This past month has been jam-packed with newsworthy advancements in the tech world. We thought it would be important to highlight some of the most impressive updates and share them with you. Here are the top 8 tech news stories from September 2018.
1. Developing Tech to Prevent Overdoses
According to a Globe and Mail article, to address the overdose crisis, the Vancouver based co-op Brave Technologies is in the process of developing a mobile app called Be Safe, along with other digital tools, with the goal of providing digital supervision and preventing overdoses for drug users who could die alone.
Before taking the drugs, people sign-in to the app which connects them to volunteer responders who are ready with medication to reverse the overdose or to call an ambulance. The point is to end isolation and provide a quicker response time to potential overdoses.
2. Augmented Reality in your Browser
According to a CBC News article, Google sees a potential for putting AR on the web to be accessed from any browser or device making it more convenient. With the recent release of Apple’s iOS 12, the Safari web browser now has a feature called AR Quick Look for iPhones and iPads which shows how virtual objects from a website would appear in a physical space.
Pretty soon, with this technology, you will be able to visit websites like Ikea and see how a couch would look in your home. Other companies like Google, Mozilla, Amazon and Samsung have been working with AR technology so virtual models can be opened across different browsers.
3. Apps Helping the Visually Impaired
According to a Winnipeg Free Press article, as part of a campaign called Phone it Forward, The Canadian National Institute for the Blind in Winnipeg has started collecting old and used smartphones to repurpose and supply them with apps to help the visually impaired navigate.
Those receiving the phones will get technical training, discounted maintenance and a data plan. Some of the features on these phones include voice-activated online banking, visual scanners that can enlarge small print, obstacle warnings and voice-activated traffic lights alerting when it is safe to cross the street.
4. Apple Watch Series 4 Announcement
According to a New York Times article, the Apple Live conference was on September 12, announcing the Apple Watch Series 4 features. This includes being able to detect and notify the user of an irregular heart rhythm through monitoring the heart with an electrocardiogram (ECG). However, health professionals stress that this is not a replacement for going to a hospital and having an ECG done professionally.
Another feature added to the watch caters to the elderly where it can detect when the user takes a bad fall. It is turned on automatically for those 65 and older and the watch will contact emergency services or message the emergency contact 1 minute after the fall if the injured person has not moved.
5. Facebook Begins Publicly Testing Dating App
According to a Wired article, for now, the Facebook dating service, called Dating, is being tested in Colombia for people aged 18 and older. Users can create profiles (separate from their Facebook profiles) and get matches with the goal of finding meaningful long-term relationships instead of just hooking up.
The dating service requires that you only provide your first name, age, preferred gender and general location. Any other detail is up to the user to disclose like height, religion, job title etc… Facebook will then match you with people based on common interests and mutual friends. Users are not matched with people they are already friends with on Facebook, nor are they matched with people they have blocked. Facebook wants to stand apart from dating platforms like Tinder, moving away from swiping right or left. Users can even choose to be matched with people who attended certain events or are a part of the same Facebook groups.
6. Payment Apps on the Rise
According to a BBC article, the mobile wallet market is supposed to be worth 3 billion dollars by 2022, with the act of drawing out cash becoming unnecessary. P2P (person-to-person) payment apps like Venmo, ApplePay and Zelle are hooked up to your personal credit or debit card, making payments quick, painless and convenient. All that’s needed is an email address or a phone number and payments can be sent quickly like text messages.
Despite the positives to P2P payment apps, there have been some major security and privacy concerns. Hackers have gone as far as to create email accounts to impersonate people in your organisation to persuade you to make payments or give up security information.
7. New Tech for the Disabled
According to a CTV News article, the World Health Organization is estimating the number of people who will need assistive devices will reach 2 billion by 2050. Technology like BrightSign, a glove with a voice-activated translation for sign language, is one of the many devices being developed harnessing artificial intelligence to make life easier for people with disabilities (motor, vision, hearing and cognitive impairments).
The lowering in costs of hardware and significant advancements in artificial intelligence are making it possible to develop this helpful tech without financial aid from the government or large corporations. However, companies like Microsoft and Google are offering grants totalling $45 million for developers of assistive technologies.
8. Microsoft Hololens for Dynamic 365 Apps
According to a Reuters article, the Dynamic 365 online business software is being introduced with mixed reality and artificial intelligence applications including the HoloLens, which is a set of augmented reality goggles. This is coming two years after Microsoft initially launched the HoloLens.
The HoloLens is meant to connect with remote colleagues live. The goal is to reduce travel time and easily collaborate with experts. Dynamic 365 is also used for sales, customer service and market insights.
We hope you enjoyed reading up on some of the technological advancements and updates from this past month. Let us know in the comments if there are any more interesting recent tech news stories you want to share with us!