The Cochin International Airport located in Cochin, India became the world’s first fully solar-powered airport last year in August. The idea to use solar panels started about three years ago when they airport started placing panels on the roofs of the terminals and then on and around the hangars. The airport managers were tired of expensive bills and had the goal to be completely independent of the electricity grid. The cost of the solar panel project was approximately 620 million rupees with is equivalent to $9.3 million USD with the plan to start saving money in less than six years. After the word got out about Cochin International Airports project to cut electric costs, other large airports started planning and implementing solar panels around their own airports to save a lot of money on electricity. I think that many airports will begin adding large amounts of solar panels around the airports and in the long-term there will be a lot of money saved that could be used elsewhere to help the airport.
Do you think that majority of the airports around the world will be using solar panels in the next 5 years?
What do you think will be the biggest obstacle for airports implementing solar panels?
Former Facebook president and Napster co-founder, Sean Parker, recently teamed up with entertainment mogul, Prem Akkaraju, to pitch an interesting potential disruptive innovation to the movie industry called “Screening Room”. Screening Room will allow users to stream a movie that opens that day in theaters, at home. For $50, you get to rent a brand new film for 48 hours. However, due to all of the piracy that goes on today, Screening Room will also require a $150 equipment box with anti-piracy protections in order to watch their movies. The $200 price tag to watch your first movie seems steep to me. I suppose in a lot of cases, you go to the movies with a group of friends, so this could open the door for splitting the $50 movie fee and gathering at one person’s house that has the Screening Room box, like a Pay-Per-View fight. Each $50 movie purchase also comes with 2 tickets in case you did want to still see it in theaters, for some reason. Whether you think this is a good idea or not, some of the biggest directors in Hollywood see the potential, with names such as Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and J.J. Abrams investing in it.
- Do you think “Screening Room” could actually affect the movie theater industry?
- What potential issues could “Screening Room” and its creators face?
Samsung is preparing to unfold a new technology application which will enable one to record their vocal expressions and turn them into music. The app would be called ‘Hum On!’ and one would simply record themselves humming a song, and the app would transcribe the hummed melody into music notations with various edit and playback features. The app also allows the genre of the music to be changed, for example to R&B, Ballad, Rock etc. A link to how the app would work can be seen here. What is like about the app is that it’s not just a recording of musical expressions, but it shows the notations and allow you to change a note if you are not satisfied with how it sounds. I think the app could be very useful for people who beat-box, compose and are interested in creating and sharing their own music.
- What are your thoughts on the app and how could it utilize the front facing camera and speech recognition capability of smartphones?
- Do you agree with Samsung that it could be a solution for those seeing copyright-free audio for YouTube videos?
Source: The Verge
Disclaimer: Some strong language in the video
In John Oliver’s HBO show, Last Week Tonight, he talks about encryption and more importantly the San Bernardino shooter IPhone controversy. He takes the stance that weakening encryption would become a slippery slope and ultimately do more harm than good. I already felt this way before watching the video but after watching it, it helped reinforce my feelings about the issue and even brought certain key points that I wasn’t aware of. Code to opening a phone doesn’t unlock just one phone but could unlock many others. Also if Apple was some how unable to protect this code and some one else got there hands on the code, it could have huge ramifications of every single smart phone user in America. Who ever got the code would be able to steal other people’s financial information as well as other private information stored on the phone.
Do you agree with John Oliver’s thoughts that this would become a slippery slope?
Should the government be able to force Apple to create the code to unlock the phone?
How would you feel if your phone’s encryption was weakened because of this?
Samsung is making an even larger investment into its partnership with Oculus VR and the virtual reality markets. Samsung has recently started a promotion to include a Samsung Gear VR, their own VR headset powered by Oculus for free with the purchase of any of their new phones including the Samsung S7 and S7 Edge. Each headset will include up to $50 in additional VR content as well. While many were not previously inclined to purchase a VR headset on their own, Samsung’s new promotion will now put these headsets into the hands of previously uninterested customers.
In efforts to further solidify its place in the Virtual Reality market, Samsung has just unveiled it Entrim 4D Headphones. The problem with VR is that while you may feel completely immersed in the video you are watching on screen; you still don’t feel like you are in on the action. These headphones are designed to change that. By tricking the body and inner ear with specific electrical signal, the headphones can simulate the sensation of movement, so a gamer may actually feel themselves moving while playing a first person shooter, or they may be given the simulation of flying if the game calls for it. The technology uses an array of sensors to adjust the pressure and currents given by the headphones to the user and can provide an almost real virtual reality experience.
Would you be willing to try the 4D headset to simulate movement during Virtual Reality?
Was it a smart business move by Samsung to offer its VR headset for free in hopes of luring users to buy video content and additional hardware like the 4D headset?
Do you think any other major players like Apple will be making an attempt at VR anytime soon?
Designers are hoping this may help with headaches and nausea for those currently using VR, but do you think it will help or would the sensation of movement cause more issues for you?
Under Armour is now creating more than just athletic apparel. Under Armour has developed 4 apps that all work together to track fitness data. Along with their smart sneakers, Under Armour now has a HealthBox that includes a heart-rate strap, fitness band, and scale to share data and further analyze your fitness patterns and overall health. Under Armour is partnering with IBM Watson to take this data even further and predict when someone will get sick or have a heart attack. Consumers will log their data into Under Armour’s apps, then Watson will further analyze it and try to match the data with past logs. This will be a great way to be proactive in your fitness and overall health, and can even save lives.
Will this technology disrupt the fitness band market?
Do you think this technology can alter other markets, such as health insurance?
Do you think universities or other establishments would want Under Armour’s data logs?
For quite some time we have been struggling with not only creating batteries that last longer, but also properly disposing of batteries. Most batteries today are made with Lithium, which is extremely flammable and difficult to dispose of. This has created a search for a cleaner and safer battery, but so far nothing has been cost efficient enough to implement. Fortunately, researchers at MIT have created a new type of battery that houses no toxic chemicals. This battery has the same efficiency as batteries on the market today and unlike batteries today, does not deteriorate when not being used. This means they will last forever while not being used, and when they are finished there are no toxic chemicals that need to be disposed of properly. Where is the last place you threw out your used batteries?
Battery technology hasn’t advanced in quite some time, do you think it’s important for our devices to last longer even at a higher cost?
Implementation of such a battery might be difficult if it costs more, is it worth it?
Apple has been pitted against the FBI over the San Bernardino killer’s iPhone data, which was encrypted and caused a buzz for the media. Now some of the leading companies, such as Facebook and Google are upping their encryption protocols. WhatsApp wants to encrypt voice calls done using their service and Facebook may implement this with their own messaging tool. Government officials have been making an effort to pass legislation, which would allow the government to have a back door and access encrypted messages or in some way be able to access data in instances like an attack. Apple will appear in federal court later in March to fight to keep encrypted data encrypted. Google is working on a project that would encrypt emails so only the sender and the recipient would be able to see them. These companies have all supported Apple, but leaders from Facebook and Google are starting to meet with security officials to figure ways that tech companies can work with the government.
What do you think of the encryption debate?
What do you think should and shouldn’t be encrypted?
Article – http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/mar/14/facebook-google-whatsapp-plan-increase-encryption-fbi-apple
Project Ara, undertaken by Google in 2013 is said to release the first open modular smartphone platform in 2016. The basic configuration, “gray phone,” starting at 50 U.S. dollars (USD) will give consumers the ability to assemble their smartphones just the way they like it. They can swap out anything from screens to CPU, add specialized modules such as night vision and laser pointers, and even add an extra battery to expand the life of their smartphones. This is not simply a low-end disruption to the smartphone market. It will lower the barriers to entry for phone hardware manufactures and individuals to develop modules for this new platform, essentially creating a new ecosystem for smartphone hardware.
Google estimated that the design would be utilized by 6 billion people; 1 billion current smartphone users, 4 billion feature phone users [phones that are primary used for voice calling and text messaging], and 1 billion users that are not currently connected. Ara design would enable consumers to update their phone’s hardware without buying a brand new phone. This would allow for Ara to be used for extended periods. Replacement cost for the endoskeleton is approximately 15 USD, cheaper than the average IPhone case.
The development of this smartphone has not gone without a hitch. In August 2015, project Ara failed the drop test. The phone completely fell apart when it was dropped, which was not the intention of the platform. Despite this set back, Google is expecting to release Ara later in 2016 with new a way to attach the modules.
- How would big smartphone companies, Apple and Samsung, react to this disruptive technology? Will they develop something similar to compete or rely on their current offering?
- Do you think that brand loyal smartphone customers will make the switch to Ara?
Remember, in class, when we discussed the technologies used during SuperBowl50? Soon, more and more sporting events are going to use the same technologies to create a more entertaining program for viewers. Intel has recently acquired Replay Technologies, a company who introduced the FreeD technology concept, which provides a 3D view at live game broadcasts. FreeD technology captures images comprised of three-dimensional pixels which are then stored in a freeD database. FreeD technology was recently used during the NBA All-Star Weekend and SuperBowl50, with the help of 36 cameras on-site. By teaming up with Intel, Replay Technologies will be able to grow and advance their technology to Intel’s standards, even to the point that viewers will be able to manipulate and edit personalized content.
Do you think all sporting events will be in 3D format in the future? How do you feel about the idea?