5 Crazy/Cool Things That Happened This Week (May 12th, 2017)

by Srikar Kalvakolanu

Smart Denim, Snake Bots, and Spray Paint

Take a look at some of the weird, crazy, and cool things that transpired over the week in the world of technology from This Week In Tech:

  1. Carnegie Mellon Has Developed a Spray Paint for Turning Any Surface into a Touchpad

Carnegie Mellon Professor, Chris Harrison, has created something called Electrick, which is a spray paint-like substance that you can can put on any surface to make it act similar to a touch-sensitive technology similar to that of a smart phone. The name of the product Electrick has to do with the electrical signals that flow when we make contact with the things around us that inputs commands. Basically, it’s just a conductor that sends the electrical signal to a place that can interpret it. The applications they talk about include things like car safety. Other surfaces they have tried include drywall, a guitar, and a Jello-O mould. This is a really awesome technology that may make the IoT future a bit more tenable.

2. With Echo Show, Amazon Seizes The Lead In The Race To Artificial Intelligence

Amazon made the This Week in Tech list last week and it is coming up again this week. The key to their success relies on their ability to innovate the UI to make the input even easier, but Amazon realized something fairly critical: within the model of input -> function -> output, the output is just as critical as the input mechanism. Realizing this, they decided to slap a screen and camera onto the Echo. Now things like asking for a recipe can be displayed on the screen (making it an easier way to manage the information), and we can cognitively interpret more information from reading in a minute than listening. It becomes an easier way to find, interpret, and view content. I’ve personally pre-ordered one already and am fairly excited to see how this works. If you want to purchase one: they’re $229.99 and will be shipping June 28th, 2017.

3. Smart Denim with Touchable Tech Keeps You Cool and Tells You Where to Go

Google ATAP released a video of Project Soli about two years ago demonstrating the ability to use gesture control using radar technology.

Now, the first demonstrable product has come out and that is…. a denim jacket? Yes, Levi Strauss partnered with Google to make Project Jacquard with something called “Smart Denim.” There are a ton of different applications for this technology—including making commands and inputs when you’re biking or too busy to take out your phone.

There are jeans, jackets, and everything in between that can tell you when you have emails or even need sunscreen. The jacket is starting at $350.

4. Cutting-Edge 3D Scanner Will Digitize You More Realistically than Ever Before

3-D scanning has been an important technology for creating realistic models in video games, and even for study and medical discovery. If you’ve ever played video games that let you do face models, you might have realized they’re not that great. However, German engineers have made a new device that can 3-D scan at a 1000 x 1000 pixel density at 36 3-D images per second. The scanner uses infrared signals to find measurements against objects in order to build highly accurate 3-D models at an efficient rate. Possible use cases for this technology include video game models, gesture and facial recognition technology, and medical rehabilitation.

5. Sensor-Filled Guardian S Snakebot Can Even Slither Vertically Up Walls

So, just like the main character of Metal Gear Solid (conspicuously called Snake), this snake-bot is meant for reconnaissance. Sarcos built this bot in order to traverse all different terrains and even use its magnetic body to stick to the ceiling and on walls. The CEO of Sarcos, Ben Wolff, thinks that this is a major step forward for UGVs (Unmanned Ground Vehicles) and it helps mobility, range battery life, and makes the bot event lighter.