If you like to have the odd sup of alcohol and to be able to drive home afterwards without the fear of being stopped and asked to blow into a bag, there’s an App for that (surprise, surprise). Well not quite an App, more of a plug-in with an App. Alcohoot is a devise with a high grade sensor that plugs into the audio jack of your Android or iOS phone. When you blow into it the App reads the result of the sensor and lets you know if you are within the limit. Not only that, the App has added features that give you the kind of information you need when out on the town, such as the nearest takeaway and taxi rank. It is designed to be more attractive than other such devices on the market, and more accurate. The developers are looking for backers, and hope to start shipping in September of this year (for US market anyway). If you are interested in investing, you can for as little as $75, log on to www.alcohoot.com.
No harm in an occasional reminder of the dangers of texting while driving as Alexander Heit, a 22-year-old University of Colarado student, found out at the cost of his life. Alexander was in the middle of texting a nothing-special text to a friend when he lost control of his car, and was killed as the car went into a roll. His parents have released the image of his phone showing the incomplete text hoping that this might save someone else’s life. His text reads: “Sounds good my man, seeya soon, ill tw”
Report by: www.newser.com
What’s in a name? That’s all very well if you don’t have to introduce yourself as ‘Facebook’ or ‘Hashtag’ everywhere you go. Not only is social media and the internet becoming the preferred mode of human interaction, but there are now parents naming their children after such technologies. Little Facebook Ibrahim will grow up in Egypt and she will learn how her name was given to her to commemorate the part that the website played in rallying people for the protests on Tahrir Square during the #Jan25 revolution.
Hashtag Jameson was born last November. It is not clear if this is a twitter hoax or if it is for real but it was the topic of much tweeting and blogging last year. And let’s face it, would you be surprised?
Then there is the couple Lior and Vardit Adler from Israel who named their precious one ‘Like’ after the Facebook moniker just because they ‘liked’ the meaning behind it.
Right now, in Sweden there is a little 8-year old boy named Oliver Google Kai, no doubt getting a really hard time from his schoolmates. Walid Elias Kai, who markets search engines, and his wife Carol named their new born Google because of Walid’s admiration for all Google services.
Other names that unfortunate children have been called after the popularity of our tech world are, @, yes, ‘At’ which sounds like ‘love him’ in Chinese apparently. ‘Siri’, which in fairness was a name, but has increased in popularity since Apple chose it as the name for their personal assistant. Then there is Vista Avalon Simser, now nearly six years of age named after Microsoft’s operating system. For a long explanation of how that came about you can get the low-down here.
What other people might we be introduced to in the future….Flickr? LinkedIn? Hotmail? Snapdragon?
Google’s April Fool’s Day joke ‘Google Nose’ caught some people out today and if I hadn’t read about it beforehand I think I would have fallen for it too. Google put a lot of effort and money into their April Fool’s Day jokes. They produce high quality video interviews with ‘experts’ in their field who explain the technology and give rational reasons for their invention. A few years ago I fell for their ‘Gmail Motion’ skit. It showed how people could email by turning physical gestures into ‘actionable commands’. The promotional video is hilarious to watch now and they must have had some fun putting it together. But today such technology is in existence. The Leapunit, launched last year, and due on the market this year, is a new USB device that detects hand gestures to within an accuracy of 0.01 millimeters. Its ‘interaction space’ is 8-cubic-feet allowing you to sit back and surf without having to hunch over your keyboard and mouse.Google’s April Fool’s Day jokes may actually become predictors of future technologies in reality. They do, after all, have the inside track. I look forward to the day that I will be able to smell the recipe I google on my computer before deciding to cook it. Happy April Fool’s Day!
The next time you get a garbled text from a friend or family member, don’t be too quick to rant on about their poor use of the English language or about how texting will be the ruination of written communication. The nonsensical text message could point to a more serious issue at hand. Doctors at the Henry Ford Medical Centre have written up a report on the case of a 40 year old man who was suffering from a stroke……..the only warning sign?……garbled texting. Medical examinations detected no other symptoms. He was able to read and to write and speak without any problem, the only issue was when he was typing a text. To learn more, doctors gave him a smartphone and instructed him to type, “The doctor needs a new Blackberry.” The patient typed instead, “Tjhe Doctor nddds a new bb.” When he was shown the text and asked to identify any mistakes, the man saw nothing wrong. These results helped diagnose an acute ischemic stroke. They also confirmed the most interesting case to date of dystextia—one in which muddled text messages were the sole manifestation of a patient’s stroke.
Dr. Lawrence Wechsler, chairman of the Department of Neurology at the University of Pittsburgh, said, “I think this is a reflection of a specific problem with language, and it may be that in our modern world, texting is going to be a very sensitive measure of this particular language abnormality—one that tips us off to the fact that there is a disorder of language and symptom of stroke.”
Dystextia is yet another good reason to turn off autocorrect on your mobile.
Ireland’s patron saint was well and truly celebrated this weekend both internationally and intergallactically! A rendition of ‘Danny Boy’ recorded in space can be accessed on soundcloud.com. The singer is Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield, currently on the job at the International Space Station, Orbit (what a cool address!). He and his fellow astronauts have been orbiting since December and are due to come back down to Earth in May. Chris also posted on Twitter, pictures of counties around Ireland from space for all to see. And with the day that was in it, he wore all green and began St. Patrick’s Day with ‘cupla focal gaeilge’ (a couple of words of Irish), ‘Maidin Mhaith’ (Good Morning). You can join the 545,670 followers that Chris already has on Twitter or watch videos of him in space at www.space.com. His last post yesterday on St. Patrick’s Day was a picture of Dublin, “St. Patrick’s Day Finale: Dublin, with her port standing out clearly to photographers in Earth orbit.”
Chris is a talented guitarist and has made history by being the first to record an original song in space. In a unique way, he has also performed with the Chieftains when they performed in Houston, Texas, in February, via a pre-recording. Watch this ‘space’ for more info!
Would anything surprise us about the extremes of the Taliban? Their religious regime compel women to cover themselves from head to toe and do not allow them to work or be educated, they ban dancing, clapping during sports events, hanging pictures on the wall and enforce these regulations with violence. We shouldn’t be surprised therefore at the news that according to the Bangkok Post sixty shopkeepers in the northwestern city of Peshawar in Pakistan have threatened shop owners selling ringtones, video clips, and mobile phone accessories. The shop owners were forced to close down their businesses because of threats received by mail from the Taliban. The letters told them to “stop this shameless business and if you do not stop it yourself then we will make an example of you and your market.” One letter read “Do not compel us to send a bomber….Stop this shameless business in one week and burn the shameful stuff. Just sell mobile phones, batteries and chargers.” The market in question immediately closed down the shops, and police have been asked to increase security at the market. The Taliban repel anything that smacks of the ‘evils’ of Western civilization. Our cozy relationship with our phones which we personalise to the max, is one such symbol of ‘westernisation’. Mind you, there are some mobile phone ringtones I wouldn’t mind being banned.
There is nothing worse than finding yourself separated from your luggage and far away from home. With over 3000 items of luggage lost every hour of every day around the world, this is not an unusual phenomenon for the modern traveller. Systems such as i-Trak and Tracemeluggagetracker use RFID and bar code technology as solutions to this problem. There is also the Garmin GPS tracking device, the PTU 10. But this can work out expensive. A new device soon to come on to the US market called Trakdot uses a different technology. It puts a radio transceiver on your bags that tells you where your luggage is by text. It costs less than GPS trackers and the company claim that it is more secure than the RFID tags and bar codes. It also uses less battery power than GPS so you can locate your bags before the battery dies! How it works is that it sends out a text to give you an idea of its general vicinity, within 30 feet, by seeing which mobile tower it is near. The Trakdot costs $50 with an activation fee of $9 and an annual fee of $13. It is due to be available from April 2013.
Have you ever arrived back to a nasty note left on your car windscreen? Or been flashed by a driver and not know why they are flashing? Communication between car owners is limited and fellow drivers can feel helpless when observing a vehicle whose lights are left on or who see a car being vandalised. But what if we could communicate with the driver through their vehicle registration plate? CurbTXT is a community-based system currently in operation in San Francisco that allows passerbys to get in touch with the driver of a vehicle through a specially registered licence plate. A driver registers their vehicle’s licence plate and phone number with CurbTXT, which is stored on a database. The car owner also receives a bumper sticker which indicates that they are registered with the CurbTXT service. When a passerby notices something they simply send a text with the license plate number to the CurbTXT phone number and the service will forward it on to the driver. If the vehicle is not registered, the texter will be alerted. I could see this catching on, and it would certainly ‘curb’ the proliferation of nasty notes left on car windscreens (entertaining and all as they can be). Check out www.happyplace.com for a peek at the most entertaining ones.
So, you’re doing your shopping in the local SuperValu, deciding whether to get steak or chicken for your evening meal when you are distracted by a large blue type of pod over near the magazines and newspapers. On further investigation you realise that this is a telemedicine kiosk. So before heading for the check-out, you go for a check-up.
Could this be the future of healthcare? Healthspot’s telemedicine kiosk is equipped with a video conferencing console and a selection of medical devices such as a stethoscope and other tools of the trade. A qualified doctor remotely guides and directs you through using the devices. The results are displayed graphically on a screen above the doctor’s head and he can prescribe based on this data. The kiosk is staffed by an assistant who shows you the ropes at the check-in stage, but the kiosk offers privacy and comfort once inside.
Healthspot’s telemedicine kiosk is a response to the new Affordable Care Act in the USA which will see 40 million more Americans becoming insured under the Act. Healthspot aims to increase access to high-quality, accessible and affordable healthcare by locating their kiosks in more non-traditional medical environments such as supermarkets and malls. The Kiosk was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January and is currently being piloted in Ohio emergency clinics and a children’s hospital.
The cost to an outlet for the kiosk is between $10k and $15k with a $950 prescription each month. The patient cost is between $60-$80 per visit, which represents a bargain for Americans who could pay hundreds for urgent healthcare visits.
Perhaps the very sight of this pod in our supermarkets in the future will induce us to add the healthier food options to our trolleys and help avoid any visits to the doctor, remote or otherwise.