Big Tech &
Fitbit’s new Sense smartwatch can take your skin’s temperature to help you manage stress (2 minute read)
Fitbit has released two new smartwatches. The Sense is $329 and features detailed heart rate scans with atrial fibrillation via an electrocardiogram app and stress detection features. It measures heart rate and skin temperature to determine stress levels. The Versa 3 costs $229 and features a new strap mechanism, Google Assistant, and the ability to take phone calls. Fitbit also announced the Inspire 2 fitness tracker which will be available for $99. It features a 10-day battery life and it comes with a full year of Fitbit Premium with purchase.
Google AR app lets you place prehistoric creatures, Apollo 11 in your room (2 minute read)
Google has partnered with museums and institutes around the world to add new virtual exhibits to its Art & Culture app for Android and iOS. The app allows users to place augmented reality assets in real space viewed through a mobile device. These assets include the Apollo 11 capsule, a prehistoric crustacean called a Cambropachycope, and much more. Both Google and Apple have invested heavily in AR for mobile devices. Google's plans for its AR development are unclear, but it is widely known that Apple has been developing some form of AR glasses.
Harvard and Sony built a tiny surgery robot inspired by origami (1 minute read)
Researchers from Harvard and Sony have created a surgical robot inspired by origami that is around the size of a tennis ball and weighs about the same as a penny. The mini-RCM was built using a custom manufacturing technique. Three linear actuators are used to control the mini-RCM's movements in multiple directions. The mini-RCM is 68 percent more accurate than a hand-controlled tool and was able to perform some precision medical maneuvers successfully.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Shift-Ctrl-F (GitHub Repo)
Shift-Ctrl-F is a Chrome extension that allows users to search the information on a webpage using natural language instead of an exact string match. It uses MobileBERT fine-tuned on SQuAD via TensorFlowJS to search for content and highlight results. A short GIF demonstration is available.
What's it like as a Senior Engineer? (6 minute read)
Problems become more ambiguous as you get more experienced. As a senior engineer, most of your work goes into research rather than programming, and this includes talking to many people until you get the information you need. It can take some digging to get to clients' real needs. Solutions can sometimes have downsides and you will need to learn how to balance the tradeoffs. Skills like risk management, learning to fail, and receiving feedback become important for development. Working at a higher level involves getting people to agree with you. It all comes down to learning from your experiences, so you need to take opportunities as they show up and look for feedback at the end of projects.
Napster sold to London startup MelodyVR in surprise $70m deal (2 minute read)
MelodyVR, a startup that films and streams gigs that can be viewed with virtual reality headsets, has purchased Napster for $70m. Napster, which started as an illegal downloading platform in the 1990s, currently has 3 million users with a library of 90 million licensed tracks. MelodyVR has hosted acts such as The Chainsmokers and Cypress Hill. It has studios in London and Los Angeles for artists to perform at. Users can pay to watch the performances through the MelodyVR app. MelodyVR funded the deal through a combination of cash and shares. Napster made $1.8m in pre-tax profits last year after delivering 10.8 billion streams to its consumers and business partners.
Watch the Ultimate Typing Champion Reach 'Otherworldly' Speeds (1 minute read)
The Ultimate Typing Championship is an event where typists face off against each other for a $5,000 cash prize and other merchandise. Competitors at the event are required to type out short paragraphs and are rated on accuracy and speed. The winner, Anthony 'chak', typed at an average speed of 208.5 WPM, with a high speed of 233 WPM. A three-hour video of the event is available in the article.