QR Code in China

QR(Quick Response) code is a branch of matrix barcode and can be scanned by our smartphones to send information. And QR codes are the most pictures you can find in China

In China, QR codes are everywhere. People use QR codes to complete payments, authorizations, verifications and so on.  You can find QR codes in supermarkets, stores, restaurants, etc. Even beggars also use QR codes to beg. It can be said that you can go everywhere with a smartphone. Wait, how about out of power?. Don’t worry, you can rent a portable power source. And because of its convenience, more and more Chinese start to stop carrying any cash or credit cards. Some young people even don’t have any cash.

With the popularization of QR codes, some new designs are created. The shared bike is widely promoted in China. People can scan the QR codes on the bikes to obtain temporary permission to ride it. This practice protects the environment while people also get exercises. Afterward, shared umbrella, shared KTV, shared automobile and so on are also developed in China.

With the perfection of usages of the QR code, Chinese users of mobile internet also increased rapidly. According to data, the population was increased by about 27 million in the last half year. And this growth situation will be continued for a long time in the future.

Source:

https://dragontrail.com/resources/blog/how-china-gave-new-life-to-the-qr-code

16 Ways QR Codes are Being Used in China

Will a Robot be your Grandma’s New Best Friend?

As someone who is minoring in cultural Anthropology, I have had exposure to countless different cultures around the world. One facet of American culture that I see as vastly different than the majority of the world is our treatment of elders. In the vast majority of other cultures elders are taken care of, either by the entire community or by their family. In America most seniors are in nursing homes, or living by theirselves.

Admittedly I hadn’t given this discrepancy that much thought, as all of my grandparents died before I was born or when I was a baby. However, I recently finished a book called Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. This book explored what it meant to be an aging citizen in America, and how our unique environment affects the way you face your imminent demise. And as it turns out, senior citizens in America have drastically higher rates of depression than most other countries in the world. This is due to a lack of interpersonal communication. Which can be attributed to the way our society is structured, and changing the entire structure to match these other countries is almost impossible at this point.

Enter robots. As it turns out senior citizens aren’t looking for all that much complexity in interaction. They just want someone there. Thus the invention of ElliQ, a service not too unlike that of Siri or Alexa. What makes ElliQ unique is that is was designed to introduce meaningful connections instead of listening to commands. This means that ElliQ will spontaneously talk to its user, it has a face that can indicate emotion, and remember what its user is interested in. ElliQ is also designed to boost human interaction. It detects if there is more than one person in the room, and will remain inactive until there is only one person and it reminds both the user and the user’s family to send pictures and video chat. Perhaps most impressively the ElliQ satisfies the basic human need of being noticed. When a user looks at the ElliQ, the ElliQ looks back, as to make the user feel seen. This may not seem like much, but for some people it means the world.

While it is understandable that you might feel weird about your grammy becoming best friends with a robot, the ElliQ is fixing a problem that most people refuse to even acknowledge exists. And as I think about myself 50 years in the future, I think I would prefer a robot friend over no friends. While the ElliQ is not yet available to the public, it’s first two trials have been very successful. So in the next couple of years you might be meeting nana or papa’s new friend Eli.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/on-demand-grandkids-and-robot-pals-technology-strives-to-cure-senior-loneliness-11550898010

Apple Announces New Apple Pay Credit Card

Apple recently announced that they will be releasing a new credit card, “Apple Card”, with the help of Goldman Sachs. Perks of the card include 2% cash back every day. The idea seems to be to convince more American consumers to start using mobile transactions, specifically Apple Pay. As of right now, Apple Pay is not really widely used by the American public, and is greatly overshadowed by PayPal and Venmo. On top of that, not many stores currently are compatible with Apple Pay. Hopefully for Apple, this card would change that. However, it does not really seem that different from currently existing credit cards, such as the Citi Double Cash card and the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card, which provide users with very similar rewards. Other cards boast even better rewards. Some speculate that this card might actually just be a convoluted way for Goldman Sachs to access consumer data. Overall, consumers should be wary when considering whether or not they want to buy into Apple’s new credit card.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/what-consumers-need-to-know-about-the-upcoming-credit-card-from-apple-and-goldman-sachs-2019-02-23

Maker Spaces and it’s Benefits

Makerspaces allow access to society to carry out their creative ideas in not only developing technological advances but carrying through with that idea in designing a physical product.  These physical spaces are available to any member of the community in order to express their creativity. There have been many benefits to the access and use of these spaces, one of which they allow new developments and advancements to form. These advancements have been seen far from the classrooms here at Penn State, and have been put into place in modern society. According to Curiosity Commons, maker spaces have been named to be one of the major factors contributing to pre-k learning in the classrooms. “Makerspaces are increasingly being looked to as a method for engaging learners in creative, higher-order problem-solving through hands-on design, construction, and iteration” (p. 38). According to NMC (2015). I think that by adding maker spaces to young children’s classrooms bridges the gap between having a creative mindset and the new technology-oriented generation. They allow young kids to use modern technology in order to create new products, that also assist in their education.

 

https://curiositycommons.wordpress.com/makerspaces-the-benefits/

VR Live Streaming Sports Games

Quote

https://www.thedrum.com/news/2017/05/16/bt-sport-show-free-360-degree-vr-live-stream-champions-league-final-youtube

I’ve always loved sports and grew up watching and attending a lot of games.  It is pretty clear to those who enjoy sports that going to games is a much greater experience than watching on television.  Growing up in a Penn State family, I was privileged with seeing the majority of my football games at one of the best atmosphere’s in all of sports – Beaver Stadium.  You simply cannot replicate the atmosphere and environment of being in the stadium on television, but that is quickly changing.

In June 2017, BT Sport ran a broadcast of a Champions League soccer game, in which Tony Connelly describes the two major ways they would appeal to the public. They would run their coverage of the game on Youtube for anybody to see, with the goal to branch out to as large of an audience as possible (while still making money off Ads).  More interestingly, BT Sport offered a 360-degree Virtual Reality experience to watch the big game.  BT Sports would use a plethora of high-tech cameras surrounding the stadium to create this 360-degree experience. This feature, only available to those with a headset, “allows viewers to choose between a 360-degree produced programme with commentary and graphics, or select their own camera viewpoint,” (Connelly 2017, pg. 1).

This article is from 2017 and described the first major usage of this type of VR technology in the Sports-Entertainment industry.  In the two years since, several companies and many of the major sports leagues have been trying to implement this type of user experience.  The one major advantage of staying in to watch a game is the convenience of being at your own house, not having to commune in traffic or worry about bad weather.  As of now, VR is not there yet in terms of dominating the entertainment market.  To most, it is a cool niche that has a lot of potential.  With billions of dollars going into this technology, there is no reason not to think that in the near future, the VR game-viewing experience will resemble the excitement of being at the game in person.  This would truly be the best of both worlds, as you could get the game-like experience with the ease of watching it in your own living room.

Reference:

Connelly, Tony. “BT Sport to Show Free 360 Degree VR Live Stream of Champions League Final on YouTube.” The Drum, www.thedrum.com/news/2017/05/16/bt-sport-show-free-360-degree-vr-live-stream-champions-league-final-youtube.

 

Is AI smarter than a 5th Grader?

We all know how far AI has come in the recent years, and much of this progress is shown in the mastery of different games. From Go to chess AI has consistently beat some of the top human players. However, the Japanese children’s game of Hanabi might just prove to be too challenging for AI to master.

The challenge is that the game relies on human interaction in order to win. The premise of the game is simple, you and a partner need to play 5 cards in the correct order- and you win! The twist is that each player can see everyone’s cards except their own. This means that in order to play the right card you have to rely on you partner to give hints and gestures that lead you to play the correct card. This is why AI is having a problem with the game.

Even though AI has mastered Go, the hardest game in the world, Go is simply a game of math and strategy. However, the human aspect of collaboration and getting others to understand something without outright telling them has stumped AI thus far. Whether or not AI is truly able to mock human thought enough to ever win Hanabi is questionable. BUt even if it does, I’m not sure that it could ever ‘master’ the game.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-the-card-game-hanabi-is-the-next-big-hurdle-for-artificial-intelligence-11553875351

How Fast is 5G

What is 5G?

5G ( 5th generation mobile networks) is the latest generation wireless system in progress. As we know, 4G networks are the main networks we use on our smartphones and it works pretty well up to now. However, the invention of 5G networks will easily replace the 4G networks like the 4G networks replaced the 3G networks in late 2019 or 2020. And this new generation networks will be faster and more stable than the 4G networks.

How Fast is 5G

We know the 5G network is fast, but we don’t have a straightforward idea of how fast it can be. The speed of the 4G network is 100 megabits per second, and theoretically, the ideal speed of the 5G network is 10 gigabits per second. That means the 5G network is 100 times faster than the 4G network, 100 times. What do 10 gigabits per second mean? For example, a movie could be downloaded in seconds. However, we know that our common usage of the network is less a movie. Therefore, in fact, our operation on cellphones should be completed at the moment of giving instruction. Nonetheless, it’s the ideal thoughts of the 5G network. The real speed of the 5G network is slower, but it should be much faster than the 4G network. And with the help of 5G, our life could be improved obviously. Watching video smoothly, high-quality video call, more IoT devices, even intelligent cities probably will not be a problem in the future.

Source: https://www.howtogeek.com/340002/what-is-5g-and-how-fast-will-it-be/

Foldable Phone Screens

In about a month, Samsung will be releasing a new phone with an impressive new feature–a foldable screen. The phone at first glance looks like a normal smartphone, until you unfold it. It then becomes a small tablet! This is not a brand new idea, as Royole released a phone earlier with the same technology but faced some issues. Samsung, however, seem to have perfected it. They promised app continuity, which is something that Royole was not able to accomplish in their design. This means the app the user had open will seamlessly shift formats when the phone is being folded or unfolded. Samsung said they will also include several cameras all over the phone to make sure that you can still take a picture no matter what shape the phone is in. The phone can handle an extremely high amount of folds due to a durable internal hinge mechanism. Unfortunately, the phone costs almost $2,000, so if you want one, you better start saving up from now!

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/technology-47305417/first-look-at-samsung-s10-and-fold-phones

Google Maps April Fool’s Plan

Tomorrow is one of the best days for those of us with a little bit of mischief in our blood. April fool’s day is infamous for putting people on edge as no one can be trusted, now not even companies can be trusted. Over the last few years, companies have taken advantage of April fool’s for marketing promotions such as, LuLu Lemon who advertised their own fake Amazon Alexa that just said “Ommm”. Another example of this was Taco Bell, which promoted their bell symbol as the liberty bell, they had claimed they had bought it. This type of marketing has skyrocketed in recent years as companies have noticed how effective it is.

This year following the current trends Google just came out with their own promotion for April fools in their app Google maps. They are temporarily adding a game, which is their own take on the old and beloved game “Snakes”. The user can choose from a list of cities from all over the world. Using all different types of transportation vehicles the user passes over the character in the game to pick them up. The goal is to pick up as many as you can before you reach game over. They are keeping the game up for the rest of the week to reach maximum users. Also, if someone does not own a compatible device the game is offered as its own website.

I am a huge fan of any kind of creative promotions that companies come up with. It is so fun to interact with these promotions and I think they are extremely effective. 

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/31/18289518/google-maps-app-snakes-game-april-fools-day

College students created self-driving racing car

Several mechanical engineering students in Stanford Graduate School created a self-driving car which performed as fast as cars driven by professional drivers on tracks.

Students used machine-learning algorithms called neural network which functioned like human brain to analyze 200000 motion samples including snow and ice surface from regular cars and train them in order to test them out.

The result is pretty amazing which you can view below and they use Volkswagen GTI and Audi TTS as test subjects.

In the future, real car drivers can race aganist AI powered to enhance their skills. There may even be a race just for autonomous cars!

Instead of doing things on paper and writing countless homework and codes, we should also encourage our students to collaborate among different fields and take the products to the real life environment to test it out.

Hawkins, Andrew J. “Watch a Self-Driving Car Handle Hairpin Turns like a Race Car.” The Verge, The Verge, 31 Mar. 2019, www.theverge.com/2019/3/31/18285824/self-driving-car-race-car-stanford-research.