Weekly rewind: 3D-printed capillaries, Digital Trends Car Awards, Hyperloop One tests

top tech stories 07 14 2017 game of thrones rewind head feat
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 our 2017 Digital Trends Car Awards to the best Game of Thrones theories — it’s all here.

2017 Digital Trends Car Awards

Best car of 2017

Each year, our editorial crew keeps busy by getting wheel time in as many vehicles as possible and sharing that experience with you. As the year wears on, clear favorites emerge, and our annual awards are a chance to celebrate those cars and see which are truly the best of the best.

We can’t gather every single car we’ve tested over the months, so we narrow the selection down to the best in specific categories. To us, these cars are already winners, which is why our selections are so diverse. From there, we spend some extra time reacquainting ourselves with just what we loved about each, and deliberate about which vehicles dominate their respective categories.

Read: 2017 Digital Trends Car Awards

Scientists figured out how to grow capillaries — 3D-printed tissues are next

3D printed tissue

For physicians, the dream of 3D printing is to one day be able to print functional tissues and organs for patients, made from their own cells. Doing this will allow a level of bespoke geometric customization and biochemical matching that will dramatically improve the quality of life of tens of thousands of people in need.

We have yet to reach that lofty goal, but a new project carried out by researchers at Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine takes the dream one step closer to reality.

In a paper published in the journal Biomaterials Science, the researchers demonstrate a method of generating implantable tissues with functioning capillaries, the tiny blood vessels responsible for supplying the body with oxygen and other nutrients.

Read: Scientists figured out how to grow capillaries — 3D-printed tissues are next

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7 is upon us! Study up with the most intriguing theories

Game of Thrones theories

Season 7 of Game of Thrones lands Sunday, July 16, and while season 6 finally confirmed some popular fan theories — and laid others to rest — there are plenty of story left and many theories that could still prove true. One could fill a book with fan theories about this epic tale, but we’ve narrowed it down to five of the most popular Game of Thrones theories in existence.

Read: ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7 is upon us! Study up with the most intriguing theories

Revo is a wooden bench-seat bike that assembles like something from IKEA

Revo wooden bench bike

Tandem bicycles are a joy to ride. However, there are reasons they are not more prevalent in the biking community. While they fit two people, they still work just as fine for one. Yet, nothing looks as lonely than a single person on a tandem. Revo is a prototype, bench-seat bicycle that looks good with or without a partner.

Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design student Tamás Túri created the working prototype as an easy-to-build urban bicycle. “Imagine it as IKEA furniture,” Túri told Gear Junkie. “The assembly shouldn’t take longer than half an hour.”

Read: Revo is a wooden bench-seat bike that assembles like something from IKEA

Microsoft app uses AI to help visually impaired people interact with the world

Microsoft AI app

Microsoft is using artificial intelligence to tackle a huge problem: helping visually impaired users interact with the world around them. To that end, it has developed Seeing AI, an iPhone app that recognizes people, places, documents, currency, and more to narrate your surroundings.

Open the app and point your phone’s camera at a friend, and Seeing AI will tell you who you’re looking at as well as report the expression on their face. Point it at a can of soup in the grocery store, and it will read off the brand as well as the directions. The app can also translate printed text to speech, whether it’s on a paper or a label on a door. It can even tell denomination bills apart from one and another.

Read: Microsoft app uses AI to help visually impaired people interact with the world

Experience the bizarre reality of ‘Legion’ at Comic-Con’s Hololens demo

Legion Hololens demo

Over the past few years, as virtual and augmented reality platforms and software have blossomed into the growing industries that they are today, media properties have leveraged various technologies to augment shows and movies at various public events. Game of Thrones famously took fans atop the Wall in early versions of the Oculus Rift, and now the Hololens is going to give Legion fans a better look at the mind of its main character.

Fans of FX’s Legion TV series will get a feel of what it is like to not be able to trust reality itself at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, where a mixed reality experience will be available to demo using Microsoft’s Hololens headset. The idea is to put fans in the shoes of protagonist David Haller, where they can play out various scenes from the first season of the show, as well as give them a sneak peek at season 2, RoadtoVR reports.

Read: Experience the bizarre reality of ‘Legion’ at Comic-Con’s Hololens demo

Hyperloop One speeds forward with its first full-scale test

Hyperloop One test

There may be those who continue to raise an eyebrow or two at the idea of the Hyperloop One becoming a reality, but at least one of the companies behind the super-fast transportation system is intent on seeing the project through to completion.

Hyperloop One announced this week that it has taken a major step forward after successfully testing a full-scale version of its technology in a vacuum environment for the very first time.

Conducted recently at the company’s DevLoop test track in Nevada, the trial run saw an “actual size” passenger pod coast above the track for just over five seconds using magnetic levitation technology — better known as maglev — while reaching nearly 2Gs of acceleration.

Read: Hyperloop One speeds forward with its first full-scale test

Google Backup & Sync app now available to help maintain your computer files

Google backup

Google wants to be better at backing up your computer’s files. While the company already offers a Drive folder that can be installed on your computer, Google has now officially launched a new way to back up and sync any folder that you point it toward on your computer. If you want, Google Backup & Sync can back up your desktop, entire documents folder, and more.

The new feature is now rolling out to users in the form of an app called Backup & Sync, and it replaces both the Google Photos desktop uploader and Google Drive for MacOS and Windows. The app is aimed at regular consumers rather than business users — Google recommends business users stick with the already available Drive functionality that’s part of its G Suite.

Read: Google Backup & Sync app now available to help maintain your computer files

Facebook Live now lets you broadcast in VR using the Oculus Rift ‘Spaces’ app

Facebook Spaces VR

When Facebook acquired virtual reality headset maker Oculus and gained access to its main product, the Oculus Rift, the assumption was that VR experiences would increasingly make their way to the social media giant. So far, the VR headset has been successful in its own right, and the Oculus Spaces app has served as the main point of entry for using Facebook in a somewhat limited VR environment.

Now, Oculus Spaces is getting a brand-new feature that should significantly enhance the social sharing aspect of the experience. Spaces will now allow users to share Facebook Live video sessions that are generated from within the app, as Road to VR reports.

The new Live support means that users can now set up a virtual camera in Oculus Spaces that can be positioned anywhere in the VR environment and broadcast to other Facebook users — just as with a 2D Live session. This builds on Spaces‘ current ability to share selfies and add them to the Facebook Timeline, as well as the Facebook Messenger call feature that lets users engage in “VR-to-reality” video conferences.

Read: Facebook Live now lets you broadcast in VR using the Oculus Rift ‘Spaces’ app

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I.-powered cat toys, wallets, food containers

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

Looking for a good read? Here are the best, most eye-opening books about tech

Sometimes it's sensible to put down the gadgets and pick up a good old-fashioned book -- to read about the latest gadgets, of course. Here are the tech books you need to check out.
Virtual Reality

Oculus Rift, HTC Vive head-to-head: Prices drop, but our favorite stays the same

The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are the two big names in the virtual-reality arena, but most people can only afford one. Our comparison tells you which is best when you pit the Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive.
Emerging Tech

Keep your holiday gift list high tech and under budget with these gadgets

Modern technology doesn't always come cheap, but there plenty of premium devices that don't carry a premium price. Whether you're looking for a streaming device or a means of capturing photos from above, our list of the best tech under $50…
Product Review

It's got game. But the Razer Phone 2 is still crippled by its camera

The Razer Phone 2 will impress with its gaming prowess and 120Hz screen. But if you care at all about taking pictures on your phone, skip it. While Razer has improved the camera, it’s still short of the competition.
Mobile

Google’s new floating keyboard is so helpful, it’ll put you on cloud nine

Bezel-less smartphones look great, but typing isn't always so good, as grip can be more of a challenge. That's where Google's Gboard keyboard comes into play. It now has a floating keyboard feature to help out.
Mobile

Insane 5G Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 boasts a retro slide-up camera

Xiaomi will announce the Mi Mix 3 smartphone on October 25, and according to the company's spokesperson, it will be capable of connecting at 5G speeds and feature 10GB of RAM -- two world firsts.
Mobile

Declutter your life with our favorite wireless chargers for Android and iPhones

We checked out the best wireless phone chargers to make tangles and uncooperative ports a thing of the past. Whether you have an iPhone or Android, find out which wireless charging pads are worth buying, and how their features compare.
Deals

Save up to $900 with the best smartphone deals for October 2018

Need a better phone but don't want to spend a fortune? It's never a bad time to score a new smartphone and save some cash. We rounded up the best smartphone deals available that can save you as much as $900.
Mobile

Huawei confirms it won't be selling the Mate 20 series in the U.S.

Huawei has released the Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, and Mate 20 X. With all-new Kirin processors, advanced A.I. brains, and an amazing triple camera, here's absolutely everything you need to know about the new Mate 20 series.
Photography

8 weird, useful camera accessories for your iPhone or Android

With the rise of smartphone cameras comes an explosion of accessories aimed at enhancing your photography skills. Here, we take a look at a few, from add-on grips to entire camera units designed specifically to work with iOS devices.
Mobile

eBay’s new Instant Selling program turns old smartphones into new money

With eBay's new Instant Selling program, selling your smartphone just got easier. Immediately after listing your device, you'll receive a voucher that can be used toward the purchase of a new phone through the site.
Mobile

Razer Phone 2 vs. Red Magic Phone vs. Honor Play: Which gaming phone is best?

Mobile gaming is serious business nowadays. But which high-powered gaming phone is best for you? We pitted the Razer Phone 2 against the Red Magic Phone and the Honor Play to find out which of the three deserves your attention.
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for October 2018

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.