Thermal sensors 👋 Tree pests 🌳 Digital banking 🏦!

Technology News


Wrist-mounted wearable tracks your hand in 3D using thermal sensors

Researchers have developed a device they call the FingerTrak. The wearable employs four low-resolution thermal sensors, each the size of about a pea, to monitor the contours of the wrist. The cameras snap multiple images of the hand that a neural network then pieces together to create a 3D model of the hand. While the technology could have a variety of applications, one of the more promising ones has to do with sign language translation. The team also sees a future in which FingerTrak could be used to detect the early signs of cognitive disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. It may also have virtual reality uses.

‘Apple Glass’ could turn any surface into a display with touch controls

A recently revealed patent application showed Apple proposing a way to use Apple AR to display information on what would appear to anyone but the owner, as a blank screen. Now in a separate application, it’s looking at making any surface appear to “Apple Glass” wearers as a control panel, with buttons and a display. “It can distinguish touches or occlusions caused by a human body (that happened on purpose) from touches or occlusions by anything else (that might happen by accident),” it says. “It is capable of precisely localizing a touch and can identify touch events after they occurred (i.e. even if no camera, computer or whatsoever was present at the time of touch).”

Science News


Portable DNA device can detect tree pests in under two hours

A new rapid DNA detection method can identify plants and tree pests and pathogens in less than two hours, without using complicated processes or chemicals – a substantial time savings compared to the several days it currently takes to send samples to a lab for testing. The device checks to see if DNA fragments match the genomic material of the target species and generates a signal that can be visualized on a paired smartphone. “With this system, we can tell with nearly 100 per cent accuracy if it is a match or not, if we’re looking at a threatening invasive species or one that’s benign.”

Getting to the bottom of goosebumps

Scientists have discovered the cell types that cause goosebumps are also important for regulating the stem cells that regenerate the hair follicle and hair. The muscle that contracts to create goosebumps is necessary to bridge the sympathetic nerve’s connection to hair follicle stem cells. The nerve reacts to the cold by contracting the muscle and causing goosebumps in the short term, and by driving hair follicle stem cell activation and new hair growth over the long term. “We identify an interesting dual-component niche that not only regulates the stem cells under steady state, but also modulates stem cell behaviors according to temperature changes outside.”

Business News


Adobe, IBM team up on marketing software for banking industry

Adobe and International Business Machines (IBM) said they are teaming up to make marketing software easier to use for banks that face strict controls on how customer data must be handled. The plan is for Adobe’s software to run in IBM’s cloud system that has received regulatory approval for use by banks which will lead to more banking functions becoming totally digital over time. IBM will also be able to connect the cloud-based system to a bank’s internal stores of customer data, which “gives them much more flexibility to pick and choose on the data that they might put into a marketing campaign.”

Nestlé could shed some of its local brands in China

The world’s largest food company confirmed that it is exploring options for its bottled water business in the country, “including a potential sale.” The Swiss firm sells some of its upscale international brands in China, including Perrier, Acqua Panna and San Pellegrino. The company’s best selling water brands in China are a locally sourced version of Nestlé Pure Life and Da Shan Yunnan Spring. Competition is fierce: Domestic brands such as Nongfu Spring and Yibao dominate the water market. Nestlé’s share was less than 2% in 2019. A sale of Nestlé’s water business in China would fit with an overhaul the company announced last month.

Miscellaneous News


Luxury homes in Australia are falling into the ocean due to coastal erosion

Residents in more than 40 houses along Wamberal Beach, located in the central coast north of Sydney, have had to evacuate over the past few days as coastal erosion threatened to damage or destroy the homes.The multi-million dollar properties sit on a cliff above the water, but days of strong swells have eaten away at the land, causing the cliff face to crumble. Videos show white waves surging up the cliff, almost reaching the houses, leaving broken staircases and debris in the sand as the tide pulls away.

Venice gondola tours reduce capacity due to ‘overweight tourists’

Venice’s gondoliers have reduced capacity on their boats, blaming the increased burden of “overweight” tourists. “Unlike in a lift, where there’s a message that says ‘only six people or a maximum weight’, we don’t have scales to weigh people, and so we reduced the number of passengers.” “The limit on a gondola da nolo, which offers the classic tour of the city’s canals, has been reduced from six to five people, while on a gondola da parada, boats mainly used to cross the Grand Canal, the number has decreased from 14 to 12.

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