Staff picks for the week of Aug. 8, 2016

Staff Picks GeneralHappy Friday!  See what trending tech news made the cut in this week’s Staff Picks!

Wilson just made the smartest football of all time (Read by Alexandria H.)

The popular sporting goods company, Wilson, is the latest organization to dive into the digital revolution. The company has created a smart football that can be used for more than just throwing and kicking. With two sensors housed in its center, the ball can track distance, speed, and ball rotation, and deliver those stats via Bluetooth to your mobile phone. If you’re in the mood to brush up on your agility skills, the ball can also call out 2-minute drills. If that’s not impressive enough, consider that Wilson’s new and improved football even prevents cheating. Just in time for football season!

Facebook helps develop software that puts students in charge of their lesson plans (Read by Camillia S.)

What would have made school more enjoyable for you? For me, it would have been the element of choice. The freedom to choose what kind of project or final product to turn in, and at what pace, would have made my learning experience much better. At Summit Public Schools in Silicon Valley, Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan are giving students that option. The Facebook-Summit learning management system will show students their responsibilities and break them down into “customizable lesson modules,” allowing students to pick and choose projects at various stages throughout the year. While there are more technical details in the article, the premise is fascinating. I can’t wait to see if this takes off anywhere else in the U.S.

This liquid could let torn clothes repair themselves (Read by Camillia S.)

A tiny tear in your favorite T-shirt can be a bummer, especially if it’s not along the seams and easily repairable. Science comes through again with a possible solution: a liquid made of yeast and bacteria. Clothing manufacturers could pre-treat fabric with the solution so that if a tear occurs, the owner would only need to apply a little bit of water and pressure to mend it. Researchers at Penn State envision the liquid improving protective gear worn by soldiers, as well as reducing clothing waste. Science for the win!

Couldn’t make it to Rio for the Olympics? Virtual reality can take you there (Read by Heidi B.)

Good news for those who, like me, enjoy watching the Olympic Games from the comfort of their couch: NBC and Samsung are partnering to provide 85 hours of virtual reality content from the games. The content will be compatible with Samsung Gear VR and will include footage of basketball, gymnastics, diving, fencing, and more. I don’t own a VR headset (yet), but this is great news for those who do!

Your next phone will have a dual camera (and you’ll love it) (Read by Heidi B.)

Smartphones with two lenses might be the next big thing. Some LG and Huawei models already have this feature, and word on the street is that the next iPhone will too. So what’s the benefit of a second lens? I’ll spare you the technical details, but in a nutshell, dual lenses would improve the quality of low-light images, capture more detail, and increase the speed and accuracy of autofocusing. Can’t wait to see if this is the next biggest smartphone trend!

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