Big Tech &
Bose built the first hearing aids that won't require a doctor's visit in the US (2 minute read)
Bose's SoundControl wearables are the first FDA-approved hearing aids that can be sold directly to customers. Customers will be able to purchase the wearables without visiting a doctor or obtaining a prescription. The hearing aids have a CustomTune feature that personalizes volume levels, tone, treble, and bass. It also has a Focus feature that allows wearers to concentrate on specific areas. The batteries should last four days with 14 hours of use per day. SoundControl will be available in selected areas on May 18 for $850.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX inks satellite connectivity deal with Google Cloud (3 minute read)
Google has signed a deal with SpaceX to use Starlink with its cloud unit. Starlink terminals will be installed at Google's cloud data centers around the world. Starlink-Google Cloud capabilities will be available to customers by the end of 2021. Microsoft Azure also partnered with SpaceX last year in a similar partnership. Amazon plans to leverage internet connectivity from its Kuiper satellites to supercharge its AWS cloud services.
A New Hurricane-Resistant Floating Solar Farm Could Help Replace Fossil Fuels (4 minute read)
The Demonstrator is a solar platform from SolarDuck that can withstand the hurricane forces experienced in and around Bermuda and Florida. It is optimized for natural harbors, estuaries, and other near-shore regions. These types of platforms could help power many significant communities around the equator, where there is constant sun but low wind, making wind power impractical. SolarDuck aims to eventually build a plant that can generate 10-MW, which will require 100 platforms connected together.
Scientists Catch Jumping Genes Rewiring Genomes (6 minute read)
Genes encoding transcription factors have the ability to amplify and silence thousands of other genes. Explanations for transcription factors have largely eluded scientists. Transposons are genetic elements that can copy themselves and insert those copies throughout the genome using a splicing enzyme they make. A recent study found that transposons had fused with other genes nearly 100 times in tetrapods over the past 300 million years, resulting in many genes likely to encode transcription factors. The study explains how these genes form, implicating transposon activity as the cause.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Notion is an all-in-one workspace for teams to write, plan, and get organized. Notion API connects Notion pages and databases so developers can build interactive experiences for users within Notion. An API reference with examples is available.
Orchest (GitHub Repo)
Orchest is a browser-based IDE for Data Science. Users can visually construct pipelines, run any subset of a pipeline directly or on a schedule, set parameters to try out different modeling ideas, and define custom runtime environments. A GIF preview showing how to create pipelines in Orchest is available in the repository.
Mind-Controlled Flamethrower (2 minute read)
Nathaniel F built a mind-controlled flamethrower by combining brain-computer interface technology with machine learning. The system fires the flamethrower when it detects the correct thought patterns. It was created using a Mindflex, a Raspberry Pi 4, an Arduino, and a flamethrower. A 7-minute video showing how the flamethrower was made is available in the article.
These lizards use bubbles to breathe underwater (3 minute read)
New research shows that a dozen species of Caribbean and Latin American anoles can exhale air underwater to create oxygen-filled bubbles that cling to their heads. Scientists theorize that the bubbles could be helping the animals remove carbon dioxide and pull in more oxygen from water via diffusion. An analysis of the anoles that displayed this behavior and their lineages determined that the behavior evolved five separate times in the lizards. Several types of insects display similar behavior, but insects have significantly lower metabolic rates, need less oxygen, and are smaller, so the bubbles have a larger surface area to body mass ratio.