.

The whole experimental set-up.

From there, the system could guess the extent to which it had been bent or twist within a margin of 0.06 degrees.

Baby Steps

Someday, technology like this fiber optic network might give rise to robots that could teach themselves to walk, the researchers said.

With this new form of high-tech proprioception, the sense that lets us determine where our limbs are in space without looking, futuristic robots may be able to keep track of their own shape, detect when they’ve been damaged, and better understand their surroundings.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

A Functional, Beating Hearts Will Soon Be 3D-Printed Using Patients’ Own Cells

Inside a lab that will open in a couple of months in Chicago, a biotech startup will soon begin perfecting the process of 3D-printing human hearts that could eventually be used in transplants.

The process combines several steps that have been developed by various researchers in university labs. First, a patient’s heart will be scanned using an MRI machine to create a digital image of the heart’s shape and size.

Next, doctors will take a blood sample. Using techniques that have been developed over the last decade, the blood cells will be converted into stem cells–and then converted a second time into heart cells.

Those new heart cells will be combined with nutrients in a hydrogel to make a “bio-ink” that can be used in a specialized 3D printer.

Printing one layer at a time, with a biodegradable scaffolding to keep everything in place, the cells can be formed into the exact shape of the patient’s original heart.

The new heart will be moved to a bioreactor to strengthen it. Amazingly, new heart cells outside a body will begin to self-assemble.

When the heart is strong enough, technicians will raise the temperature to melt the scaffolding around the cells.




The new heart can then be transplanted–and because it is the exact size of a patient’s original heart, and made from the patient’s own cells, it has a greater chance of success than a traditional transplant.

In studies, other researchers have successfully transplanted stem cells in both humans and animals without the need for anti-rejection drugs.

Most people who receive heart transplants now don’t live more than a decade. Their body may reject the organ directly.

The drugs they take to suppress their immune system–in an attempt to prevent the body from rejecting the foreign organ–may also make them unable to fight off another disease, such as cancer.

The Biolife4D heart, in contrast, won’t require patients to take immunosuppressant drugs since it is an exact genetic match.

The company isn’t the only startup in the space. A startup called Prellis Biologics, for example, has another printing process that is optimized for speed, and that includes blood vessels.

A company called Organovo already makes 3D printed human tissue for drug discovery. But Biolife4D may be the only startup to use equity crowdfunding.

The company has opened up investment to the public. “We wanted to make [the investment opportunity] available to everybody, not just wealthy people on Wall Street,” Morris says.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

Charge Your Phone With The Force

Use The Force to charge your phone….the force of your breath that is.

Looking like something out of Star Wars, the Aire Mask is a concept design by Joao Lammoglia that uses your breath to turn small turbines and convert the air displacement into energy to charge your phone.




“The consumerist tendencies of today’s industrialised society make the use of gadgets increasingly common, either by necessity or hobby.

“Though many of our gadgets offer benefits, they tend to consume a high amount of electrical energy. This may cause problems for the environment, especially if the energy used by these devices is derived from non-renewable sources.”

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Pass it on: New Scientist

Samsung Foldable Phone: Everything We Know So Far

Think the Samsung Edge display was cool? Something cooler is on the way.

We’ve been hearing about foldable displays for a number of years, and Samsung finally gave us an idea of what a phone with this technology will look like at its annual Samsung Developer Conference.

Information about the phone, which has been rumored to be called the Galaxy X or Galaxy F (not to be confused with the Galaxy S10 that we also anticipate), has slowly been trickling out over the last year or two.

We’ll be referring to it as Samsung’s foldable phone to keep things simple until an official name is revealed. Here’s everything we think we know about it so far.




Release and price

We expect the new device to be out at some point in the first half of 2019. It may make an appearance at CES in January, or Samsung may wait until Mobile World Congress, which is in February.

The latest rumor, courtesy of the South Korean Yonhap News Agency, states the phone will be announced at Mobile World Congress in February 2019 and released the following month.

When it comes to price, however, things are even more unknown — all we really have right now is speculation. Expect to pay a high price for the phone.

Kim Jang-yeol, head of research at Golden Bridge Investment, says the phone could cost as much as 2 million won at release, Korea Times reports. In the U.S., that converts to about $1,850.

This is similar to the Royole Flexpai, a folding smartphone with a small production run.

Specifications

While Samsung did discuss the display at the Samsung Developer Conference, it did not go into the specs under the hood. To date, there’s only one rumor about specs for the upcoming Samsung foldable phone.

The prolific (and usually accurate) Samsung leaker Ice Universe said the upcoming phone will feature a 7nm processor.

Design

Unfortunately, Samsung didn’t reveal too much about the design of the phone, beyond the display and what it can do, but we do know that you’ll be able to use the phone when it’s folded up as well, and it will act like a traditional smartphone in this mode.

Samsung also announced it’s working with Google to develop a new user interface for Android on its smartphone — dubbed OneUI — and it will allow for features specific to foldable phones.

All of these announcements were made at Samsung’s developer conference, meaning the company still needs third-party developers to bring foldable phone support to their apps.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

Amazon Made A Deal With Apple To Sell New iPhones And iPads

Amazon has made a deal with Apple that will see the Cupertino tech company sell its products — including iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches — directly on Amazon.

Amazon has sold Apple products before, but those have been from third-party sellers, which means that the prices are often variable (and wildly different from the “official” Apple prices) and that sourcing isn’t as reputable.

Apple products will start rolling out on Amazon sites in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, and India over the next few weeks, including both Apple’s devices and those sold under the Apple-owned Beats brand.

The deal doesn’t include every Apple product, though. For example, Apple’s Echo-competing HomePod is notably not going to be sold on Amazon.




In a statement released, an Amazon spokesperson commented, “Amazon is constantly working to enhance the customer experience, and one of the ways we do this is by increasing selection of the products we know customers want.

We look forward to expanding our assortment of Apple and Beats products globally.”

As part of the deal, only Apple or Apple-authorized resellers will now be allowed to sell Apple and Beats devices through Amazon’s site.

Any companies that are currently selling Apple products on Amazon will see their listings taken down starting on January 4th, and they’ll need to apply to Apple to become official resellers before they’ll be allowed to sell them again on Amazon.

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Pass it on: Popular Science