Google assists with “street view” of Great Barrier Reef in this week’s staff picks
Good morning! Here are the most interesting tech stories we read this week.
Kitchen of the future: Smart and fast but not much fun (Read by Camillia S.)
Celebrity chef Tyler Florence said that recipes are dead. And after seeing the gadgets and developments coming out of the Smart Kitchen Summit in Seattle, I’m wondering if cooking will die at some point as well. The kitchen technology of the future will go much further than today’s smart refrigerator that has a touchscreen to allow you to sync your calendar and create grocery lists. We’re talking about virtual sous chefs to help you with your technique, and interactive countertops that recognize what types of foods are on its surface and tell you how to cook it. While I am all for convenience and innovation, I’m wondering if all of this technology will remove the wholesome feelings associated with cooking a meal with your loved ones. Stay tuned.
What is TBH, Facebook’s newly acquired anonymous teen compliment app? (Read by Camillia S.)
With cyber bullying becoming more and more ingrained in the social fabric, it’s no surprise that Silicon Valley would come up with an app to combat online offenses. TBH – short for “to be honest” – has already been acquired by Facebook despite just launching in August. The app facilitates anonymous compliments from a user’s contacts through a polling system. I was initially skeptical since people can easily sneak a hateful comment into an open-ended question, but when I read that only answers that are funny, uplifting, and inoffensive are accepted, I breathed a sigh of relief. With so many negative messages targeting our youth on everything from sexual orientation to beauty standards, I’m glad to see such a wholesome app that aims to build confidence instead of spread negativity.
Scientists learn how to record your dreams and play them back to you (Read by Kristin S.)
Japanese scientists have learned how to interpret what you’re dreaming about by measuring your brain activity while you sleep. By hooking research subjects up to an EEG machine and having them fall asleep in an fMRI machine, scientists monitored when the subjects began dreaming and recorded brain patterns during this period. They then assembled internet images of the objects subjects were dreaming about, and plugged all of this data into a learning algorithm that reconstructed the dream, essentially creating a primitive movie that could be played back to dreamers once they awoke. The research is still in the early stages, but could revolutionize how dreams are interpreted and understood.
Mapping the Great Barrier Reef with cameras, drones and NASA tech (Read by Kristin S.)
One of the world’s greatest ocean treasures is in great danger, but there may be hope. A marine advocacy group called The Ocean Agency partnered with Google to develop an advanced underwater camera to take thousands of pictures of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and give people a close-up look at the damage the underwater wonder is experiencing as a result of global warming. Other researchers are using acoustic pulses to build 3D models that allow researchers to study it from all angles. They hope that if people see what’s at stake, they’ll be more invested in saving them.