This home robot will clean your house, find your keys, then bring you a beer
Unveiled at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, the Aeolus Robot hopes to deliver the promise of Rosie the robotic maid popularized by The Jetsons. The prototype home robot showed off its skills at the show by mopping floors, moving furniture, and even retrieving drinks from the refrigerator on command.
Alexander Huang of Aeolus Robotics told the Washington Post that the household robot will learn its surroundings and the individual inhabitants of the home, adapting its behavior over time. “Right now it’s like a child, but we will continue to grow its capability so that it grows from a child to an adult,” he said. “The more people that use the robot, the stronger it becomes.”
The Chief Technology Officer of Aeolus was part of the team that brought IBM’s Jeopardy-winning AI program Watson to life.
One key feature of its machine learning is the ability to recognize thousands of different objects and return them to the appropriate place, so a child’s teddy bear won’t end up in the parents’ bedroom. The robotic arm allows it to pick up and manipulate objects with precision. It also connects to household IoT networks such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa, and it’s continuously updated.
The robot could even help find lost objects by remembering where it saw them last.
“This is the first multi-functional robot that can act like a human being,” said Huang. “You can say, ‘Hey, my room is clean now robot, so please remember this next time you clean and put all my things back in these exact same spots.’”
The robot may also be an invaluable companion for the elderly or handicapped. Using “posture recognition,” it could identify when a person has fallen or is facing a medical emergency such as a seizure and call for assistance.
Aeolus is somewhat evasive on the price, claiming the robot will cost less than a family vacation overseas.
About the size and weight of a 12-year-old child, the robot doesn’t yet have a name, but the company says it will be available later this year. “It’s our mission to bring together the latest in robotics, AI, and machine learning in an affordable in-home robot,” said Huang.
via Digital Trends http://ift.tt/2p4eJdC
January 20, 2018 at 01:56PM
The 1977 Ford LTD Is Anything But Down-Sized
In the late 1970s, cars were getting smaller. While it took the United States a few years to figure out, the world collectively decided that cars didn’t need to be the size as an oil tanker.
Ford, however wasn’t going down without a fight. For the 1977 Ford LTD, Ford wanted everyone to know that their full-size sedan was as big as ever.
Those liars over at Chevy have nothing on the LTD with their puny Caprice. It’s called a full-size car, dammit, so it better be full-size. This is America, cars are supposed to be big. Even full-size cars like the Cadillac DeVille are nearly the same size as the LTD but you can’t fit nearly as much crap in the DeVille. The LTD is even wider. What’s wrong with you, General Motors?
Let’s talk about price for a second. The scoundrels running General Motors will charge you your entire life savings for that claustrophobic Cadillac. But the LTD is much less expensive and you can fit a small church inside. The real value choice is obvious.
via Gizmodo http://gizmodo.com
January 20, 2018 at 01:03PM
This Discounted Switch Carrying Case Can Hold Your Dock and Cables Too
While most Nintendo Switch carrying cases are designed for people using the console in portable mode, this AmazonBasics case is large enough to carry the dock and cables as well, so you could set it up at your friend’s house, or in a hotel room. It’s been as low as $16 in the past, but $20 is $10 less than usual.
via Gizmodo http://gizmodo.com
January 20, 2018 at 12:33PM
The Latest Images From Krypton Spotlight The Visual Design of The Doomed Planet
Krypton is often depicted as either a lavish, ornate world at the pinnacle of its opulence, or as a utilitarian utopia. But rarely, if ever, is it considered as a place where people actually live their lives—eat, drink, work, maybe even have a family. Syfy’s new drama, Krypton, has put a lot of thought into how to change that.
In a gallery article for Entertainment Weekly, Krypton’s production designer Ondrej Nekvasil walks through some of the primary locations of the show, sharing design sketches and thoughts on how the production team conceived of their version of Krypton.
“We were trying to create a world that was believable,” Nekvasil said. “They key thing is that on Krypton, all of the people on Krypton look like people on Earth. So, the scale of the set and the scale of the spaces has to be similar to what we know because the people live there.
“Because life on the planet is kind of tough, they don’t do designs,” said Nekvasil. “If they make something, it’s because they use it and they would like to use it for life. It’s not because they would like to design something. We were trying to stay away from the over-design, over-dressed rooms. We were trying to show that everything has some kind of practical reason for why it’s there.”
Some of the sets on offer include an OG version of the Fortress of Solitude, which forms the cernterpiece for the heritage of the House of El. Featuring a statue of the family’s forebears and chronicles of the family’s history on Kryptonese on the windows, it’s what Nekvasil calls “a spiritual place,” not just a home for science or work but reflection and history.
Nekvasil’s work also showcases income stratification on Krypton, with Superman’s ancestor Seg El living in an apartment in the poor part of Kandor, with furniture hewn out of functionary metal mesh. Meanwhile, the wealthy of the city live literally above Kandor’s poor, in golden, sunlight buildings and passageways built on top of the poorer areas.
Another fun tidbit: the show will also feature Fort Rozz, a location mentioned in Supergirl as a prison for Krypton’s worst. In the earlier era of the show, however, it’s still a fully functionally Kryptonian military base.
I’ve included a couple of choice images from the gallery above, and you can view the rest over at Entertainment Weekly. Krypton premieres on Syfy on March 21st.
via Gizmodo http://gizmodo.com
January 20, 2018 at 12:21PM
Audi has a new Smart Energy Network that uses EVs to help the power grid
If you’re worried about your electric vehicle overloading the electric grid, don’t. At least, if Audi is involved. The German automaker is taking a page out of Tesla’s book and piloting a new project called the Audi Smart Energy Network. The test combines automobile, home, and power supply in order to from an intelligent energy network. In essence, the program will involve stationary storage batteries with solar installations of various sizes. Software will then allocate the solar energy as needed by either the home or the vehicle.
But the real magic happens when this connected home power storage system provides “balancing power.” As Audi explains, these various devices “balance out the fluctuations between power generation and consumption, and stabilize the grid frequency by temporarily storing smaller amounts of energy in stationary units at short notice.” This leads to optimized power consumption, where renewable sources provide a greater proportion of energy, and the power grid provides less.
But this isn’t to say that there’s no involvement from the power grid. As Audi noted, “Over a built-in communication interface, all systems are interconnected to form a virtual power plant, and constitute a smart grid.”
The carmaker hopes that this is just the first step in creating an emission-free mobility solution; one that does not only take cars into consideration.
“We are looking at electric mobility in the context of an overall energy supply system that is increasingly based on renewables. We are playing a pioneering role with the prequalification of the balancing-power market — enabling producers to feed power into the grid, as part of the pilot project,” said Dr. Hagen Seifert, Head of Sustainable Product Concepts at Audi. “That is now for the first time also possible down at the level of individual households, which helps balance the entire power grid.”
Of course, Audi isn’t the only company looking into energy storage systems. Tesla has its own Tesla Energy division that involves solar panels and Powerpack energy storage batteries, while BMW has its own energy storage project that features mounted i3 battery packs on the walls of homes. Mercedes-Benz also leverages its own electric Smart car battery packs for an energy storage facility, and now that Audi is in the mix as well, we may be well on our way to a more renewable, EV-laden future.
via Digital Trends http://ift.tt/2p4eJdC
January 20, 2018 at 12:17PM
Startup fundraising and exits look bullish for bio and health
After nearly a year, venture capitalists nabbed their first U.S. acquisition for more than a billion dollars. And it wasn’t a tech startup. Nor was it a company on the list of known unicorns. And it had nothing to do with blockchain.
No, the award for the first big exit in a really long time goes to Impact Biomedicines, a developer of cancer therapeutics that sold to pharma giant Celgene earlier this month. The transaction was valued at up to $7 billion.
The deal, which includes $1.1 billion in cash and up to $5.9 billion in milestone payments, is all the more astounding given that it involved a pretty new startup. Impact launched a little over a year ago after licensing rights to the molecule Fedratinib, used to treat a form of blood cancer, from drug developer Sanofi. Prior to the acquisition, Impact had raised just $22 million from a single firm, healthcare investor Medicxi Ventures, along with debt financing.
It was, in the words of Medicxi founder Kevin Johnson, the kind of exit where “everyone goes home with a balloon.”
Yet while the Impact acquisition stands out for its size and speed, it’s by no means the only sizable life science transaction in recent months. Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) counts 31 U.S. VC-backed biopharma IPOs in 2017, with median proceeds of $81 million, the highest in five years.
Acquisitions, while comparatively slow for both tech and life science startups last year, also delivered some big outcomes for pharma and healthcare companies. Commonly, the largest deals, like the Impact purchase, include a mix of upfront and milestone-based payments.
VCs seem to think it’s still early innings in the current life sciences cycle. Though tech may dominate the headlines in startup-land, it’s bio and healthcare that are seeing record influxes of capital.
In the U.S. in 2017, healthcare-focused venture capitalists raised $9.1 billion. That figure was up 26 percent from 2016, per Silicon Valley Bank. More dollars also are flowing from venture firms that invest in a mix of tech and life sciences through a single fund. That list includes well-established VCs with plentiful dry powder to invest, including Polaris Partners, Founders Fund, Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia Capital.
Startup investment is up, too. Overall, investors put $21 billion to work in biotech and healthcare deals at seed through late-stage globally in 2017, according to Crunchbase data. Of that, $14.5 billion was in U.S.-based startups, tied with 2015 as the highest total in five years.
In the chart below, we look at funding trends for the past five years:
More join the bio bandwagon
Another bullish indicator for life science and healthcare funding is the number of prominent venture and seed investors that are scaling up in the space or launching dedicated funds and programs.
Last month, one of Silicon Valley’s most recognized VC firms, Andreessen Horowitz, raised $450 million for its second “bio fund,” which aims to invest at the intersection of biology and engineering. It’s more than twice the size of the firm’s last bio fund.
A few weeks later, Y Combinator, the Valley’s best-known incubator, announced plans for a biotech track, with an initial focus on longevity and treating age-related diseases. And months earlier, Google Ventures’ founder Bill Maris left his post at Alphabet to launch a new VC firm, Section 32, that counts life sciences and healthcare as a primary focus.
Even Impact backer Medicxi is relatively new to the space, at least as an independent firm. It spun out of Index Ventures in 2016.
Where the money is going
As to where the money is going, the fight against cancer continues to attract the highest levels of funding, as well as many of the biggest exits.
An analysis of Crunchbase data found that, since 2017, more than $3 billion in global venture funding went to biotech and pharma companies focused on cancer therapies, with about two-thirds going to U.S.-based startups. The largest anti-cancer investments, broadly, fall into two categories: oncology drugs and liquid biopsy technology.
On the pharma front, investors backed a number of mega-rounds for cancer drug developers. Big rounds in Q4 of 2017, for instance, included $150 million in Series A funding for Cullinan Oncology and a $107 million Series C round for Arcus Biosciences.
Liquid biopsy investment, meanwhile, soared, led by a $1.2 billion early-stage funding round for GRAIL, which develops blood tests for early-stage cancer detection. Cancer test provider Guardant Health also secured $360 million in a SoftBank-led financing.
Other areas that SVB cites as attractive for investors in 2017 include biotech platform companies, neurotech and AI-enabled diagnostics.
Exits, exits, exits
Tracking exits and investor returns for life sciences can be more complex than tech because of a few factors.
For one, life science IPOs are commonly used to raise financing for clinical trials rather than provide near-term exits for early backers. That means early investors may still be hanging on to shares a few years after an IPO, poised to reap big returns in the event of favorable clinical trial results, market adoption or an acquisition.
Additionally, the prevalence of milestone payments makes it tough to measure returns until a few years after an acquisition, when it’s possible to see if a therapy’s initial promise pans out.
Looking at the record venture-fundraising numbers for biotech and healthcare, however, it’s clear VCs are managing to convince their own backers that the numbers will add up very favorably.Featured Image: Li-Anne Dias
via TechCrunch https://techcrunch.com
January 20, 2018 at 12:11PM
The Controversy Around This YouTuber's Request for a Free Hotel Room Will Make Your Head Hurt
YouTubers, Instagram devotees and other vaguely influential social media “influencers” don’t have the greatest reputation as of late. That’s with fairly good reason, because whenever one of their controversies explodes into the real world it’s usually some kind of horrifying thing like Logan Paul’s Aokigahara forest video, brand endorsements that flirt with the FTC’s patience, or worse, anything involving PewDiePie.
An incident this week isn’t likely to help that perception. Per the BBC, a “huge row” has erupted over British YouTuber Elle Darby, who reached out to the Dublin-based hotel White Moose Cafe requesting a free stay in exchange for publicity via her 87,000 YouTube and 76,000 Instagram subscribers. According to the Independent, Darby wrote an email touting her occupation as a “social media influencer, mainly lifestyle, beauty & travel based,” adding that she “would love to feature you in my YouTube videos/dedicated Instagram stories/posts to bring traffic to your hotel and recommend others to book up in return for free accommodation.”
Darby told the BBC that the email was “a very normal thing to send if you work as a social media influencer.”
White Moose Cafe owner Paul Stenson, who is the kind of guy who sells shirts mocking gluten intolerance, did not take the request well. He posted an acrid response to Facebook, where he generated thousands of likes and shares writing, “Thank you for your email looking for free accommodation in return for exposure. It takes a lot of balls to send an email like that, if not much self-respect and dignity.”
“If I let you stay here in return for a feature in your video, who is going to pay the staff who look after you?” Stenson continued. He added:
The row predictably escalated from there, with Darby posting a video claiming to have been humiliated and bullied online on January 16th, shortly followed by an alleged flood of negative online reviews for Stenson’s hotel. On January 17th, Stenson retaliated by banning all vloggers from his business.
“The sense of entitlement is just too strong in the blogging community and the nastiness, hissy fits and general hate displayed after one of your members was not granted her request for a freebie is giving your whole industry a bad name,” Stenson wrote. “... If any of you attempt to enter our premises from now on, you will be ejected.”
“I’ve had people telling me to top myself, asking me to go play in traffic and die—just for literally doing my job,” Darby told the BBC. “That email is something that every single blogger has sent out.”
If there’s anything we can agree about, it’s that this is a fight where no one emerged looking particularly great. Social media may not be turning us all into narcissistic jerks per se, but it is certainly giving many of those among us endless opportunities to broadcast how efficiently they can turn minor quibbles into headache-inducing online controversies.
via Gizmodo http://gizmodo.com
January 20, 2018 at 11:45AM
From unicorns to space, Shutterstock pinpoints 2018’s Creative Trends
The search and download data is in — and images with bright colors, a fantasy feel, the final frontier, and global activism are all expected to rise. The data comes from Shutterstock’s annual study that tallies both search and download data to identify some of the fastest-growing trends in photography, video, audio and graphic design. Several areas support data from other stock companies, including a mix of creative reality and duotone, while other category growth is more specific to Shutterstock.
Get your Photoshop fingers ready: Shutterstock saw a jump in searches for both unicorns (279 percent) and mermaids (145 percent) jump. While some of those searches will require digital manipulation to create fantasy creatures, images that capture a fantasy feel — like a howling wolf or pink clouds — are also included in the category.
Shutterstock credits this trend to the entertainment industry. As productions like Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings (now being adapted for a TV series) grow, the stock company expects the traditional genre to get both a fresh look and a new resurgence in popularity in 2018.
Minimalist photography has popped in and out of the trends over the past few years and Shutterstock is anticipating a colorful new look at the aesthetic. New minimalism, the company says, is a modern take on minimalism that keeps the simplicity but adds bold colors and fluid styles. The researchers were tipped off to this growing trend from a 432 percent increase for “continuous line” and 387 percent for “neon circle.”
Game of Thrones may be inspiring a growth in fantasy, but Star Wars, Star Trek, and Stranger Things are also creating a resurgence in space photography and design. Some of these space shots, Shutterstock says, have a dystopian feel. The numbers supporting the growth include a huge 991 percent increase for solar, along with 671 percent for astro, and 494 percent for “synthwave” for audio searches.
Marble may be a popular style for home design but the stone and other natural textures are also growing trends in stock media. Marble jumped by 416 percent and agate by 275 percent. The trend uses natural items to create a texture or background.
A mix of unexpected candy colors is creating another trend for punchy pastels. Shutterstock calls the trend a color rebellion, bumping up the saturation — this isn’t the baby wardrobe pastel, but a candy aisle pop. Searches for blue candy saw a 609 percent jump, but the color scheme doesn’t necessarily need to be limited to food items.
A global march
While photo trends are often inspired straight from Instagram feeds, you don’t need to look any further than the #metoo hashtag as Time’s Person of the Year or Facebook’s most-discussed topic of 2017, International Women’s Day. Shutterstock saw an increase in the second term by 660 percent, alongside a 540 percent increase for the term activism. This trend can appear in many different forms from art to politics, Shutterstock says.
Arguably the most specific trend in the bunch, the term cactus saw a 261 percent increase. While the subject is specific, the trend covers everything from wallpapers to landscapes to food shots. Shutterstock says the trend suggests a growth in appreciation for dessert cultures.
Traditional crafts are seeing an update for the digital era — graphics with embroidery (432 percent) and paper art (130 percent) are growing. Shutterstock says that while the designs may be digital, they are also very much tactile and create a sense of texture not normally part of a screen.
Building on the idea of traditional art, patterns that are both artistic and mathematical are also seeing growth, including guilloche (695 percent) and mandalas (632 percent). This category also contains Shutterstock’s largest search term jump for the year: Arabesque at 8,536 percent growth. (Arabesque is an ornamental design that usually includes a natural element like foliage or an animal).
The running joke is that companies only need to mention blockchain or cryptocurrency to see their stocks jump — and as more companies look into the market, more companies need images on the topic. Searches for cryptocurrency jumped 1,264 percent over the previous year.
Taking a nod from the pastel and sci-fi trends, the holographic’s shimmering colors are also growing. Shutterstock is reporting a 435 percent jump in searches for holographic, which the company says has dashes of inspiration from multiple sources from the 1980s to sci-fi.
Along with the global trends report, Shutterstock also included a list of popular trends by country, several of which overlap the global trends while others are oddities, like the U.S. trend for waxy monkey (which isn’t a monkey at all but a type of pet frog), comics in France, and pink circles in Japan. Shutterstock will continue to explore 2018’s trends with a series of blogs throughout the year.
via Digital Trends http://ift.tt/2p4eJdC
January 20, 2018 at 11:41AM
If tech addiction is screwing up our kids, what should tech giants be doing?
A strange thing happened when New York Times tech writer Nick Bilton interviewed Apple CEO Steve Jobs in 2010. At the end of the conversation, Bilton asked Jobs what his kids thought of Apple’s new tablet, news of which was dominating websites, newspapers, and magazines. Jobs’ answer surprised him: it turned out Steve’s kids hadn’t tried the iPad yet. “We limit how much technology our kids use at home,” Jobs said.
Bilton, stunned, reached out to Walter Isaacson, Jobs’ hand-picked official biographer, to find out whether he believed this to be true. Isaacson said that it was. “Every evening Steve made a point of having dinner at the big long table in their kitchen, discussing books and history and a variety of things,” he said. “No one ever pulled out an iPad or computer. The kids did not seem addicted at all to devices.”
It would be easy to write off Jobs’ behaviour as being unique to him, among tech executives. After all, wasn’t Apple’s iconic co-founder famous for “thinking different?” But he’s not alone. In 2007, the year that the modern smartphone emerged as its own distinct entity, former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates put a screen time cap on his 10-year-old daughter when he feared she was getting addicted to a particular video game. He also barred his own kids from getting cell phones until they turned 14: at least four years later than the average age of a child’s first cell phone.
As people working on the cusp of technology, both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates would more than qualify for the tastemaker status of what marketing expert Geoffrey Moore would call “early adopters.” Ten years later, however, it seems that a large number of other people are starting to catch up with their concerns about what technology is doing to us — and particularly to our kids.
In her book, iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious,More Tolerant, Less Happy, and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood, and What That Means for the Rest of Us, psychologist Jean Twenge lays out some of her concerns about the impact that tech addiction, particularly smartphones, are having on the so-called iGeneration. For those keeping track at home, that refers to the post-millennial generation (also sometimes called Generation Z), born between the mid-1990s and the mid-2000s.
“There are three primary concerns,” Twenge told Digital Trends, summarizing her arguments. “First, digital media use seems to be decreasing the time we spend socializing with people face-to-face. Second, screen time interferes with sleep. Third, there are the direct effects of digital media, such as the social comparison of social media where we all think other people’s lives are more glamorous than ours. All of these are linked to less happiness and more depression.”
The book is filled with statistics backing up these claims — such as the suggestion that teenagers who spend upwards of five hours a day are 71 percent more likely to have a risk factor for suicide than those who spend under one hour a day. While correlation is not necessarily causation, iGen nonetheless paints an unsettling picture of a generation whose ever-connected world, and the lack of real world socialization that comes with it, is having a significant negative effect.
What role do tech companies play?
The question, therefore, is what should be done about it. Exactly what responsibility do tech giants have to us, and to society as a whole? Ironically, tech firms are far more likely to cast their work in these terms than just about any other industry. We don’t hear Wal-Mart talking or ExxonMobil talking about what they do in utopian terms, but Google has no issues putting its work in moral terms (“don’t be evil”), while Apple’s CEO Tim Cook happily waxes lyrical about making Apple “a force for good” in the world.
Recently, we got a glimpse of the kind of shareholder pressure that may force tech companies’ hands. Two investor groups with a total of $2 billion shares in Apple sent the company an open letter, voicing their concerns about this subject. Activist shareholders are not, as a rule, vocal about social change — which means that this represents something of a momentous occasion. They want Apple to do two things: to develop software that lets parents limit their kids’ phone use, and to carry out a study investigating the impact of smartphone overuse on mental health. Apple quickly responded to say that at least the first of these two goals is in the works.
Right now, it is still early days for this topic. Books like Twenge’s (and some notable others) have began to join the dots, but there are still accusations that examples are being cherry picked to suit an agenda. But people are speaking out. Recently, Sean Parker, the first president of Facebook, told the news website Axios that, “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”
Expanding on the subject of social media addiction, Parker said that, “It’s a social-validation feedback loop … exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology. The inventors, creators — it’s me, it’s Mark [Zuckerberg], it’s Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it’s all of these people — understood this consciously. And we did it anyway.”
Should findings like Twenge’s be borne out in subsequent research, most notably with some form of attributed causation, tech giants could find themselves occupying a similar space to fast food giants or tobacco companies. True, both fast food and tobacco remain powerful industries, but they have also been subject to far more scrutiny. Tobacco advertising, for example, is now among the most heavily regulated forms of marketing. In the European Union, all tobacco advertising and sponsorship on television has been banned since 1991, and only Germany and Bulgaria allow it to be advertised on billboards. In the U.S., billboard and public transportation advertising of cigarettes is banned in 46 states, and there are stringent laws prohibiting advertising aimed at young people.
The fast food industry isn’t so stringently governed, but it is easy to see many of the concerns — particularly the promotion of sedentary lifestyles among customers — could be extrapolated to the tech world. The responses of both are certainly similar. Companies like Pepsi and McDonald’s have both attempted to counteract accusations by sending representatives to schools to promote the benefits of regular exercise. Coca-Cola, meanwhile, launched a fitness campaign depicting two people sitting together, cuddled up, on a beach. “Are you sitting on a solution?” the ad read. An article published on Alternet scoffed: “The thing is, they’re drinking the problem: Coca-Cola.”
Possible solutions to the problem
If we sympathize with the fundamental disconnect of a fast food or sugary beverage company also telling us to live a healthy life, should we apply that same skepticism to tech giants? What is the difference between the actions of Coca-Cola and, say, the Apple Watch’s regular notifications that we should go outside or stand up? Part of the reason we are sitting around looking at screens, instead of going out, is because of companies like Apple, which first helped popularize the personal computer and, perhaps more fundamentally, the smartphone.
Twenge said that she is not pinning the blame on tech giants, whether those are the companies which make the phones or the ones that run the social media platforms used on many of them. The right answer, she suggests, is a combination of parenting and, perhaps, a bit more social awareness on the part of today’s tech leaders. “To be clear, it’s not that companies are responsible for this,” she said. “It’s that companies should give parents better tools for limiting their kids’ screen time.”
“Ideally, Apple could integrate the age of the user into the set-up process for the phone,” she continued, giving an example of one possible solution. “If you say the phone is for a 12-year-old, for example, it could give you the option to restrict the apps used, shut down the phone at night, limit the number of hours it could be used, and/or allow communication only with a short list of phone numbers. Parents might be more willing to buy their children smartphones if they were easier to regulate.”
It will be fascinating to see what happens next. Will tech companies offer tokenistic gestures to placate concerned parents, or will this represent the beginning of a bigger change? If tech figures like Mark Zuckerberg plan on a possible career in politics, we’d hope it will be the latter.
As Twenge’s iGen book points out, one of the most notable characteristics of today’s young people — in addition to their love of technology — is their emphasis on the importance of safety and mental health. When these two areas clash, which is going to win out? The question of how much responsibility tech companies actually have when it comes to shaping the world is a battle that is still being fought. From whether Facebook has any responsibility for the news it helps disseminate to whether iPhones play a role in depression among young people, these are complex issues to be unpacked.
We’d certainly like to see tech giants live up their world-changing ideals by addressing them head-on, though.
via Digital Trends http://ift.tt/2p4eJdC
January 20, 2018 at 11:41AM
You can now work out on your Xbox thanks to Fitbit Coach for Xbox and PC
To turn a chore into a treat, turn it into a game. That’s precisely what Fitbit and Xbox are doing for exercise, hoping to motivate more folks to get in shape by making workouts fun. After all, if the same device you use to play video games can also help to improve your health, you’re likely to spend more (productive) time in front of the big screen.
This week, Fitbit Coach became available in the Microsoft Store, and users can download the app for Windows 10 and Xbox. Once you have the Fitbit Coach app for Xbox, you’ll have access to one personalized program and a selection of audio and video workouts. If you’re interested in paying more for your fitness, the Fitbit Coach Premium subscription will set you back $40 a year, and features more programs, unlimited workouts, and more.
In order to actually make use of Fitbit Coach on your console or computer, you’ll need to have a Microsoft Xbox One (One, One S, One X) or a Windows 10 PC, such as a Surface Laptop or Surface Pro. To improve the experience, Fitbit recommends also donning a smartwatch of some sort. And if it’s a Fitbit device, you’ll be able to see your heart rate in real time on your television screen. “Knowing your heart rate and which heart rate zone you’re in will help you optimize your intensity and help Fitbit better measure your calorie burn,” Fitbit noted on its blog.
With the Fitbit Coach, your personal trainer will live in your television. The app’s video workouts show exercises alongside step-by-step instructions, motivation, and tips. The music that goes along with your workout is customizable and is powered by Feed.fm, which promises a wide range of stations. If you’re a Fitbit wearer, the Coach will recommend workouts based on your daily activity for even further personalization, but even if you’re not wearing a smartwatch, you can take advantage of Coach’s 50-plus expert-designed running and walking audio workouts.
Fitbit Coach is now available in English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish for fitness no matter where in the world you may be.
via Digital Trends http://ift.tt/2p4eJdC
January 20, 2018 at 11:13AM