Weekly Rewind: Humanoid robots, the best ski gloves, our take on the iPhone X

Apple iPhone X Review
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
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 what we think of the Apple iPhone X to a secret-laden USB stick — it’s all here.

Apple iPhone X review

Apple iPhone X Review
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Apple’s 10th anniversary iPhone X sets a new gold standard for the next decade of iPhones. Coming hot on the heels of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, the iPhone X steals the show despite sharing nearly identical internal hardware. The X (pronounced “ten”) is a beautiful, modern sculpture, and iPhone owners finally have a reason to show off their phones again. We’ve only had our iPhone X review unit for a few days, so this review is very much a work in progress. We’ll expand on our evaluation of the phone as we continue to put it through its paces.

Read: Apple iPhone X review

New algorithm helps turn low-resolution images into detailed photos, ‘CSI’-style

algorithm low res high fromsmallton

Anyone who has ever worked with image files knows that, unlike the fictional world of shows like CSI, there’s no easy way to take a low-resolution image and magically transform it into a high-resolution picture using some fancy “enhance” tool. Fortunately, some brilliant computer scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Germany are working on the problem, and they’ve come up with a pretty nifty algorithm to address it.

What they have developed is a tool called EnhanceNet-PAT, which uses artificial intelligence to create high-definition versions of low-res images. While the solution is not a miracle fix, it does produce a noticeably better result than previous attempts, thanks to some smart machine-learning algorithms.

Read: New algorithm helps turn low-resolution images into detailed photos, ‘CSI’-style

How Blizzard turned a ‘Tonight Show’ studio into an esports arena

blizzard esports

Esports have become a huge attraction that can rival more traditional sports. With annual events larger than ever, prize pools breaking records every year, and pro players becoming stars, professional gaming has never been more respected or supported. There’s even talk that a few games will make it into the Olympics.

One of the most impressive dedicated esports centers is the new Blizzard Arena. Recently opened at the Burbank Studios in California, the facility houses everything from player practice areas to multiple sound stages, plus large spectator arenas where fans can come to watch their favorite players take part in the latest Blizzard pro gaming tournaments.

Read: How Blizzard turned a ‘Tonight Show’ studio into an esports arena

Bored this winter? You can now build yourself a humanoid robot assistant

robot

Ever wanted to own your very own 4-foot humanoid robot? If so — and if you have access to a 3D printer, a whole lot of free time, and a couple thousand dollars to cover materials — then robotics startup Choitek has the do-it-yourself “maker” project for you. Newly launched on the website Instructables, the Autonomous Support and Positive Inspiration Robot (ASPIR, for short) can be built using a tutorial that will lead you through every phase of making your dream robot a reality.

“ASPIR’s spiritual successor is Halley, the Ambassador Robot 001,” John Choi, founder of education robotics company Choitek and a former computer science and arts student at Carnegie Mellon University, told Digital Trends. “Created with the generous support of the Frank-Ratchye Studio for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University in 2015, Halley was originally built to be a robotic student that could go to class so I wouldn’t have to. Now that I have graduated, ASPIR’s role is to aid me as a robotic teaching assistant with my educational technology company, Choitek. We are currently doing research to see how humanoid robots like ASPIR can be used to inspire more girls into STEM (the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields).”

Read: Bored this winter? You can now build yourself a humanoid robot assistant

Elon Musk offers first look at Boring Company’s futuristic freeway under L.A.

Boring Company's first photo
The Boring Company
The Boring Company

Yes, it’s definitely a tunnel. Elon Musk has just posted the very first photo of a tunnel dug by his Boring Company beneath the streets of Los Angeles as the billionaire entrepreneur goes after his dream of building a subterranean — and speedy — transportation system to help reduce traffic congestion on the busy streets above.

Snapped over the weekend, the image shows something far beyond a simple muddy hole that some of you may have been expecting to see. Rather, it’s clear the team has been doing some serious work on its debut tunnel, fully building out the section with all the necessary bells and whistles.

Read: Elon Musk offers first look at Boring Company’s futuristic freeway under L.A.

A language for legumes: Can the Internet of Food help us know what we eat?

Internet of Food

In a classic Portlandia sketch, Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein badger a waitress to find out about their chicken’s diet, the amount of acreage it had to roam around in, and whether it had other fowl to pal around with. But knowing more about your food’s origins has benefits even if you’re not a locavore.

While you might be able to learn if your chicken was named Colin, food scientist and informatician Dr. Matthew Lange thinks the Internet of Food (IoF) can help everyone make better informed choices about what they eat. Ahead of his appearance at the upcoming  reThink Food conference in Napa Valley, California, we asked Lange about the benefits of digitizing food.

Read: A language for legumes: Can the Internet of Food help us know what we eat?

As ‘House of Cards’ comes tumbling down, rumors of spinoff series mount

tv villains house of cards frank underwood
Amid Kevin Spacey’s unfolding scandal, Netflix announced that production on House of Cards season 6 — which was announced to be the final season after news of the allegations broke — has been suspended indefinitely.

Netflix’s announcements regarding the series status came after Spacey was accused of sexual assault by Star Trek: Discovery actor Anthony Rapp in an interview with BuzzFeed. Rapp alleges that Spacey made unwanted sexual advances while Rapp was a minor. While House of Cards collapses under the weight of its own real-world scandal, rumors have begun the surface that we haven’t seen the last of the series’ dark political universe, Variety reports.

Read: As ‘House of Cards’ comes tumbling down, rumors of spinoff series mount

Keep your hands warm and toasty with the best ski gloves

best ski gloves 2018 phantom glove 1 dakine

There is no faster way to ruin an awesome powder day than with frozen hands. Rather than basking in glorious face shots, you’ll spend the entire day removing your gloves every time you get on the chairlift just to rub your hands together to warm them up. If you’re participating in other snow-related activities — like snowshoeing or cross-country skiing — it’s no better; when your hands are cold, you can’t focus on anything else.

So, if you’re someone who plays outside in the snow a lot, it’s essential for you to own a pair of top-of-the-line, oven-warm gloves. We’ve rounded up six of the best ski gloves with the most deluxe technology to ensure you’ll keep your paws warm while shredding the slopes.

Read: Keep your hands warm and toasty with the best ski gloves

USB stick found in street contains Heathrow Airport security information

usb stick security alert airport heathrow feature
Getty

We know all too well that sticking a found USB flash drive into your computer carries big risks, and in a worst-case scenario, it could fry your machine.

Perhaps that’s why one curious guy in London recently headed to a library with a stick he reportedly found in the street. But instead of ruining one of the library’s computers, the USB stick revealed highly confidential information linked to the security procedures of one of the world’s busiest airports, according to the Sunday Mirror.

None of the 2.5GB of data on the flash drive was encrypted or password protected, allowing the man to explore 76 folders holding sensitive security information for London’s Heathrow airport.

Read: USB stick found in street contains Heathrow Airport security information

Smart Home

Contrary to limited reports, consumer interest in smart home tech is soaring

Interest in smart home tech isn't waning. On the contrary, according to the Consumer Technology Association, 2019 is heading toward a record-breaking year in U.S. consumer tech sales, hitting $400 billion for the first time.
Cars

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Drone lens, laser synth, and more

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!
Movies & TV

This week's best new podcasts include American Hysteria, The Big One, and more

Feel like you’re drowning in podcasts? In this weekly series, we’ll help you pick out the best of the new and returning shows. This week’s picks include urban legends, earthquakes, Andy Richter's questions, and tech history.
Music

The best new music this week: Blood Orange, Floating Points, and more

Looking for the best new music? Each week, we find the most compelling new releases just for you. This week: New albums from Blood Orange, Floating Points, and Tycho with Saint Sinner.
Deals

Boost Mobile takes on Amazon with Apple iPhone deals during Prime Day 2019

Boost Mobile's two-day sale has discounts on both Android and Apple smartphones, and we rounded up the best iPhone deals right here. You'll have to act fast, though, as this online sales event lasts for Monday and Tuesday only.
Mobile

The Asus ROG Phone 2 may launch as the most powerful phone in the world

Asus will launch the ROG Phone 2 (that stands for Republic of Gamers, for those new to the company's gaming brand) on July 23, and rumors of its specification and more have been leaking for a while.
Mobile

Visible is giving away the iPhone 7 for $100 and Moto G7 Power for $50

Visible has announced a few awesome new deals on some great phones, including the Apple iPhone 7 and the Motorola Moto G7 Power. Both phones are available for $100 off, bringing the iPhone 7 down to $100, and the G7 Power to $50.
Deals

The powerful Razer Phone 2 costs just $400 thanks to Amazon Prime Day 2019

The Razer Phone 2, a follow-up to the original Razer Phone, has a ton going for it, including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor and a 120Hz screen refresh rate. For Prime Day 2019, the phone is available for a massive 50 percent off.
Mobile

Miss physical keyboards? Unihertz is creating a rugged phone that has one

Recently, only BlackBerry's phones have offered a physical keyboard. Not any more. Chinese manufacturer Unihertz is preparing to launch the Unihertz Titan -- a rugged phone with a built-in physical keyboard.
Apple

At just $169, Amazon Prime Day now has the best deal on the Apple Watch Series 3

Amazon Prime Day comes once a year, and with it, you'll find the best deals on your favorite Apple products. Right now, the Apple Watch Series 3 is just $169. Get yours while supplies last.
Deals

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 gets a 35% price cut for Prime Day

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is currently the latest model in the Galaxy Note range that normally lists for $1,000, but this is no ordinary day. You can get the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 for just $650 with Amazon's Prime Day deal.
Mobile

Get ahead of the game with one of the best prepaid cell phone plans

By paying in advance you can make sure that you know exactly what your monthly bills are going to be. Find your ideal prepaid cell phone plan right here, as we run through the top options and highlight what they have to offer.
Deals

These eco-friendly Pela phone cases are up to 25% off for Prime Day only

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly phone case, then you owe it to the environment to check out Pela. This unique brand makes its cases from compostable bioplastic, and for Prime Day, you can take up to 25% off the entire…
Deals

Prime Day brings out the best deals on Amazon’s Kindle and Fire tablets

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is here, and it brings with it some of the best deals on all kinds of tech products. Notably, Amazon's Kindle and Fire tablet range of devices have gotten some pretty major discounts,.