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By astro | enjoy fresh news of technology and beyond

The pee-soaked Ikea pregnancy ad is actually more than just a gimmick

It may lead to diagnostics for heart disease<p>Early last year, an ad agency approached Jonas Hansson, product manager for Mercene Labs in Stockholm, to see if he could create a quite unorthodox advertisement for Ikea: a magazine ad that asked pregnant women to pee on the page to reveal a discount for …

Medicine

Tim Cook says the next iOS update will allow users to disable intentional battery slowdowns

Apple CEO Tim Cook today shared that the next update to iOS 11 will allow users to disable battery performance throttling on their device. The move comes after Apple last month admitted it intentionally slows down iPhones as they get older to prevent issues that may arise as the batteries …

iOS

Wearable, Whole Body Video Gaming Controller

Wearable Tech

Google Duo allows you to call people who don’t have the app

Duo is Google's video calling app, and it looks like the tech giant wants to spread the word about it. According to <i>Android Police</i>, Duo users can now call people who don't have the app installed and who haven't registered with the service. It works like any other Duo communication, except that at …

Google

VIsa will make signatures optional for chipped credit cards

It's been about a month since American Express and Mastercard decided to stop requiring signatures for EMV chip credit cards. Now Visa is joining their ranks, making signatures optional for chipped transactions in North America.<p>"Visa is committed to delivering secure, fast and convenient payments …

Banking

‘PUBG’ already has over 3 million players on Xbox One

A preview version of <i>PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds</i> launched on Xbox One on December 12th and at the end of 2017, it already had over three million players. The game broke records left and right last year, so this may not be too big of a surprise. But it's notable since <i>PUBG</i> had quite a few issues …

PUBG

Alexa will have her own opinions on beer, TV shows and more

Alexa is starting to think for herself. The personal assistant that’s built into Amazon devices like Echo smart speakers and Fire TV may better distinguish itself from competitors like Google Assistant in the future by offering up not just facts or recommendations, but by having her own opinions on …

Amazon

39 million Americans now own a smart speaker, report claims

One in six Americans now own a smart speaker, according to new research out this week from NPR and Edison Research – a figure that’s up up 128 percent from January, 2017. Amazon’s Echo speakers are still in the lead, the report says, as 11 percent now own an Amazon Alexa device compared with 4 …

Amazon

Facebook says it plans to transform the News Feed to promote "meaningful posts"

Time will tell how sweeping these changes really are<p>Facebook plans major changes to the News Feed in 2018 designed to promote more “meaningful” interactions, the company said Thursday. Facebook plans to promote posts that generate discussions over those that are passively consumed, it said. Company …

Facebook

Google quietly bought a UK startup that turns your screen into a speaker

The Cambridge-based Redux also used vibrations to simulate touchable buttons on 2D displays<p>Google has quietly bought a UK startup named Redux that uses vibrations to turn phone and tablet displays into speakers, reports <i>Bloomberg</i>. It’s not clear when the purchase was made, or for how much the …

Gear & Gadgets

Facebook Messenger Kids comes to Amazon Fire tablet

Critics of the app say it gets kids addicted to social media early on<p>Facebook Messenger Kids is coming to Amazon Fire tablets and the Amazon Appstore in the US, as spotted by <i>TechCrunch</i>. The messaging app for kids under the age of 13 was originally only available on iPads, iPhones, and iPod touch in …

Social Media

Having A Heart Attack? This AI Helps Emergency Dispatchers Find Out

The time between calling 911 and the ambulance arriving can be critical for saving heart attack victims, but the person on the phone may not know what’s happening: this AI parses non-verbal clues to help diagnose from a distance.<p>When someone goes into cardiac arrest outside of a hospital, time is …

Copenhagen

Mercedes uses its new car to launch yet another voice assistant

Hey, Mercedes. What about Alexa and Google?<p>Mercedes-Benz may have been one of the numerous automakers that showed up to CES to talk about voice assistants. A swath of companies came to say they’ve partnered with Amazon Alexa or added Google Assistant to their infotainment systems. But the German …

Trucks

Asus Bezel-free Kit makes monitor edges disappear

ASUS

Mercedes-Benz self-driving concept first drive

Mercedes-Benz

B&O will add Google Assistant to its connected speakers this year

Earlier today at CES, Google detailed how its Assistant would be available in more cars, headphones, speakers and other devices in 2018. Bang & Olufsen connected speakers are on that list. The Danish audio company already allows voice control through a Google Home speaker, but later this year the …

Google

Amazon expects more games for the Echo Button in 2018

Amazon's Echo Buttons are somewhat bizarre devices that allow you to add a game show element to playing trivia with Alexa. Now, it looks like the online retail giant has larger plans for the device. "I think you'll see a lot more games come out this year that take advantage of the buttons," Steve …

Amazon

Ingestible gut sensors reveal potential new immune system

Ingestible technology -- the stalwart theme of medical sci-fi -- has been in the works for decades, but now researchers are closer than ever before to taking it mainstream thanks to successful trials of gas-sensing capsules. The swallowable sensors, designed by RMIT University in Australia, could …

Microbiome

Game Boy Is Coming Back Thanks to Hyperkin

With the NES and SNES Classic Edition retro consoles still selling out as fast as they go on sale, it’s a safe assumption that Nintendo is going to …

Gaming Consoles

WayRay’s AR in-car HUD convinced me HUDs can be better

WayRay, a Swiss augmented reality technology provider, brought its in-car head-up display solutions to CES 2018 to show what its unique approach can do. The company was showing off its NAVION aftermarket solution to the public for the first time, and also had its holographic AR in-windshield …

Augmented Reality

Chat app Line is reportedly considering its own cryptocurrency

Tickets please, the next crypto train is about to depart. Japan-based messaging app Line is said to be the latest public company to consider a move into the blockchain and cryptocurrencies, according to a Bloomberg report.<p>Unlike some of the more obscure and head-scratching moves, which include …

Bitcoin

Smart lock maker August launches an in-home delivery service

August Access just got a lot more useful<p>Last year, August began testing in-home deliveries with Walmart. Now the smart lock maker has made the practice official with the launch of its in-home delivery service, in partnership with Deliv, a last mile logistics company.<p>August will use its Access …

Home Automation

Fashion brand Kate Spade is now making touchscreen smartwatches

From hybrid to touchscreen<p>Fashion brand Kate Spade New York started dabbling in “hybrid” smartwatches back in 2016, introducing classic-looking wrist wearables that happened to include accelerometers and Bluetooth chips. Now it’s going full-on smartwatch.<p>Kate Spade brand, in conjunction with the …

Wearable Tech

Apple’s 2017 Webby-nominated ad featured autism pseudoscience

The company’s 2017 Webby-nominated ad featured autism pseudoscience<p>As part of 2016’s Autism Acceptance Month, Apple released an uplifting video called <i>Dillan’s Voice</i>, in which a nonverbal teenager delivers a speech at his graduation, his text turning swiftly to spoken word through his iPad. Before …

Autism

Facebook’s rumored Echo Show competitor will be called Portal and cost $499

The official announcement appears timed to the company’s F8 developer conference<p>Facebook is planning to launch its rumored home video chat product, the one with a screen that appears similar to Amazon’s Echo Show, later this year, according to a report from online news network <i>Cheddar</i>. The product …

Facebook

B&O Play’s truly wireless Beoplay E8 headphones now come in new black and white colors

Ebony and ivory<p>B&O Play’s truly wireless Beosound E8 headphones have only been out for a few months, but the company is already launching some new limited edition colors at CES 2018.<p>The headphones originally launched in two-tone black / dark gray and gray / tan colors, but now B&O Play is embracing …

Headphones

Toyota and Lexus vehicles will add Amazon Alexa this year

Some models with latest infotainment get Amazon’s assistant this year, more in 2019<p>Toyota is the latest automaker to adopt Amazon’s Alexa in its vehicles, announcing a partnership at CES that enables the assistant to work with its newest infotainment platforms.<p>On Tuesday, Toyota said vehicles with …

Amazon

The full keyboard Moto Mod is a real product that you’ll be able to buy this year for $99

Along with a $395 Lenovo Vital Moto Mod that costs more than every Motorola phone<p>Back in April, we were forced to acknowledge that the Indiegogo crowdfunded Keyboard Moto Mod was actually a real physical device. This year at CES 2018, Motorola has announced that you’ll actually be able to buy one …

Mobile Technology

A closer look at the beautiful Cortana-powered thermostat

Johnson Controls invented the first thermostat 135 years ago, and it’s now taking its first step into smart thermostats with the GLAS. It’s a truly unique thermostat that’s powered by Windows 10 IoT Core and Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant. It also has a 5.9-inch translucent OLED Samsung …

Home Automation