Big Tech &
Google Pixel phones will soon track heart rate using only the camera (3 minute read)
Google's latest Pixel-exclusive feature is the ability to track heart rate and respiratory rate using only the existing cameras. Some Samsung phones have been able to track heart rate for a while now, but they use a special sensor to achieve this. Pixel users will be able to measure their heart rate by placing a finger on their phone's rear camera, and they will be able to measure their breathing rate using the selfie camera. Google claims the heart rate sensor is accurate within two percent, but it doesn't have FDA approval for any of these new features.
Genetic testing firm 23andMe is going public via a SPAC backed by Richard Branson (2 minute read)
23andMe will go public via a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) backed by Richard Branson. The deal values 23andMe at $3.5 billion. It is expected to close in the second quarter, after which the company will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange. SPACs have grown in popularity over the last year as they are seen as a less-risky option compared to traditional IPOs and they give newer companies access to larger amounts of capital. The funds from the sale will let 23andMe expand into developing therapeutics.
Powerpaste packs clean hydrogen energy in a safe, convenient gray goop (4 minute read)
Researchers have created a magnesium-based Powerpaste that stores hydrogen energy at 10 times the density of a lithium battery. The Powerpaste is completely stable at temperatures up to 250 degrees Celsius. It reacts with water to release hydrogen, which can then be used to create electrical power. Half of the hydrogen released comes from the water it reacts with. The paste makes using hydrogen power significantly more convenient.
Apple mixed reality headset to have two 8K displays, cost $3000 (3 minute read)
Apple is reportedly planning to release a VR device that features two ultra-high-resolution 8K displays for $3,000. It will be equipped with more than a dozen cameras for tracking hand movements and showing video of the real world to users. The displays will have eye-tracking technology so that it can detect where users are looking and decrease resolution in other areas of the display.
Programming, Design & Data Science
How We Illustrate at GitHub (6 minute read)
This blog post explores GitHub's artistic process and how it was used in GitHub's new site design. The team started with the story, which influenced the characters used, color, and other aspects of the design. Git lines were used as a common shape in the designs as the symbol best represents how GitHub works. The mix of art, design, and engineering represents a new way of telling GitHub's brand story. Concept illustrations from the design process are available in the article.
Kredis (GitHub Repo)
Kredis (Keyed Redis) allows developers to interact with higher-level types and data structures as coherent objects rather than as isolated procedural commands. These higher-level structures can be configured as attributes within Active Models and Active Records using declarative DSL. Examples are provided in the repository.
Google remotely disables The Great Suspender Chrome extension after malware accusations (2 minute read)
The Great Suspender, a popular Chrome extension that automatically suspended open tabs that haven't been used for a while, has been removed from Google's Chrome Web Store. Apparently, some sketchy changes happened when the extension changed owners last year. Google warns that the extension is dangerous and may contain malware. The extension was open source, and there have been no changes on its GitHub repository for months. The last few releases have not been published to the repository.
The Pizza Chain That Became an AI Front-Runner (5 minute read)
Domino's adoption of AI has been quite remarkable, considering that it is in the category of companies least likely to adopt AI. It has implemented the technology without replacing old processes entirely. Customers can now make orders through automated chatbots. The pizza is cooked through a human-AI collaboration, where the AI can ensure the quality of the food. Some stores now offer automated delivery, where an AI-driven vehicle delivers food to a customer, who can retrieve the food from the vehicle using a PIN code. Domino's approach to implementing AI in its business can be a helpful guide to other businesses wanting to do the same.