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Archive for February, 2019

#1,470 – Wireless Baseball

Major League Baseball recently unveiled new rules and restrictions that were put in place to prevent, curtail, and punish anyone who engages in high-tech sign stealing.

It’s worth nothing that sign stealing has been apart of baseball lore for generations.  The game doesn’t necessarily have an issue with the practice when done correctly i.e. naturally.  It’s when technology such as video cameras enter the equation that the playing field becomes uneven and the game takes exception.

However, instead of banning technology from dugouts and bullpens what if we took the opposite approach?  What if we added more technology?  In the form of wireless ear pieces that would enable players and managers to communicate directly just like NFL quarterbacks and offensive coordinators do.  After all, you wouldn’t need to worry about the opposing team stealing your signs if there aren’t any signs to steal.

It’s an idea that I first heard put forth earlier today on MLB Now by former Colorado Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd and I think it has a lot of merit.  Because in addition to making life easier for the people currently responsible for monitoring sign stealing it would also speed up the game.  No more changing up the signs with a runner on second base, no more infield huddles.  In theory, no more thinking.  Players don’t have to waste time learning signs, trying to figure out when to bunt or when to steal.  Now they can just do what they’re told.  No possible chance that the message gets lost in translation either.

Of course, there will be traditionalists who will be against this idea.  These are the same people who were against realignment, instant replay, inter-league play, and the advent of the wild-card game.  But all of those innovations worked out and so too might this one.  A high-tech solution to an age-old problem.

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Are wireless ear pieces for baseball players the Greatest Idea Ever?

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#1,469 – Galaxy Fold

It’s finally here! After years of rumors and speculation, Samsung’s long-awaited foldable phone has officially been announced. And it’ll only set you back about two thousand dollars or twice as much as a regular phone!

Will it be worth the exorbitant price tag?  Well, that depends on whether you think having a phone with a 4.5 inch screen that turns into a tablet with a 7.3 inch screen is a worthy status symbol.  Either way, we could be looking at the start of an industry wide trend.

As CNET puts it, “The Galaxy Fold feels like a moonshot, and that’s Samsung’s masterstroke here. We were given just enough information to be intrigued, but not enough to ruin the mystique. Even if the Galaxy Fold falls short of the hype, Samsung — the world’s largest phone maker — has successfully grabbed everyone’s attention. The Fold may not be a device everyone owns, but from what I can tell so far, it’s a viable example of a brand-new type of phone.”

A new type of phone that should be able to last for quite a while, longer than the traditional two year new phone cycle.

According to the Verge, “Samsung has built a sturdy backbone to the device, with a hinge system that has multiple interlocking gears. All of these gears are hidden at the rear of the device, and allow the Galaxy Fold to transform from tablet to phone modes. Samsung says it’s able to fold at least 200,000 times, which works out to over 5 years if you fold it 100 times a day”

So, will the foldable phone craze catch on?  Will any Apple fanboys flock to get one?  I guess we’ll just have to wait to see how things unfold.

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Is a foldable phone the Greatest Idea Ever?

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#1,468 – Excitons

Here’s some exciting news: the development of a whole new field of study!  One that could lead to advanced electronics and a whole new method of computing.

The breakthrough has to do with Excitons, a class of quasiparticles that only exist inside of semiconducting and insulating materials, and it relates to researchers’ newfound ability to control their flow.  A discovery that was first theorized over fifty years ago.

According to Futurism:

“One property of excitons, their valley, relates to how much energy they have. By manipulating these valleys and properties of light we can code information on nanoscopic scales. The process, known as valleytronics, is very similar to the binary 1’s and 0’s that make up the basis of all computing.

‘Our research showed that, by manipulating excitons, we had come upon a whole new approach to electronics,’ said Andras Kis, who heads the Laboratory of Nanoscale Electronics and Structures at EPFL. ‘We are witnessing the emergence of a totally new field of study, the full scope of which we don’t yet know.’”

Very exciting news indeed.

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Are Excitons the Greatest Idea Ever?

 

 

 

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Thanks to a new breakthrough it may soon be possible to 3-D print electronics directly onto our skin.  A development that could have far-reaching implications for what it means to be human.

As Futurism puts it, “It’s the stuff of cyberpunk science fiction — tattoos adorned with flashing lights and sophisticated circuitry. They’ll monitor our vitals, we’re told, and feed us personalized health advice in real time. They’ll wire our biology to the web, and put the internet of things at — on, in — our fingertips. They’ll enhance our five senses, and perhaps even give us new ones.”

But that’s not all.  These new electronic tattoos will have a whole host of applications with them even being described as the Swiss arm knives of the future.

According to the Independent:

“Researchers have figured out a way to place electronics directly onto a person’s skin using a 3-D printer, paving the way for wearable sensors and even solar cells that can charge electronics.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota developed the 3-D-printing technique using ink containing conductive silver flakes, which can be peeled off the skin when the so-called electronic tattoo is no longer needed.

Potential uses for the new technology also include printing biological cells into wounds to help them heal, which the researchers believe could lead to new medical treatments for injuries and skin grafts.”

I’ve never wanted to get a tattoo before but I may need to rethink that stance based on this new breakthrough.  For an electronic tattoo with those kind of abilities would definitely be worth having.  Making me healthier, keeping me informed, putting me in control of my own little world.  The fact that I would now be a bad ass as well would just be icing on the cake.

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Is a 3-D printed electronic tattoo the Greatest Idea Ever?

 

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Vicarious Surgical, a Bill Gates funded startup, aims to use tiny robots that doctors operate remotely through Virtual Reality to perform surgeries.  A technological breakthrough that would be like shrinking a surgeon and putting it inside of you!

According to Futurism, here’s how it would work:

“Take a tiny humanoid robot with two arms and a camera where its head should be and place it inside a person’s body through a small incision. Then have a surgeon anywhere in the world don a virtual reality system, connected to the robot. The setup lets the surgeon ‘see’ what the robot sees — and controls its arms by moving their own.”

Now this isn’t the first time that technology has been developed that would allow doctors to perform surgery remotely.  But the Virtual Reality component to give the doctors a feeling of presence is a new twist.  A combination of existing technologies in a new way leading to an additional breakthrough that could revolutionize the healthcare industry.

So, what do you think? Would you be okay with undergoing surgery in the future that’s performed by a tiny virtually remote controlled surgeon inside you?!

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Is Vicarious Surgical the Greatest Idea Ever?

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#1,465 – Vinyly

The expression thinking outside the box just took on a whole new meaning thanks to a new burial idea: turning your ashes into a vinyl record!

As Open Culture puts it, “Even in death we are only limited by our imagination in how we want to go out. There are now ways to turn our corpse into a tree, or have our ashes shot into space, or pressing our ashes into diamonds–I believe Superman is involved in that last one. And now for the music lover, a company called And Vinyly will press your ashes into a playable vinyl record.

You like that punny company name? There’s more: the business lets the dear departed to ‘Live on from beyond the groove.’ Hear that groan? That’s the deceased literally spinning in their grave…on a turntable.”

Personally, I love this idea, of any idea, that lets us live on forever in the medium of our choosing. Our legacies extending as we become an active part of our loved ones’ lives, rather than just a distant memory lying six feet under.  Which begs the question: if you could come back as an inanimate object what would you want to come back as? My choice?  A book.  A biography about my life no less.  My entire life coming full circle.

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Is Vinyly the Greatest Idea Ever?

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#1,464 – DoorStash

We’ve all had food delivered to us.  Pizza.  Chinese food.  Perhaps even something like Taco Bell thanks to the modern convenience of food delivery services like GrubHub and Uber Eats.  But what happens when we want to have our food delivered somewhere else?  What recourse do we have?  The sad answer is that nothing happens.  Our leftovers just get discarded.  Tossed aside.  Wasted.

I’d like to change that by doing something that a lot of restaurants do and that’s donating leftovers to charity to feed the homeless.  It’s an issue that we’re all well aware of, that we’d all like to do something about, but the problem is that there just isn’t any infrastructure in place to create a reverse supply chain.  But I think that there is.  The infrastructure already existing in the form of the food delivery services themselves.

Instead of delivering fresh food drivers would just pick up leftovers.  Delivering them to homeless shelters and food banks.  A reverse delivery service of sorts, with the pickups and deliveries getting handled through the app just like when you’re ordering a 2 am delivery from Jack in the Box.  Costs covered by the consumers who could then use the donations as a tax write-off.

Instead of DoorDash this would be DoorStash and it would have the potential to fix our logistical problem, finally figuring out what to do with all that wasted leftover food once and for all.

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Is DoorStash the Greatest Idea Ever?

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