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Every Big Smartphone Might Boast An ‘AI Chip’ In 2018

The current smartphone market has almost reached its saturation point. And here, I am not talking about sales numbers. Maybe, people have stopped getting excited about the processor and other hardware specs. So, what should be the next secret sauce to boost the sales of the smart devices?

 

It would involve making the smart devices even smarter. That can be done by adding a dedicated AI chip to the devices. However, it isn’t a secret sauce anymore, but it could be a compelling reason for you to buy flagship device. Apple has done it with their A11 Bionic on iPhone X and Huawei has stuffed AI into their Kirin 970 chip.

According to a report by Korea Herald, Samsung will start making AI chips by next year. This is required on their part if they don’t intend to lose the technology race in which AI is the new fuel. And isn’t it an important development for Samsung to empower their Bixby voice assistant?

Sources told the publication that the company would aim to commercialize the AI chips over the next few years.

One of the sources from Samsung’s partners said that the company “is in the middle of developing several types of chips that will be capable of processing massive data from AI applications on devices, eliminating the need to communicate with cloud servers.” Even Samsung also dropped a hint about AI chip in the making at a technology forum in Seoul.

Initial applications of AI are already on our smartphones, including voice recognition and machine learning. However, processing complex data on the device without sending it to the cloud requires advanced chips. And our traditional CPUs and GPUs aren’t capable of doing the same. So, if not by early 2018, in later months we might see most flagship smartphones featuring an AI chip.

“Competition for AI chips is so intense globally that we will be able to see AI chip-equipped smartphones in the second half of next year,” Yoo Hoi-jun, a professor at Korea Advanced Institue of Technology, told Korea Herald.

Also, in the next few years, the AI-based processing on devices could improve by up to 50%, according to a source. So, dedicated AI chips are closer than we might assume.

How To Download Any Video From The Internet — The Ultimate Guide

Video content has taken the Internet by storm. So much that one can gradually expect the web to become more and more video-centric. In fact, just like YouTube soon Facebook might even pay you money for publishing your videos.

Be it tutorials, news, music, pranks or memories with your friends and family, there is no denying the fact that videos are the best way to relive the first-hand experience of them all. As such, you may want to download videos and save them for later viewing.

But how do we do that? With the overwhelming number of tools, extensions, and software available on the Internet, it is really easy to get confused about which one to choose.

Worry no more, as we bring to you a list of some of the best alternatives which shall enable you to download almost any video from the internet. But keep in mind, that you should only download videos when you have the copyright owner’s permission, otherwise it shall be considered an illegal act.

How to Download YouTube Videos

Think video and the first word to automatically pop up in your head would be YouTube. With over 1 billion users uploading more than 300 hours of awe-inspiring videos to the site every minute, YouTube has a Pandora’s Box worth of videos to everyone’s liking.  In order to download videos from YouTube, you can use one of the following services:

Savefrom.net

In order to download YouTube videos from savefrom.net, all you need to do is add ‘ss’ after ‘www’ in the URL of the YouTube video.

For example: Consider this YouTube URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxKvvOr_jyM
Just change it to: https://www.ssyoutube.com/watch?v=bxKvvOr_jyM

You will be redirected to a page where you can download the video in the desired quality and format

KeepVid

Another reliable way to download YouTube videos is KeepVid. All you have to do is to copy and paste the URL of the YouTube video and then click on the “Download” button. The next screen provides you with the option to choose the quality and format of your liking. Choose one and hit “Download”.

KeepVid Download YouTube Videos

ClipConverter.cc

Yet another alternative for downloading YouTube videos is Clip Converter. It is a free online media recorder application which will allow you to record, convert and download nearly any audio or video URL to common formats. In order to download a YouTube video, paste your YouTube URL at Video URL and press “Continue”. Then select the format and the options for conversion and press “Start”. Once the conversion is finished, you would be able to download the converted file.

ClipConverter Download YouTube Videos

Recommended: How To Download YouTube Videos Using VLC

How to Download Facebook Videos

Facebook has been growing at such a pace that other social networking platforms have been left far behind. In fact, Facebook has been prioritizing videos and even plans on challenging Google’s video business. Since the days when people used to share trending videos on FB have been replaced by ways in which Facebook itself makes stuff viral, you might want to download Facebook videos on your device now and then. Here’s how:

GetFBStuff

GetFbStuff is another useful website for downloading Facebook videos. The website is very resourceful and allows you to download public and private Facebook videos, download Facebook page photo albums with a host of other options. You can read our tutorial, to find out how to download Facebook videos from GetFbStuffhere.

GetFBStuff Download Facebook Videos

FBDown

FBDown is a great tool for downloading Facebook videos. Open a Facebook video, right-click and choose the “Show Video URL” option.

Once you do that, the URL will pop up in a small window. Copy this URL

FBDown2 Download Facebook Videos

Now open FBDown, paste the URL and hit “Download” to download the required Facebook video. This method works only for those Facebook videos whose privacy is set to ‘Public’. What’s more, FBDown also comes with its own Google Chrome extension, just in case you feel lazy about leaving the site just to download a video.

FBDown3 Download Facebook Videos

In case you wish to download private Facebook videos, you can use another service provided by FBDown, known as “FBDown Private“. To download a private Facebook video, go to the video that you wish to download. Press ‘CTRL+U’ or Right Click-> View Page Source

FBDownPrivate1 Download Facebook Videos

Go to FBDown Private, paste the source code and press “Download”.

FBDownPrivate2 Download Facebook Videos

m.facebook Alternative

Here is another ingenious way to download Facebook videos. Open the Facebook video on your browser. Now replace the ‘www‘ by ‘m’. This will open the mobile version of Facebook for you.

For Example: Consider this URL: https://www.facebook.com/fossbytes/videos/1135171799944065/
Just change it to: https://m.facebook.com/fossbytes/videos/1135171799944065/

When you play the video you will see a “Download” icon on the bottom right corner. Click on it to download that Facebook Video.

mFacebook Alternative Download Facebook Videos

Recommended: A Complete Guide On Facebook Tips And Tricks

How to Download Twitter Videos

Without any doubt, Twitter is one of the most popular social media platforms and as such a great source of videos from your favorite pages, celebrities, friends, and family. In order to download Twitter videos, you can use either of the following services.

Twitter Video Downloader

Twitter Video Downloader is an awesome free tool for downloading Twitter videos and gifs. In order to download the Twitter videos, all you need to do is click on the Tweet, copy its URL, paste it in the input URL box and click on the “Download” button.

TwitterVideoDownloader Download Twitter Videos

TWDown.net

One of the best and most secure free Twitter video downloader online, TWDown generates direct links for your favorite Twitter videos and enables you to save them for offline viewing and sharing. Simply copy and paste the URL of the video in the input box and hit the “Download” button.

TWDown Download Twitter Videos

Download-Twitter-Videos

This is another reliable site for downloading Twitter videos quickly. Just copy the URL of the Twitter video in the provided box and press the “Download” button to download in the desired quality and format.

DownlodTwitterVideos Download Twitter Videos

How to Download Instagram Videos

Instagram is nothing short of a phenomenon. There is no dearth of people waiting to pout and post selfies, stories or videos all day long. There are numerous ways to download Instagram videos, here are some:

Insta-downloaderinsta-downloader.net

Instagram Downloader is the best Instagram photos and videos downloader that makes your job very simple. All you need to do is copy the URL and paste in the specified box at the top of the website. One should note that it’s the only website that lets you download the entire catalog of photos and videos in one go. Do check it out, you won’t regret it.

DreDown

In order to download Instagram videos, simply find the URL of the video that you would like to download, paste that URL into the field and hit the “Dredown” button.

DreDown Download Instagram Videos

SaveDEO

Another possible alternative for downloading Instagram videos is SaveDEO. The procedure is the same as the one stated previously, copy-paste the URL and press the “Download” button to download the video.

SaveDeo Download Instagram Videos

Download-Instagram-Videos

You can download Instagram videos in a few seconds using this service without any fuss. Just enter the Instagram URL that you would like to download and choose the quality and format in which you would like to do so. As simple as that.

DownlodInstagramVideos Download Instagram Videos

How to Download Vimeo Videos

Though not that well known or diverse as its rival YouTube, there is no denying that Vimeo is a great place to discover amazing pieces of art, movies, and animation. There are few efficient Vimeo video downloaders available online, some of the best ones are:

Savevideo.me

One of the most dependable ways to download Vimeo videos is savevideo.me. The site constantly keeps updating its search algorithm of direct links to enable you to save video clips quickly and easily. All you have to do in order to download a video is to copy its URL, enter it in the input box provided and push the “Download” button.

savevideo Download Vimeo Videos

VimeoInMp4

VimeoInMp4 is a great website for downloading Vimeo videos quickly. It requires no Java plugins and works on both cell phones & consoles. As usual, copy-paste the URL and press the “Download MP4” button.

VimeoInMp4 Download Vimeo Videos

VideoGrabber

VideoGrabber allows you to download, convert videos and record your screen as well. With a slick user interface, this service allows you to install Vimeo videos in a jiffy. What’s more, VideoGrabber comes with a Desktop Version as well.

VIdeoGrabber Download Vimeo Videos

Recommended: Stream Online Videos And Music Using VLC Media Player

How to Download Dailymotion Video

Dailymotion is the world’s second largest video sharing website behind YouTube and offers some of the highest quality video content available on the internet. Following are some great alternatives for downloading Dailymotion videos:

Online Video Converter

One of the well renowned online media conversion web applications which is accessible on any Android, Apple or Windows device, Online Video Converter offers the perfect solution for downloading Dailymotion Videos in extremely high quality.

OnlineVideoConverter Download Dailymotion Videos

Catchvideo

Catchvideo.net allows you to download videos in as high as 4K resolution. It also comes with a handy extension for your web browser. To download Dailymotion videos, paste the video link in the input box and press the “Catch!” button.

Catchvideo Download Dailymotion Videos

TubeOffline

TubeOffline is a relatively newer service as compared to the other free media converters and downloader available on the web. But not to say it is any less powerful than any of them. With support for new popular video sites added every weekend, it is a fine alternative for downloading Dailymotion videos.

TubeOffline Download Dailymotion Videos

How to Download Vine Videos

Though the short looping video outrage no longer accepts new entries, but you still have access to over 39 million entries in the vine archive. Here are some of the best ways to download those Vines on your device:

VineDownloader

A very simple method to download vines is via VineDownloader. Just grab the link of the Vine, paste it in the input box and hit “Download”

VineDownloader Download Vine Videos

Vine Video Download

This is another reliable alternative for downloading Vines, in case other options do not work out. Again, just paste the link of the Vine URL and press “Go”.

VineVideoDownload Download Vine Videos

How to Download Hotstar Videos

Initially built to stream cricket matches live, over time it has grown to offer TV serials, movies, news and other quality content to its users. There are various ways to download Hotstar videos for later viewing, you can try out any one of these:

Download Hotstar videos on Mobile

This is the most basic and official method to download Hotstar videos and movies. Hotstar itself provides you with the links to download some of its content. In order to download it, first install the Hotstar app on your mobile. Open the video and check if it is available for download. If it is, you will see a download icon similar to the one in the image below:

Download Hotstar Videos

Now click the “Download” button, choose the quality in which you want to download the video and your video will start downloading immediately.

Download Hotstar Videos

Note that the video will not be saved in your phone but on the Hotstar app as an offline video.

TelechargerUneVideo

In case the previous method doesn’t work out for you, you can always use Telechargeunevideo to download Hotstar videos. It is a notable third party free media converter which will automatically generate links for you to download the Hotstar video of your choice. All you need to do is to enter the URL of your desired video and press the “Get Download Links” button.

 

Screen Recorders

Considering the chance that nothing works out, the following screen recorders represent a good backup option and will let you record anything playing on your screen.

Ezvid

Ezvid offers an elegant solution to your screen recording needs. It boasts of cutting edge effects & features and comes with a video creator as well. It provides for voice recording, face cam, voice synthesis, screen drawing and speed control to name a few.

ezvid Screen Recorders

Camstudio

Though it may not boast of the greatest UI amongst its contemporaries, but its powerful functionalities and ease of use compromise for it. It is completely free, can create a screen in screen video, convert AVI format into flash and provides for a custom cursor amongst its numerous features.

CamStudio Screen Recorder

Note:

The tools mentioned above should only be used for downloading free online videos for personal use. Different websites have different policies and it is recommended that you review these policies carefully and proceed at your own risk. Fossbytes in no way encourages the illegal distribution or duplication of copyrighted content. Before downloading, copying or distributing any video content online make sure you are not violating the law.

How To Find Saved WiFi Passwords In Linux?

If you’ve ever tried to install an operating system, for e.g., Ubuntu Linux, on your own, you might have noticed that you are asked to enter your WiFi password right at the start of the setup. This helps the setup to fetch latest updates and provide you a ready-to-use operating system after the installation. Once you enter your WiFi password, Linux saves it and makes sure that you don’t need to enter your passwords again and again.

The same happens in the case of an Android smartphone. So, if you are not the person who had initially set the WiFi password of the network, it’s very easy to forget the password at a later stage. It might seem impossible to you at the moment but it does happen in the real-life situations.

Note: In this article, I’ll be using Ubuntu Linux for showing you how to find saved passwords in Linux. However, it’s more like a general method and you can use it on Linux Mint, Elementary OS, etc.

In such case, we need some way to recover the saved WiFi password in Ubuntu Linux. In the past, we’ve already told you how to recover the WiFi password in Windows operating system. Please note that here I’m not mentioning the ways to “crack” the security using some WiFi hacking apps. Here, you’ll be simply learn how to see your own password without any malicious intentions.

Recovering wireless password in Ubuntu Linux can be done both via terminal and GUI. So, let’s tell you about the methods one by one —

Finding WiFi password of current network in Linux

Get wireless password using simple commands in terminal

1. As this exercise involves running some simple commands, you need to open a new Terminal window.

2. Now run the following command in terminal to locate where the network connection details are stored:

wifi network password ubuntu3. With the ls command, list the all the saved networks on your Ubuntu machine:

4. Now with the help of cat command followed by the network name, you can see the saved details. Under the section, WiFi-Security, you can find the password which will be prefixed by “psk=”. Also, don’t forget to replace Fossbytes by your own network name:

 

wifi network password ubuntuRecover Wireless Password Using Ubuntu Desktop (no commands)

1. First you need to click on the WiFi icon in the top right corner to reveal a drop-down menu. At the bottom of the menu, Edit Connections option.wifi network password ubuntu

2. After clicking the network connections, you’ll see different options under Ethernet and Wi-Fi. You’ll see the saved network connections under the Wi-Fi option. Depending upon your requirement, you can click on a WiFi network to select it and press the Edit button for further operations.wifi network password ubuntu

3. After you click the Edit option, a new window will appear with different tabs. There, you need to select the Wi-Fi Security tab. This will reveal the security and password associated with it. It’ll be hidden.wifi network password ubuntu

4. Now tick the Show Password option to show the saved password of the network. If you’re not acquainted with the other options, don’t fiddle with them as they might end up messing with your wireless configuration.wifi network password ubuntu

Using any of the above-mentioned methods, you can find the saved WiFi passwords on Ubuntu Linux. Don’t forget to share your views while performing this actions.

 

Hacker Who “Killed” WannaCry Arrested In US For Allegedly Creating Kronos Trojan

A security researcher, named Marcus Hutchins, was able to halt the WannaCry infection accidentally while studying the same. For those who don’t know about the malware, here’s our detailed WannaCry coverage. Now, in a surprising development, US authorities detained Hutchins in Las Vegas.

According to Motherboard, Hutchins is accused of creating, spreading, and maintaining banking trojan Kronos between 2014 and 2015. He was arrested by the FBI after the DefCon and Blackhat conference in Las Vegas.

The major claims made by the FBI in its indictment are:

  • Marcus Hutchins created Kronos Malware
  • He advertised the availability of the Kronos malware on internet forums. He also posted a video demo on a website
  • He offered to sell trojan for $3,000 in August 2014
  • He also took care of the maintaining and updating Kronos
  • In June 2015, sold a Kronos version for about $2,000

The FBI’s indictment also has the information related to a second defendant. However, it refrains itself from naming the second conspirator.

In an email sent to Motherboard, a UK National Crime Agency representative said, “We are aware a UK national has been arrested but it’s a matter for the authorities in the US.”

On the other hand, a friend of Hutchins told that he tried to visit the Henderson Detention Center in Nevada but Hutchins was moved to another facility.

Should I Keep My Laptop Battery Plugged In All The Time?

 

batter-charging-best-practices

While we talk about new gadgets and software all the time, we often ignore the batteries that provide the juice to power them. Similarly, our laptop batteries are one of the most important parts that often get ignored in the high octane discussions involving RAM and GPUs. Still, some battery-related questions keep on popping up regularly —  Should I keep my laptop plugged in all the time? Should I drain my laptop battery completely before charging?

Well, the answer to this question isn’t that simple. Before solving this query, let me tell some facts about your laptop battery that’ll help you understand the answer.

Will my battery harm itself if the laptop is plugged in all time? It is one of the most searched battery-related questions on the internet. Some of you might be surprised to know that there’s nothing like “overcharging” a battery. Instead, you should avoid overheating your laptop and discharging its battery fully.

 

Here are some battery basics!

Most laptop batteries are either lithium-ion or lithium-polymer. These batteries are designed to withstand numerous charge cycles. These batteries can not be overcharged, which means that as soon as they are 100% charged, they stop charging. These batteries stop receiving energy which is bypassed directly to your laptop’s power supply. So, keeping it plugged in won’t harm your battery and cause much difference to the overall battery life. But, there are some other critical factors that we’ll be discussing later.

Another concept that one must keep in mind is that there are some good practices that extend the life of your laptop battery. Your battery has a finite number of charge-discharge cycles, so, discharging your battery completely repeatedly is going to harm its life.

Overheating is your battery’s biggest enemy!

You’ll be surprised to know that overheating is the most critical factor when it comes to the prolonged life of a battery. We told you above that keeping your laptop plugged in won’t kill your battery. True. But, you also need to take care of the excessive heating caused by laptop hardware.

So, if your laptop’s CPU/HDD temperature is around 40ºC, keeping the laptop plugged in is fine. But, if your laptop has got a removable battery and you wish to use your laptop intensively, you are advised to remove the battery from the socket.

So, what should I do? What’s the final answer?

Nowadays not all laptops come with removable batteries. So, removing the battery from the socket to cool it down isn’t a viable option. Instead, there’s a simple method that can help you extend your battery’s life in a different manner. According to the tests performed by Battery University, a battery that is charged to 100 percent will have only 300-500 discharge cycles. One the other hand, if it’s charged to 70-80%, it’ll get 1000-2000 recharge cycles.

Based on what I’ve told you in this article, here are some notable points:

Avoid discharging your laptop completely after charging it. The best thing you can do is try to keep the battery level between 40 percent to 80 percent.

 

Make sure that your laptop doesn’t get too hot and your cooling fan is working properly.

 

Your laptop battery can’t “overcharge” and harm itself due to excessive charging. It’s smart enough to bypass the charging energy.

 

Is It Safe To Charge My Laptop With A Charger That Has Different Specifications?

There are some situations in your technology-fueled life when there’s no option but to borrow chargers from your friends. You might have experienced such situation after losing your charging cable or any other reason. Often people look for laptop chargers of the same company and try to get things done. But, does a charger of a different wattage harm your device? Is it safe to use a power supply with a different configuration? In this article, I’ll try to answer these questions.

What if I use a different charger to charge my laptop?

You might be knowing that each power adapter is designed to work with a certain AC input. It converts the input into a particular DC output that charges and runs our electronic devices. Many sensible device manufacturers write lots of information on the chargers, making the harder part of fetching the values of voltage and current easier. However, in situations when there is little or no information on the label, one should select a different charger with utmost care.laptop-charger-1-dell

The first thing that anybody would consider is that the charger you’re grabbing has a connector that perfectly fits. In most Android smartphones, it’s no brainer. In laptops, many shapes of connectors are proprietary (Apple says hello!). So, other chargers might not fit properly.

laptop-charger-apple
Apple has proprietary chargers that won’t fit anywhere else

After this, you need to take care of the voltage and Amperage. In most cases, the voltage is listed somewhere on the power brick. If everything is same, then things should be okay. In cases where the voltage is too high, your laptop might end up shorting due to overload. So, you’ll want the voltage (and polarity) on your device to match the voltage of your charger.

Coming to Amperage, it regulates how much power flows per unit time from the charger to your laptop. For proper functionality, the amperage listed on your charger must match or exceed the one needed by your device.

So, here are few short points to keep in mind:

  • Size and shape of the connector should match
  • Voltage and polarity should match
  • Amperage should match or exceed
  • Lower amperage might fry your charger and heat the laptop

While there are other minor points governing a healthy laptop operation, the above-mentioned points will be enough for a good performance. In case your device is using a USB charger, these point don’t really matter as they are almost the same.

My Computer Is Making Weird Noises – What Could Be The Real Reason?

Do you ever hear some weird noises coming from your PC? The usual cracking, popping, whining or spinning sounds are fine, but if it’s not something you hear regularly, then it is something to worry about.

Noises from your computers are normal, but was it a ‘clicking noise’? That means something isn’t functioning right. Maybe, the hard drive has crashed or anything worse than that. So better don’t ignore if it happens.

There may be few reasons your system is making such noise. Some can be plain reasons, but some might be serious. Anyways, why take risks?

The real reasons behind weird noises from your PC

Basically, clicking sounds come when any of the PC’s moving parts like CD drives, fans, disks, etc. are blocked or are failing. Let’s take a look at what might be the possible reasons.

For the most basic thing, check if anything hasn’t caught up in the fan or any spinning parts. Make sure there is nothing tangled in the cables and other complicated parts of the system. Perhaps, it is because of the entry of some foreign particles that are making such noise.

Or else there may be some serious problem.

Is it your hard drive?

Generally, hard drives make a clicking noise, but only with a dim sound. The functioning and design of the hard drives resemble a high tech record player.  Faint ‘hum’, ‘whir’ noise is fine, but if you hear a harsher sound, don’t forget to find the problem.

Before it stops working or completely crashes, backup your data. Backing up, anyways is something you must be regularly doing in your system.

It can be the CD or DVD Drive

Again the instructions go in the same way as were for hard-drives. If these CD or DVD drives ever make a loud clicking noise, it simply means that the moving parts of the disks aren’t functioning right.

Though failing disc drives aren’t a big problem compared to failing hard drives. There is no such emergency of backing up of data, until and unless there is something you immediately need to store.

Or is it a Blocked Cooling Fan?

Cooling Fans in systems are meant to cool down parts and export internal hot air. Noises from Cooling Fans come when, for any reason, parts inside gets disturbed.

But the solution is handy. First, shut down the system. And remove any unnecessary cables coiling around the Fan. Take a look at your fans on your CPU and graphic card too. For an effective solution, you can keep a check on internal cable organization.

Also, clean the dust collected on your fan for which you may use some cotton and isopropyl alcohol. Let it dry before you check it’s working or not. And yes, you can obviously change the fan if you want.

Speakers or Monitor?

The clicking sound from your speakers and monitor isn’t a usual thing either.

Can it be Power Issues?

Does your PC make noise before it shuts down? Then probably there is a power issue.

Check for the connection, if each part is securely connected to the power supply. If it still doesn’t work, go for a new power supply, or a new motherboard or perhaps a new system.

Is your computer making weird noises? Don’t forget to share your experiences with us.

Stephen Hawking Incredible Prediction For Humanity

Stephen Hawking is at it again, filling our hearts with optimistic predictions about humanity’s boundless potential. Just kidding. His latest estimation gives us about 100 years to leave the planet or die. Although, given the Trump administration’s latest attack on health care, a 100-year window to set ourselves straight seems pretty generous.

Last year, the famous theoretical physicist estimated we had a solid millennium to avoid near-certain extinction. Facing threats of climate change, nuclear war, overpopulation, asteroid strikes, and a robot takeover, we do have the odds stacked against us. But why the sudden alteration to Earth’s expiration date? Well, there’s a fairly obvious reason Hawking might be peddling a serious dose of doomsday terror: His new BBC documentary about colonizing Mars, Expedition New Earth, airs this

Publicity plays aside, how feasible is it for humans to ditch the only home we’ve known and loved for a red rock 34 million miles away? According to Popular Science, it’s theoretically possible, but would take an effort of truly epic proportions. First of all, Mars might not be the wisest option, what with its toxic soil, subzero temperatures, and unbreathable atmosphere. But once you find a habitable spot in the vast reaches of space, the problem then becomes getting a large enough population to that destination in a safe and somewhat reasonable amount of time.

There’s also the question of who’s going to pay for these interstellar projects, as well as who gets to dash off to establish an alien colony. Starting over in a galaxy far, far away doesn’t sound nearly as enticing if we’re just going to take economic disparity with us. Surely, we’re all excited to find out how Hawking addresses these problems in his new documentary, but in the meantime, it might be wise to focus our energies on extending our lease here on Earth first.

 

Doctors using virtual reality breathe new life into the technology

Earlier this year, inside a cramped, windowless corner office at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, I put on a virtual reality headset and tried to save a little girl’s life.

It wasn’t real, of course, but it sure felt like it was. The blotchy, wheezing, seven-year-old struggling to survive while suffering from anaphylactic shock was nothing more than a bunch of digital polygons. Still, the experience triggered every real human reaction you’d expect, flooding my brain with fear, stress, and anxiety.

Once I slipped the VR goggles off of my head, one other emotion struck me too: excitement. After a few tough years for the virtual reality industry, a wave of medical VR programs are breathing new life into this cutting-edge technology.

Just this past week, VR made headlines for helping surgeons separate conjoined twins in Minnesota. The National Institutes of Health Vaccine Research Center uses it to find weak spots on viruses. Virtual reality also made remarkable headway treating PTSD in soldiers, educating pediatric heart patients and their families, and speeding up rehab in stroke victims.

“The medical uses are pretty amazing,” says Unity Technologies’ Tony Parisi, one of the early pioneers of virtual reality. “We’re seeing the perfect confluence. Anything you can do to train people more quickly, effectively, and cheaply is a boon to the healthcare industry. VR is a rapidly evolving technology that solves a lot of problems here.”

VR has yet to find the right problem to solve for mainstream consumers, and has suffered for it. The technology that powers high-priced headsets like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR — and even portable VR gadgets like Google’s DayDream and Samsung’s Gear VR — is undeniably impressive, but hasn’t lived up to the hype.

In 2016, analysts at Super Data Research predicted as much as $5.1 billion dollars in sales of VR hardware, software and accessories for the year. The reality was actually around $1.8 billion. Even those companies that bet big on virtual reality have recently slashed prices, too, throwing in freebies, and doing just about anything to get VR gadgets off the shelf and into the hands of everyday people.

Does that mean VR is a flop, akin to Google Glass? That augmented reality predecessor to VR was met with jeers and criticism by the general public, and Google shelved the product before announcing its reboot as a business device earlier this month. 

Not a consumer flop, says Tirias Research principal analyst Kevin Krewell, but rather "over-inflated and over-hyped."

"When Facebook bought Oculus for two billion dollars everyone said, Mark Zuckerberg just bet two billion on it, ‘Oh, this is going to be huge,'" Krewell notes. 

"It will be, just not overnight.”

VR gadgets such as the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Sony’s PSVR are well liked, and receive positive reviews from the tech community. Yet they've yet to strike a nerve with the masses, likely due to a combination of cost, content and comfort.

The deep-pocketed backers of virtual reality have faith it will happen. Until then, it's gaining momentum in business and science applications.

“The heart is a complicated three-dimensional organ, and it’s really hard to describe what’s going on inside of it — especially when something is going wrong,” says David M. Axelrod, MD. The clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine is spearheading the development of a new virtual reality program called Stanford Virtual Heart.

Through a VR headset, the program gives medical trainees the freedom to explore and manipulate a lifelike human heart as it hovers in front of them, spotting defects and becoming more familiar with the issues heart patients experience. “Virtual reality eliminates a lot of that complexity by letting people go inside the heart and see what’s happening themselves — it’s worth way more than a thousand words.”

The freedom that VR affords is priceless, but it’s also helping to reduce cost. At Children’s Hospital L.A., doctors are trading high-priced training mannequins for VR headsets, ditching the cost of purchasing and maintaining plastic models, which can top $430,000 every year, and adopting a virtual trauma center where lifelike virtual patients are fighting for their lives.

“The VR patient changes color of skin, monitor changes, the sound of the monitor changes, those are all cues to us that okay, I have to do this now or else I’m going to be in trouble,” Dr. Joshua Sherman, a pediatric emergency medicine specialist at CHLA, says. “And when you make that action, you watch it change and that gives you positive reinforcement that you did the correct thing, or the incorrect thing, if the situation gets worse. VR is amazing for that.”

Wisconsin company announces it will be installing MICROCHIPS in their employees – but insists there’s no GPS tracking

  • Three Square Market will become first in US to implant microchips in employees 
  • Employees will be able to make purchases in their break room micro market, open doors, login to computers and use the copy machine, by scanning chip
  • Chip will be implanted between the thumb and forefinger under the skin 
  • Each chip costs $300 and company CEO said 'there's no GPS tracking at all'.

A Wisconsin company announced this week that it plans to install microchips in employees, but they are insisting there will be 'no GPS tracking'. 

Three Square Market, a company that designs software for break room markets, is about to become the first in the US to offer microchip implants to its employees.

According to their press release, the program will be optional for employees and the company will begin implementation on August 1. 

The implanted Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) chip will allow workers to make purchases in their break room micro market, open doors, login to computers, use the copy machine, among other things. 

Wisconsin company, Three Market Square announced this week that it plans to install microchips (file image) in employees to use in break room markets

 

'Eventually, this technology will become standardized allowing you to use this as your passport, public transit, all purchasing opportunities, etc,' Three Market Square CEO, Todd Westby, said. 

The company is expecting over 50 staff members to be voluntarily chipped with the technology that is no larger than a small grain of rice. 

Employees will have the chip implanted between the thumb and forefinger underneath the skin. 

Westby explained that users of the chip will scan their items at a break room market kiosk and hit pay with a credit card. 

Chip users will then hold their hands up, similar to how consumers pay for products using their cellphones, and it'll pay for the product.

Each chip costs $300 and the company will pay for them. Westby said the data is both encrypted and secure and for those wondering, 'there's no GPS tracking at all'.

The company is expecting over 50 staff members to be voluntarily chipped (file image) with the technology that is no larger than a small grain of rice. Each chip costs $300 and for those wondering, 'there's no GPS tracking at all'