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Computers, Processing, & Apps

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A Beginner's Guide to Automating Your Life. IFTTT (If This Then That) and Flow are both incredibly useful apps that are also pretty hard to describe.

A Beginner's Guide to Automating Your Life

Basically, they let you plug different apps and services together, from Facebook and Instagram to iOS and Google Drive. They're free to use as well, for the most part, letting you configure all kinds of custom setups and connections. You can get an SMS warning in the morning if the weather's bad and your commute might be delayed, or have your Instagram photos sent straight to Twitter, or log all of your Fitbit data in an ever-expanding spreadsheet. You can have your smart lights turn on at a certain time or when you reach a certain location, or copy files to OneDrive when they're added to Dropbox, or get a push notification on your phone when someone important emails in.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below Getting started with IFTTT. New chip could bring voice command to almost anything. We're growing more accustomed to the idea of talking to our devices, thanks to the success of products like Amazon Echo and Google Home, not to mention Apple's Siri voice assistant.

New chip could bring voice command to almost anything

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology see the trend of talking to tech continuing, which inspired them to create a low-powered chip designed specifically for automatic speech recognition. The engineers believe the new chip could mean power savings of 90 to 99 percent compared to a typical cellphone from today running speech recognition software. An iPhone running Siri might require about one watt of power, for example, whereas the low-power chip could do the same work for .2 to 10 milliwatts depending on the breadth of vocabulary it is required to recognize.

Theconversation. Mitsubishi develops real-time data analysis system for crowd safety. Mitsubishi Electric has developed a new technology that could help avert accidents at crowded events.

Mitsubishi develops real-time data analysis system for crowd safety

The system analyzes data from surveillance cameras to provide real-time estimates and predictions of crowd congestions on pathways leading in and out of venues. The technology was developed in collaboration with the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology of Tokyo University (RCAST). Kristian Knobloch's Ping system is a digital house manual for Airbnb guests. Graduate shows 2016: Royal College of Art graduate Kristian Knobloch has created a system of smartphone touchpoints that help Airbnb hosts give guests extra information about their home (+ movie).

Kristian Knobloch's Ping system is a digital house manual for Airbnb guests

Called Ping, the system features modules that can be placed around the house. When guests touch their smartphone against a module, it opens a web page on their device, providing them with more information about their surroundings. Designed to be a "digital and interactive guide book", Ping lets absent hosts communicate essential information about their homes, like how to use the coffee machine or TV, or checkout requirements.

The modules can also function as a guide to the surrounding area, including recommendations for restaurants or shopping. Homeowners can record videos or voice notes to welcome guests, or explain more complex details. Pilot earpiece targets language barriers with live conversation translation. From the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy's Babel fish to Star Trek's universal translator, science fiction has found ways to break down the intergalactic language barriers, but it's something those of us in the real world are still struggling with.

Pilot earpiece targets language barriers with live conversation translation

New York startup Waverly Labs is now claiming it's ready to make fiction a reality with the Pilot earpiece, which sits in your ear to provide near real-time translations of multilingual conversations. The time and technology seem close to bring another idea from science fiction into reality. The Babel fish from Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was a living, squirming animal you stuck in your ear to translate any language in the universe for you in real time – a neat plot device that let every alien in the novels understand each other. Now, a Manhattan-based company called Waverly Labs is working on commercializing an electronic device that does a similar job. Full retail for the Pilot earpiece system will be US$299. Smarter activity tracker knows when you're just pretending to work out. Tricking your fitness tracker into logging a workout when you are in fact just laying on the couch seems like a fairly futile exercise, but there's more to the equation than just fooling yourself.

Smarter activity tracker knows when you're just pretending to work out

Insurers and health care providers are increasingly relying on tracking data to offer incentives, reduced premiums and keep tabs on clients behavior. This is cause for concern for one team of US researchers, which has developed an activity tracking smartphone app that can better distinguish between real and imitated physical movement. Fitness trackers such as Fitbit and Jawbone that monitor things like heart rate and the amount of steps taken have become a useful tool for health insurers looking for a competitive advantage. One example is New York's Oscar Health – last year the company decided to ship customers complimentary fitness trackers and pledged to reward those clocking up enough steps with Amazon gift cards. Quantum Computers Explained – Limits of Human Technology. Relatively Interesting 20 Years of Computing: Comparing 1995's tech to 2015's - Relatively Interesting. This article is a significant update to a version written in 2012.

Relatively Interesting 20 Years of Computing: Comparing 1995's tech to 2015's - Relatively Interesting

It has been edited to include new articles, ads, some nostalgic games, reviews, and technology from 1995. It’s also been updated with 2015 numbers, where applicable. If you liked the first version, you’ll probably like this one too. I recently stumbled upon a computer science project I did in high school (back in 1995) entitled “Technology in Society”. Are sound waves a better way to move data? Researchers from the University of Leeds and Sheffield University have created a way to move data through magnetic nanowires by using surface acoustic waves as the motivating force.

Are sound waves a better way to move data?

Being developed for use in so-called racetrack solid-state memory, the researchers claim that using sound waves for data transfer should markedly increase computer processing speeds while vastly reducing power consumption. Developed by IBM, racetrack memory (where data runs up and down a track of wires like race cars, hence the name) uses the transition between different magnetic moments (directions) in the domain walls separating each of the magnetic areas found in the nanowires that make up the memory. Gesture Mouse by SwiftPoint. Surface Book - The ultimate laptop. "Designless" brain-like chips created through artificial evolution. Scientists at the University of Twente in the Netherlands have devised a new type of electronic chip that takes after the human brain.

"Designless" brain-like chips created through artificial evolution

Their device is highly power-conscious, massively parallel, and can manipulate data in arbitrary ways – even though it doesn't need to be explicitely designed to perform any task. The Asus Vivostick. Parallella: supercomputing for the masses? A Kickstarter campaign seeking to build a US$99 "supercomputer for everyone" saw its funding target of $750,000 comfortably met on Saturday, raising just shy of $900,000 in pledges.

Parallella: supercomputing for the masses?

The Parallella is billed by its designers at Adapteva as an affordable, open and easy parallel computing platform based on the company's own multicore Epiphany chips. It's perhaps more realistic to think of Parallella as a highly efficient piece of parallel computer engineering rather than a supercomputer. Though the term supercomputer is ill-defined, the word tends to conjure images of room-filling, petaflop-crunching mainframes (though the term mainframe is hardly more concrete). Ultrathin, flexible PaperTab redefines tablet form and function.

Despite their portability and popularity, the slab of glass form factor of tablets has its downsides. Most notably for the less coordinated among us is the propensity for the display to crack or shatter when dropped. A team at Canada’s Queen’s University working in collaboration with Intel Labs and Plastic Logic is looking not only to redefine the tablet's form, but the way people use them with the development of a flexible touchscreen computer called the PaperTab. View all The PaperTab features plastic transistor technology developed by Plastic Logic that we’ve previously seen in that company’s Plastic Logic Reader and QUE ProReader. With Plastic Logic having now turned from manufacturing its own e-Readers to partnering with other companies, the PaperTab is powered by a second generation Intel core i5 processor and boasts a 10.7-inch, high resolution E-ink touchscreen display that is flexible, shatterproof and looks and feels like a sheet of paper. Tiny DNA Switches Aim To Revolutionize 'Cellular' Computing.

If you think programming a clock radio is hard, try reprogramming life itself. That's the goal of Drew Endy, a synthetic biologist at Stanford University. Endy has been working with a laboratory strain of E. coli bacteria. Rebuilding A New Internet Using Meshnets. TellSpec hand-held scanner identifies what's in your food. Figuring out whether the fries on your plate contain traces of trans-fat, or if those celery sticks are truly pesticide-free can be tricky, if not impossible. That's why Isabel Hoffmann along with mathematician Stephen Watson set out to create TellSpec, a hand-held device that you can simply point at a food item, to identify what's in it.

Not only does the device warn you about chemicals, allergens and ingredients you'd rather avoid, it'll also help you figure out food sensitivities and track your vitamin intake. The goal, the company says, is to help people make clean food choices by letting them "check their food as easily as they check their mail. " View all. IBM’s bionic computers bleed electronic blood. In the 1950s, the highest priority for national defense was the Air Force ballistic missile program. The ICBM, and therefore the entire space program, and the internet, were made possible by the IBM 360 mainframe computer and its immediate predecessors.

Empa invents chemical computer faster than a satnav. Engineers create a computer with a water droplet processor.