Thursday, March 14, 2019

Samsung Galaxy Fold

The Samsung Galaxy Fold is Samsung’s newest venture into the rapidly growing foldable phone market. Phone giants such as Huawei and Motorola are among companies who have recently showcased a foldable phone, but Samsung is certainly one of the largest companies to do so.

When a foldable phone is closed, the user has access to a secondary outside display, but when opened, the phone uses a tablet-like screen. When using an app on the outside display, the app is readily available on the inside display, allowing a seamless transfer between screens. The Galaxy Fold also has a fingerprint scanner on the side, allowing for the phone to be unlocked in either position.

The phone’s boasts a 7.3” QXGA display for its flipped tablet mode, and a 4.6” HD+ Super display for the outer folded screen. The cover also has a regular selfie camera. The front of the phone uses a dual camera and the rear uses a triple camera. The battery capacity is 4380 mAh, which is significantly more than the Samsung’s current flagship, the S10, and Apple’s competing iPhone X. Internally, the phone boasts a 7nm eight core processor with 12GB of RAM and 512GB internal storage. Other features of the Galaxy Fold include support for 5G mobile data and wireless fast charging.

However, all these features do have a hefty price. Samsung’s previous flagship, the Note 9, cost $1000. The Galaxy Fold is nearly double this price, coming in at $1980. The price becomes more reasonable when considering that the phone functions as both a high-end phone and a tablet, and the fact that this is one of the first foldable phones on the market.

To learn more about the Samsung Galaxy Fold, check out the product page here:

Image and info sourced from Samsung Official Release

Friday, March 8, 2019

Software Based on the Deep Learning System Decoded Rodent Chatter

Image credit: Alice Gray.

DeepSqueak, the program developed by a team of researchers from the University of Washington School of Medicine takes sounds and transforms them into images of the sound, known as sonograms.

The software that was developed by the researchers is the first of a kind artificial neural networks that was used to detect squeaks. The basis of this technology was self-driving cars, and their ability to transform an audio signal as a visual representation.

The squeaks that were produced by rodents depended on the stages of their courtship. For example, when two male mice were put together, they produced the same calls repeatedly. However, when a scent of a female mouse was introduced nearby, the vocalisation got more complex. This suggests that the male mice were singing a courtship song.

This technology would allow us to better understand all the aspects of the change in brain activity when affected by pleasure. In the scale of the study, the pleasure is brought to the mice by anticipation of treats or games with their peers. However, if we apply this concept to the human brain, we can change the treats and games to drugs.

Professor John Neumaier, the senior author of the project, said that their goal is to develop treatments for drugs withdrawal. The researchers hope that with a better understanding of the change in brain activity caused by pressure or troublesome feelings, they would help treat drug addictions. 

Sunday, March 3, 2019

SpaceX Crew Dragon with Unmanned Capsule Lifts Off for Space Station

   Early morning on Saturday, a SpaceX Falcon 9 lifted off with an unmanned crew capsule for the International Space Station (ISS). This is a key milestone to demonstrate the company's capabilities to safely transport astronauts as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program.
   The 4.9-metre-tall (16 foot) Crew Dragon capsule lifted off from Florida's Kennedy Space Centre at 2:49 a.m. EST carrying supplies, equipment and a test dummy nicknamed Ripley.
During its five-day stay aboard the ISS, U.S. astronaut Anne McClan and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques will run tests to determine the condition of the Crew Dragon's cabin.
   “I almost thought we would fail. I thought maybe we’d have a 10 percent chance of reaching orbit starting out,” Elon Musk said of his feelings when he founded the space company in 2002.
   “I’m a little emotionally exhausted because that was super stressful, but it worked,” he told reporters after Saturday’s launch.
 Read more about this fascinating story at:
Image Credit: SpaceX

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

New Night Sky Map Reveals 300,000 Galaxies

   An international team composed of over 200 astronomers from 18 countries has published new findings from the first phase of a new space survey. This was conducted using the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) telescope located in the Netherlands.
   Due to the telescope's ability to pick up on low radio frequencies invisible to other telescopes, LOFAR's observation of a quarter of the northern hemisphere mapped 300,000 sources, almost all of which were galaxies in the distant universe.
    "What we are beginning to see with LOFAR is that, in some cases, clusters of galaxies that are not merging can also show this emission, albeit at a very low level that was previously undetectable," said Annalisa Bonafede from the University of Bologna and INAF. "This discovery tells us that, besides merger events, there are other phenomena that can trigger particle acceleration over huge scales." 

   The 26 research papers detailing the findings in the special issue of Astronomy & Astrophysics was made possible with only the first two percent of the sky survey. By the end of the mission, the team hopes to create sensitive high-resolution images of the entire northern sky, revealing close to 15 million radio sources.
   "LOFAR produces enormous amounts of data - we have to process the equivalent of ten million DVDs of data," said Cyril Tasse from the Observatoire de Paris - Station de radioastronomie à Nançay. "The LOFAR surveys were recently made possible by a mathematical breakthrough in the way we understand interferometry"

Read the full press release at:
Or check out the many publications featured in Astronomy & Astrophysics made possible by the survey here:

Image Credit: Joseph EID

Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Best Tech at CES

Hosted at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, CES is an annual tech convention where over 4500 companies come together to showcase their new and upcoming products. Some hardware teasers shown included the announcement of AMD’s Radeon VII GPU, Ryzen 3000 CPUs, and Intel’s 28-core Xeon W-3175X. Here are some other interesting products showcased during CES 2019 in Las Vegas.

Cosmo Communicator by Planet Computers

The Cosmo Communicator is a smart flip phone. With two displays, one on the outside and one on the inside, this phone can be used as both a regular phone and as a portable laptop-style workstation with a keyboard. According to reviewers at CES, the keys are well laid out, making it simple and comfortable to use. In addition, the workstation utilizes a six-inch display, making work simple and easy. An Android screen on the outside displays notifications and phone calls. The phone itself can be used in any orientation as both ends serve as a speaker and microphone. Two USB-C ports are included to allow for mice connection, external hard drives, or display outputs via HDMI.

The phone boasts a 24mp camera, running Android 9 (Pie), with support for Linux through a multi-boot option. It includes an 8-core processor, with 6 GBs RAM, 128 GBs of flash memory, dual-sim slots, fingerprint sensor, NFC, and a 4220 mAh battery.

More information can be found here:

LG Rollable OLED TV R9

This new TV was showcased as LG’s signature OLED TV. The signature of this TV is that it rolls up into a thin box. It can be used fully open for regular viewing, halfway with some smart apps displayed, or part way as a gallery, or for music and other supported applications. It can also be fully rolled up and still play music since its box serves as a speaker. Its durability has been rated at 50 000 rolls and unrolls, which equates to about four rolls a day for 32 years. The rolling itself is extremely quiet, making it a must-have for homes.

The cost, specifications, and release day have not yet been announced, but the showcasing of this product at CES 2019 have proven to be great for LG’s publicity and marketing of the product.

More information can be found here:

Acer Thronos

Gaming chairs have never been more luxurious than now with the Acer Predator Thronos. This gaming chair immerses the user in the experience with full control and adjustability. The mechanized seat is controlled with a pad that requires only one button to convert it to the ultimate gaming experience. It lowers a mechanical arm dubbed the “Scorpion Arch”, which is fitted with three 2K curved monitors. It also swings the tray in front of the user, which includes an Acer Predator gaming mouse and keyboard. That same control pad also allows the user to make a wide array of adjustments including zero-G recline up to 140º, a footrest, and seat mechanics.

More information can be found here:

Info sourced from: links above (official product websites)
Image sourced from: CES, 

Saturday, February 9, 2019

New Horizons Takes a Valuable Parting Glance at Ultima Thule

   Scientists have released a new image sequence from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft offering a farewell glance of the Kuiper Belt object known as Ultima Thule. Although they are not the final images of the object to be sent back from the spacecraft, these photos are in fact the final images taken before New Horizons zipped past its flyby.

   In the newly released images, scientists made an exciting discovery - Ultima Thule's shape. When first imaged, scientists and the public alike saw that Ultima Thule consisted of two distinct and spherical segments. Further analysis of the approach and departure images revealed that the asteroid is made of two distinct shape. The larger lobe, nicknamed "Ultima" resembles the shape of a giant pancake while the smaller lobe, "Thule", is shaped more like a dented walnut.

    “We had an impression of Ultima Thule based on the limited number of images returned in the days around the flyby, but seeing more data has significantly changed our view,” said Alan Stern, mission Principal Investigator at Southwest Research Insittute. “It would be closer to reality to say Ultima Thule’s shape is flatter, like a pancake. But more importantly, the new images are creating scientific puzzles about how such an object could even be formed. We’ve never seen something like this orbiting the Sun.”
   “While the very nature of a fast flyby in some ways limits how well we can determine the true shape of Ultima Thule, the new results clearly show that Ultima and Thule are much flatter than originally believed, and much flatter than expected,” added Hal Weaver, New Horizons project scientist from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. “This will undoubtedly motivate new theories of planetesimal formation in the early solar system.”
Read the full press release at: 

Image Credits: NASA/Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/National Optical Astronomy Observatory

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Chinese Satellite Snaps Photo of the Moon and Earth

The Chinese government has recently released a new photo giving viewers a rare look at the far-side of the moon with Earth visible at the bottom right.
The image was captured by a camera aboard the Chinese DSLWP-B/Longjiang-2 satellite on February 4. The photo was downloaded at the slow speed of less than one kilobyte per minute through the Dutch Dwingeloo Radio Telescope.
"Downloading these 16 kilobytes took almost 20 minutes. We did color-correct the original," said one of the telescope operators, Tammo Jan Dijkema, on Twitter.
China made history last month when the Chang'e 4 lunar rover touched down on the far side of the moon. Since then, the rover has been giving scientists an unprecedented close look at the mysterious and seldom-seen part of our lunar neighbour. The mission objective is to document the far side of the moon and study the geology near the landing site.