Heat You, Not the Room, & Avoiding Traffic Jams

As cooler weather has hit, there’s the age old problem of whether to turn up the thermostat and pay more, or leave it set lower and chill, so to speak. A new bracelet created by a group of students at MIT may save you the choice. The MIT wizards have created the Wristify, a thermoelectric bracelet that tracks the air temperature and your skin’s temperature, and allows you to control your body temperature. They found if you heat or cool just one part of your body, you’re more comfortable, despite the air temperature. The bracelet, which looks like a watch, heats or cools your wrist, and lasts 8 hous on a battery chargeThe MIT students won a $10,000 prize for the gadget, and hope to make it available soon.

If anyone loves their commute, and especially traffic jams, I haven’t met them. Help could be on the horizon. Back to MIT again, where a professor has developed an algorithm that works with adaptive cruise control available on some cars…and adding rangefinders and sensors to cars without adaptive cruise…Professor Berthold Horn says that coming up on a jam, within a minute the system would kick in and even traffic flow…partly by reducing sudden braking that causes backups to get worse in the first place. Adaptive cruise control has just been on higher end cars up to now, but as the tech gets cheaper, and shows up on more cars, we may get to a point where the jams can be evened out or eliminated. The self driving cars promised by 2020 will help, too!

In the early days of personal computing, there was the quest for the so-called ‘killer app,’ something that would absolutely compel people to buy it…think word processing or spreadsheet programs. Now, in social media, it’s the killer service, and for Facebook that has been photo sharing. Both Twitter and Google+ have rolled out features to try to pry users away from Facebook. Twitter just added previews of photos and videos directly inside tweets….no more click to expand. Not surprisingly, Google is looking to math to ease people away from Facebook and into Google +…they now not only upload and enhance all your photos, and find the best ones, now they have full resolution uploads to iOS. Will either cut into Facebook? It’s too early to tell, but with over 250 billion photos on Facebook, even siphoning off a few will boost Twitter or Google +.

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