Scientists – including one of Indian origin – have developed flexible, battery-powered heating patches that can be sewn into clothes and keep the body warm. The researchers from Rutgers University and Oregon State University in the US found a cost-effective way to create the patches by using intense pulses of light to fuse tiny silver wires with polyester.
Their heating performance is nearly 70 per cent higher than similar patches created by other researchers, according to the study published in the journal Scientific Reports. “This is important in the built environment, where we waste lots of energy by heating buildings – instead of selectively heating the human body,” said Rajiv Malhotra, an assistant professor at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. It is estimated that 47 per cent of global energy is used for indoor heating, and 42 per cent of that energy is wasted to heat empty space and objects instead of people, the study notes.
Solving the global energy crisis – a major contributor to global warming – would require a sharp reduction in energy for indoor heating. Personal thermal management, which focuses on heating the human body as needed, is an emerging potential solution. Such patches may also someday help warm anyone who works or plays outdoors, researchers said. They created highly efficient, flexible, durable and inexpensive heating patches by using “intense pulsed-light sintering” to fuse silver nanowires – thousands of times thinner than a human hair – to polyester fibers, using pulses of high-energy light.
Next steps include seeing if this method can be used to create other smart fabrics, including patch-based sensors and circuits. The engineers also want to determine how many patches would be needed and where they should be placed on people to keep them comfortable while reducing indoor energy consumption.
Google Assistant Can Now Wake You Up by Gradually Turning on Your Smart Lights
Google Assistant has received a Gentle Sleep & Wake feature that will enable your Google Home device to set a routine and gradually turn lights on or off over the course of 30 minutes. The feature will work with Philips Hue smart lights to gently wake you up in the morning or go to sleep at night by adjusting the lighting in your room. This essentially mimics a sunrise and sunset. Google has initially brought the smart feature in Australia, Canada, India, Singapore, UK, and the US in English only.
Utilising the new addition, you just need to ask “Turn on Gentle Wake up” after activating Google Assistant on your Google Home device by saying, “Hey Google.” This will automatically pair your daily morning alarms with gradual brightening of your Philips Hue lights. However, it is worth noting here that you need to speak the Gentle Wake Up command on the same Google Home device on which you set your alarms on.
Similarly, you can ask Google Assistant “Sleep my lights” to gradually start dimming your Philips Hue lights. You can also programme the command for up to 24 hours in advance. Further, you can precisely tell Google Assistant to dim lights of a particular room by saying, “Hey Google, sleep the lights in the living room.”
Google Assistant can also gradually brighten your Philips Hue lights at the time you set and can be set up to 24 hours in advance by saying, “Hey Google, wake up my lights at 6:30am.”
Additionally, Google has made the Google Assistant smarter to enable your Google Home device to tune out ambient noises. You just have to say, “Hey Google, play white noise” and see the new change in your room.
Google Home in your room can also help you try out a short meditation or a sleep exercise. You have to ask, “Hey Google, tell Headspace I’m ready for bed” or “Hey Google, I want to meditate.” This will trigger Google Assistant to give you recommendations such as healing sounds and sleep sounds through your Home device.
For someone who wants to enable Google Home Hub to save step-by-step recipes for later use, Google has made a “My Cookbook”. Google Home Hub can also play workout videos by saying “Hey Google, show me barre workout videos.” Moreover, Google Home devices can also read out audiobooks for you once you say, “Hey Google, ready my book.” You can also say, “Hey Google, stop playing in 20 minutes” to set a timer for bedtime reading each night.
Asus ZenFone Live L2 With 3,000mAh Battery, Gradient Finish Launched
Asus ZenFone Live L2 has been quietly introduced by the Taiwanese computing giant. Currently listed on the Asus’ global website, the smartphone is a successor to the company’s ZenFone Live L1 phone that was launched in May last year. Asus ZenFone Live L2 runs on obsolete Android 8 Oreo and sports a dated design with massive top and bottom bezels. There is no word on the pricing or availability details of the phone at this point.
According to the official listing, Asus will be releasing the ZenFone Live L2 smartphone in two colour options – Rocket Red and Cosmic Blue – both of which come with a gradient finish.
Asus ZenFone Live L2 specifications
The dual-SIM (Nano) Asus ZenFone Live L2 runs on Android Oreo with the company’s ZenUI 5 on top. The phone features a 5.5-inch HD (720×1440 pixels) IPS display with 18:9 aspect ratio, 400 nits brightness, and 82.3 percent screen-to-body ratio. It will be powered by quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 or Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 SoC, depending on the market, paired with Adreno 505 and Adreno 308 GPU respectively. Additionally, the ZenFone Live L2 packs 2GB of RAM, 16GB/ 32GB of onboard storage, and a dedicated microSD card slot (up to 2TB).
On the imaging front, Asus will be offering a 13-megapixel or 8-megapixel primary camera with an f/2.0 lens. There will also be a 5-megapixel f/2.4 selfie shooter as well on the front.
Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, 4G LTE support, and Micro-USB 2.0. Further, ZenFone Live L2 includes a 3,000mAh battery and a 3.5mm audio jack. The dimension of the phone are 147.26×71.77×8.15mm and it weighs 140 grams.
Microsoft unveils new Xbox all-digital edition
Microsoft has unveiled its Xbox One S All-Digital Edition for $249 which would be available starting May 7.
This is a new model that will be sold alongside the original Xbox One S and the more powerful Xbox One X.
“A disc-free, completely digital Xbox One is no longer just a rumoured pipe dream for cord cutters and the current generation of Fortnite fanatics who’ve never had to set foot inside of a GameStop.
“The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition will hit retailers on May 7 for $250 (that’s $50 less than the Xbox One S) and it’s available for pre-order today,” Engadget reported on Tuesday.
The new console comes with three popular Microsoft-owned titles, namely Sea of Thieves, Forza Horizon 3 and Minecraft.
“The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition is $50 less than Xbox One S and we expect to maintain at least this price difference between the two consoles,” Jeff Gattis, General Manager of Platform and Devices Marketing at Microsoft was quoted as saying by The Verge. There’s also a special offer on Xbox Game Pass, the monthly subscription service that includes access to more than 100 games.