Staff picks for the week of April 25, 2016

Staff Picks GeneralHappy Friday! Wrap up your week by checking out what’s new in technology with our staff picks!

Comcast will let you replace your cable box with an app (Read by Camillia S.)

Comcast looks to be the first TV service provider to switch to an app-based cable platform. In other words, they’re getting rid of the cable box — you know, the one you have to take time off of work to get installed. Now customers will be able to access their channels on their smart TVs, and mobile or streaming devices. The shift is the cable company’s answer to the young demographic that’s cutting the cord in favor of streaming devices and standalone subscription services. I think the switch is genius because as a “young person,” I enjoy the convenience of app-based entertainment on my phone, but I also like the randomness of television and surfing the channels.

Traffic lights in the ground help phone zombies avoid traffic (Read by Jennifer P.)

A city in Germany has installed special traffic lights in the pavement that flash or glow red to warn hapless texters of oncoming cars and trains. As handheld devices permeate our lives, there has been a rise in people struck by vehicles or causing accidents due to digital distractions. The hope is that these warning lights will cut down on incidents involving the technologically engrossed. Until this technology takes off, put down the device while you’re walking and cross streets with caution!

Researchers are using the vibration of your skull to identify you (Read by Alexandria H.)

Fingerprint scanning and facial recognition as forms of security are so passé. Well, maybe not yet. Biometric authentication continues to make waves in the security realm, and researchers have now found that your skull’s vibrations could be a new way to verify that you are in fact who you say you are. Because every skull vibrates differently in the presence of sound, these differences can be used to authenticate an individual, a method called SkullConduct. As technology continues to advance and new ways of user authentication emerge, I can’t help but think of a future society reminiscent of the movie Minority Report, where retina scanners, facial recognition, and other forms of biometrics are inescapable. Read on to learn more about the testing that was administered on SkullConduct.

Dig gardening? Plant some connected tech this spring (Read by Heidi B.)
I might not have a legitimate garden (yet) but I do love plants — I have a basil plant at home and a bamboo plant at my desk. If you too love plants and you also dig technology, you need to check out this article that explores the next-generation, Internet of Things-connected garden. From the Edyn Garden Sensor that sends weather, soil conditions, light frequency, and moisture level data to your phone, to the motion-activated scarecrow that shoots water at animals so they leave your crops alone, there truly is an IoT device for every green thumb. Do you prefer old school gardening blended with new-school technology? Read on!

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