Quantum smartphone 📱, algae skin patches 🦠 and Facebook buys Giphy 💰!

Technology News

Samsung Surprise As World’s First Smartphone With Quantum Technology Launches May 22

An announcement from Samsung and Korean provider SK Telecom unveils that the world’s first 5G smartphone complete with a quantum random number generator (QRNG). Although it’s a Galaxy A71 5G at heart, the rebranded and updated smartphone comes complete with one important security extra: a QRNG chip developed by ID Quantique. “It will bring a new level of security to the mobile phone industry. This is truly the first mass-market application of quantum technologies.” With uses such as two-factor authentication, biometric authentication for mobile payments, and blockchain-based document storage wallets, the QRNG will be put to good use.

Police in China, Dubai, and Italy are using these surveillance helmets to scan people for COVID-19 fever as they walk past and it may be our future normal

The helmets are made by Chinese firm KC Wearable and use thermal imaging to take people’s temperatures at a distance of around two meters. The KC N901 smart helmet is equipped with an ARM processor, an augmented reality display screen, an infrared camera, and a visible light camera. The wearer can detect the temperature, to within 0.3 degrees Celsius, of passers-by within around two meters. More than 1,000 helmets are already in use across China. One unnamed country, has ordered hundreds of helmets and more international deals are coming. The helmets cost between $5,000 to $7,000 per unit.

Science News

Wound-healing patch of blue-green algae mends skin quickly

A skin patch made of living blue-green algae speeds up wound healing in mice, and may help to treat chronic wounds in people with diabetes. To improve oxygen delivery into the skin, researchers developed a wound patch filled with living Synechococcus elongatus bacteria – commonly known as blue-green algae – that naturally produce oxygen in the presence of sunlight. Wounds treated with the bacterial patch had shrunk by 45 per cent, compared to only 20 per cent for those treated with oxygen gas. The wounds treated with the bacterial patch also closed completely about three days earlier, and no side-effects were observed.

McMaster chemists develop foolproof new test to track the fats we eat

A team of researchers at McMaster has developed a reliable and accurate blood test to track individual fat intake, a tool that could guide public health policy on healthy eating. The test detects specific non-esterified fatty acids (NEFAs), a type of circulating free fatty acid that can be measured using a small volume of blood sample. Researchers were able to prove that certain blood NEFAs closely matched the diets and/or supplements reported, suggesting the dietary biomarkers may serve as an objective tool for assessment of fat intake.

Business News

Facebook buys top GIF site Giphy for $400m and will add it to Instagram

The huge GIF library Giphy, has been bought by Facebook for a cool $400 million (roughly £330m). Facebook says the Giphy team will now work as part of Instagram, so you can expect GIF-finding in the social media app to become slicker than ever. “Giphy makes everyday conversations more entertaining, and so we plan to further integrate their GIF library into Instagram and our other apps so that people can find just the right way to express themselves.” It’s not immediately clear what this means for various Giphy products, like the Giphy app. Facebook says users will still be able to upload GIFs to the site, and that other apps will still have access to the Giphy API.

Apple confirms it bought virtual reality event startup NextVR

Apple has confirmed purchase of virtual reality company NextVR, which specializes in recording live events like concerts and sports matches to be experienced in VR. The company has partnered in the past with news organizations like CNN and sports leagues like the NBA and NASCAR to broadcast games and special events in VR. It’s unclear how Apple may use the technology NextVR created, but the company is reportedly working on a pair of augmented reality glasses as well as some type of headset, and one or both of those devices may have a VR component. Apple is refusing to disclose financial terms of the deal, as per usual when it acquires companies.

Miscellaneous News

The end of plastic? New plant-based bottles will degrade in a year

Biochemicals company Avantium in the Netherlands hopes to kickstart investment in a pioneering project that hopes to make plastics from plant sugars rather than fossil fuels. The plans have already won the support of beer-maker Carlsberg, which hopes to sell its pilsner in a cardboard bottle lined with an inner layer of plant plastic. The project also has the backing of Coca-Cola and Danone, which hope to secure the future of their bottled products by tackling the environmental damage caused by plastic pollution and a reliance on fossil fuels.

Researchers go ‘cuckoo’ over Antarctic penguin poop

Antarctica’s king penguins emit such copious amounts of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, via their faeces that researchers went a little “cuckoo” studying them, according to a Danish scientific study. Besides being a strain on the climate, nitrous oxide has an effect very similar to the sedative laughing gas used at the dentist’s. The nitrous oxide is explained by the penguin diet of krill and fish, which contains high levels of nitrogen. Nitrogen is released from the penguins’ faeces into the ground and soil bacteria then convert it into nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas.

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