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Tech Talk September 1, 2023

AI Aids Communication for ALS Patients

  • Stanford researchers have developed a technology that allows a 68-year-old woman with ALS to communicate via text.
  • Two small implants in her brain decode her thoughts into words, displayed on a computer screen at 62 words per minute.
  • This breakthrough could revolutionize communication for those with speech impairments due to illness or stroke.

Samsung’s Bixby Gets Personal

  • Samsung’s latest upgrade allows users to record their own voice for Bixby to use in responses.
  • It’s like talking to yourself when asking about the weather or setting appointments.
  • You can even use your significant other’s voice if they have a Samsung device with Bixby.

Beware of Google Business Profile Scams

  • Scammers are targeting businesses, claiming to remove negative reviews or boost online profiles.
  • Google has no department related to Google My Business operations.
  • Over 2,000 scams are reported every month, and Google is currently in a lawsuit against one such company.

Ancient Cooling Techniques for Modern Problems

  • WSU researchers are exploring ancient cooling methods as sustainable alternatives to air conditioners.
  • The aim is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and meet the rising demand for cooling solutions by 2050.
  • The research takes inspiration from ancient Egyptian cooling techniques.

NASA’s Supersonic Passenger Aircraft

  • NASA has developed a jet that can fly at Mach 4, twice as fast as the Concorde.
  • The jet can fly from New York to London in 90 minutes.
  • NASA is also working on an aircraft that can break the sound barrier without creating a sonic boom.

Apple’s Rumored “Slab Book”

  • A viral project suggests Apple may release a laptop that’s just a keyboard and trackpad.
  • The device would connect to any monitor, eliminating the need for cables.
  • This could be a game-changer in terms of portability and convenience.

Repurposing CPUs to Tackle E-Waste

  • Researchers from the University of California San Diego are giving old CPUs a second life.
  • This could significantly reduce e-waste, as 5.3 billion mobile phones are expected to end up in landfills in 2022.
  • Old CPUs could be used in less demanding processes like refrigerators or blenders.

Enerza’s Power Grid Robot

  • Waterloo-based Enerza has developed a robot that monitors power grids for potential issues.
  • The robot acts as a “guardian angel” for power lines, making grids safer and more reliable.
  • This also removes workers from dangerous work environments.

Google Enters Healthcare with AI

  • Google is competing with Amazon and Microsoft in healthcare AI.
  • Their Vertex AI software aims to improve the “handoff” process in hospitals.
  • The technology is currently being piloted by HCA Healthcare and could lead to better patient outcomes.