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 the Digital Trends 2017 Home Awards to what we know about Bohemian Rhapsody — it’s all here.
Once upon a time, the Moto X was the crown jewel of Motorola’s (and its parent company Lenovo’s) lineup. But that was back in 2015. Last year’s modular Moto Z shifted the manufacturer’s strategy a bit, and now Lenovo’s trying to rekindle some of the magic with a refreshed, revamped fourth-gen Moto X4.
Just like its predecessor, the new Moto X4 won’t break the bank. In the U.S., the Moto X4 costs $400 from Google’s Project Fi, Fry’s, B&H, Best Buy, Jet.com, Newegg, Motorola.com, Republic Wireless, and Ting. It’s available for pre-order starting October 19, and ships a week later on October 26.
A seventh grader that we featured in July for inventing a lead-testing device in drinking water has won a prestigious award for his invention. Gitanjali Rao, who competed in a distinguished science competition in the United States, won the 3M-sponsored science competition and was awarded the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist,” along with a $25,000 prize.
Her invention, a sophisticated method for testing for lead contamination in water, could significantly improve the response to chemical disasters like the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. In fact, Rao’s water-testing device was partially inspired by stories of chemical contamination such as the situation in Flint.
One of the most iconic musicians of the modern era, Queen frontman Freddie Mercury is the focal point of the upcoming band biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. Mr. Robot star Rami Malek is portraying the multifaceted singer, songwriter, and producer, widely regarded as one of the greatest vocalists of all time.
Set to be directed by X-Men franchise veteran Bryan Singer from a script penned by Academy Award nominee Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything), Bohemian Rhapsody will chronicle the period between the band’s formation in the 1970s and Mercury’s tragic death in 1991. Queen band members Brian May and Roger Taylor are serving as producers on the film.
With Bohemian Rhapsody now scheduled to hit theaters December 25, 2018, here’s everything we know about the film so far.
Digital Trends 2017 Home Awards
The ever-expanding list of smart home products — from security systems to smart locks, lightbulbs, ovens, smoke alarms, and baby monitors – presented us with a unique problem when we set about choosing winners for the 2017 Home Awards: How do we compare the newest appliances to products like Wi-Fi connected vacuum cleaners or BBQ grills? Does a better dryer beat a connected egg timer? What if it’s a really great timer?
In the end, we opted to focus on the one thing that makes all the products on this list award-worthy: innovation.
Our 2017 Home Awards recipients are game-changers in their respective fields. They don’t just improve on their predecessors; they change our expectations entirely.
Read: Digital Trends 2017 Home Awards
There are plenty of cool educational robotics projects we see rolling out on a regular basis but, to the best of our knowledge, only one promises to give you a creepy Phantom of the Opera-style mask to learn to code with. The makers of Nova have presented this spooky gift to the world with their new Arduino-based artificial intelligence robot, now available on Kickstarter.
Creoqod’s Nova is a do-it-yourself kit that lets users build their own artificially intelligent robot, while practicing their coding and engineering skills. It’s compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux, and promises to be both a great tool for newcomers, and also a fun testing platform for seasoned professionals. Building it will provide a good overview of various engineering and computer science concepts, ranging from computer vision and image processing, to kinematics and control theory. The finished robot can recognize and track faces, identify colors, measure distances, and move in five different axes — all while looking like a cross between The Terminator and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s aforementioned scarred musical maestro.
Drivers in New York City may soon have to ask themselves the profound question: If the car in front is a self-driving one, is there any point in honking my horn?
General Motors’ (GM) self-driving unit, Cruise Automation, could soon begin tests of its modified Chevy Bolts in a move that would see “fully autonomous” Level 4 vehicles tooling along the busy streets of Manhattan for the very first time.
Getting voted best dressed is a lot harder when you’re wearing the same thing as everyone else around you. Luckily, Asics is here to ensure that you never commit such a fashion faux pas again. For its next trick, the athletic company is unveiling a new giant microwave intended not for your culinary pleasure, but rather for your customization needs. In just 15 seconds, these large microwaves will be able to “bake” a pair of custom soles for eager customers, giving them the ability to customize their footwear on-site in stores.
Whether or not Amazon’s R&D team comes up with most of its ideas during Friday night drinks is immaterial. The reality is that, possibly on a Monday morning, it files those ideas with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). And after a period of time, the USPTO grants Amazon the patent.
Some of those patents will be forgotten by the Seattle-based company over time and therefore never see the light of day, but as technology develops, others may eventually come to fruition.
Earthquakes can cause massive amounts of devastation. Using modern building materials and designs, architects have created a number of impressively reinforced buildings around the world that are able to survive quakes that would level many structures. However, what can you do to earthquake-proof an existing building? That’s a question that civil engineering researchers at the University of British Columbia took on in a recent project.
As a result of the research, they’ve developed a new type of concrete that can be sprayed onto walls, which will successfully protect buildings from being damaged in the event of even major quakes. This is possible thanks to a fiber-reinforced design which allows the concrete to bend, rather than fracture, when it is violently shaken. In simulation tests, the “eco-friendly ductile cementitious composite” (EDCC) was able to withstand an earthquake with a magnitude equal to the 9.0 – 9.1 quake that hit Tohoku, Japan back in 2011.