Saving lives with virtual reality and more in this week’s staff picks

 In News, Staff Picks

Good afternoon, everyone! Here are the most interesting tech stories we read this week.

Microsoft Paint gets a second chance at life (Read by Alexandria H.)

Microsoft Paint, the program of many millennials’ childhood, was close to becoming extinct this week. However, after much online uproar, Microsoft decided to keep the program around. The app will be offered for free in the Windows Store. I haven’t used Paint since I was a kid, but the app had over 100 million monthly users in 2016. Who knew!

How doctors used virtual reality to save the lives of conjoined twin sisters (Read by Camillia S.)

When I think of virtual reality and 3D printing, I usually think of gaming. Not anymore. Doctors at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital used virtual reality to recreate the bodies of conjoined twins. Through the virtual model, the doctors found a way to safely separate the twins, who shared a heart. According to one of the surgeons, the use of virtual reality and 3D printing is more precise and more reliable than X-rays. This is a great example of how advanced technology is making its way into health care. I encourage you to read this heartwarming and optimistic story!

You can now visit the Space Station on Google Street View (Read by Heidi B.)

Google Street View is officially out of this world. In addition to browsing beautiful beaches and distant cityscapes, you can now use it to explore the International Space Station (ISS). Street View added this destination in celebration of the 48th anniversary of the first manned moon landing. Through Google, you can explore all 15 sections of the ISS, look out its windows for breathtaking views, and read all about the orbiting laboratory’s equipment and experiments. I encourage you to take a break and spend some time in space.

Microchip implants for employees? One company says yes (Read by Heidi B.)

Would you let your employer implant a microchip between your thumb and index finger to replace your ID badge? Employees at Wisconsin tech company Three Square Market allowed exactly that. In fact, more than 60 percent of the company’s employees accepted the microchips. Surprisingly, the employees aren’t weirded out, and are excited to be first to adopt a trend they anticipate will take off within the next five to 10 years. Still, I’m not sure how I feel about it. Consider me a loyal member of the ID badge club for now.

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