In the tech world, a lot happens in a week. Too much, in fact, for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of the top 10 tech stories from this week. From everything that’s happened from the show floor of IFA 2015 to a potential health risk that could affect over 6 million Americans and everything in between — it’s all here.
Berlin is a city known for its bohemian art culture, surreal relics of the Cold War, and for one week a year in September, for being the center of the technology universe when IFA comes to town. So far, the Digital Trends team has seen the innovative Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch, LG’s amazing flatscreen OLED, Motorola’s new Moto 360, Samsung’s SmartThing Hub, the first 4K UHD Blu-ray player, Acer’s gaming computer setup, and much more. The team has been reporting live from the show floor since the event started on September 2, and they will continue to share all the news through September 9.
Some mistakes have the nasty habit of following you around, even if they’re made with the most innocent of intentions. And while total innocence may not quite be the case in one 14-year-old’s adolescent faux pas, he certainly couldn’t have intended for his sexy Snapchat to land him in a police database for “making and distributing an indecent image of a child.” The boy, whose identity has not been released, learned that sending a nude selfie to a female classmate (who made a screenshot of the image and further distributed it) is no laughing matter. While no one has been formally charged or arrested, both the boy, the female student, and another minor were named in a crime report, and their names may remain in the criminal database for up to 10 years..
Six NASA recruits began the longest U.S. isolation experiment to simulate life on Mars by locking themselves into the HI-SEAS dome habitat in Mauna Loa, Hawaii. The international team is comprised of a French astrobiologist, a German physicist, and four Americans civilians including a pilot, an architect, a doctor/journalist, and a soil scientist. The year-long trial is one of four HI-SEAS experiments with the space agency previously researching Mars cooking techniques, as well as conducting shorter-term cohabitation experiments lasting four and eight months. The isolation experiments are designed to simulate the cramped conditions and environmental stresses astronauts would experience on a multi-year mission to Mars.
Humanity is living in the golden age of rideable technology right now. In the past few years, electric motors have become smaller and more powerful, and batteries have become more capacitous and long-lasting — two trends that have coalesced and kicked off a renaissance in personal mobility devices. Case in point: These ridiculously badass electric mountain bikes from Australian upstart Stealth Electric. With a lightweight design, built-in shock absorbers, 5,200 watts of peak power, and a top speed of 50 miles per hour, the bikes effectively blur the line between mountain bike and electric motorcycle.
You expect the water that you drink will be healthy and not harmful to your body, but for 6.5 million Americans in 27 states, that may not be the case. A recent study from two environmental scientists suggests the industrial chemical PFOA is a much more serious contaminant than previously thought. PFOA, a component used in the manufacturing of Teflon, is the subject of several class-action and personal injury lawsuits due to its link to cancer, birth defects, and other illnesses in those exposed to the chemical.
Next page: 5 more tech stories you might have missed this week