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 battle between the Galaxy Note 8 and the iPhone 8 to a smart home makeover — it’s all here.
Facebook Messenger is now used by 1.3 billion people worldwide
Facebook Messenger has grown a lot since it was originally introduced as Facebook Chat way back in 2008. Since it launched, it has grown from a very simple web-based messaging system to one that supports video and group chats on both Android and iOS. With the introduction of several new features in 2017, Facebook Messenger saw its biggest year yet, with more than 1.3 billion users globally.
Read: Facebook Messenger is now used by 1.3 billion people worldwide
The Galaxy Note 8 and iPhone 8 Plus battle it out for photo supremacy in Japan
Many of us will only ever use a smartphone, not a DSLR, to take pictures on vacation. That means smartphone cameras need to offer high-quality images, be easy to use, fast to react, and ideally, feature-packed. In the second half of 2017, Samsung released the Galaxy Note 8, and Apple brought us the iPhone 8 Plus. Two phones from two giant rival companies, both with highly capable dual-lens cameras.
We carried them both on our recent trip to Japan, and took hundreds of pictures with each phone, ready to put them both under the microscope to see which one captured the best pictures. Through rain and shine, neither phone missed a beat, and they both performed superbly. But one did manage to stand out against the other.
Read: The Galaxy Note 8 and iPhone 8 Plus battle it out for photo supremacy in Japan
A.I. algorithms study brain waves to predict seizures
Researchers at the University of Melbourne and IBM Research Australia have taken a big step in developing the ability to predict seizures triggered by epilepsy. Using deep learning, a brain-inspired machine learning technique, the system automatically analyzes the electrical activity of a patient’s brain, improving seizure prediction by 69 percent, and giving patients time to recognize the onset of an episode.
Artificial intelligence algorithms are increasingly being used in healthcare, from crunching chemical combinations to discovering new drugs, to offering advice on dieting. But in most of these cases, the algorithms are best used in combination with medical professionals, giving human decision-makers insight to make better decisions.
Want a lightsaber? Just roll up a piece of paper and InstaSaber will do the rest
Who didn’t, as a kid, wave around a folded sheet of paper and pretend they were brandishing their very own lightsaber? Well, to quote a famous Apple slogan, “there’s an app for that” — or, at least, there will be very soon. Created by developer Hart Woolery, the InstaSaber is an augmented reality app, set to arrive in the iOS app store soon, which lets you fire up your very own George Lucas-style laser sword from the comfort of your smartphone.
“It’s an iPhone app that turns a rolled up piece of paper into a virtual lightsaber,” Woolery told Digital Trends. “I think the best thing about it is that it brings a special effect that has typically been reserved for advanced video editors to a mass audience.”
Read: Want a lightsaber? Just roll up a piece of paper and InstaSaber will do the rest
2018 Nissan Leaf first drive review
The second-generation 2018 Nissan Leaf picks up where its predecessor left off, but the Leaf faces stiffer competition. The Chevrolet Bolt EV and Tesla Model 3 have proven that long-range electric cars can be affordable, and other automakers have their own mass-market electric cars waiting in the wings. So can the pioneering Leaf stay relevant?
Read: 2018 Nissan Leaf first drive review
The best 10 movie that should be made into TV shows
We’ve put our producer’s hat on and picked 10 movies that we’d love to see studios make into TV shows.
Since it’s possible to reimagine almost any movie as a TV series, we whittled down the options by picking films that have gripping or unresolved story points, an intriguing cinematic world, and compelling characters that touch upon topics we don’t see enough of on TV. The fact that almost any movie you can think of has at least been considered as a TV show also helped us dig deep to find unexplored projects. Enjoy!
We took a dumb home and made it smart. Here’s where we started
20 years ago, new home builders saw an opportunity to add value to a property by installing in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, routing miles of speaker wires, and installing volume dials in every room. Before the days of Sonos and LCD TVs, it was a novelty to be able to listen to music everywhere, and getting a big screen meant a dedicated room with a projector. Today, if you’re buying a home under 30 years old, there’s a good chance the house will come with just such a system or room. It may seem pretty cool at first, but it won’t take long before you realize it’s disappointingly outdated — certainly nothing like the connected smart homes you read about online.
Such was the case with our gorgeous new test bed for smart home technology and smart appliances out in the country. The new home had speakers in every room, an aging home theater, and two closets loaded with what was high-end gear in its day. Unfortunately, all of the infrastructure was horribly outdated, and the gear in the closets was either showing its age, or entirely defective.
Read: We took a dumb home and made it smart. Here’s where we started
‘Operation Apex’ lets you explore the deep, no scuba gear required
The water surrounding me provided little resistance to the powerful handheld propeller in my hands. Effortlessly gliding over the seabed, I reached the edge of a precipice and stopped. I gazed down into the blackness. It was filled with mystery, and I felt dizzy staring down. Looking up, schools of tuna and black sea bass swam, creating dark shadows against the bright sunlight beyond the rippling surface. A voice urged me to continue my mission of cataloging sea life, and exploring the effect our environmental carelessness was having on them.
This wasn’t real life, although I was in the coastal city of Brighton in the United Kingdom. I was wearing an HTC Vive headset and playing Operation Apex, a virtual reality game from startup Curiscope. It’s as close to living out The Blue Planet as I’m going to get.
Read: ‘Operation Apex’ lets you explore the deep, no scuba gear required
T-Mobile wants you to ditch cable, satellite for its ‘disruptive’ new TV service
T-Mobile has set out to shake up another industry. The Un-carrier is planning to take on satellite and cable providers by launching a “disruptive new TV service in 2018,” according to a press release.
To bring its TV ambitions to its millions of customers, T-Mobile acquired cable provider Layer3 TV. The company brands itself “the new cable,” and has its own IP network, which allows it to send high-definition video to homes at levels of bandwidth similar to Netflix. Layer3 TV is currently only available in five U.S. cities and provides more than 275 channels, including ESPN, NBC, AMC, and other popular channels at higher video quality than similar services. The TV provider also mixes video content from streaming services and social media with broadcast and cable channels.
Read: T-Mobile wants you to ditch cable, satellite for its ‘disruptive’ new TV service
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