42. Smart Glasses Fix Vision, Apple’s Data Privacy Tool and Potential Court Battle with Facebook
42. Smart Glasses Fix Vision, Apple’s Data Privacy Tool and Potential Court Battle with Facebook
February 1, 2021
Cool STEM News:
Apple’s new privacy tool lets you choose which apps can see and share your data. Here’s what you need to know | Zdnet (01:56)
- App Data Transparency Tool is coming to iPhones, iPads, and Apple TV sometime in the next few months (early Spring), with the whole goal of letting users decide whether or not apps & websites track their data.
- New release for iOS 14, iPadOS14 and tvOS14.
- Requires apps to get the users’ permission before they start tracking their data.
- These apps will have to refrain from sharing information with Data Brokers
- Data Brokers are companies that collect data themselves or buy it from other companies, crawl the internet for useful information about users, and aggregate that information with data from other sources.
- A lucrative industry that generates $200 billion in revenue yearly
- One broker collects data on 700 million consumers worldwide according to their privacy report.
- According to Apple, the average app has 6 trackers:
- Allowing third parties to collect and link data from many different sources.
- Users under their device’s settings will be able to see which apps have requested permission to track and make changes as they see fit.
- Jeff Chester, executive director of the center for digital democracy, said: “Apple’s new data privacy tools ensure that people have greater control over their personal information. Data brokers and online advertisers will now have to act more responsibly when dealing with consumers who use third-party applications on Apple devices.”
- Apps that continue to track users that have opted out run the risk of being evicted from the App Store altogether.
- Of course, Facebook is not too happy about this: “Facebook, for one, has described the company’s new privacy policies as potentially harmful against small businesses, while indirectly benefiting Apple itself.”
- How exactly is that the case? I guess for targeting advertisements but small businesses survived before on non-targeted ads, I think they will be able to manage.
- Facebook is just salty about the possibility of losing all that wonderful data we provide.
- Facebook’s Response from 9to5 mac: Facebook is building antitrust lawsuit against Apple over iOS 14 privacy features (10:34)
- The Information reports that Facebook alleges that Apple “abused its power in the smartphone market by forcing app developers to abide by App Store rules that Apple’s own apps don’t have to follow.”
- Win-Win in my opinion: Apple Wins (privacy protection), Facebook Wins (Disrupts Apples’ tyrannical Power over the iOS market.)
Myopia correcting ‘smart glasses’ from Japan to be sold in Asia | Nikkei Asia (13:20)
- How many people are affected by Myopia?
- 9.6 million adults in the United States are highly myopic, or severely nearsighted.
- Becoming increasingly common rising from 25% in the 70s to roughly 40% in the late 90s early 2000s.
- Japan’s Kubota Pharmaceutical Holdings says that its wearable device, the Kubota Glasses, (e.g. ‘smart glasses’) can cure Myopia from users.
- It projects an image from the lens of the unit onto the wearer’s retina to correct the refractive error that causes nearsightedness
- Myopia occurs when the shape of your eye causes light rays to bend (refract) incorrectly, focusing images in front of your retina instead of on your retina.
- According to Kubota Pharmaceutical, wearing the device 60 to 90 minutes a day would correct myopia.
- Has not disclosed additional details of how it works.
- Still need further clinical trials to determine how long the corrective effect lasts and how many days are required for you to wear the glasses before the fix is permanent.
- Kubota is conducting clinical tests on about 25 people in the U.S.
- The Tokyo-based company plans to begin selling the device in Asian markets, including Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Malaysia, in the second half of the year.
No more needles? The Source, Washington University in St. Louis (19:27)
- Most of the time biomarkers are captured by drawing blood, and let’s be honest no one really enjoys that process.
- Biomarkers: an objective measure that captures what is happening in a cell or an organism at a given moment.
- However, biomarkers are only found in blood, they can also be found in the dense liquid medium that surrounds our cells,
- A low abundance that making it difficult to be detected.
- That’s where engineers at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis came in.
- They developed this nearly pain-free microneedle patch that can test for antibodies and more in the fluid between cells
- The technology is a low cost, easy for clinicians or patients themselves to use, and could eliminate the need for a trip to the hospital just for a blood draw.
- Normally the amount of the biomarkers, dermal interstitial fluid (ISF), collected would not be enough to test and analyze.
- ISF: the fluid surrounding cells and tissues formed by the transcapillary exchange during blood flow and transporting nutrients and waste products among cells, blood, and lymphatic capillaries
- Thanks to an “ultrabright fluorescent nanolabel” it increased the sensitivity of analyzing the biomarkers obtained from this microneedle allowing for the amount collected to be analyzed.
- The signal of target protein biomarkers shined about 1,400 times as bright.
- Possible benefits:
- EMTs could use a microneedle patch to test for troponin, the biomarker that indicates myocardial infarction right on the spot.
- Could eliminate the constant trips to the hospital for patients with a chronic condition.
- Final big point (no pun intended): The patches are almost pain-free. “They go about 400 microns deep into the dermal tissue,” Srikanth Singamaneni, the Lilyan E. Lisle Hughes Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science said. “They don’t even touch sensory nerves.”
- 400 microns = 0.4 millimeters
Ingenious ‘Wrinkled’ Graphene Could Be The Most Promising Water Filter Yet | Science Alert (28:50)
- Scientists have found a way of manipulating Graphene so that it can better filter impurities out of water.
- What Is Graphene?
- Two-dimensional material made of carbon
- When stacked in layers it’s known as graphite
- Why is Graphene a wonder material?
- Graphene has an incredible tensile strength
- 6 times harder to rip apart than steel
- In some cases, it can be 100 times stronger than steel
- Idle electric charge giving the material incredible conductive and superconductive properties, which makes it suitable for advanced electronics.
- Impermeability to many liquids and gases and an ability to repel water, as well as an incredible transparency
- This water filtration process comes down to the exploitation of the van der Waals gap
- Tiny spaces that appear between 2D nanomaterials when they’re layered on top of each other
- Graphene in water filtration normally has the issue of being too thin:
- Liquid has to spend much of its time-traveling along the horizontal plane, rather than the vertical one, which would be much quicker.
- Researchers at Brown University solved this problem by utilizing an elastic substrate to “scrunch” up the graphene into microscopic peaks and valleys.
- Making the water travel vertically instead of horizontally
- Researchers have given the new materials the name VAGMEs (vertically aligned graphene membranes), and further down the line, they could find uses far beyond making water safe to drink.
- The next step put this filter into practice and test out the filtration capabilities.
- According to chemical engineer Robert Hurt, from Brown University, “In the last decade, a whole field has sprung up to study these spaces that form between 2D nanomaterials…You can grow things in there, you can store things in there, and there’s this emerging field of nanofluidics where you’re using those channels to filter out some molecules while letting others go through.”
German City Tests Wind and Waterproof Sleep Pods for the Homeless | Interesting Engineering (38:22)
- Germany, despite having a population size that’s roughly a quarter of the United States’, has a reported staggering 860,000 homeless inhabitants.
- One company, Ulmer Nest, is trying to make a difference for homeless people by introducing a windproof and waterproof futuristic sleeping pod that the homeless can freely access.
- These pods were introduced on January 8, 2020, and if they prove useful and successful, they could be rolled out nationwide.
- Specs on the Pods:
- The wood and steel cabins provide protection against the cold, wind, and humidity.
- Equipped with thermal insulation.
- Guarantee fresh air circulation
- Solar Panels to provide heating
- Accommodate a maximum of two sleepers.
- An installed motion sensor alerts social workers when the doors of the pods are opened. This helps social workers practice discretion when cleaning the pod after each use.
- The pods additionally have a radio network that homeless people can use to get in touch with the team overseeing the cabins.
- The company emphasizes that this initiative is not a replacement for a stay in a hostel or safe house, but rather an alternative and last option for those who really have nowhere else to go.
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