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This robot chef can taste salt with its arm

Robots can see in wavelengths beyond human eyes. Robots can hear in wavelengths beyond human ears. Robots can even feel with tactility approaching human skin. But when it comes to tasting, robots are laggards. Taste is a sense that may seem basic to any human, including young children licking food from the floor, but not to robots. Tasting technology doesn’t even come close to the multifaceted sensitivity of the human tongue. For robot-builders and food scientists alike, improving that technology…

Smartphones

5 Reasons You Should Switch to Google Phone on Android

Google Android phones are, well, phones at the core. You may not think much about the phone app that came pre-installed, but like many things in Android, it can be changed. You should try the Google Phone app. Google’s phone app—technically called “Phone by Google“—comes pre-installed on Pixel phones. Many other Android devices, including Samsung Galaxy phones, can install it from the Play Store. The app has some handy features you may want to check out. Flip to Silence Gone…

Science

Urban sprawl defines unsustainable cities, but it can be undone

Analysis paralysis—being so overwhelmed by options you can’t pick a path—has new meaning thanks to climate change. Making the “right” choice has never been more complicated, but we’re here to help. This is Impact, a new sustainability series from PopSci. In 2020, during her re-election campaign, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo set out plans to make the French capital a “15-minute” city.  The goal: to offer city dwellers easy walking or biking access to most of their daily activities, from shops and leisure…

Gadgets

Apple wants its staff to return to offices by September

Apple has notified its employees through a company-wide memo that they want staff to return to offices by September.Chief executive Tim Cook notified the staff that they will be required to attend offices for at least three days a week, specifically Cook has requested Monday, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. Some staff  members will be given the option to work the remaining two days – Wednesdays and Fridays – remotely.“For all that we’ve been able to achieve while many of us have…

Gadgets

Oculus Quest V30 Update adds multitasking and wireless streaming for existing headsets

Facebook has begun pushing out its v30 update for both Oculus Quest and Quest 2 virtual reality headsets, teased earlier this week by Mark Zuckerberg himself. This introduces multitasking, wireless streaming, and also brings AirLink to the original Oculus headset.Flex Space - Multitasking Interface for Infinite OfficeThe new multitasking interface for Infinite Office lets you put multiple apps side by side. For example, you could've Oculus TV and Oculus Move open side-by-side. In true preparationstyle, you will find this setup…

Science

We have a lot to learn from Indigenous people’s oyster-shucking practices

From the coast of Maine to Florida, piles of oysters have stacked up over thousands of years. They come from meals gathered from once-vast reefs of living shellfish, which provided habitat for other fish, crabs, and shrimp in estuaries. Some of the shells are so big, you’d have to eat them with a knife and fork, instead of downing them in a single slurp. That abundance is just one example of Indigenous oyster fisheries across the world that harvested massive…

Science

A helicopter caught and released a rocket this week

Late in the morning of May 3, a rocket blasted off into the heavens from a launchpad in New Zealand. Minutes later, as its second stage continued upwards towards orbit, the first stage of the rocket descended by parachute into the waiting hook from a recovery helicopter. The hook snagged the parachute line, where it was held—and then released. The launch, both a successful orbital delivery and useful feature test for rocket-maker Rocket Lab, highlights a future possible form of…

Science

A guide to sharing streaming service logins while you still can

This story has been updated. It was originally published on June 22, 2019. If you’ve got access to a Netflix or Spotify account—or any other subscription streaming service—you might be using a friend or relative’s login details rather than your own. Or maybe you’re the one doing the login lending. It’s common practice, but should you be doing it? Might you run into technical or even legal problems down the line? We’ve taken a detailed look at the major streaming…

Science

Outdated zoning laws are holding renewable energy back

The cost of renewable energy has plummeted over the past decade. The price of solar panels has decreased by roughly 90 percent over the past decade or so and the cost of wind power decreased by over half over that same period. With prices so low, it would be affordable to implement more  solar and wind power in the United States than what we currently see.  Together, they account for about 13 percent of U.S. energy production. One of the…

Science

Why astronomers are blasting Earth’s location to potential intelligent aliens

This article was originally featured on The Conversation. If a person is lost in the wilderness, they have two options. They can search for civilization, or they could make themselves easy to spot by building a fire or writing HELP in big letters. For scientists interested in the question of whether intelligent aliens exist, the options are much the same. For over 70 years, astronomers have been scanning for radio or optical signals from other civilizations in the search for…

Gadgets

Philips Momentum Designed for Xbox monitor review: A PC display for couch gamers

In a world where people are cutting out cable and playing more video games than ever, there’s a real, if very niche, use case to be made for gigantic, TV-sized computer monitors that usurp the vaunted position of home theater centerpiece from traditional TVs. Philips’ Momentum 559M1RYV 55-inch 4K HDR monitor, the first flagship monitor to earn Microsoft’s “Designed by Xbox” seal of approval (awarded in 2021), feels as if it’s designed to fit specifically in that niche. The Philips…

Science

How to prevent your social media accounts from oversharing

This story has been updated. It was originally published on February 7, 2018. Your social media accounts help you share your daily life with friends. But the platforms can go further than that: automatically alerting everyone when you become available online, read a message, or even visit a location. As a general rule, if you don’t want your nearest and dearest to know what you’re up to every minute of every day, you can try posting less frequently. Your photos,…