Tag Archives: digitalTrends.com

Chile is giving away its surplus solar energy for free

Chile has become a prime example of why solar energy can be a blessing and a curse; good for consumers but bad for many businesses in the energy industry. This year, the price for electricity in some parts of Chile fell to zero on 113 days between January 1 and April 30, reports Bloomberg, and that puts the South American country on a path to surpass last year’s 192 days of zero-priced power. Related: Due to an unexpected energy surplus, Germany paid citizens to consume power last weekend Chile has invested heavily in solar power. 15 solar farms are planned to be built, adding to the already 29 farms that supply electricity to Chile’s central grid. Even more solar farms have been developed in the north, which is on a separate grid. Though these projects were initially spurred by economic growth and an uptick in mining operations, growth has begun to slow, mining

Everything that Works with Nest

Google’s Nest thermostat has become a poster child for what a smart device should look like. It’s sleek, easy to use, and comes with enough learning algorithms and smartphone integration to help us tailor the user experience to our own liking. Google has also acquired the Nest team and tech alongside the thermostat and has expanded the platform to include a smoke and carbon monoxide detector (Nest Protect) and a smart cam (Nest Cam). Related: Google turns up the heat on connected devices, snags Nest for $3.2 billion The result is a growing series of smart devices that developers are lining up to work with. Keeping everything on one basic platform — including Nest devices — makes managing a smart home far easier and means less room for interference or communication issues. If you want smart devices that all speak the same language, Nest is a great place to start when making smart-home decisions. Google has already developed a Works with Nest

Weekend Workshop: Become a hipster and build this DIY vinyl record player

Need something to keep you busy this weekend? Look no further. The Weekend Workshop is our weekly column where we showcase a badass DIY project that you can complete with minimal skills and expertise. We’ve dug through all the online tutorials on the web, and gone the extra mile to pinpoint projects that are equal parts easy, affordable, and fun. So put on your work pants, grab your tool belt, and head to the garage — it’s time to start building! As any baby boomer or beard-growing, plaid shirt-wearing hipster might tell you, vinyl records are the only way to listen to music. Be it for the (disputed) fact that vinyl records sound better or the simple desire to physically own an album as opposed to booting up a streaming service, vinyl has seen its popularity dramatically increase over the last several years. It’s not hard to see the allure, either. Having the

New ‘metamaterial lens’ is 100,000-times thinner than conventional glass optics

Camera lenses could be going on a substantial diet, thanks to a new “metamaterial lens” developed by a team at Harvard University. Federico Capasso, a professor of applied physics and electrical engineering, and his team used a beam of electrons to carve a structure from titanium dioxide. Called nanofins, the structure is a set of blocks 600 nanometers tall – New Scientist describes them as the world’s smallest Stonehenge. These tiny blocks, when rotated at different angles, pull light together the same way that the traditional piece of curved glass does. Related: See inside a $11,00 lens In testing, the material, mounted on a non-focusing piece of glass for stability, was sharper than a 55-millimeter microscope lens. At just 600 nanometers thick, the new lens material is 100,000 times lighter than a comparable lens from Nikon, the team said. While the lens isn’t the first designed from metamaterials, earlier attempts lost

DJI drone flies inside Byzantine church to shoot this stunning video

Filmmakers and hobbyists alike love drones for the relative ease with which they can capture outdoor aerial shots. An amateur armed with a DJI Phantom can capture epic, Lord of the Rings-inspired sweeping vistas from the comfort of his or her backyard. However, using a drone indoors is far less common. In fact, it’s outright dangerous. But that didn’t stop the French aerial filmmaking duo, BigFly, from attempting it in the Saint Louis Church in Paimboeuf. The results are simply stunning. As detailed by Fstoppers, the danger of BigFly’s interior shoot was ratcheted up a few notches by the rig employed: a Gryphon Redback X8 1200mm Aerial Platform, a DJI Ronin M gimbal, and Sony A7S II camera. This is no tiny, lightweight consumer drone, and it was made even heavier due to counterweights that allowed the team to mount the gimbal and camera on top of the platform while keeping

Turn anything in your home into a connected device with Mesh

If only making ourselves smarter were as easy as making your whole house smarter, we’d all be geniuses by now. Alas, such technology does not yet exist, but in the meantime, you can turn your home into a smart home with Mesh, the DIY smart home kit. If you’re looking for a way to bring the Internet of Things into your household, this may just be the answer — this set of small, wireless tags attach to just about any household object, connecting your own piece of the world with the world at large becomes pretty easy. With functions ranging from motion sensing to brightness sensing to temperature and humidity monitoring, Mesh tags can be placed on any physical object, turning it into a connected device. There’s no need for any additional electronics or programming know-how — everything is self-contained within the Mesh app, which lets you connect tags to internet services

Fly with your drone in VR thanks to the Exo360’s five 4K cameras

Drones are taking off (literally and figuratively), and each year it seems to find them improving in leaps and bounds. Of course, drones aren’t the only area of tech under development — augmented and virtual reality are also big buzzwords right now. So — is it possible to combine the two? Of course it is — and that’s what Queen B Robotics has done. The company has come up with a drone, called the Exo360, that has a total of five cameras, enabling it to capture footage in 360 degrees, which can later be viewed on a virtual reality headset. Related: Amazon patent scans hands to stop your kid from deleting your augmented reality work The drone itself comes in two versions, a standard, and a Pro. The main difference is that the standard Exo306’s cameras are 1080p while the Pro version offers 4K cameras. In both cases, four of the cameras are

Amazon’s Alexa keeps on learning: It now boasts more than 1,000 third-party skills

It soon may be easier to list the things Amazon’s Alexa can’t do rather than the things it can. On Friday, the smart home system revealed that there are now more than 1,000 third-party skills available on the platform, with everyone from Capital One to Domino’s to the PGA Tour offering some sort of compatibility with the AI system. Alexa, which gives “personality” to such hardware as Amazon Echo, Amazon Fire TV, and Amazon Tap, has proven popular among developers and companies across a myriad of industries. And Amazon says that as Alexa acquires new skills from more developers, the system continues to improve upon itself, “giving developers a new way to delight their customers with voice-enabled experiences.” Thanks to the Alexa Skills Set and the Smart Home Skill API, developers can continuously teach Alexa new skills and offer new integrations to customers. “Less than a year ago, we released the Alexa Skills Kit, making it possible

Elon Musk thinks humans need ‘neural lace’ technology to keep pace with AI

Elon Musk never seems shy to share his concerns about artificial intelligence. In August 2014, he tweeted that the technology was “potentially more dangerous than nukes.” Speaking to students from MIT a few months later, Musk expanded on that view and took it one step further, calling AI “our biggest existential threat.” But Musk wants to walk the talk. By December 2015 he co-founded the non-profit research company OpenAI in an effort to democratize AI development and advance the technology to humanity’s best benefit. “If you have a button that could do bad things to the world, you don’t want to give it to everyone,” he told Wired. Related: Elon Musk thinks we’re basically living in the Matrix, and we should be glad about it This week, in a conversation at Recode’s annual Code Conference, Musk shared a tentative idea for something called “neural laces,” which he imagines could mitigate the risk of

iBuyPower Snowblind system puts an LCD screen in a gaming PC’s side panel

For those who like LCD panels, iBuyPower has put one in a PC’s side panel. The company did this with its new design, known as the Snowblind. The case for this new system combines a traditional clear window display — so you can see all of your no-doubt pricey components — with an LCD readout, letting you put any information you want right where everyone can see it. The system is pretty eye-catching and was quite an attraction at the iBuyPower booth at this year’s Computex. Championing iBuyPower’s love of customization and providing their customers with options when they buy a full system, the Snowblind is designed to let them do just that. “Project Snowblind represents the next leap forward in gaming PC customization,” iBuyPower said in a related statement. “Featuring a tailor-made clear LCD side panel, this PC will showcase your hardware like never before, while allowing you to have virtually any

OTTO Tuning System review

Every group ride has one or two of them — cyclists whose every shift sounds like a steel-toothed beaver is gnawing on their cassette. More often than not, these riders are oblivious to the grindcore soundtrack blasting from their rear derailleurs, almost as if they believe those sounds are simply part of riding a bike. They are not. A well-tuned drivetrain should be quiet, smooth, and efficient. Yet few people who are aware of their problems feel confident enough to tune it themselves, thanks in part to bike mechanics who have made adjusting derailleurs seem like a dark art passed down in secret guild meetings over craft beer. Related: The Carbon SUV e-bike is basically a powered mountain bike on steroids Otto, a Wilsonville, Oregon startup, is hoping to unlock that secret knowledge from the backshop Gods and put it into the hands of anyone with an Apple iOS smartphone,

Double Robotics VR camera dolly keeps videographer out of footage

With 360 degree cameras, every image is an immersive selfie, but what if you don’t want to be in the picture? A new product could just change that. Double Robotics has developed a 360 Camera Dolly  (via Cnet) that allows videographers to move the camera around while recording, without getting in the shot. The dolly comes from the startup Double Robotics, the team behind the telepresence robot that, equipped with a tablet, allows users to remotely attend a class or meeting, controlling the robot from afar. The 360 Camera Dolly actually just repurposes the telepresence robot, but with a new camera mount. An iPhone on the VR dolly allows the videographer to see where it is headed by streaming footage using 4G, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth. The smartphone also connects the robot to an online platform that controls the dolly’s movement. Related: Cancer patient attends class with Double Robotic’s telepresence bot  While the

Take a look at the world’s longest and deepest railway tunnel

Heralded as the construction project of the century, the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland is among the world’s most ambitious tunnel projects, spanning more than 35 miles and taking 17 years to build. The tunnel, which opened on June 1, runs under the Alps and connects the Swiss municipalities of Erstfeld and Bodio. The architectural marvel is the longest and deepest railway tunnel in the world, and the first flat, low-level route through the Alps. The idea was first proposed in 1968, but project construction didn’t begin until 1996, and required the excavation of 94 miles of underground tunnels, shafts, and passages to connect the 35.5-mile route. Approximately 31.1 million tons of granite, sedimentary rock, and other material was moved during construction. The bulk of the digging was handled by tunnel-boring machines (80 percent) with some blasting (20 percent) required in difficult sections. An extensive ventilation network was necessary to aerate the 750-foot-deep tunnel

Add a spotlight to 3DR Solo drone to create dramatic lighting effects outdoors

There’s only so much you can do with a light on a stand, but a new product from Fiilex is taking lighting skyward – literally. The Fiilex AL250 Light For Solo is designed to work with the 3DR Solo drone for lighting without the stand. While the light will also work with a drone-mounted camera, the product also shows potential for lighting up shots from the ground, from light painting to illuminating night landscapes. “The Fiilex AL250 is the first aerial spotlight available for a consumer drone,” said Oren Schauble, 3DR’s vice president of marketing. “Now set or photo lighting can be completely dynamic, unconstrained by stands, tripods, or cranes.” Related: 3DR Solo is a drone for filmmakers  The 2,000-lumen LED can be adjusted to multiple angle positions and used with or without a camera mounted on the same drone. Weighing 0.6 pounds, the light uses a GoPro-style mount for compatibility with the

Meet Vi, the AI-based personal trainer that lives in your headphones

You’re not hearing voices — that’s just your artificial intelligence-powered personal trainer whispering sweet nothings to you (or rather, coaching you to success). Meet Vi, heralded as a first-of-its-kind AI personal trainer, whose recently launched Kickstarter campaign has already blown past its initial funding goal of $100,000. Contained in a set of high-tech headphones, Vi is a new kind of wearable, providing real-time coaching that is contingent upon its user’s physiology. Think of her as the angel sitting on your shoulder during workouts. “The future of wearables is using AI to personalize our health and fitness in real-time, and we created Vi to lead this new frontier,” said Omri Yoffe, CEO and co-founder of LifeBEAM. “By improving a person’s awareness of their own behaviors, environment, and real-time physiology, Vi provides an inspiring and truly smarter workout experience. We call Vi an ‘Awareable,’ as it’s the first and only wearable with