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Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

Technology propelling society forward

There used to be a time when only scientists and other highly educated people could follow what was going on in the world of technology but today, many limitations and boundaries have been eradicated in such pursuit, allowing millions of interested consumers or simple researchers to get a glimpse of our modern day technological superiority. Hearing news about a new type of multifunctional heart transplant, a new rocket that flies at three times the speed of its predecessors, a revolutionary application for engineering related calculations by a software development company or a brand new engine type for the new generation of electrical cars have all become normal in today’s mainstream media. Human societies therefore are also changing at a fast pace in conjunction with such new developments and therefore the human mind, logic and spirit have all intertwined with the new age of technology and it is always refreshing and constructive to research into new projects and developments for the modern day individual.

Communication technologies are becoming more widespread and popular in today’s world daily and significant progress is visible in virtually every aspect of this field. Lynn La for C-Net reports on the Sgnl Watch developed by the South Korea based Innomdle Lab, which was released in 2016 as a grand step forward for wearable technologies. The device connects to a smartphone through Bluetooth to enable the user to speak through their fingertips, eradicating the trouble of dealing with buttons and functions. Sgnl utilizes the human skin for connectivity purposes and passes down vibrations through the human body tissues all the way up to the fingertip, eliminating the use of an in-ear speaker. As the fingertip touches the inside of an ear, the transmitted sound is amplified while a small microphone in the wrist strap collects audio input for the user’s responses. Although the device does not store any contact information in its memory, the wrist strap can be programmed to dial five unique numbers without reaching for the smartphone at all. Those who use Sgnl watches therefore are granted the superior ability to use the minimal amount of material to conduct their calls and maximum technical capability to ensure that their calls are perfectly conducted.    

In a similar vein, Ben Sin for Forbes Magazine reports on the second generation Vinci smart headphones by the Chinese firm Inspero Inc to discuss the new features and specifications on these devices. The first generation of Vinci smart headphones was revolutionary in the sense that it became possible to carry a fully equipped and functional android device on top of the user’s head to utilize various such functions through simple audio commands. However, the device was relatively large in size and such a size issue brought about criticism by its users and reviewers alike. Therefore, for its second generation of design and manufacturing, Inspero developed a far smaller yet equally functional version of pretty much the same device. This new version can “stream music from Spotify, Amazon or Soundcloud, track your heart rate and runs; offer not one but two voice assistants (Amazon’s Alexa, plus Inspero’s own Vinci) to do things like map search and navigation.” It also houses an active noise cancellation function while utilizing bone conduction microphones to transfer the user’s voice commands directly to the central Vinci user interface to create a more seamless and reliable communication exchange. With the release of this new version, using a pair of Vinci headphones has not only become easier in terms of accessibility and functionality but also more compact and comfortable in physicality, to help the Vinci users achieve more with less energy and effort.

Once again in the field of new and groundbreaking portable technologies, Chaim Gartenberg for The Verge Magazine reports on the ChargeWrite pen, which is a device that is a basic pen, a touch-screen stylus and a 1,000 mAh battery pack at the same time. The device’s main function is to write things down as it is a standard ballpoint pen with removable and exchangeable parts, however on the back of the device, is also a battery pack which can charge a smartphone but not to its fullest capacity. The pen also acts as a pin-pointing stylus pen that works on touch-screen devices while the universal lighting system and the Micro USB slot also provide specific benefits such as seeing clearly the contents on the device and easily charging it through a USB connection. As much as Gartenberg enjoyed using the device, he ended up calling it “Jack of all trades, master of none” as he would rather have these parts and functions separately from one another. However, considering how useful a device like ChargeWrite would be for people-on-the-go, it is understood that there would have to be differing opinions on the matter alongside with people who would simply prefer having such technologies provided in a package for ease of use and access. This is especially true for having a battery pack enclosed in a ballpoint pen for those taking notes on the go while enjoying the benefits of a smartphone.       

New technologies in the developing world do not only address personal and home-related issues, but also social and collective activities and the Power Ray drone is a great example for such a reality. Adam Popescu reporting for Bloomberg Businessweek states that the device is “a submersible drone attached to a fishing line” and that it “can take a lot of the guesswork out of fishing” because “the fish finder spots fish, relays their position to the user, and attracts them with a built-in light and a bait drop.” Having been developed by Wally Zheng for the Power Vision Technology Group in China, the 8-pound drone operates approximately for four hours a single charge of two hours and can reach to depths as far as 98 feet underwater. The Power Ray underwater drone uses sonar technology to gather data about its surrounding environment and the objects floating in it, while a respective software analyzes the findings to locate fish in the water. The device sends the produced images and maps to a separate controller or a smartphone while the underwater drone leaves baits and shines lights to attract the attention of nearby fish. Although there exist three different models in the market as of today, research and development continues to perfect the system and make it easier for fishers to enjoy their trade while yielding more prosperous and richer returns.

Naturally, modern day homes are not exempt from similar technological developments either and one example for such developments is Moodo’s Fragrance Box: an authentic gadget that lets its user create custom scents for their home at a single push of a button. According to Lulu Chang’s report on Yahoo Finance, the system works through a smartphone application while also coming pre-packed with up to four different scent capsules with customizable types and ratios of smells. By altering the densities of scents released by each capsule, it becomes possible for the user to change the overall tone of the produced smell while short and long term planning and scheduling functions also exist within the software, enabling the user to produce different scents at different points in time during the day or the week. In addition, the application also enables its users to save certain scents and smells to be recalled, shared or refined later on as personalized fragrances while a preset scent maker also exists which asks for and utilizes the user’s feelings as input to produce the right type of smell for the room. Therefore, in our modern day and age, it has become not only a luxury but also a special taste to create the right type of environment at home, office or in a car, making Moodo’s Fragrance Box a great choice of purchase for those interested in truly enjoying their immediate environments with the most enjoyable type of fragrances.           

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