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Just for the tech of it: Bionic Olympics, eternal data storage, and ASMR

This week on Just For The Tech Of It, our bearded host dives headlong into ASMR: a strange but fascinating topic that makes some people’s skin crawl … in a good way. For those of you who don’t know, ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It’s a euphoric experience that’s characterized by this pleasurable, static-like tingling feeling that you can get from listening to certain sounds.

It’s hard to understand if you’ve never experienced it yourself, but if you’ve ever gotten chills from a piece of music, ASMR is basically like that, but stronger. And you can’t just listen to music. You need to listen to certain things in order to get these so-called “triggers” that set off the static tingly feeling. These triggers are typically sounds that don’t really have a predictable pattern that your brain can perceive — like somebody sloppily eating a plate full of chicken wings, for example.

Next up, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology announced a new competition called the Cybathlon earlier this week. It’s basically an Olympics-style event designed specifically for assistive technologies like powered wheelchairs, bionic limbs, and robotic exoskeletons. They’re planning to hold the event later this year, and teams from all over the world have already signed up to participate. The idea is that by putting these assistive devices to the test in a head-to-head competition, we’ll begin to drive these technologies forward — sort of like how NASCAR and Formula 1 races have led to advances in automotive tech.

And finally, researchers from the University of Southampton have announced that they’ve perfected a new data storage technique that can retain information for billions of years. This kind of data archiving ability means records keeping organizations can store all of the information that humanity has ever made, and keep it safe until the universe collapses in on itself. That might sound like a good thing at first, but there might also be a few downsides.

Drew Prindle
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Drew Prindle is an award-winning writer, editor, and storyteller who currently serves as Senior Features Editor for Digital…
Meet the game-changing pitching robot that can perfectly mimic any human throw
baseball hitter swings and misses

Who’s your favorite baseball pitcher? Shane McClanahan? Sandy Alcantara? Justin Verlander? Whoever you said, two of the top sports-tech companies in the U.S. -- Rapsodo and Trajekt Sports -- have teamed up to build a robot version of them, and the results are reportedly uncannily accurate.

Okay, so we’re not talking about walking-talking-pitching standalone robots, as great a sci-fi-tinged MLB ad as that would be. However, Rapsodo and Trajekt have combined their considerable powers to throw a slew of different technologies at the problem of building a machine that's able to accurately simulate the pitching style of whichever player you want to practice batting against -- and they may just have pulled it off, too.

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The best portable power stations
EcoFlow DELTA 2 on table at campsite for quick charging.

Affordable and efficient portable power is a necessity these days, keeping our electronic devices operational while on the go. But there are literally dozens of options to choose from, making it abundantly difficult to decide which mobile charging solution is best for you. We've sorted through countless portable power options and came up with six of the best portable power stations to keep your smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other gadgets functioning while living off the grid.
The best overall: Jackery Explorer 1000

Jackery has been a mainstay in the portable power market for several years, and today, the company continues to set the standard. With three AC outlets, two USB-A, and two USB-C plugs, you'll have plenty of options for keeping your gadgets charged.

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CES 2023: HD Hyundai’s Avikus is an A.I. for autonomous boat and marine navigation
Demonstration of NeuBoat level 2 autonomous navigation system at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show

This content was produced in partnership with HD Hyundai.
Autonomous vehicle navigation technology is certainly nothing new and has been in the works for the better part of a decade at this point. But one of the most common forms we see and hear about is the type used to control steering in road-based vehicles. That's not the only place where technology can make a huge difference. Autonomous driving systems can offer incredible benefits to boats and marine vehicles, too, which is precisely why HD Hyundai has unveiled its Avikus AI technology -- for marine and watercraft vehicles.

More recently, HD Hyundai participated in the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, to demo its NeuBoat level 2 autonomous navigation system for recreational boats. The name mashes together the words "neuron" and "boat" and is quite fitting since the Avikus' A.I. navigation tech is a core component of the solution, it will handle self-recognition, real-time decisions, and controls when on the water. Of course, there are a lot of things happening behind the scenes with HD Hyundai's autonomous navigation solution, which we'll dive into below -- HD Hyundai will also be introducing more about the tech at CES 2023.

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