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‘Diet Scanners’ To Be Fitted In Smartphones

‘Diet Scanners’ To Be Fitted In Smartphones

‘Diet Scanners’ To Be Fitted In Smartphones. Technology allowing phone users to find out sugar levels in a piece of fruit, or the fat in cheese, could be widespread in years.

Within just a few years, every smartphone could be fitted with a tiny molecular scanner that would transform what we know about the physical world.

That’s the prediction of the CEO of Consumer Physics, an Israeli start-up company that has developed a hand-held scanner they say will open up a new branch of easily accessible knowledge for the public.

The current model is able to pinpoint properties such as the sugar content in an individual piece of fruit, the percentage of fat in a particular cheese, or identify whether a drug is counterfeit or an illegal substance.

From dieting, to wine-making, to policing, its creators claim the potential uses are “endless”.

The SCiO scanner uses the near-infrared spectrum to analyse light reflected from objects and decipher their unique molecular fingerprints.

That fingerprint is then used to deliver a range of information about the object to the user’s smartphone.

After a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign in 2014 and numerous demonstrations at technology conferences around the world, the SCiO scanner has become one of the most talked about new technologies of 2015.

Now the creators are hoping to take the device to the next level.

The working scanner is now available for sale on the company’s website, and along with the mobile app, kits have been sent to more than a thousand developers, from external companies to entrepreneurs.

The collaborative effort is already under way, with “meet ups” of developers being held to test possible applications for the technology.

The aim is to create a platform which allows users to innovate themselves while adding to the underlying database.

Dror Sharon, the CEO and co-founder of Consumer Physics, told Sky News: “We’re looking for developers, people with access to special materials that can help us scan and expand the database of the physical materials in the world.

“We might not have access to specialty gemstones, however there are people that do have access, there are people that measure gemstones all the time.

“So they can build a database and if they so wish to do, which we hope they will, they will share it with the rest of the world and suddenly you and I at home, if we get a gemstone, we can analyse it, know its quality, understand the different types. That goes for foods, for pharmaceuticals, for anything.”

Molecular scanners are not a new technology – they are used daily by a range of industries – but until now they have been big and expensive.

The creators believe the current SCiO scanner is small enough and cheap enough to transform the viability for consumer use.

But the CEO says they will soon be ready to go even further.

“The next generation, which is even smaller, can actually go into wearables, tablets and obviously smartphones. And if you think of the 1.5 billion smartphones made in 2015, we don’t need a lot to start. We hope in five years, this can be inside each and every one of them.”

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Sky Q New Generation Skybox

Sky Q New Generation Skybox

Sky Q New Generation Skybox. When Sky launched its pay-TV platform in the UK, it was the outsider in the broadcast industry.

But now it is part of the media establishment, and last week’s launch of its new set-top box was the first move in its fight against a new breed of rivals. Sky Q is its response to the gauntlet Apple threw down in September. Launching a revamped version of the company’s Apple TV set-top box, Apple chief executive Tim Cook proclaimed: “The future of TV is apps.”

But Sky’s forthcoming “Q” service is aimed at a very different future from the one targeted by Apple, Google, Amazon and Roku. Those services all have streaming set-top boxes that would make broadcast TV channels just another app icon to pick.

Sky, by contrast, says “the future of TV is TV”. Andrew Olson is the broadcaster’s director of new products, and has led a years-long effort to develop Sky Q. He says the company understands “that people now live their lives with a mix of different screens”. But that mix is a problem for Sky. Data from the most recent British Audience Research Board (Barb) study of Britons’ TV habits, published by Ofcom, suggests that the only people watching more TV than they did a decade ago are the over-65s.

For everyone else, time spent watching broadcast TV is falling, especially among 25-34-year-olds – exactly the group who should be buying Sky subscriptions. Barb doesn’t yet measure viewing of online-only content such as Amazon Prime or Netflix; but with those two having up to six million UK subscribers – compared with 11 million for Sky – it could be significant. Neither Amazon Prime nor Netflix will be available on Sky Q. What’s more BT, in seeking to become a content provider, has spent hugely on sport in order to attract subscribers for its own service.

A titanic battle is being fought in the world of TV. Does power reside with the broadcasters, whose reach can make or break shows, or with the programme makers, who can anoint winning broadcasters by letting them show their content – think of Sky’s poaching of Mad Men from the BBC – or even bypass broadcasters and offer content via apps?

Sky Q New Generation Skybox

Or is power now in the hands of the content stores and platform owners, like Apple’s iTunes, Amazon Prime and Google Play, which control visibility and access to content? The deluge of set-top boxes – Apple TV, Google’s Nexus Player and Amazon Fire TV – all aim to move content from “channels” into “apps” – cutting out the broadcasting middleman.

Sky, which relies on attracting paying customers to content, hopes it has an answer in Sky Q, a premium service that lets viewers shift what they’re watching between devices – TV to tablet to phone – and download programming to take with them. It is a huge project, involving device compatibility, internet connectivity, and the non-trivial topic of rights to do all that .

Sky Q aims to enable “fluid viewing” mixing traditional programming with internet content from YouTube, music video site Vevo, fashion magazines GQ and Vogue, and action camera maker GoPro. “It reimagines TV so that it’s flexible and seamless across different screens,” Sky chief executive Jeremy Darroch said at the launch last week.

David Mercer of Strategy Analytics told City AM: “Sky customers watch 20% of programmes on connected devices, and Sky Q is squarely targeted at the most demanding of this on-demand generation.”

It will be available in the UK, where Sky has 11 million subscribers, some time next year; while other countries, including Germany and Italy, will follow.

Sky was the first to introduce a hard drive-based recorder able to pause and replay TV with Sky+ in 2002. Sky Go, in 2011, let subscribers watch Sky channels on laptops, tablets or phones, and in 2012 came Now TV, an internet-only service offering films and sports for payment.

But can it change the trend among those young TV refuseniks? Julian Aquilina of Enders Analysis thinks not: “It’s more that they’re playing catch-up. We’re going to see everybody else doing the same. This is about Sky future-proofing itself by making itself more attractive to the existing [subscriber] base.”

But the key element, he says, is quality content. “Sky has the best content. The other players might expand their technical development, but they don’t have the best programmes.”

Sky’s tight control of sports rights, and headline series like Game of Thrones, thus remains the main selling point.

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Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus

There has been word on the street that a Plus-sized version of the Galaxy S6 edge, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus is on its way, we’ve heard that before Samsung unveils the Galaxy Note 5, or maybe even at the same time, it will be supersizing its current Android flagship smartphone.

There were also previous rumours that the company would consider a standard Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus too, but those have waned of late and it is thought that only the edge will get a beefier version, bringing that gorgeous wrapped-screen design aesthetic to the larger phone market.

So we’ve decided to round-up all of the rumours and speculation so far to give you an idea of what, where and when the Galaxy S6 edge Plus might appear. We’ll also regularly update this feature as and when more speculation surfaces.

The first mention of a bigger Galaxy S6 called the device the “Grand”, as in Galaxy S6 Grand, but sources have taken to call it the Plus in more recent times.

That first surfaced after reports said that Samsung was working on a device it was calling Project Zero 2, and as both the original SGS6 and SGS6 edge were codenamed Project Zero, it makes sense that the new moniker referred to a larger-sized handset in the same family.

Where the actual “Plus” name came from originally though is unclear.

A Samsung filing with the US Patent and Trademark Office was found that listed the name “Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus”, with the symbol rather than the full “plus”. The application for the trademark was filed on 26 June and is yet to be approved.

Companies file trademarks all the time on names they never use, but this does suggest that Samsung is considering a larger S6 edge, and it might put to bed the previously rumoured standard S6 Plus.

Samsung will unveil its next Galaxy smartphone or phones on 13 August during a “Galaxy Unpacked 2015” event. You’ll be able to watch the presentation live here. It’s suggested that date is set in August in order to avoid conflict with an updated iPhone 6 Plus, expected to unveil in October.

It’s all but certain now after leaking on Samsung’s official French site.
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Solar Impulse 2: Plane Forced To Land In Japan

Solar Impulse 2: Plane Forced To Land In Japan

Solar Impulse 2: Plane Forced To Land In Japan. Bad weather has forced a solar-powered plane to halt its attempt to circumnavigate the globe and make an unscheduled landing in Japan.

Solar Impulse 2 pilot Andre Borschberg was 36 hours into what was expected to be a six-day journey from China to Hawaii, when he was forced into a holding pattern ahead of a planned crossing of the Pacific Ocean.

The experimental craft took off from Abu Dhabi in March, but it was always known that the Pacific crossing would be the most challenging part of the journey.

No ship or plane is trailing Solar Impulse 2 – meaning any failure over the ocean would have prompted a parachute descent with a life raft into the water.

The pilot and plane will now wait in Japan for clearer skies on Tuesday morning before continuing.

The maiden solar-powered global circumnavigation is part of an attempt to promote green energy.

Solar Impulse 2 is powered by more than 17,000 solar cells built into wings that are longer than those of a Boeing 747.

A statement on the Solar Impulse website, which helps track the flight’s journey, said: “Yesterday we had the possibility to cross the weather front just before Hawaii on day five.

“However, with the forecasts we now have, we don’t see this possibility anymore, which means that for the moment the road to Hawaii is blocked.

“We need all the data from the next weather forecasts, so that our weather experts can analyse what’s going to happen in the next four to five days.”
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HTC One M9 New

HTC One M9 New

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The new HTC One M9 has been announced, and it’s already going to vying for the title of best phone in 2015, such is the combination of design and high power specs.

While loads of the mooted specs didn’t actually appear, the new phone has finally been launched following loads of leaks all over the internet, and it doesn’t disappoint, with upgrades in nearly every area.

The Taiwanese brand has confirmed that the phone will be launching in mid-March for Taiwan and Europe, with the US launch beginning April 10 and varying by carrier.

It’s another full metal uni-body on the HTC One M9, after near universal praise for the One M8’s distinctive design. The design was one of the key reasons we voted it TechRadar’s Phone of the Year 2014, and it’s back again.

The HTC One M9 features a 5-inch 1080p display, set inside a body with 144.6 x 69.7 x 9.61mm dimensions, making it a little shorter than the One M8 but also a little fatter.

The added thickness is as much about ergonomics as it is about the upgraded battery, which has been boosted to 2800mAh.

The phone will be coming in three colours: the ‘hero’ colour of silver with a gold band, gunmetal grey and all gold.

HTC One M9_Gold_3V-970-80

HTC One M9_Gold

It’s official: the HTC One M9 will be powered by the 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 810, as Qualcomm first teased and then confirmed as much earlier before it appeared on the official spec sheet. That’s good news, because as well as being powerful and efficient it brings improved 4K support.

The new chip should help improve battery life as well, with improved efficiency, plus less interesting but useful things like carrier aggregation and VoLTE are included as standard.

In terms of actual specs, the HTC One M9 will have 3GB of RAM and an octa-core 64-bit Snapdragon 810 processor, with four cores running at 2.0GHz and four at 1.5GHz, allowing it to switch between them depending on what it’s doing, using the slower cores to conserve battery when the extra power isn’t needed.
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What Is Tech Doing To Children’s Brains?

What Is Tech Doing To Children’s Brains?

What Is Tech Doing To Children’s Brains

School students will be invited to participate in a study into how technology affects young people’s memory and brain development.

 Participants will do computerised tests to measure their brain function

Participants will do computerised tests to measure their brain function

Thousands of schoolchildren in the UK are being recruited for the world’s largest study on the impact mobile phones have on things like memory and attention span.

The Study of Cognition, Adolescents and Mobile Phones, or SCAMP, will assess 2500 11 and 12-year-olds over three years.

It will examine whether mobiles and other wireless devices affect children’s cognitive functions, such as their ability to make decisions and process information.

The project is being funded by the Department of Health, partly using money from the mobile phone industry, and is being led by researchers from Imperial College London.

More than 160 secondary schools in the outer London area will today receive invitations to take part.

The principal investigator for the study, Dr Mireille Toledano, told Sky News: “These cognitive functions are continuing to develop (in these schoolchildren) which are so essential to our everyday life – to their ability to read, their basic skills in maths, intelligence and educational achievement.

“It is absolutely essential – and the most responsible thing for us to do when mobile phone usage is so widespread in our children (is) to be able to provide evidence to reassure the public, hopefully, that there are no adverse effects.”

Seventy percent of 11 and 12-year-olds in the UK have a mobile phone

Seventy percent of 11 and 12-year-olds in the UK have a mobile phone

Parents and pupils who agree to take part in the study will answer questionnaires about the children’s use of mobile devices and wireless technologies.

Pupils will do computerised tests to measure their brain function and some will also wear monitors to assess their exposure to radio waves.

Some 70% of 11 and 12-year-olds in the UK now own a mobile phone and by 14 that goes up to 90%.

Most research so far on mobile phones has focused on adults and the risk of brain cancers.

While there is no convincing evidence that radio wave exposures from mobile phones affect health, scientists remain uncertain as to whether children’s developing brains are more vulnerable than adult brains.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has already said that research into the impact on adolescents should be a high priority.

Current UK health policy advises that children under 16 should be encouraged to only use mobile phones for essential purposes, use a hands-free kit or send text messages and, if calls are really necessary, to keep them short.

But this is purely precautionary because there is no evidence to clearly prove whether or not phones are harmful to young people.
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SMS Texts Abandoned For Instant Messaging Apps

SMS Texts Abandoned For Instant Messaging Apps

SMS Texts Abandoned For Instant Messaging Apps. For the first time ever the number of text messages sent has fallen, with instant messaging apparently taking over as the way we communicate with our family and friends.

Deloitte‘s latest technology predictions report shows an estimated 145 billion SMS messages were sent in 2013 in the UK, seven billion less than in 2012.

In the same period 160 billion instant messages were sent, a huge jump from 57 billion in 2012.

In 2014 they predict the number of traditional texts will continue to fall, but a staggering 300 billion instant messages will be sent.

Gareth Beavis from TechRadar said: “I think instant messaging has been on the rise for a long time. It’s so much easier to use, there are so many more things you can do with it.”

“While text messaging will always have a place in the industry and in people’s hearts, there are going to be more things people want to do like send pictures and video easily, and with smart phones on the rise you can do that much more easily now.”

Services like WhatsApp will out-perform SMS in 2014

Services like WhatsApp will out-perform SMS in 2014

But while instant messaging services – such as WhatsApp and Snapchat – may win the battle for volume, text messaging will be victorious in revenue terms, according to the predictions in the report, due to be launched on Tuesday.

Text messages are expected to generate more than £60bn in 2014, equivalent to approximately 50 times the total revenues from all instant messaging services.

They are also expected to generate significantly greater revenues until 2018, by which point global text message revenues are expected to start falling.

Deloitte’s figures also show that globally instant messaging services triumph over traditional texts.

They estimate that applications like BlackBerry Messenger, iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat and WeChat will carry 50 billion messages per day – more than twice the number of messages sent by text.

The first ever text was sent on December 3 1992, when Neil Papworth, a 22-year-old British engineer, used his computer to send the message “Merry Christmas” to an Orbitel 901 mobile phone.
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Smithsonian Museum scans a Mammoth in 3D

Smithsonian Museum scans a Mammoth in 3D

Smithsonian Museum scans a Mammoth in 3D. One of the world’s largest museums has launched an ambitious project to 3D scan its collection.

America’s prestigious Smithsonian museum is using the revolutionary technology to document its artefacts but also to share them through 3D printers and online.

3D scanning bounces lasers off objects using the echo to map them in space.

The process is used to build up 3D digital images of almost anything, regardless of size or complexity.

Adam Metello, 3D digitisation programme officer, demonstrated the technology in action.

3D image of a mammoth

3D image of a mammoth

He used a laser gun, mounted on an articulated arm, and manually scanned the surface of an Osage Indian face mask.

“As I’m painting the laser across the surface it’s picking up hundreds and hundreds of points, soon to be thousands and thousands of points, of measurements of the surface of this object,” he said.

The Smithsonian has now 3D scanned a mammoth skeleton, the Wright Brother’s aircraft, an entire dinosaur exhibit hall and several fossilised whales.

The technology has multiple uses, not least virtually transporting exhibits to the homes of millions around the world.

Mr Metello says it makes the collection accessible in an almost real way.

“The vast majority of the United States, let alone the rest of the world, don’t get to actually come to our museums,” he said.

“So by digitising them in this way, and making our models available in a very visceral way, we can share our collections almost as if people could come to the museums themselves.”

The scans are used to create 3D images now available online on any web browser.

Any computer user can then examine exhibits almost as if they were in their own hands, like this face mask of former US president Abraham Lincoln.

Scanning the 1903 Wright Flyer has allowed the team to give people at home more intimate access to the aircraft than they could enjoy in the museum.

The Smithsonian 3D explorer can be used on any web browser letting anyone with a PC to zoom in on the Flyer and move it around.

“What we have is an ability to take that 3D scan and show the world and let them interact with that data in really interesting ways,” the Smithsonian’s Vincent Rossi said.

“You can spin the object around, obviously you couldn’t do that if you were in the museum.”

Combined with 3D printers the 3D scans can be used to create copies of museum exhibits.

A 3D model of the Lincoln mask for instance takes a few hours for a consumer level 3D printer to produce.

3D images of whale skeletons found in Chile

3D images of whale skeletons found in Chile

3D printers create copies of objects by printing one layer of melted plastic on top of another, incrementally building up a 3D duplicate.

Mr Rossi explained: “The 3D printing software will take that 3D model’s hundreds of thousands of 2D slices and it will deposit layer upon layer upon layer.

“It’ll actually grow the model to the point where you have the complete object coming out of your printer.”

Of equal importance is the potential for documenting discoveries in situ.

When the Pan American highway was being widened in Chile, 40 fossilised whale skeletons, five million years old, turned up.

The team flew out to scan the best preserved eight skeletons, before they had to be moved so that bulldozers could start work.

“This represents a completely new way of documenting archaeological or paleontological sites,” Mr Rossi said.

“What we have is this record of a moment in time that no longer exists, and we have a very accurate 3D record.”

The team predicts that 3D scanning a discovery before it’s removed will become standard practice, preserving its record and allowing scientists around the world to carry out research remotely.

Back home they have begun the enormous task of scanning the Smithsonian collection.

Twenty artefacts have been scanned so far, to explore the possibilities and potential applications.

There are another 137 million to go.
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Facebook Sued Over Alleged Private Message Scanning

Facebook Sued Over Alleged Private Message Scanning

Facebook Sued Over Alleged Private Message Scanning. Facebook is facing a class action lawsuit over allegations that it monitors users’ private messages.

The lawsuit claims that when users share a link to another website via a private message, Facebook scans it to profile the sender’s web activity.

It alleges that Facebook systematically intercepts messages to mine user data and profits by sharing it with data aggregators, advertisers and marketers.

Facebook said the allegations were “without merit”.

“We will defend ourselves vigorously,” the world’s biggest social networking site added.

The lawsuit is claiming the greater of either $100 (£61) a day for each day of alleged violations or $10,000, for each user.

Filed earlier this week, the lawsuit, cites independent research that, it claims, found Facebook reviews the contents of its users’ private messages “for purposes unrelated to the facilitation of message transmission”.

“Representing to users that the content of Facebook messages is “private” creates an especially profitable opportunity for Facebook,” it says.

It says this is “because users who believe they are communicating on a service free from surveillance are likely to reveal facts about themselves that they would not reveal had they known the content was being monitored.

“Thus, Facebook has positioned itself to acquire pieces of the users’ profiles that are likely unavailable to other data aggregators.”

However, others have come forward to defend Facebook.

Writing on his blog, security expert Graham Cluley said that if the site was not examining links shared privately, Facebook would be failing a “duty of care” to its users.

“If you didn’t properly scan and check links there’s a very real risk that spam, scams, phishing attacks, and malicious URLs designed to infect recipients’ computers with malware could run rife,” he argued.

Facebook has come under attack over its privacy policies in the past.

In September last year, it faced criticism over a proposed change to its privacy policy which would have allowed ads to be created using the names and profile pictures of Facebook users.

The firm had claimed that its proposal merely clarified the language of its privacy policy, rather than making any material changes to it.

Facebook undertook to change the wording in the wake of a legal action launched in 2011 which saw it pay $20m to compensate users who claimed it had used their data without explicit permission.

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Online Music Streaming Doubles In UK In 2013

Online Music Streaming Doubles In UK In 2013

Online Music Streaming Doubles In UK In 2013. Online music streaming in the UK has doubled in the last year, according to new figures.

But that has come at the expense of album sales, which have seen an overall dip during 2013 due to the decline in CD sales as people turn to digital listening.

Research by music trade body the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and the Official Charts Company shows 7.4 billion tracks were played on paid-for or ad-funded streaming services in the last year – twice the 3.7 billion figure of 2012.

Around £103m was brought in over the past 12 months by subscription services – up £26m on the previous year.

The total income generated by streaming will be much higher as the figure does not include the cash from advertising on free streams and on services such as YouTube.

Album sales were worth £772m last year, which is down £29m compared with the previous year.

Arctic Monkeys were the most streamed artists in the UK

Arctic Monkeys were the most streamed artists in the UK

CD sales of 60.6 million were down almost 13% on 2012, but still account for almost two-thirds of the album markets in the UK.

Digital sales of 32.6 million – up nearly 7% – now represent almost 35% of the total market.

Rock quartet Arctic Monkeys were the most streamed artists of the year.

The band, who headlined Glastonbury and whose fifth album AM was nominated for the Mercury Prize, beat Bastille into second place, with French duo Daft Punk third.

The biggest-selling album of the year was the compilation Now That’s What I Call Music 86, selling 1.1 million copies, way ahead of the biggest seller by an artist which was One Direction’s Midnight Memories, shifting 685,000 copies.

A report in trade magazine Music Week last month said 2013 is the first year since the 1980s in which there has been no million-album-selling artist in the UK.

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