Newsletter | July 20th, 2017
This week we’re talking about smart gloves that translate sign language! 🙋, Moon-mining in 2020 🌕, the top programming languages of 2017 💻, and new, cool, skin-like wearable tech!
WEARABLES . Smart glove can translate sign language 👏
This glove can not only translate sign language into text, but also control objects in virtual reality. Best part? It was built for less than $100. This is some sci-fi fantasy stuff that is happening right here, right now. The only downside, they named the device “The Language of Glove”. Yikes. Clearly they were more focused on building bleeding edge, affordable tech, than a catchy name. Who knows, maybe people can get around to saying “Hey, can I try your Language of Glove?”
The team from UC San Diego, made sure the parts were off-the-shelf, low-cost, and easy to manufacture. The glove’s highly stretchable materials allows the wearer to do a wide range of hand gestures, with the glove currently programmed to translate American Sign Language (ASL) into readable text. The scientists see even wider adoption in viritual reality, for purposes ranging from entertainment to education. One example, doctors could practice procedures in a virtual environment much more effectively if they were to ‘virtually operate’ with their hands, rather than joystick or controller.
SPACE . Mining on the Moon as soon as 2020 🌕
Forget 2020 for a second, the first commercial moon landing could launch before December 2017. The private spaceflight company Moon Express is planning three missions to the moon by the end of 2020. Their end goal is to create a robotic outpost on the South Pole of the Moon. This outpost would house permanent robots, mining the pole for water and minerals.
How? Their MX-1E robotic lander would hitch a ride on a separate company’s – Rocket Lab – experimental rocket called the Electron. That’s teamwork. Their plan is to develop a series of robotic landers and vehicles, moving from the MX-1E, to the MX-2, MX-5, and MX-9. The 2017 launch is their submission to the Google Lunar X Prize. The winner is the first team to land a privately funded spacecraft on the Moon, travel 500 meters, and trasmit back high-definition video and images. Their reward? $20 million, and a being part of history. 🚩🌕
SOFTWARE . Top Programming Languages of 2017 announced 💻🏆
IEEE Spectrum has come out with their fourth interactive ranking of the top programming languages. And there has been some movement since last year. Python is No.1, jumping up two places from last year. The next in the top four (in order) are C, Java and C++. At fifth, there is C# edging out R now in the No. 6 spot. Apple’s Swift is now in the top ten at No. 10, with Objective-C dropping to 26th place!
WEARABLES (Again) . Skin-like wearables, more cool than creepy 🔥
Researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed a ‘breathable vital signs sensor’ that is in the category of ‘e-skin devices’. The e-skin device is essentially an extremely thin strip consisting of a polymer, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and gold layer, that sticks easily to the skin.
If you feel like you’ve seen or heard of similar devices, electronic films that adhere to the skin, you certainly have. But what’s new about this sensor is that past e-skin devices haven’t been considered safe for long-term use. The new sensor is breathable, no longer dealing with problems of irritation and inflammation caused to blocked airflow around the skin. Their trials found no inflammation after patients wore the e-skin device for a week. The end-goal? Real-time monitoring of your vital signs, such as heart rate and blood pressure, in a manner that is comfortable and safe. 👍⚕️