Weekly Rewind: Fitbit deals, a fat-burning wearable, a mind-controlled game

top tech stories 08 11 2017 weekly rewind neurable feat
Neurable
A lot can happen in a week when it comes to tech. The constant onslaught of news makes it nigh impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of this week’s top tech stories, from a fat-burning headband to Facebook’s take on Netflix — it’s all here.

Modius is a neurostimulation wearable that tricks your body into burning fat

Top Tech Stories Modius Health

Wear this headset for 45 minutes a day, and you could hack your body into burning more fat, resulting in a leaner, meaner look. No, it’s not a “miracle” cure ad for the terminally podgy, but the pitch for the Neurovalens Modius, a neurostimulation device that sounds almost too good to be true. For less time that one would normally spend in the gym, this piece of tech fools your body into thinking it’s exercising, and decreases appetite, all to help you achieve those hard-to-reach weight-loss goals without much effort.

Suspend your disbelief for a second. Here’s how it works. The Modius is a headset worn like a pair of headphones, just without the cups over your ears. Instead, two pads sit just beneath your ears and zap low-power electrical impulses to your vestibular nerve, activating the hypothalamus. Neurovalens says this fools the body into thinking you’re a physically active person, even though you’re on the couch binging on some Netflix.

Read: Modius is a neurostimulation wearable that tricks your body into burning fat

Man responsible for strong password requirements regrets his 2003 guidelines

Top Tech Stories password

The man responsible for your requirement to use a combination of lower-case letters, upper-case letters, numbers, and symbols in passwords at least eight characters long is now regretting his advice. Former National Institute of Standards and Technology manager Bill Burr recently admitted in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that his 2003 document about crafting strong passwords and changing them every 90 days was somewhat off the mark.

At the time, he said that users will choose an easily remembered, easily guessed password, and likely one stemming from a batch of “a few thousand commonly chosen passwords.” In turn, hackers trying to gain access to user accounts, computers, and so on would try the most likely chosen passwords first. But even though services would reject specific passwords given their common use, Burr suggested a more secure alternative.

Read: Man responsible for strong password requirements regrets his 2003 guidelines

Trying trippy tech beneath the experimental domes of The Lab

Top Tech Stories HP Panorama

Last year, Goldenvoice, organizers of the popular Coachella festival, installed a huge dome full of tech experiences at the inaugural Panorama Music Festival in New York City. The Lab, as it was known, blew people away. This year it’s back, and three times larger than before.

It’s also more immersive, as artists were required to increase interconnectivity, according to Justin Bolognino, founder and CEO of META — the company that curated the artists featured in The Lab. “Eight people, minimum, had to be able to interact with an installation at the same time,” he told Digital Trends.

We stepped inside The Lab, explored its exhibits, and spoke with the lucky fans who experienced it alongside us. Here’s what we saw, heard, and yes, smelled.

Read: Trying trippy tech beneath the experimental domes of The Lab

Police photo shows maniac driver using a phone in each hand at 60mph

Top Tech Stories two phones

Driving while holding and using a mobile phone is dangerous, stupid, and in the vast majority of places, illegal. However, people still do it, and in the U.K. a particularly keen phone user was caught on camera using not one, but two phones while driving. He wasn’t juggling one phone with the other, but was holding a device in each hand, leaving no hands available for steering the car. He was also traveling at 60 mph.

It’s hard to believe someone would do something so dangerous, but the news comes from a very reliable source — the local police force that caught the maniac driver. Surrey Police posted a photo on its Twitter account, taken with a police camera through the driver’s side window of the vehicle.

Read: Police photo shows maniac driver using a phone in each hand at 60mph

Put down the controllers! Players navigate this VR game using only their minds

Top Tech Stories estudio

From allowing people to pilot drones using only their mind to medical applications involving the control of smart prostheses, the ability to use brain activity to directly control technology is a field that’s advanced significantly in recent years. At the recent 2017 SIGGRAPH conference, tech company Neurable and VR graphics company Estudiofuture teamed up to show off something new: brain-controlled virtual reality.

In a tech demo, the companies demonstrated how a VR game created by Estudiofuture could be intuitively controlled by swapping out the regular hand controls from an HTC Vive headset for technology developed by Neurable; tech that monitors a user’s brain activity to determine their intent.

Read: Put down the controllers! Players navigate this VR game using only their minds

Meet TIKAD: the gun-toting drone that can aim, fire, and compensate for recoil

Top Tech Stories gun drone

Have you ever looked at a drone and thought, “Yeah, that’s kind of neat, but I sure wish it came with some mounted firearms?” If so, you may be interested to hear about the TIKAD: a new drone that’s described by its Florida-based creators Duke Robotics as the “Future Soldier.”

Intended for military deployment, TIKAD is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed to replace boots on the ground in some of the toughest warzones on the planet. It weighs 110 pounds (50kg), can fly at an altitude of anywhere from 30 to 1,500 feet and — oh yes — did we mention that it can sport a plethora of semi-automatic weapons, and a 40mm grenade launcher for good measure?

Read: Meet TIKAD: the gun-toting drone that can aim, fire, and compensate for recoil

Thync Relax Pro review

Top Tech Stories Thync Relax

There’s something pleasingly sci-fi about the Thync Relax Pro, just like there was about the original Thync. It’s a wearable in the true sense, in that it fixes directly to your body and doesn’t do anything at all when it’s not. It’s designed to help the stressed relax, the anxious become calm, and the sleepless get more rest, which it does by stimulating nerves in the back of your neck using subtle-but-tingly electrical stimulation. It’s the wearable the crew of the Enterprise might choose, and the stuff of cyberpunk dreams.

 Before we go any further — yes, it’s safe. The original version, which uses the same low electrical output signal, has logged 2,500,000 minutes of use, backing up studies and surveys all indicating the safety of nerve stimulation. There’s no reason to worry it’ll burn you, cause your head to explode, or otherwise disfigure you during your quest for a bit of relaxation.

Read: Thync Relax Pro review

If you are thinking about buying a Fitbit, these deals make it the perfect time

Top Tech Stories fitbit

Amazon is offering discounts on select Fitbit fitness tracker models, and to help you find the best Fitbit for your lifestyle, we created a rundown of the ones on sale. If you’ve been on the hunt for a wearable to accompany you on your workouts, now is a great time to score a deal on a brand-name activity tracker.

Read: If you are thinking about buying a Fitbit, these deals make it the perfect time

Facebook mounts assault on Netflix and Amazon with new ‘Watch’ platform

Top Tech Stories facebook watch

Facebook is revamping the way its users view video on its social network, beginning with the launch of a new platform called Watch. The move, which will bring with it a growing amount of original content, is part of a grand plan by the social networking giant to better compete with video-streaming rivals such as Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube.

The new platform for Facebook’s mobile, desktop, and television apps will start to show up this week for select users in the U.S. before hitting more locations “soon.”

Watch promises to be a more structured version of the video tab that the company launched last year, and will offer suggestions for new shows based on what your friends and communities are enjoying.

Read: Facebook mounts assault on Netflix and Amazon with new ‘Watch’ platform

T-Mobile Revvl, Revvl T2, and Revvl T3 Pro news and rumors

Top Tech Stories T-Mobile

T-Mobile may be readying an entire self-branded lineup of affordable smartphones, and the first has been revealed. In early May, details of the T-Mobile Revvl, Revvl T2, and Revvl T3 Pro began to surface. The company announced it is officially releasing the first of the lineup — the Revvl — but we have yet to hear about the other models.

TCL-owned Alcatel is designing and producing the Revvl phones, and they are all expected to be cheaper than Apple’s entry-level iPhone (less than $650). They will also launch alongside a commitment-free T-Mobile service that comes with a lifetime warranty and insurance included.

We don’t know much about the entire T-Mobile’s Revvl lineup, but we’re learning more every day. Here is what we have so far.

Read: T-Mobile Revvl, Revvl T2, and Revvl T3 Pro news and rumors

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Global Good wants to rid the world of deadly diseases with lasers and A.I.

Global Good, a collaboration between Intellectual Ventures and Bill Gates, aims to eradicate diseases that kill children in developing nations. It tackles difficult problems with high-tech prototypes.
Podcasts

E-Scooters - Pros, Cons, and where they're headed.

On today's podcast: Very few things in the world of tech have garnered such polarizing opinions, as the rise of E-Scooters. We'll discuss the pros, the cons, and what needs to happen going forward.
Mobile

Galaxy S10? Foldable phone? What to expect from Samsung’s Unpacked on Feb. 20

Samsung's skipping Mobile World Congress 2019 to launch its next big smartphone a week earlier in San Francisco. We're fully expecting the Galaxy S10 to show up, but what else will be there? Here's what to expect.
Computing

The HoloLens 2 will be announced at MWC. Here's what we know about it so far

The HoloLens 2 is ripe for an announcement. Here's what Microsoft has revealed so far, what's likely in store for the next generation HoloLens, and everything that we know about this mixed reality headset.
Emerging Tech

A river of stars one billion years old flows across the southern sky

Astronomers have identified a river of stars flowing across our galaxy and covering most of the southern sky. The estimated 4000 stars that comprise the stream were born together and have been moving together for the last one billion years.
Emerging Tech

Descending at an angle could be key to landing heavier craft on Mars

Landing on Mars is a challenge: The heavier the craft, the more difficult a safe landing becomes. Scientists propose using retropropulsion engines and angling the craft to create a pressure differential to land heavier crafts in the future.
Emerging Tech

Ant-inspired walking robot navigates without GPS by using polarized light

What do you get if you cross Boston Dynamics and Ant-Man? You get Antbot, a robot from the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) which uses ant-like navigation to move around without the aid of GPS.
Emerging Tech

InSight’s heat probe will dig 16 feet beneath the surface of Mars

New images from NASA's InSight mission to Mars have confirmed that the lander succeeded in setting the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package instrument onto the surface, from where a self-hammering spike will burrow downwards.
Emerging Tech

White spots on Ceres are evidence of ancient ice volcanoes erupting

Scientists are pouring over data collected by NASA's Dawn mission to learn about the dwarf planet Ceres and the bright white spots observed at the bottom of impact craters. They believe that these spots are evidence of ice volcanoes.
Emerging Tech

NASA to launch SPHEREx mission to investigate the origins of our universe

NASA is launching an ambitious mission to map the entire sky to understand the origins of the universe. The Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer (SPHEREx) mission will launch in 2023.
Emerging Tech

Probes exploring Earth’s hazardous radiation belts enter final phase of life

The Van Allen probes have been exploring the radiation belts around Earth for seven years. Now the probes are moving into the final phase of their exploration, coming closer to Earth to gather more data before burning up in the atmosphere.
Emerging Tech

How can digital art created on obsolete platforms be preserved?

As the lines between art and technology continue to blur, digital art experiences become more commonplace. But these developments are raising an important question for art conservationists: How should digital artworks be preserved?
Emerging Tech

Statistician raises red flag about reliability of machine learning techniques

Machine learning is everywhere in science and technology. But how reliable are these techniques really? A statistician argues that questions of accuracy and reproducibility of machine learning have not been fully addressed.