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Submission + - World's only sample of 'holy grail' metallic hydrogen lost in laboratory mishap (

drunkdrone writes: A piece of rare meta poised to revolutionise modern technology and take humans into deep space has been lost in a laboratory mishap. The first and only sample of metallic hydrogen ever created on earth was the rarest material on the planet when it was developed by Harvard scientists in January this year, and had been dubbed "the holy grail of high pressure physics".

The metal was created by subjecting liquid hydrogen to pressures greater that those at the centre of the Earth. At this point, the molecular hydrogen breaks down and becomes an atomic solid.

Scientists theorised that metallic hydrogen – when used as a superconductor – could have a transformative effect on modern electronics and revolutionise medicine, energy and transportation, as well as herald in a new age of consumer gadgets.

Sadly, an attempt to study the properties of metallic hydrogen appears to have ended in catastrophe after one of the two diamonds being used like a vice to hold the tiny sample was obliterated.

Submission + - World's first Braille smartwatch for the blind to begin shipping next month (

drunkdrone writes: A smartwatch designed for the blind will shortly go on sale after spending close to three years in development. The Dot watch uses a dynamic Braille face to relay messages and instructions to wearers and will begin shipping to customers in March.

Dot, developed by a South Korean start-up by the same name, uses a unique tactile watch face that incorporates rising balls to display Braille characters on-screen, allowing wearers to read messages they receive on their smartphone.

Submission + - Cosmic rays could be to blame for crashing computers ( 1

drunkdrone writes: Next time your smartphone or computer crashes, cosmic rays could be to blame. A new theory suggests that radioactive particles from outer space can interfere with electrical circuits and cause them to fail, and could explain why smartphones, laptops and other devices sometimes crash with no obvious explanation.

Cosmic rays are highly energised particles that travel through space close to the speed of light. When these crash into the Earth's atmosphere they shower the planet with ionised particles and electromagnetic radiation including protons, neutrons, electrons and gamma rays.

While these are harmless to living organisms, a study by Vanderbilt University in Nashville, US, claims that some particles carry enough energy to alter data contained in the microprocessors of electronic systems, in a phenomenon known as a single-event upset (SEU).

Submission + - Ever wanted your favourite celeb to appear in your videos? Well now they can... (

drunkdrone writes: A tech start-up has raised $27m (£22m, â26m) in second-round funding for an augmented reality (AR) app that lets users insert holograms into pictures and videos captured with their smartphone.

Holo, which is due to be released later this year by creators 8i, lets you map your surroundings using your phone's camera and then add "photorealistic" 3D characters on top. It's somewhat similar to Pokemon Go, which projects AR creatures into the real world using your smartphone's camera.

Submission + - Design concept envisions how a Snapchat phone might look (

drunkdrone writes: Snapchat has already tackled wearables with its questionable Spectacles which, while of limited appeal, at least show that the plucky mobile start-up isn't afraid of dipping its toe into new territory. Really though, the company will need to come up with something with far broader appeal if it truly wants to cash in on hardware.

Could a Snapchat smartphone be the answer? While it would only attract the most dedicated of Snapchat fans, it would at least be more practical that a set of specs with the sole purpose of capturing ten-second video clips. Snap Inc's recent IPO suggests that it is interested in developing its hardware arm, a theory backed up by a handful of recent hires at the firm as well as the fact that Snap now refers to itself as a camera company.

Social media marketing agency Mediakix has put its nose to the grindstone and imagined how a Snapchat phone might look and function. It envisions a device with custom software built around the Snapchat app, retaining the iconic swiping system that takes users to Snapchat notifications, Stories and a Discover screen that connects users to nearby Snapchatters. For additional flair, the home button is replaced by one shaped like the iconic Snapchat ghost.

Submission + - Magic Leap sued for discrimination amid claims of sexism, racism and lies ( 1

drunkdrone writes: A former Magic Leap vice-president is suing the company for sex discrimination and claims the lack of women at the Florida-based startup created a "macho bullying atmosphere" which led to missed deadlines. The lawsuit, filed by former VR of marketing Tannen Campbell, also backs up allegations that Magic Leap used misleading marketing materials to promote its mixed reality technology.

In the complaint, Campbell says she was brought into Magic Leap by CEO Rony Abovizt to help boost the number of women in the 1000-strong workforce. Campbell was also tasked with fixing what the company called its 'pink/blue problem', referring to its male-focused marketing.

Campbell claims the lack of female employees in leadership positions meant Magic Leap's device was designed predominantly for men, by men, and that the best solution it could devise to make the product female-friendly was to create a version of the product in pink.

Submission + - Tim Cook teases Apple AR plans, says it could be as big as the iPhone (

drunkdrone writes: Tim Cook has dropped the biggest hint yet that augmented reality (AR) is on Apple's product roadmap in a telling interview in which the tech CEO liked the technology to the smartphone, saying it could become a global phenomenon enjoyed by everyone.

In an interview with The Independent, Cook made a number of telling comments about his vision for augmented reality and its potential for consumers. Rather than seeing it as a product, Cook said he viewed augmented reality as a "core technology" similar to that used in the iPhone.

Apple's iPhone is credited for revolutionising the mobile market when it was released back in 2007, and Cook's comments appear to suggest that Apple is aiming to bring about a similar paradigm shift with a future augmented reality product.

Submission + - Mission possible: Self-destructing phones are now a reality ( 1

drunkdrone writes: Self-destructing gadgets favoured by the likes of James Bond and Mission: Impossible's Ethan Hunt have taken one step closer to reality. Researchers in Saudi Arabia have developed a mechanism that, when triggered, can destroy a smartphone or other electronic device in as little as 10 seconds.

The self-destruct mechanism has been created by electrical engineers at the King Abdulla University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and consists of a polymer layer that rapidly expands when subjected to temperatures above 80 degrees Celsius, effectively bursting the phone open from the inside. The mechanism can be adapted to be triggered in various ways, including remotely through a smartphone app or when it's subjected to pressure.

Once triggered, power from the device's battery is directed to electrodes that rapidly heat, causing the polymer layer to expand to around seven times its original size within 10-15 seconds. This crushes the vital components inside the device, destroying any information stored on board.

Submission + - Majority of Brits suffer from Nomophobia smartphone separation anxiety (

drunkdrone writes: Our growing reliance on mobile technology has given rise to all manner of unwanted behaviours, from social withdrawal, lowered self-esteem and even feeling 'phantom' phone vibrations. According to behavioural psychologists, the fear of being separated from your smartphone is called 'nomophobia', and it's something that hits more than three-quarters of people in the UK.

A recent study by Intel Security, co-opted by behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings, found that 79% of Brits feel anxious or extremely anxious when they didn't have their phone with them. This could be having a harmful effect on relationships as partners increasingly finding themselves "playing second fiddle" to their loved one's mobile device.

In a study of 13,000 people worldwide, that including 1,000 UK residents, a third of Brits said that their partner often appeared more interested in their smartphone than them, and felt they had to battle for their loved one's attention. The survey found that couples were often left disgruntled as mobile technology got in the way of intimate or romantic moments.

Submission + - Oh, Snap! Start-up shares skyrocket after investors mistake it for Snapchat (

drunkdrone writes: Overeager investors sent shares of little-known start-up Snap Interactive skyrocketing after mistaking it for Snapchat parent company, Snap Inc.

Shares of Snap Interactive, which creates mobile dating and social networking apps, shot up by 164% in the days after Snapchat made its Initial Public Offering (IPO) official on 2 February.

Snap Inc last week filed for a $3bn (£2.4bn, €2.8bn) stock market flotation under the ticker SNAP on the New York Stock Exchange. Analysts believe it could be one of the biggest technology IPOs in history, with previous estimations valuing the video chat app at between $20bn and $25bn.

Submission + - Fire breaks out at Samsung Galaxy Note 7 battery factory (

drunkdrone writes: A fire broke out in the Chinese factory that supplied batteries for Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 on Wednesday 8 February, before being extinguished. Nobody was injured during the incident, which happened at 6am local time.
The "minor" blaze occurred at a waste depository at Samsung SDI's plant in the Northern Chinese city of Tianjin and not on the production line, a company spokesperson told Bloomberg. Pictures posted on Chinese social media showed thick black smoke rising from the building operated by the Samsung Electronics affiliate.
A total of 19 fire engines and more than 110 firefighters are reported to have been sent to tackle the blaze. While the cause of the fire hasn't been identified, the Tianjin Fire Department said that the materials that caught fire were lithium-ion batteries and "semi-manufactured battery products" in a statement posted to social media site, Sina Weibo.

Submission + - EU ban on roaming charges to exclude UK tourists after Brexit (

drunkdrone writes: The EU ban on roaming charges due to come into effect in June will not apply to British tourists after Brexit, policymakers have said.

A leaked document from the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) says that travellers from the UK will continue to face higher bills for using their mobile phone abroad unless the government can work out a favourable Brexit deal with the EU.

Roaming charges are set to be abolished in Europe from 15 June, meaning consumers will no longer have to pay extra for using their mobile phone in other countries. Fees have been steadily falling for several years and in April 2016, the European Commission enforced caps that saw roaming charges fall by as much as 75%.

Submission + - The fastest 4G mobile network in the world arrives Down Under (

drunkdrone writes: Australian mobile operator Telstra is launching the world's fastest 4G mobile network that offers blistering download speeds of one gigabit per second (GBps). The Gigabit LTE service will be made available to customers at the end of February 2017 and is being heralded as a "key step" towards the next generation of mobile networks, 5G.

The service was announced by Telstra during the Gigabit LTE Experience Summit in Sydney, Australia, on 30 January. Its super-fast network will be coming to Sydney and other select cities in Australia and is currently achievable using Netgear's new Nighthawk M1 gigabit LTE mobile router. The AU$360 device saw the operator manage to achieve (in laboratory conditions) a download speed of 1Gbps and a peak upload speed of around 150 megabits per second (Mbps) over its 4G network.

Submission + - Virtual reality to diagnose and treat vertigo in pioneering study (

drunkdrone writes: irtual reality could be used to diagnose and treat people with vertigo, doctors believe. A team of psychologists from Cardiff University in the UK are building virtual reality simulations that will be used to identify visual triggers in patients, in the hope that it will shed light on the causes of the condition and new rehabilitation techniques.

The study aims to further psychologists' understanding of visual vertigo, an often debilitating condition causes episodes of severe dizziness and nausea in sufferers. The condition can be caused by damage to vestibular system, the part of the inner ear responsible for balance and spatial orientation in mammals.

Submission + - Japanese company working on real-life Mr Fusion that turns old clothes into fuel (

drunkdrone writes: If you thought there wasn't any use for your discarded garments beyond donating them to charity, think again. A company in Japan is on a mission to put the millions of tons of clothing thrown away in the country each year to good use by turning them into fuel.

Tokyo-based recycling company Jeplan has developed a means of extracting cotton fibres from old clothes and converting them into ethanol, an alcohol that is commonly used in engine fuel and fuel additives. It does this through a series of distilling and vaporising processes that also allows it to extract polyester fibres for reuse in new clothing.

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