How tech is helping the environment, and other staff picks

Happy Friday! Here are the most interesting tech stories we read this week.

That fingerprint sensor on your phone is not as safe as you think (Read by Heidi B.)

I use my iPhone 6S fingerprint sensor to unlock my device, access online banking, and more. However, that sensor may not be as reliable as I think. According to a recent study by New York University and Michigan State University, hackers can use common fingerprint features to build fake digital prints, which can then be used to trick smartphones into granting access to the device and its apps. While the odds of this happening to you are low (hackers would need to create fake fingers with your prints on them … creepy!), it’s a gentle reminder to stay cautious when it comes to your personal identity. Keep your hands to yourself!

Virtual reality film The Crystal Reef helps kids understand the impacts of climate change (Read by Heidi B.)

Sure, kids learn about climate change in school, but how can we show them its real-life effects? Enter virtual reality film The Crystal Reef, in which marine biologist Dr. Fio Micheli explores a reef off the shore of Italy, and highlights the damage that ocean acidification and human carbon pollution causes. As producer Cody Karutz said, “The reality is that many students and kids don’t have access to an ocean, and virtual reality can be the bridge.” If this sounds like something you or your kids are interested in, you can download the film (and even more content) via the LIFE VR app or by visiting time.com/lifevr. Knowledge is power!

This edible water bottle is how you’ll drink in the future (Read by Alexandria H.)

It’s no secret that our landfills are rapidly reaching capacity and much of what fills them are plastic bottles. Three London-based design students have a solution—a sphere-shaped water bottle made out of food ingredients making it not only better for our environment, but safe enough to swallow! The edible water bottle, called the Ooho, sounds far-fetched but it’s actually ready to be brought to market. I imagine the sensation of drinking from a Jello-like ball will take some getting used to, but designing a compostable and edible water bottle in an effort to preserve our environment is genius!

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