New AR System Lets Smartphone Users Interact With Virtual Objects

Researchers at Brown University have developed a software system that turns cell phones into augmented reality portals. This new system called “portal-ble” enables users to use their hands to manipulate virtual building blocks, furniture, and other objects as if they were really there. The researchers hope this new system can be a tool for artist, engineers, game developers, and others to experiment with augmented reality (AR).

The platform makes use of a small infrared sensor mounted on the back of a phone. The sensor tracks the position of people’s hands in relation to virtual objects, enabling users to pick objects up, turn them, stack them or drop them. Also, the researchers added sensory feedback—visual highlights on objects and phone vibrations—to make interactions easier.

The source code for Andriod is freely available for download on the researchers’ website, and iPhone code will follow soon.


A New Insulation Can Prevent Devices From Overheating

In a research paper, a Stanford University team demonstrated that thin layers of certain materials—just a few atoms thick can properly insulate the warmest components of a device. The team used a graphene layer along with three other materials to create four-layer insulation that’s only 10 atoms thick. As heat passes through each of these layers, the heat energy is depleted.

This new insulation will eventually lead to smaller and lighter devices. For now, though, the challenge for the scientist is to make it practical for mass production.

Blimps to Boost Cellphone Connectivity

We are very lucky nowadays to have amazing cellphones with 4G LTE connectivity and great voice clarity. Sadly though much of the world: approximately 4 billion people don’t have reliable internet access and of that 4 billion, 1.6 billion lack voice service. The main reason for this is the lack of cell towers. These towers are simply too expensive to constuct for many areas and have limited range.

Many companies are looking at a unique idea to solve this problem that comes from a technology that’s 200+ years old, blimps. One of those companies Altaeros, is launching a fleet of what they are calling “SuperTower” blimps that offer 4G LTE or 5G connectivity. The SuperTower’s will use tethers (which include the power connections and fiber optics), that allows the blimp to be raised or lowered to a ground station at any time. This is how the blimp will be recharged, as well as, give access to the payload so that it can be serviced or changed.


When compared to traditional cell towers, blimps offer a few key advantages. One is, they don’t require special buildings to house all the receivers, transmitters, and electrical equipment because all the technology is high above in the blimps gondola. Blimps offers such a wide range of cell and internet coverage because they can reach a much higher altitude than traditional towers, giving them a larger radius. Lastly there is no need for a ground crew except for upkeep; the blimp can be controlled autonomously without anybody on site.

As our connectivity needs grow and with the 5G era right around the corner, we could be seeing cell blimps poping up very soon.

The Next Generation of Folding Phones

The debut of the Samsung Galaxy fold is right around the corner. Samsung being the aggressor that they are seems to be already working on the next foldable phone, having patented a phone that unfolds to a tablet. The approved patent shows a phone with a large flexible display. Unfold the two sides, and you now have a tablet-sized device. Fold the two sides back, and you have a display that covers the entirety of the device.

There’s no indication of when or if Samsung will ever move forward officially with this design, however, it’s a glimpse of what the future of phones will look like.


Video Ad Scam affects Android users

A new scam has been discovered where fraudsters run video ads behind banner images draining users’ batteries and data, while also scamming advertisers and app developers in the process, all of this, in order to make a hefty profit. This ad fraud scheme was uncovered by fraud detection firm Protected Media – it affects many apps, and allows for stealing of ‘tens of millions of dollars per month’. BuzzFeed News reports that these invalid video ads running behind banners were linked to an Israeli company named Aniview, and its subsidiary OutStream Media. Read the full article


Samsung Galaxy Fold

Samsung is releasing its first foldable phone on April 26 with a price tag of $1980. The Galaxy Fold features 7.3 inch QXGA+ resolution (4.2:3) and a 4.6 inch HD+ (12:9) secondary display thats used when in phone mode. The phone comes with 512GB UFS 3.0 storage, Qualcomm 7nm octa-core processor (mostly likely a snapdragon 855), 12GB of RAM, and a battery capacity of 4380 mAh. Samsung is planning to launch the Galaxy Fold through AT&T and T-Mobile with a free pair of wireless earbuds. Visit the product page.

Mind Blowing Futuristic Phone

The HubblePhone has what Turing is calling a “multi-dimensional” screen that basically is a primary screen with a secondary display. It can fold up like a flip phone, or swivel out at any angle. It’s tough to explain because we have yet to see any physical prototype of this phone, and all we have to visualize this device are the concept photos below. Along with the display, the phone looks like it has a number of cameras. There’s one large main sensor at the top of the device, along with an iPhone X-style notch on the pop-out display that we assume is to be used both as a traditional camera, and for facial recognition. Turing said the camera system will allow people to do things like make a call by mouthing the name of the contact. Read the full review here.

Visit the product page here.

5G: The next gen wireless networks.

Since mobile phones first appeared in the mid-1980s, the industry has launched several new “generations” of network and technology. Those early analogue “brick” phones of the 1980s were replaced by the 2G (1990s) GSM, digital, and international roaming service. 3G (2000s) offered improved internet connectivity before 4G (2010s) delivered a truly broadband experience into our hands. Read the full article here.