Sing to your plant to automatically water it

See the original posting on The Verge

You’ve heard the myth that singing to your plants helps them grow better. Unless your singing sounds like a caterpillar chewing, your plant probably isn’t reacting. But serenading your plant could help its growth anyway, since you’re probably paying pretty good attention to your plant’s soil moisture and leaf health while you sing to it.

This mini sprinkler system waters your plant when you sing. So now you can concentrate on your plant’s health and happiness while the watering happens automatically. Plus, you get to perfect your cover of pajama-clad cover of “That’s What I Like.”

Ready to build your own sound-sensitive sprinkler system? Directions below.


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Snapchat introduces a redesigned app that separates your friends from brands

See the original posting on The Verge

Snap today introduced a redesign of its flagship app intended to promote more intimate sharing among friend groups while pushing professionally produced content into a separate feed. The redesigned Snapchat includes a new dynamic friends page that incorporates both chat messages and ephemeral stories, and pushes items from your close friends to the top of the feed for the first time. It will begin appearing later this week for a small test group, and is expected to roll out more broadly in coming weeks.

The move comes at a time when Snap is under mounting pressure to grow its stagnant user base. The core idea in the new Snapchat is to put your friends on one side of the app, and brands on the other. In the center is Snap camera, which…

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Shopify’s new Arrive app is your package tracking pal

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 I’m not sure the team at Shopify’s experimental Garage product development group knows this, but their latest app is basically made for me: It’s a package tracking tool called Arrive that consolidates all your consumer shopping shipments in one place and makes it easy to get updates on your status, and deal with customer service if you need to.
The Arrive app’s basic… Read More

Snapchat starts algorithm-personalized redesign splitting social and media

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 By putting best friends first and dividing them from professional publishers, Snapchat hopes to conquer Instagram and revive its own growth with a big redesign that begins rolling out Friday. And it looks great. Snapchat is finally personalizing, highlighting the most relevant content so it’s easier to consume. “We are separating the social from the media, and taking an important… Read More

All of Marvel’s heroes come together in the first trailer for ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

See the original posting on TechCrunch

avengers infinity war If you were wondering whether Marvel could make a super team-up bigger than The Avengers, the new trailer for Avengers: Infinity War suggests that the answer is a firm yes.
Virtually every hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe makes an appearance. Seriously: If you’re watching and you haven’t seen your favorite character yet, just give it another few seconds. The trailer also… Read More

Waze adds new motorcycle mode and ‘OK Waze’ voice commands

See the original posting on The Verge

Waze is releasing a trio of new features for its popular turn-by-turn navigation app on Android and iOS today. First is a mode designed specifically for motorcycle riders that provides recommendations for the best route based on data pulled in from fellow motorcyclists, which is a little more valuable than sourcing those calculations from cars. Waze says it has gotten better at estimating arrival times for motorcycles, which “vary greatly from automobile ETAs,” and the motorcycle mode also adds routing info for narrow roads that aren’t accessible by car.

Today’s update also introduces hands-free “OK Waze” voice commands in the US, UK, and Canada, letting you request info or change your destination without taking your hands off the…

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The first trailer for Avengers: Infinity War is here

See the original posting on The Verge

It’s been a long time coming, but Marvel has finally released the first teaser trailer for its upcoming superhero team-up to end all superhero team-ups, Avengers: Infinity War.

As the clip shows, Infinity War is shaping up to be one of Marvel’s biggest movies ever, uniting the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and almost every other superhero Marvel has ever put on-screen in the 17 prior films over the last decade. All these heroes are banding together to face off against Thanos, the big bad that Marvel has been teasing since the post-credits scene of the first Avengers back in 2012.

Marvel first showed off a teaser all the way back in July at parent company Disney’s D23 Expo, and again at San Diego Comic-Con, but for the vast…

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Waze gains support for HOV lanes, motorcycles and voice activation

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 Waze is getting a few new features today that are either firsts for any navigation app, or just functionally super convenient, including an option to optimize routes for travel by motorcycle, routing that incorporates use of high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, and the ability to have Waze listen for a voice trigger phrase passively and then interpret voice commands for both navigation and… Read More

Origami keyboard

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Not only is geckopfote’s keyboard an amazing work of papercraft, it’s one of those bizarre 40%-size ortholinear ones: “Yes, it’s a fully functional Planck keyboard, from olkb. And yes, I like the feeling of paper under my fingertips.” [via]

Adds geckopfote, when asked if they just covered keys in paper: “No it wasn’t that easy. It was a long journey of trial and error. I wanted to make DSA style keycaps and so I did some QCad drawings where I tried to fit the right dimensions. Then, in short, print, spray, cut, fold, clue – ready!”

It being Reddit, someone was soon along to inform the creator that his work was kirigami, not origami.

HDMI 2.1 Is Here With 10K and Dynamic HDR Support

See the original posting on Slashdot

Swapna Krishna reports via Engadget: Back in January, the HDMI Forum unveiled its new specifications for the HDMI connector, called HDMI 2.1. Now, that HDMI specification is available to all HDMI 2.0 adopters. It’s backwards compatible with all previous HDMI specifications. The focus of HDMI 2.1 is on higher video bandwidth; it supports 48 GB per second with a new backwards-compatible ultra high speed HDMI cable. It also supports faster refresh rates for high video resolution — 60 Hz for 8K and 120 Hz for 4K. The standard also supports Dynamic HDR and resolutions up to 10K for commercial and specialty use. This new version of the HDMI specification also introduces an enhanced refresh rate that gamers will appreciate. VRR, or Variable Refresh Rate, reduces, or in some cases eliminates, lag for smoother gameplay, while Quick Frame Transport (QFT) reduces latency. Quick Media Switching, or QMS, reduces the amount of blank-screen wait time while switching media. HDMI 2.1 also includes Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), which automatically sets the ideal latency for the smoothest viewing experience.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

MeatBagPnP Makes You the Automatic Pick and Place

See the original posting on Hackaday

It’s amazing how hackers are nowadays building increasingly complex hardware with SMD parts as small as grains of sand. Getting multilayer PCB’s and soldering stencils in small quantities for prototyping is easier than ever before. But Pick-and-Place — the process of taking parts and stuffing them on the PCB in preparation for soldering — is elusive, for several reasons. For one, it makes sense only if you plan to do volume production as the cost and time for just setting up the PnP machine for a small run is prohibitive. And a desktop PnP machine isn’t yet as ubiquitous as …read more

Microsoft’s photos app for iOS and Android will quickly transfer pictures to a PC

See the original posting on The Verge

Microsoft is planning to release a photos companion app for iOS and Android devices, to quickly transfer pictures to a PC. The app will be available soon for Windows 10 testers, and it will support the quick transfer of photos or videos from phones to PCs on the same Wi-Fi network. Microsoft already offers a similar service through its OneDrive app, which will upload photos in the background on a phone and import them into the Photos app in Windows 10. This new app is designed for most people who don’t already backup their photos to OneDrive.

Italian blog Aggiornamenti Lumia spotted the new companion app, and reports that the Photos app in Windows 10 will also see some improvements, soon. Microsoft is rolling out premium content,…

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Pixelmator Pro wants to be the Photoshop killer on macOS

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 The team behind Pixelmator is releasing a brand new app today called Pixelmator Pro. As the name suggests, it is a more powerful, refreshed version of the company’s original image-editing app. You can buy it today for $60 on the Mac App Store or try it for free. I’ve been using the app for a couple of days, and it excels where the original Pixelmator used to excel. It is a fully… Read More

High-Speed Drones Use AI to Spoil the Fun

See the original posting on Hackaday

Some people look forward to the day when robots have taken over all our jobs and given us an economy where we can while our days away on leisure activities. But if your idea of play is drone racing, you may be out of luck if this AI pilot for high-speed racing drones has anything to say about it.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab has been working for the past two years to develop the algorithms needed to let high-performance UAVs navigate typical drone racing obstacles, and from the look of the tests in the video below, they’ve made a lot …read more

Gamify Your Workout with the Wearable Console Controller

See the original posting on Hackaday

‘Tis soon to be the season when resolutions falter and exercise equipment purchased with the best of intentions is cast aside in frustration. But with a little motivation, like making your exercise machine a game console controller, you can maximize your exercise gear investment and get in some guilt-free gaming to boot.

Honestly, there is no better motivation for keeping up with exercise than taking classes, but not many people have the discipline — or the pocketbook — to keep going to the gym for the long haul. With this in mind, [Jason] looked for a way to control PS4  …read more

The Chemistry and Engineering of DIY Photochromic Glass

See the original posting on Hackaday

[Ben Krasnow] is no stranger to exploring the more arcane corners of hackerdom, and the latest video on his “Applied Science” channel goes into a field few DIYers have touched: homemade glass, including the photochromic variety.

That DIY glassmaking remains a largely untapped vein is not surprising given what [Ben] learned over the last months of experimenting. With searing temperatures bordering on the unobtainable, volatile ingredients that evaporate before they can be incorporated, and a final product so reactive that a platinum crucible is the best vessel for the job, glassmaking is not easy, to say the least. Glassmaking doesn’t …read more

Tricked-Out Tablet Becomes Workbench Tool

See the original posting on Hackaday

The workbench of the typical electronics hobbyist today would probably be largely recognizable by Heathkit builders back in the 60s and 70s. But where the techs and tinkerers of yesteryear would have had a real dead-tree SAMS Photofact schematic spread out on the bench, today you’ll get more use out of a flat-screen display for data sheets and schematics, and this handy shop Frankentablet might be just the thing to build.

Tablets like the older Nexus 9 that [enginoor] used as the basis for this build have a little bit of a form-factor problem because unlike a laptop, a tablet …read more

MIT’s new desktop 3D printer technology increases speeds up to 10x

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 There are plenty of reasons desktop 3D printing never really took off with consumers. Speed isn’t the main one, but it’s certainly up there. Mind you, this research is still probably a few years away from production, but a team of engineers at MIT have shown off a 3D printer capable of creating builds up to 10 times the speed of their consumer counterparts. Read More

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