Just For The Tech Of It: Drone-snatching eagles and carnivorous plants that count

First up on Just For The Tech Of It: the Netherlands has a strange new approach to drone control. Instead of spending a bunch of money to develop some fancy new high-tech drone mitigation system, the Dutch National Police have actually started using trained eagles to snatch illegal drones out of the sky. It seems a little crazy at first (I mean, just look at what happened to Enrique Iglesias), but if they can figure out how to keep the birds from getting minced up by the propellors, this is actually a pretty brilliant plan. In addition to being cheaper, this method also allows authorities to move the drone so a safe landing zone and prevent it from plummeting down and hurting someone.

Next up: you might soon be able to blame your genes for being late to work. Ok, probably not — but scientists have found some interesting evidence after looking at genetic data collected by the DNA analysis company 23andMe. In a massive study that examined the genetic similarities in a group of 89,000 people, scientists discovered that there are actually 15 different genetic markers that seem to be associated with being a “morning person.” Obviously, your genes don’t totally dictate how early or late you wake up every day, but apparently they do play a small role.

And last but not least: venus fly traps. A recent study published in the journal Current Biology claims that venus fly traps have the ability to count. Scientists wanted to figure out how the plant avoided false alarms, so they wired up a few plants with electrodes so they could see the trigger process in action. What they found was that the plant actually has a very simple counting system. In their experiments, they found that the trap will only close if more than two hairs are triggered within a span of about twenty seconds, and it will only excrete digestive enzymes if more than three hairs are triggered. What’s ridiculous about this isn’t that it can count impulses, but rather that it can count to twenty, and reset if not enough hairs are triggered in that span of time.

Health & Fitness

In search of the fountain of youth, beauty companies turn to tech

Beauty tech is a fairly new concept, but at CES 2019, companies such as Olay, L’Oreal, and Neutrogena were fully embracing it with all kinds of gadgets that promise to give you glowing skin.
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.
Emerging Tech

Want to know which drones are flying near you? There’s an app for that

Want to know what that mysterious drone buzzing over your head is up to? A new system developed by AirMap, Google Wing, and Kittyhawk.io could soon tell you -- via a map on your phone.
Emerging Tech

Wish you could fly? You totally can with these top-of-the-line drones

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Emerging Tech

A Japanese hotel fires half its robot staff for being bad at their jobs

Japan’s oddball Henn na Hotel has fired half of its 243 robot staff. The reason? Because these labor-saving machines turned out to be causing way more problems than they were solving.
Emerging Tech

CERN plans to build a massive particle collider that dwarfs the LHC

CERN already has the world's biggest particle accelerator. Now it wants a bigger one. Meet the 9 billion euro Future Circular Collider that will allow physicists to extend their study of the universe and matter at the smallest level.
Emerging Tech

Forget fireworks. Japan will soon have artificial meteor showers on tap

Tokyo-based startup Astro Live Experiences is preparing to launch its first artificial meteor shower over Japan, serving as a showcase of its prowess in the space entertainment sector.
Cars

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.
Emerging Tech

Glowing space billboards could show ads in the night sky

Look up at the night sky in 2020 and you might see an ad for McDonald's floating among the stars. A Russian startup is working on a project that uses a constellation of small satellites in low-Earth orbit to create glowing ads.
Emerging Tech

New brainwave reader tells teachers if students are concentrating

Massachusetts-based startup BrainCo has developed brainwave-reading headbands which can reportedly help reveal if students are concentrating in class. Here's how they're being used.
Emerging Tech

Fears about kids’ screen use may have been overblown, Oxford researchers find

Many people take it as gospel that digital technologies are harmful to young people’s mental health. But is this true? A recent study from the University of Oxford takes a closer look.
Emerging Tech

Meet Wiliot, a battery-less Bluetooth chip that pulls power from thin air

A tiny chip from a semiconductor company called Wiliot could harvest energy out of thin air, the company claims. No battery needed. The paper-thin device pulls power from ambient radio frequencies like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cell signals.