Big Tech &
Apple WWDC 2020: iOS 14, ARM Macs, hardware rumors, and what else to expect (10 minute read)
Apple's WWDC will be presented this year in a new digital-only format. iOS 14 is expected to be announced, with a focus on performance and stability rather than on new features. Several home screen improvements, the ability to set third-party apps as the iOS defaults, new apps, and more are also expected in the update. A new feature for the Apple Pencil will automatically convert handwritten notes into standard text. watchOS 7 will add sleep tracking, blood oxygen tracking, the ability to share customized watch faces, a new Infograph Pro watch face, and better parental controls. Details on macOS 10.16 have been kept under wraps, but Apple will likely be announcing the switch to using ARM chips for its Macs. Updates are expected for tvOS, the iMac, and Apple TV. The long-rumored AirTags might finally be announced.
Inside the Lab Where Robots Run Their Own Experiments (8 minute video)
Strateos is a robotic cloud lab that automates the laboratory process so that researchers can perform experiments remotely. Lab work is time-intensive and prone to human error. Using automation, multiple experiments can be performed simultaneously and perfectly and the results are more accurate. Many instructions in chemistry are ambiguous, but Strateos' experiments are all defined by code, which means that all experiments can be perfectly replicated. Strateos provides a web app where scientists can define their experiments. The platform allows anyone to access state-of-the-art equipment for their experiments. This video explains how Strateos works while showing footage of what goes on inside the lab.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Building a “smart” security camera with a Raspberry Pi (18 minute read)
Scarecrow-Cam is a Raspberry Pi-powered camera that detects people with Tensorflow Object Detection and greets them with a warning sound. Overly cautious security cameras are often triggered by light, wind, cars, or other non-human objects, which can be annoying. Human detection on cameras greatly improves the camera's use as a security device. This article describes how to create Scarecrow-cam. It includes the code as well as videos of the software in action.
GoPlus (GitHub Repo)
Go+ is a static typed language that is fully compatible with the Go language. It has a script-like style, resulting in more readable code. Go+ supports list comprehensions, for loops, rational numbers, map and slice literals, and more.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin operates a high-tech, rapid response disaster relief group (3 minute read)
Sergey Brin, who stepped down from Alphabet last year, is the sole donor to Global Support Development, a charity that runs a global rapid-response disaster relief operation. GSD has dispersed humanitarian aid at disaster events such as Hurricane Dorian in 2018, responding to the emergency long before the government did. The organization was formally established in late 2018 as a non-profit charity. A list of all past responses is available in the article.
Quantum computing for the very curious (1 hour 30 minute read)
Computers are a fundamental feature of the universe. Quantum computing is a notoriously difficult subject, and understanding even the basics of how it works requires some mathematical background. This essay explains how quantum computers work, exploring the details of quantum computing and the basic principles of quantum mechanics. Links to resources that provide the required mathematical basics are provided.