Inside Nike’s DIY studio for Snapchat selfie filters

Inside Nike’s DIY studio for Snapchat selfie filters

Snapchat’s Lens Studio, which lets anyone create their own augmented reality filters, has been a big hit for the company. More than 250,000 Lenses created by independent users to date, and those have been viewed over 15 billion times. Still, Snapchat wants Lens Studio to get even bigger, and what better way to help it do that than by teaming up with one of the biggest brands in the world: Nike. At NBA All-Star Weekend 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina, Nike and Snapchat built a do-it-yourself studio for people to create AR Lenses on the fly.

Ever since Snapchat launched its Lens Studio in 2017, it has spent the past 13 months making a major push to grow that platform, and this is the first time it has partnered with another company to showcase its AR-making software. Nike, meanwhile, is using the collaboration as an opportunity to market its star NBA athletes. That means you’ll see elements related to LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and others turned into part of augmented reality filters on Snapchat.

Inside Nike and Snapchat's DIY AR studio.

Inside the Snapchat Workshop, which is located at Nike’s Owners HQ pop-up in Charlotte, people can come in choose between four different templates from a custom version of Lens Studio: Sunglasses, Segmentation, Hat and Headband. Once you select one of these, the software populates virtual assets from Nike and Jordan Brand, like an inspirational quote from LeBron James that you put on your AR filter. If you’re not a fan of LeBron, you can put the name of Wesbrook’s signature shoe line (“Why not?”) on your augmented reality glasses, or just pick a Nike headband with confetti.

Depending on how creative you want to get with your NBA- and Nike-themed AR Lenses, the process could take as little as a couple of minutes. After you’ve made your filter, you just have to pair your Snapchat profile to the Lens Studio session, using a Snap code, and then publish it to your account. You can then start sharing it with your friends and the Snapchat community, who may want to use it if they’re like the way it looks. (The one I created is below, in case you’re interested.)

The thing that makes Lens Studio stand out is that you don’t have to know how to code to use it, since Snapchat designed it with both beginners and programmers in mind. And if you do run into any issues at Nike’s Snapchat Workshop, there are Lens experts readily available to guide you through the process. For Snapchat, this is just the latest example of how it views Lens Studio as a key part of its overall business strategy. Just a few months ago, the company brought AR filters to the desktop with the new Snap Camera, which lets people use filters from Lens Studio (as well as Snapchat’s own) on video-chat apps like Skype and Google Hangouts.



Shawn Dedeluk, Creative Strategy Lead at Snapchat, told Engadget that the partnership with Nike is about bringing more awareness to Lens Studio and educating consumers on what the app is capable of. “It’s really easy to make augmented reality and that’s our goal at Snapchat,” he said. “We want anybody to be able to do this, whether you have no technical skills or you’re very technically skilled.” While this experience is less about the users and more about marketing, it may still be a good step to let people get more familiar with augmented reality.

It’ll be interesting to see if, down the road, Snap starts doing more of these augmented reality workshops — especially as it looks to keep users on its service. If more people know it’s easy to create a personal augmented reality filter for their selfies, that may just keep them coming back. Dedeluk said Snap will “probably” end up building similar pop-ups in the future, noting that what the company is doing with Nike and Jordan at NBA All-Star Weekend paves the way for what could be done with other brands.

As for Nike, the sportswear giant has been experimenting with AR to sell sneakers for a couple of years, so its interest in the technology shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, Nike always finds a way to try to generate hype at big sporting events, whether that be the Super Bowl or the NBA’s star-studded mid-season game.

Gallery: Nike’s Snapchat Workshop at NBA All-Star Weekend 2019 | 22 Photos

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

Advertisements

NASA Glenn Keeps X-57 Cool

NASA Glenn Keeps X-57 Cool

NASA is preparing to explore electric-powered flight with the X-57 Maxwell, a unique all-electric aircraft which features 14 propellers along its wing.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.nasa.gov/rss/dyn/lg_image_of_the_day.rss NASA Image of the Day

The latest NASA “Image of the Day” image.

Watch the ‘Anthem’ prequel from the director of ‘District 9’

Watch the ‘Anthem’ prequel from the director of ‘District 9’


Neill Blomkamp/Twitter

A short film set in the world of BioWare’s online shooter Anthem, which highlights some of the universe’s lore, dropped on Thursday morning. Conviction is directed by Neill Blomkamp, a name you might recognize from District 9, Chappie, the ill-fated Halo movie or an upcoming RoboCop reboot.

Conviction takes us back decades before the events of Anthem, and Blomkamp uses his typical style of blending realistic CGI with live-action footage to bring the Fort Tarsis player hub to life. The three-and-a-half minute short is styled more like a movie trailer than a narrative-driven film of its own.

It’s fairly light on story, though it depicts a mysterious young woman who some freelancers (the player-controlled characters in the game) find in the jungle and bring back to Fort Tarsis. The woman seems to later become a freelancer herself, and an imposing being, perhaps a member of the villainous Dominion society, appears to interrogate someone on her whereabouts. Conviction is also packed with dazzling, rich visuals that give a taste of some of the game’s mechanics, such as the customizable Javelin exosuits and a few of the abilities you might be able to use to your advantage, such as an earth-shattering punch.

You’ll be able to explore more of the Anthem universe for yourself when the game arrives February 22nd on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Origin Access Premier members will get early access to the full game on Friday.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

Stable coins sees big inflows amid cryptocurrency volatility

Stable coins sees big inflows amid cryptocurrency volatility

Amid a collapse in the digital asset market in 2018, which saw bitcoin lose 80 per cent of its value, many investors have moved into stable coins, which have been described as the “holy grail” of cryptocurrencies. Here is what you need to know about stable coins:

What is a stable coin? 

A stable coin is a cryptocurrency pegged to another stable asset, such as gold or the US dollar. While conventional digital money like bitcoin is highly volatile, stable coins are generally traded at a fixed price.

Why are they useful?

Right now stable coins typically serve as a gateway for investors to enter the crypto-asset market.

Most cryptocurrency exchanges in the world only allow users to trade one digital token for another. That is because converting fiat currencies into cryptocurrencies is a relatively complicated matter, which involves dealing with banks and regulators in different jurisdictions.

China’s diehard cryptocurrency fans lash out at scams, lament losses as price plunge bites

If you want to buy a cryptocurrency for the first time, one of the easiest ways to do so is to turn your money into stable coins via fiat-to-crypto exchanges, such as US-based Coinbase and Hong Kong-based Coinsuper. With your stable coins, you can then jump onto bigger platforms, such as Binance, where you can trade hundreds of digital tokens.

If you decide to exit digital tokens because of volatility or another reason, you can trade them back for stable coins without having to move any money back to the fiat world.

But the use cases for stable coins go beyond being a simple gateway to the trading of digital tokens.

Stable coins can be used for everyday transactions, such as buying coffee, paying salaries or buying real estate — facing fewer barriers to mass adoption than traditional cryptocurrencies, which often come with low transaction speeds and high fees in addition to current volatility.

Chinese cryptocurrency exchanges seek reverse mergers in Hong Kong as IPO plans of bitcoin mining rig makers falter

What are the different types of stable coin out there?

The most common type of stable coin is backed by US dollars or other fiat currencies at a 1:1 ratio. The coin issuers hold the same amount of fiat money in their bank accounts – think of them as IOUs redeemable for the underlying assets.

The market leader in this category is Tether, or USTD, issued by the US-based start-up Tether Limited. However, after the company failed to provide an independent audit report, the price of Tether dipped to US$0.90 in October as investors questioned whether it is fully backed by US dollars. Still, Tether remains one of the most-traded cryptocurrencies with a market value of US$2 billion.

Rival US dollar-backed stable coins such as Gemini, TrueUSD, USDC, and Pax are issued by companies regulated in the US, and auditing is generally more transparent. All these offerings are available on most exchanges.

Hong Kong exchange head clarifies listing rules as IPO hopes dim for cryptocurrency giant Bitmain

The second type of stable coin is still pegged to the US dollar at a 1:1 ratio but the underlying collateral is other cryptocurrencies, such as ether. Every step of coin issuance is completed via a set of protocols executed on blockchains. A cryptocurrency investor is required to deposit, or lock up, an amount of ether that is worth more than the stable coin they will get in return. The over-collaterisation is intended to act as a buffer to daily price swings in ether.

There is no auditing required because everything happens on the blockchain. Popular examples include MakerDAO’s DAI and Havven’s nUSD.

The third model has no collateral at all. As crazy as the idea might sound, these stable coins use blockchain-based algorithms as a kind of central bank, whose sole purpose is to control the ‘money supply’ to make sure the coins will always trade at US$1. Examples of algorithmic stable coins include Basis and CarbonUSD.

How Chinese cryptocurrency exchange Huobi is weathering the prolonged bitcoin bear market

What is next for stable coins?

Some researchers have indicated that stable coins are not the only solution to volatility in the digital asset market – insurance policies and derivative products from the traditional world of finance can also do the job. And there appears little demand for multiple forms of stable coins and as such, weaker projects will likely get edged out of the market by the strongest.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://news.google.com/news/rss/headlines/section/q/cryptocurrency/cryptocurrency?ned=us&hl=en&gl=US

“cryptocurrency” – Google News
Google News

Watch the ‘Fire Emblem’ Nintendo Direct here at 5PM ET

Watch the ‘Fire Emblem’ Nintendo Direct here at 5PM ET


Nintendo

It’s mid-afternoon on a Wednesday for most of our readers, which is an odd time indeed for a press conference. But here we are and lucky for you, Engadget is a 24-hour news operation. Nintendo is moments away from hosting a livestream, where it has said it will reveal details about upcoming Switch games, namely Fire Emblem: Three Houses, currently due sometime this spring. [Ed. note: At least one Engadget staffer has threatened to take a week’s leave from work if this is not the case.] We’ve embedded the livestream above, and the event is expected to last 35 minutes, according to Nintendo’s terse promo. Join us, won’t you?

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

Neanderthal footprints found in Gibraltar

Neanderthal footprints found in Gibraltar

The  international journal Quaternary Science Reviews has just published a paper which has involved the participation of Gibraltarian scientists from The Gibraltar National Museum alongside colleagues from Spain, Portugal and Japan. The results which have been published come from an area of the Catalan Bay Sand Dune.

This work started ten years ago, when the first dates using the OSL method were obtained. It is then that the first traces of footprints left by vertebrates were found. In subsequent years the successive natural collapse of sand has revealed further material and has permitted a detailed study including new dates.

The sand sheets in the rampant dunes above Catalan Bay are a relic of the last glaciation, when sea level was up to 120 metres below present levels and a great field of dunes extended eastwards from the base of the Rock. The identified footprints correspond to species which are known, from fossil material, to have inhabited Gibraltar. The identified footprints correspond to Red Deer, Ibex, Aurochs, Leopard and Straight-tusked Elephant. In addition the scientists have found the footprint of a young human (106-126 cm in height), possibly Neanderthal, which dates to around 29 thousand years ago. It would coincide with late Neanderthal dates from Gorham’s Cave.

If confirmed to be Neanderthal, these dunes would become only the second site in the world with footprints attributed to these humans, the other being Vartop Cave in Romania. These findings add further international importance to the Gibraltar Pleistocene heritage, declared of World Heritage Value in 2016.

The research was supported by HM Government of Gibraltar under the Gibraltar Caves Project and the annual excavations in the Gibraltar Caves, with additional support to the external scientists from the Spanish EU project MICINN-FEDER: CGL2010-15810/BTE.

Minister for Heritage John Cortes MP commented, “This is extraordinary research and gives us an incredible insight into the wildlife community of Gibraltar’s past. We should all take a moment to imagine the scene when these animals walked across our landscape. It helps us understand the importance of looking after our heritage. I congratulate the research team on uncovering this fascinating, hidden evidence of our Rock’s past.”

Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Seville. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.sciencedaily.com/rss/top/environment.xml Top Environment News — ScienceDaily

Top stories featured on ScienceDaily’s Plants & Animals, Earth & Climate, and Fossils & Ruins sections.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/images/scidaily-logo-rss.png

New tuberculosis drug may shorten treatment time for patients

New tuberculosis drug may shorten treatment time for patients

A new experimental antibiotic for tuberculosis has been shown to be more effective against TB than isoniazid, a decades-old drug which is currently one of the standard treatments. In mouse studies, the new drug showed a much lower tendency to develop resistance, and it remains in the tissues where the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria reside for longer, killing them more effectively. The research is published February 11 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

The goal of TB drug development programs is to develop universal treatment regimens that will shorten and simplify TB treatment in patients, which typically takes at least six months, and sometimes more than a year, said lead author Gregory T. Robertson, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins.

The new drug, called AN12855, has several advantages over isoniazid. Isoniazid, requires conversion to its active form by a Mycobacterial enzyme, KatG, in order to kill the pathogen, which creates a couple of problems. First, in some M. tuberculosis, KatG is nonfunctional. That doesn’t make M. tuberculosis any less pathogenic, but it prevents the drug from working.

That creates an easy avenue for the development of drug resistance. Under selection pressure from isoniazid, the tuberculosis bacteria with nonfunctional KatG — those that don’t activate the drug — are the ones that reproduce. Under these circumstances, drug resistance may develop.

A hallmark of human tuberculosis is the presence of “heterogeneous pulmonary disease.” This includes a host defense involving confinement of invading bacteria within small cyst-like bodies called granulomas, that lack vasculature and often prevent the drug from reaching the pathogen. Most mouse TB models used for clinical evaluation of new drugs fail to produce this advanced lung pathology. Thus, they give little insight into how drugs might behave in the presence of advanced lung disease that is typical of human tuberculosis.

In the study, the investigators used a new TB mouse model that develops these M. tuberculosis-containing granulomas to compare isoniazid and AN12855. “We discovered that the drugs differed dramatically with respect to their abilities to kill the pathogen in highly diseased tissues,” said Dr. Robertson. AN12855 proved more effective, “without selecting for appreciable drug resistance,” said Dr. Robertson

The superior efficacy is not surprising: AN12855 was superior in gaining entry and being retained in the granulomas, “where M. tuberculosis is found in highest numbers,” said Dr. Robertson. “Whether this translates into improvements in treatment of human disease will be the subject of future studies.”

“Our studies also further validate the use of a new TB mouse efficacy model (dubbed C3HeB/FeJ) as a research tool to study the impact of heightened human-like disease states on the activity and distribution of TB antibiotics that are in various stages of development,” said Dr. Robertson. That could accelerate development of better TB treatments.

“Despite significant progress in combatting tuberculosis, TB remains the leading infectious cause of death worldwide,” said Dr. Robertson. According to WHO, 10 million people fell ill with TB in 2017 and 1.6 million died from the disease.” Multidrug resistance is a further challenge to the mission to control TB globally, he said. “Collectively, our group has pioneered the use of new TB mouse efficacy models to help advance innovative new therapies designed to shorten the length of TB treatment.”

Story Source:

Materials provided by American Society for Microbiology. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.sciencedaily.com/rss/top/environment.xml Top Environment News — ScienceDaily

Top stories featured on ScienceDaily’s Plants & Animals, Earth & Climate, and Fossils & Ruins sections.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/images/scidaily-logo-rss.png

US government lays out strategy to speed up rural broadband deployment

US government lays out strategy to speed up rural broadband deployment


cienpies via Getty Images

The US government has unveiled a strategy called the American Broadband Initiative (ABI), which aims to speed up broadband deployment and bring faster, reliable internet access to tens of millions of Americans who don’t yet have it. More than federal 20 agencies are involved with the project, which follows President Donald Trump signing an order last month to promote rural broadband.

A White House report outlines a three-pronged plan of attack for the ABI:

  1. Streamline Federal permitting processes to make it easier for network builders and service providers to access Federal assets and rights-of-way, reducing the regulatory burden and expediting the deployment of broadband networks.
  2. Leverage Federal assets such as towers, buildings, and land to lower the cost of broadband buildouts and encourage private entities to expand telecommunications infrastructure, especially in rural America.
  3. Maximize the impact of Federal funding to better target areas of need, improve consistency, and provide incentives for State/local policies that efficiently and effectively leverage Federal dollars.

“[W]hile the government serves an important role, we strongly believe that nothing creates innovation more effectively than unleashing the free market economy from burdensome government regulations,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue wrote in the report’s opening letter to Trump. “Toward that end, the reforms outlined in this report are dedicated to removing regulatory barriers and expanding opportunities for successful private-sector capital investments.”

Several efforts that should move the needle towards the ABI’s goal are underway or about to start rolling out. In December, for instance, the Agriculture Department earmarked $600 million in loans and grants to improve infrastructure. On Wednesday, the Interior Department announced some measures “to increase broadband internet access on federally-managed lands.” This includes allowing telecoms to deploy wired and wireless broadband infrastructure on communication towers.

“Interior manages nearly one-fifth of the surface acreage in the United States, much of which encompasses rural areas, and therefore has an important role to play in permitting broadband infrastructure,” Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhard said. The department has released a Joint Overview-Established Locations map tool that pinpoints existing infrastructure on land managed by several agencies, along with relevant contact information.

Meanwhile, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration will set up a hub for information on obtaining federal permits for broadband infrastructure. It will include details on General Services Administration-managed properties, land managed by the Forest Service and the aforementioned towers.

The ABI builds on previous efforts, including the Broadband Interagency Working Group, which was set up a little over two years ago, and the Federal Communication Commission’s Connect America Fund. Some telecoms have been reticent to build out infrastructure in rural parts of the country, and it’s not a certainty that the ABI will convince them to do so. However, streaming approval processes and more efficient federal programs could persuade them to step up their rural broadband efforts.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

Tribit’s new value Bluetooth speaker is a little bigger and a lot better

Tribit’s new value Bluetooth speaker is a little bigger and a lot better

Last year I gave high marks to Tribit’s XSound Go waterproof portable Bluetooth speaker, which sounded impressive for its small size and also had a decent design. That model’s still around — and is still a very good deal at a little more than $30 — but now it has a big brother, the Tribit MaxSound Plus, which retails for $56 in the US and £56 in the UK. (It doesn’t yet appear to be available in Australia.)

See it at Amazon

It looks very similar to the XSound Go, with the same rounded corners, but the MaxSound Plus looks to be about 30 percent larger and weighs 21 ounces (595 grams) to the XSound Go’s 13.4 ounces (380 grams). This model is also IPX7 certified, which means it’s fully waterproof and can be submersed in up to 3 feet (1 meter) of water for up to 30 minutes. We gave it a dunk and it survived.

The smaller XSound Go (left) compared to the MaxSound Plus (right).


Sarah Tew/CNET

Aside from its larger size, the MaxSound Plus has one small design change worth mentioning: The Tribit logo has been shrunk to a tasteful size. Needless to say, the large white lettering on the grill of the XSound Go looks a little garish.

As you might expect, the speaker’s larger size — and larger drivers — help it produce bigger sound with more bass. Tribit lists the XSound Go as a 12-watt speaker while the MaxSound Plus gets a 24-watt spec. While there’s no speakerphone functionality on this model, there’s an extra bass button that rounds out the bass with a little more thump. You’ll probably want to leave the bass boost on at all times, so it’s a little silly that there’s even a button for it, but it’s one of those marketing gimmicks that companies like and apparently consumers fall for.

There’s a fairly substantial jump in sound quality from the XSound Go to the MaxSound Plus. The new speaker just sounds more even and well balanced and doesn’t strain to produce adequate bass. I say adequate because these compact speakers can only produce so much bass. In other words, don’t expect the MaxSound Plus’ bass to rattle the walls of your home. It can go deeper than the XSound Go, but it can’t go that deep. (I don’t want to raise your expectations too much).

With the smaller XSound Go, more rock-oriented tunes like The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts)” sound a little thin and don’t come across so well. But listening to the same song on the MaxSound Plus you more apt to say to yourself, “Well, that sounds all right.”

View the Original Article . . .

David Carnoy {authorlink}
https://www.cnet.com/g00/3_c-6bbb.hsjy.htr_/c-6RTWJUMJZX77x24myyux78x3ax2fx2fbbb.hsjy.htrx2fwx78x78x2fwjanjbx78x2f_$/$/$/$?i10c.ua=1&i10c.dv=14 CNET Reviews – Most Recent Reviews

CNET brings you the top unbiased editorial reviews and ratings for tech products, along with specs, user reviews, prices and more.

http://i.i.cbsi.com/cnwk.1d/i/ne/gr/prtnr/CNET_Logo_150.gif

Mary Jackson: A Life of Service and a Love of Science

Mary Jackson: A Life of Service and a Love of Science

Mary Jackson began her engineering career in an era in which female engineers of any background were a rarity.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.nasa.gov/rss/dyn/lg_image_of_the_day.rss NASA Image of the Day

The latest NASA “Image of the Day” image.

Apple releases fix for the Group FaceTime bug

Apple releases fix for the Group FaceTime bug


ASSOCIATED PRESS

Apple has released iOS 12.1.4 which fixes the Group FaceTime bug that let you listen in on someone before they answered a call. Apple turned off the feature after reports of the bug emerged, and had said it would roll out a fix this week. You’ll need to update to use Group FaceTime, which remains disabled for anyone running iOS 12.1.3 or earlier.

The FaceTime bug saga isn’t over quite over yet, as the House Energy and Commerce Committee wants Apple to explain what it knew about the problem and when, after it emerged a 14-year-old and his mother tried to sound the alarm a week before the bug became public knowledge. The committee, which also asked Apple for answers on what it’s doing for people who were exposed by the bug, expects the company to respond by February 19th.

Apple said when it carried out a security audit on its FaceTime server, it also found an issue with Live Photos, though it didn’t reveal more details. It fixed that problem with this update too.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

A better way to make plastics out of sulfur

A better way to make plastics out of sulfur

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have discovered a new process to make polymers out of sulfur which could provide a way of making plastic that is less harmful to the environment.

Sulfur is an abundant chemical element and can be found as a mineral deposit across the world. It is also a waste product from the refining of crude oil and gas in the petrochemicals industry, which generates huge stockpiles of sulfur outside refineries.

Whilst being identified as an interesting possible alternative to carbon in the manufacture of polymers, sulfur cannot form a stable polymer on its own but, as revealed in a process called ‘inverse vulcanization’ it must be reacted with organic crosslinker molecules to make it stable. This process can require high temperatures, long reaction times, and produce harmful by-products.

However, researchers from the University of Liverpool’s Stephenson Institute of Renewable Energy, working in the field of materials chemistry have made a potentially game changing discovery.

In a study published in Nature Communications, they report the discovery of a new catalytic process for inverse vulcanization that reduces the required reaction times and temperatures, whilst preventing the production of harmful by-products. It also increases the reaction yields, improves the physical properties of the polymers, and allows a wider range of crosslinkers to be used.

Synthetic polymers are ubiquitous to human life and are among the most extensively manufactured materials on earth. However, with nearly 350 million tonnes of plastic produced annually, coupled with increasing environmental concerns and decreasing petrochemical recourses, there is an urgent need to develop new polymers that are more sustainable.

Dr Tom Hasell, Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University, whose group conducted the research, said: “Making polymers (plastics) out of sulfur is a potential game changer. To be able to produce useful plastic materials from sulfur, a by-product of petroleum, could reduce society’s reliance on polymers made from petroleum itself. In addition, these sulfur polymers may be easier to recycle, which opens up exciting possibilities for reducing current use of plastics.

“There is also the scope for unique new polymers with unprecedented properties. The properties of sulfur are very different to carbon, and this has already opened up a world of possible applications for sulfur polymers including thermal imaging lenses, batteries, water purification and human health.

“We made the key discovery when we decided to look to the acceleration of traditional rubber vulcanisation for inspiration. This research now marks a significant step forward in the development of inverse vulcanized polymers. It makes inverse vulcanization more widely applicable, efficient, eco-friendly and productive than the previous routes, not only broadening the fundamental chemistry itself, but also opening the door for the industrialization and broad application of these fascinating new materials in many areas of chemical and material science.”

Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Liverpool. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.sciencedaily.com/rss/top/environment.xml Top Environment News — ScienceDaily

Top stories featured on ScienceDaily’s Plants & Animals, Earth & Climate, and Fossils & Ruins sections.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/images/scidaily-logo-rss.png

HP’s ‘Copper’ VR headset will boast extra-sharp displays

HP’s ‘Copper’ VR headset will boast extra-sharp displays


HP

HP is working on a new virtual reality headset, which will be a part of Microsoft’s Mixed Reality program, according to a report from Road to VR. The headset, codenamed Copper, is still being developed but promises a high-resolution display and a more comfortable, ergonomic design than the company’s previous models.

Copper will reportedly boast a pixel-dense display with a resolution of 2,160 x 2,160 per eye. That’s nearly double the pixel count of Samsung’s Odyessy+ headset, which had a 1,440 x 1,600 resolution display, and nearly three time as many pixels as the first generation Oculus Rift. Copper’s display is also sharp enough that it won’t need to use a diffuser to obscure the “screen door effect” that occurs when there are visible gaps between pixels.

In addition to producing a better window into the world of VR, HP is also working on improving the wearability of its headset. Copper will reportedly feature a slimmer build and more ergonomic display. Copper is designed to be lighter-weight than previous VR headsets and will use a top-strap rather than a halo-style headband for improved comfort.

HP is planning on marketing Copper as both a consumer and professional, enterprise product. The company hasn’t revealed any details as to when the device will be available or how much it will cost.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

New emoji for 2019 include wheelchairs, waffles and sloths

New emoji for 2019 include wheelchairs, waffles and sloths


Unicode/Emojipedia

It’s that time of year when the Unicode Consortium decides which new emoji you’ll see, and this year’s selection of 59 new base emoji (230 if you include all gender and skin variations) is both inclusive and eclectic. To start, Apple’s accessibility emoji play a central role: you’ll find wheelchairs, guide dogs and deaf people, among other additions. Beyond those, you’ll find many different couple combinations based on skin color and gender.

Some of the additions are decidedly… sillier. New animals include a sloth, a flamingo and an orangutan, while foodies will like presence of a waffle, a juice box and an onion. You’ll also find a Hindu temple, a sari and a tuk-tuk among the other additions.

You’ll have to wait a while to see them. Unicode says new emoji “typically” arrive in September and October, or right around when Apple and Google release their major OS updates. You might have to wait later still if your Android device maker doesn’t provide updates right away. Still, these are welcome additions if you’re looking for more ways to express yourself.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

Facebook bans 22 more pages linked to Alex Jones

Facebook bans 22 more pages linked to Alex Jones


Tom Williams via Getty Images

Facebook on Tuesday began enforcing the new rules of its recently updated recidivism policy, which is why 22 pages linked to right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his website InfoWars are no longer there.

“We use a broad set of signals to determine if a Page violates our recidivism policy and determined these Pages violated our policy for reasons including having similar titles to the Pages we unpublished and having the same admins,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNN, noting that a total of 89 pages were taken down during the enforcement action.

Facebook had previously removed a number of InfoWars pages for violating its policies against hate speech and bullying. In January, the social media site reworked its existing recidivism policy, which prevents banned users from creating new pages, or groups are similar in appearance to their previous accounts to continue their antisocial shenanigans. Basically, if you get banned from Facebook you’re not allowed to start a new account that looks like your old account just so you can keep being a tool online.

“We’ve long prohibited people from creating new Pages, groups, events, or accounts that look similar to those we’ve previously removed for violating our Community Standards,” Facebook wrote in that January blog entry. “However, we’ve seen people working to get around our enforcement by using existing Pages that they already manage for the same purpose as the Page we removed for violating our standards.”

The 22 pages removed on Tuesday all shared admins with those pages previously removed last August. Oddly, Jones — despite being indefinitely suspended — still has access to his personal Facebook account, he simply is no longer allowed to create new pages or groups with it.

This of course isn’t even remotely the first time that Jones has been deplatformed. Vimeo gave Jones the boot last August while Twitter permanently banned him and InfoWars last September, the same month that Apple yanked Jones’ app from its store. Jones received a brief respite this January — for all of 4 hours — when Roku gave him a channel on its service before caving to overwhelming public outrage.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true